Naturalism + Politics = Humanism

On this program, one of our goals has been to try to see how the various parts of humanism operate. We have looked at this by examining each part individually, and have – when able – discussed how one part fit with another. Of course, we first had to be clear what those parts were!

Humanism doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Some refer to the Renaissance humanism, while others to the Enlightenment. While most see science or scientific naturalism at the core of Humanism, others would suggest that morality or applied ethics are at the center.

But when it comes to politics, things tend to get fuzzy and blurry. At various times on ETFF, we have tried to figure out why this is. After all, does not naturalism and critical thinking lead to an understanding of human nature…which makes pretty clear what a healthy person and society would look like? And does not the written and often repeated (in print and otherwise) humanist ethics mean nothing at all if they are not applied in the real world? And are not politics and economics indeed at the core of our societies and demonstrate just what we believe about what it means to be human?

We have long explored these questions because they are indeed central if we are to create a humanistic future global culture. On today’s program, we will speak with two authors who have written essays for the two most prominent humanist magazines in the country: Lawrence Davidson in Free Inquiry (the journal of the Council for Secular Humanism), and Lorenzo Ospri in The Humanist (the journal for the American Humanist Association.

Naturalistic Support Workshop w/ Arnell Dowret

Fund Drive Special: Brain Games

Why do we behave as we do?  This Saturday for its membership drive special ETFF delves into what social science and neuroscience can tell us about ourselves as we present our look at the popular NatGeo series Brain Games.  In contrast to presentations that are long winded, dry, and pedantic, Brain Games disseminates complex information about the human experience in a manner that is entertaining, hip, fast paced, fun and compelling.

We’ll be playing clips from the series plus we’ll have a live call-in with a neuroscientist Katherine LaClair (sister of co-host Mathew LaClair), and (if we have time) we’ll play an ETFF exclusive interview that we did with Brains Games host Jason Silva.

Matthew A. Sutton on American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism

This Saturday, host Matthew LaClair interviews Professor Matthew Avery Sutton from Washington State University, where he teaches religious, cultural, and 20th century US History. He is the author of three books, starting with Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America, which served as the basis for the PBS documentary, Sister Aimme. He then wrote Jerry Falwell and the Rise of the Religious Right, followed by the subject of today’s show, American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism, released just last month.

American Apocalypse recounts the history of the American evangelical movement, focusing on rapture theology. It’s history and development since the mid-19th century is a fascinating tale that provides us with an otherwise forgotten and neglected part of American history. Of particular importance is the concept of Armageddon or the “end-times,” a theory that remains an important part of the cultural and political landscape, effecting decisions not only in the lives of individuals, but in domestic and foreign policy.

Naturalistic Support Workshop w/Arnell Dowret

The Funnier Side of ETFF w/ Julianna Forlano!

Arnell Dowret welcomed Julianna Forlano of WBAI’s own The Julianna Forlano Show!

Naturalistic Support Workshop w/Arnell Dowret

“Shame on Me? Shame on You?”

What does it mean to feel shame? Is it helpful towards healthy behavior, or is it actually harmful? What is the naturalistic take on shame, and how might we handle this often debilitating emotion?

Shame will be the topic of this weeks Naturalistic Support Workshop, so…

Naturalistic XMas Special!

This Xmas, Arnell Dowret will host our annual program taking a humanistic, naturalistic view on the Christian holiday! The two-hour special will feature all the usual goodies including the Xmas meditation, our historic interview with Santa, and more…

This Xmas, we also had the pleasure of speaking with two members of the Freethought community! Dr. Dian Killian is a Certified Trainer with the international Center for Nonviolent Communication. We often hear that this is the season of goodwill towards all men/women — a noble humanistic ideal which should extend the entire year — and that in times of trouble, this sentiment takes on even more profound meaning. In the “Immediate and Personal” segment of this special program, we will speak with Dian about her work and how it can be useful when dealing with the recent and intense conflicts between the Police and the public.

Later on, in the “Vast and Futuristic” segment, we will speak with astronomer Carolyn Porco who is the leader of the imaging science team on the Cassini mission presently in orbit around Saturn, a veteran imaging scientist of the Voyager mission to the outer solar system in the 1980s, and one of the  imaging scientists on the New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Here we will take a look at the cosmic view of a holiday — built on the scientific and intuitive awareness of the winter solstice — where even its religious endeavors are an attempt – albeit a weak one – to understand the universe.

So join us for this 2-Hour Xmas Special, and then come  back on Saturday for a special repeated program on the origins and continued existence of our policed society in America, with Kristian Williams!

How we Lost our Humanity and How we can get it Back

What does it mean to be human? As a culture, we have asked that question in a million different ways and have probably thought up hundreds of different responses. It’s a philosophical question for some, a scientific question for others, and sometimes… an everyday question many ask just to try and figure out where they fit into the scheme of things. But here in the 21st Century, it may be one of the most important questions we could ask.

We have come to a crossroads. Humans will number near 9 billion in the not so distant future. We have not gone very far to eliminate chronic hunger, disease, famine, violence, war, abuse of other life forms on the planet, and the destruction of the ecosphere which sustains us.

Through the social sciences, we know we were not always like we are today… so full of greed, aggression, isolationism, selfishness, uber-competitiveness… nor so alienated from ourselves and each other. So what has gone wrong? What may be the reasons we have lost what Darcia Narvaez calls our “human essence?” What have been the affects of key qualities of modern, Western society such as political hierarchies and capitalism? And what might we do to restore homeostasis and build a healthier, more humanistic future global society?

We will discuss these ideas in a special Equal Time for Freethought with Darcia Narvaez and Harriet Fraad who have made it their life to ask, and try to find answers for, these questions.

ETFF Tribute to Dr. Lester Garwood…

A friend of the show, and of its producers, has sadly gone too soon. On this special tribute program, we aired some of Dr. Lester Garwood’s best moments on Equal Time for Freethought…

Carl Sagan said we are all “Star Stuff”; But Lester shined more than most …