Naturalistic Support Workshop w/ Arnell Dowret

Topic for this edition: Anger!

‘Identity and Mental Health in a Sociopathic Society’ w/ Charles Derber and Paul Verhaeghe

The social sciences have taught us that, as the 1960s saying goes, the personal IS political (and, of course, vice versa). One of the themes of my own interviews has been to connect the dots between the psychological health of individuals in society with the sociological health of the communities we live in.

We’ve talked with evolutionary biologists, evolutionary anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, political theorists and even neuroscientists about what sort of creatures human be ings are, how we behave when we have our basic and developmental needs, and how we can understand the clearly unhealthy societies we find planet-wide, including here in the United States.

Today we will continue the exploration of where humanity is today, socially, and where we might like to see it change…and how. Our special guests this time around will be with sociologist Charles Derber and psychoanalyst Paul Verhaeghe.

Naturalistic Support Workshop w/ Arnell Dowret

Looking back at 2015…

An extended ETFF “X-Mas” Special!

Arnell Dowret will host our annual X-Mas Special, this year from 2pm-6pm, featuring loads of classic content including two our exclusive interviews with Santa Claus and our special Christmas meditation.  There will also be a bunch of brand new stuff like our recent interview with space scientist Carolyn Porco, who – as she did last year -will give us the highlights of human activity in space during 2015.

We will also be taking listener calls throughout the afternoon to hear how you are making it through the epic day.  And we’ll be playing lots of great Christmas parody songs both old and new.

So whether you are with friends, family or going solo – your Naturalistic Christmas afternoon of fun awaits!

Naturalistic Support Workshop w/ Arnell Dowret

On Saturday December 5th at 2pm, ETFF’s NS is back and our topic will be Resilience. We’ll be taking your calls to hear how you deal with difficult events that change your life.

Regardless of the challenge whether it’s the loss of a close relationship – losing a job – or facing illness, why do some of us seem able to roll with the punches while others struggle?

Thomas Levenson on “The Hunt for Vulcan”

It was believed for decades that our Solar System had an extra planet, closer to the Sun than Mercury: the planet Vulcan. The planet doesn’t exist, of course, but it took quite a while to figure that out. Why is that? What does this episode say about science and how it works? Is this a laughable mistake or a blunder in the history of science, or was science doing its job?

Today we’ll be speaking with Thomas Levenson, whose new book, ‘The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe‘, addresses these questions while telling the compelling story of the “discovery” of a false planet.

Thomas Levenson is a professor at MIT and head of its science writing program. He is the author of several books, including ‘Einstein in Berlin’ and ‘Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World’s Greatest Scientist.’ He has also made ten feature-length documentaries (including a two-hour Nova program on Einstein) for which he has won numerous awards.

Whiteness, Racism, and The Economics of Cruelty

America is a racialized country. Built in part on chattel slavery predicated on a decidedly European model, the hegemonic power exists under the social construct known as Whiteness. If you are of that hegemony – or dominant group – you have access to many of the privileges this society has to offer. Of course there are other hegemonies in place: Male over Female, Straight or Cisgendered folks over LBGT folks, the Upper Class over the so-called Middle Classes – and both of those over the Working Classes and the Poor – Christians over other religious groups, and indeed religious groups over atheist and agnostic ones, and so on.

Over the course of US history, the tensions between those who dominate and are considered the “norm,” and those who are subordinated, has helped shape the culture and subcultures we now see. And this built in, often considered virtuous, hierarchical nature of our society determines the ways which resources are distributed and lives are lived.

In short, wealth leads to power and power leads to more wealth. We currently live in one of the most economically unequal society on the planet, which some argue is just what we should expect from late-stage Capitalism.

Today we will be speaking about what capitalism has wrought, as concerns the majority of the American population, and how being a highly racialized society is a big part of how we got to our current tragic circumstances. We will be speaking with a longtime friend of Equal Time, Tim Wise, and with someone I only recently discovered, Robin DiAngelo. Robin is the author of What Does it Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy. Tim’s new book is Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America.

Part two includes excerpts from Dr. Joseph Graves, author of The Race Myth, Peggy McIntosh, and a special segment on ISIS with excerpts from Noam Chomsky.

ETFF’s Membership-Drive Special: Merchants of Doubt!

Merchants of Doubt was one of the most talked-about climate change books of recent years, for reasons easy to understand: It tells the controversial story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. The same individuals who claim the science of global warming is “not settled” have also denied the truth about studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. “Doubt is our product,” wrote one tobacco executive. These “experts” supplied it.”

On this program we will be discussing both this book and the new Merchants of Doubt DVD, and play excerpts from the film as well as from our 2012 interview with one of the book’s author Naomi Oreskes. If you appreciate this kind of programming, please support WBAI this Autumn! If you enjoy Equal Time for Freethought – the only Secular Humanist/Atheist broadcast possibly anywhere in the nation!

Does Altruism Exist? A Conversation with Evolutionary Biologist, David Sloan Wilson

Altruism gets a bad rap in the US.  Concerning ourselves with the welfare of others, extending empathy to all citizens here and in other countries, and looking at humanity as one diverse, if complex, collective is something some of us give much lip service to while leading their self-concerned busy lives, and others actively try to squash if it means their small piece of the pie might be nibbled at.

Regarding both political and religious institutions, altruism is at best a Utopian fantasy or at worse – as so-called libertarians who embrace the philosophy of Ayn Rand – dangerous and an abomination.  Even scientists working in various fields – especially evolutionary psychologists – argue that altruism is not what it seems to be, and that true altruism as we tend to think about it does not exist in the human animal.

But others disagree, and disagree strongly.  Among scientists who have written in favor of pure altruism are primatologist Franz De Waal, neuroscientist Donald Pfaff, bioethicist Peter Singer, anthropologist Christopher Boehm, physicist Stefan Klein, psychologist Dacher Keltner, biopsychologist Nigel Barber, evolutionary anthropologist Douglas Fry, and today’s guest, biologist David Sloan Wilson — author of Does Altruism Exist?: Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others.

Our Better Angels? Have humans turned over a new leaf?  A Discussion with Steven Pinker

Matthew LaClair interviewed evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker on his most recent work which includes an examination of his claim that humans have become more altruistic and less violent over the last 50,000 years.  Many contest this hypothesis — from social scientists to historians — and some have suggested that quite the opposite is the case.

We asked Dr. Pinker about his work in the hopes to better understand his argument and what is indeed the reality concerning human nature in this special LIVE program!