What’s so Wrong about being Absolutely Right?: A Discussion on the Origins and Psychology of Dogmatic Thinking and Ideology.

Pt. 1 of 2

What does it mean when we say someone is being dogmatic?  Are only religious fundamentalists capable of dogmatic thinking?  Can science-based atheists be dogmatic?  What is the difference between dogmatism and ideology?  Why do people engage in dogmatic thinking in the first place; is it biological, sociological or psychological or all of the above?  And, what can we do to limit dogmatic thinking?

These questions and more will be discussed in a special two-part program with clinical psychologist Judy Johnson and social psychologist John Jost.  If we want to get to the reasons why some feel religion and politics are so contentious, and even dangerous, we probably should be focusing on how people behave within religious or political frameworks.  If we want to build a more humanistic, less dangerous world, we must then learn what we should be doing to avoid the potential dangers therein.  We hope this program will offer some of those answers as well as tools toward creating a healthier society.

The audio for this program, which aired in two parts on March 29th and April 5th, can be found on the April archives page. Please note that this audio is an EXTENDED version containing two questions not aired on WBAI-NY; one of these concerns the question of whether authoritarian persons or societies are a normal part of human nature, or a sign of either an unhealthy individual or society, while the other is a personal question the host asks regarding his own possible dogmatic tendencies.

“Upholding the Separation of Church and State” w/ Special Guest Ellery Schempp

One of the most important topics for secularists and humanists is the separation of church and state. But it is important for all Americans because it prevents any one particular religion from taking control of the country. As we have seen however, church and state is not always kept separate. Luckily, we have individuals such as Ellery Schempp to defend the Establishment Claus of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Tonight, ETFF’s new edition, Matthew LaClair, will be interviewing Dr. Schempp, who was the primary student involved in the landmark Supreme Court case Abington School District v. Schempp in 1963 which declared that forced Bible reading in public schools was unconstitutional. Dr. Schempp, a physicist by trade, is also subject of the book, Ellery’s Protest: How One Young Man Defied Tradition and Sparked the Battle over School Prayer, by Stephen D. Solomon.

In this episode we offered WBAI listeners the chance to call in with their thoughts on Humanism and Atheism in society today. We heard a bit from the spiritually inclined that still want policy and society to be secular, for the most part, which was interesting.

The Andrew Sullivan article in the Times Of London referenced at the top of the show can be found here.

Morality Without Gods II: A Preview

This program, co-hosted by Sunsara Taylor and Paul Eckstein, was a preview of the following event:

Morality Without Gods: Part 2

Across the planet with unjust wars, uncertainty & convulsions in people’s lives, belief in gods and religion is rising.  Broad controversy and debate rages over god, atheism, faith, and science.  Last November, an overflow crowd came out at NYU for Morality Without Gods: Part 1.  Part 2 will focus on these three questions:

  • If you don’t believe in god, where do you get your morality from?
  • Why is science not just “another belief system”?
  • Could we/should we do away with belief in gods?

A review of the actual event can be found here.  A DVD-video of the event will become available shortly, and we will provide information on it via this website.