My guest on this episode is Dr. Abby Hafer. She holds a doctorate in zoology from Oxford University and teaches human anatomy and physiology at Curry College. She is the author of the 2015 book The Not-So-Intelligent Designer—Why Evolution Explains the Human Body and Intelligent Design Does Not.
Together, we discuss the evolutionary origins of sex and women’s reproductive systems and how these demonstrate the reality of biological evolution and conclusively falsify the notion of an intelligent designer. We discuss religion as a human invention that was developed as a solution to what Abby calls the “Problem of Being Male.” We also discuss the phenomenon in nature of spontaneous abortions, and Abby crunches the numbers to show that, if the Abrahamic God really does exist, he would be the world’s busiest abortionist. We talk about the ways in which women’s ability to bear children has been hijacked by authoritarian, fundamentalist religion, using the Quiverfull movement as the best contemporary example, and we conclude by talking about why a morality that excludes any appeal to the supernatural is far superior to any god-based morality.
Doubter of the Week: Hypatia of Alexandria (c. 370 – 415 CE), mathematician, astronomer, pagan philosopher and teacher, and the last curator of the famous Library of Alexandria in Egypt, tragically murdered by a mob of Christian zealots.
American Humanist Association: Dr. Abby Hafer profile: americanhumanist.org/what-we-do/spe…au/abby-hafer/
Abby Hafer’s book: www.amazon.com/Not-So-Intelligen…ent/dp/1620329417
Check out Abby Hafer’s chapter in Karen L. Garst, ed., Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith―and for Freedom: www.amazon.com/Women-v-Religion-…and/dp/1634311701
Consider supporting me Patreon if you enjoy the show: www.patreon.com/aleapofdoubt.
Thanks to Jeff Prebeg, Jeanne Ikerd, Torsten Pihl, Chris Watson, and Kim Bojkovsky for being my patrons!
Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/TheNatheist.
The opening clip is an excerpt from the audiobook “God is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens, courtesy of Hachette Audio. Text Copyright 2007 by Christopher Hitchens. Audio production copyright 2007, Hachette Audio. Used with permission.
The audio used in the Edward Gibbon quote is courtesy of LibriVox.org, a provider of free audiobooks read by volunteers of books that exist in the public domain: librivox.org/history-of-the-dec…-by-edward-gibbon/.
The opening and ending music is “Jade” by Esther Nicholson and is used under license. The editing was done by Rich Lyons of the “Living After Faith” podcast.
Check out our website: reasonrevolution.org.
Give us a like on Facebook: www.facebook.com/reasonrevolution.
In this episode, we are doubting the historical existence of a man you may have heard about: Jesus of Nazareth. Ever since critical biblical scholarship began in the eighteenth century, largely a product of the Enlightenment, the consensus among mainstream historians and religious scholars has been that a man named Jesus did historically exist in Palestine and was crucified by the Romans in the first decades of the Common Era. Although these biblical critics did doubt and challenge the reality of the New Testament’s portrait of Jesus as a miracle worker and divinely appointed savior, they did think – or, more precisely, assume – that there was a real man named Jesus upon whom theological legends were later based. But there has always been another school of thought. The mythicists argued that not only was the Christ of faith a theological fantasy, but the Jesus of history was also a fiction. Jesus, said the mythicist scholars, never even existed historically.
Eastern mysticism clashes with rural America in this episode, as we recount a tale of religious bigotry, government paranoia, bombings, wiretapping, poisonings, assassination attempts, and airplane chases. I am joined by my good friend and patron the show Chris Watson, host of The Podunk Polymath Podcast, to review and discuss the six-part Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country. The series chronicles the rise and fall of Rajneeshpuram, the once-thriving city established in 1981 in central Oregon by the Indian guru and mystic Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers.
In this episode, we explore the topic of fantasy role-playing games (RPGs) within the context of the moral panic and cultural stigmatization that surrounded games like Dungeons & Dragons and Vampire: The Masquerade during the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s. My special guest is Joseph Laycock, PhD, assistant professor of religious studies at Texas State University and the author of three books, including Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds. He has also written a book about vampire mythology and the communities that form around them and several journal articles on subjects which include Otherkin, parody religions, and paranormal beliefs.
My guest for this episode is Carly Gelsinger, author, writing teacher, and freelance editor. She holds a bachelor’s in psychology from William Jessup University and a master’s in journalism from Boston University. Her work has appeared in local, regional, and national publications. Her first book, which was released this month, is called Once You Go In: A Memoir of Radical Faith, a book about her life inside a fundamentalist Pentecostal church, where she was on fire for the Lord, as they say, until she found the courage to leave and forge her own path free of the toxicity and fear that fundamentalist religion so often breeds.
In this episode, there is plenty for us to doubt, because we’re talking about philosophy of mind with some moral and ethical philosophy thrown in like sprinkles on top. In what may well become a recurring theme on this podcast, we’re doing another philosophical deep-dive into a television series. This week, we’re analyzing HBO’s Westworld, a cerebral, high-concept series which explores the emergence of artificial consciousness in a theme park modeled after the American Old West and populated by highly sophisticated robots that look and act just like humans from that era.