Atheists Talk

Radio with a frankly atheist perspective.

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"Imaginary Friend" Douglas Whaley on Atheists Talk #196, December 9th, 2012

Perhaps no character in literary history has gone as quickly from cherished hero to reviled villian as Franklin Whitestone of Douglas Whaley's novel, Imaginary Friend. 

Franklin Whitestone finds himself an unwitting hero after surviving a terrorist bomb attack in a crowded stadium. After television crews film him playing a critical role in the safe escape of himself and other victims, he is instantly transformed into a national celebrity. Franklin is is flown in high style to New York to appear on a live call in-show to recount his experience. The interview starts out well, but when a caller ask if he was praying to God for strength during his ordeal, he scoffs and proudly boasts about not having an "imaginary friend". He goes on to ask the caller why God should be credited for getting him out of the mess, but not blamed for the terrorist attack happening in the first place. The studio erupts in shock and outrage.

Before he understands what has happened, Franklin finds him the subject of hatred, anger, reproach and pity. Everything he holds dear is threatened by his new noteriety, and a dangerous religious extremist - one of the same men who helped free the Franklin from the stadium - sets out to "save him" a second time. 

If you have ever suffered social rejection or for your non-belief, Imaginary Friend will haunt you. Franklin's detractors spout familiar religious criticisms of atheism, but Whaley's charcters are complex; they have minds and flaws of their own, and don't always respond in the way we wish they would. The story is thrilling, heartbreaking, at times infuriating,and always hard to set down.

Tune in this Sunday when Douglas Whaley joins Atheists Talk to do a live reading from Imaginary Friend, answer questions about the book, and we'll discuss the question of whether there are times when it's appropriate or not to come out as an atheist.

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Atheists Talk is produced with funding from the Minnesota Atheists and the Humanists of Minnesota. We also wish to thank Q. Cumbers restaurant for purchasing on-air advertising and for providing a great place to eat and gather. This radio program is put together by dedicated volunteers and the generous donations of listeners. If you are able to help with a donation please consider doing so at our Radio Fund page.

 
 

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Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio: 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show.

Campaign for Free Expression, Michael De Dora on Atheists Talk #195, December 2, 2012

Here in the U.S., there are places where being openly atheist can cost you your job or bring on harassment by your neighbors. If you speak against the dominant religion, someone might go to the newspapers or even on television to shake a heavy finger of disapproval in your direction. In extreme cases, you may face violence from individuals, or government representatives may abuse their power to make your life difficult. You may have to push the government to give you all the protections it promises.

That's here, where we have the First Amendment to back us up.

Things are different elsewhere in the world. Being an infidel or blasphemer, words we use laughingly here, can see people fined or imprisoned or killed. These problems aren't limited to countries we complacently dismiss as "backward" either. There has been considerable pressure on the UN for more than a decade to recognize a "right" for religions to be free from "defamation".

Michael De Dora, Director of the Center for Inquiry's Office of Public Policy and their UN Representative, is fighting hard against laws like these, as well as to bring science and secularism to U.S. policy and law-making. This Sunday, he will join us to talk about why all this matters to us and what we can do to make a difference.

Related Links:

Atheists Talk is produced with funding from the Minnesota Atheists and the Humanists of Minnesota. We also wish to thank Q. Cumbers restaurant for purchasing on-air advertising and for providing a great place to eat and gather. This radio program is put together by dedicated volunteers and the generous donations of listeners. If you are able to help with a donation please consider doing so at our Radio Fund page. 


SUBSCRIBE TO THE iTunes PODCAST
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Write a review of Atheists Talk

Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio: 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show.

"Evolution's Witness: How Eyes Evolved" Ivan R. Schwab on Atheists Talk, Sunday, November 25th, 2012

This show had to be rescheduled.

Eyes are a marvel of evolution that first appeared in trilobites during the Cambrian explosion approximately 543 million years ago. There's no doubt that eyes are complex; they have many parts that work together to give us the visual experience we humans and many of our animal cousins share today.

Because of its complexity, many creationists see the eye as a weak point in evolutionary theory. They make an argument of irreducible complexity: that if any single part of the eye was missing it wouldn't function. Therefore, eyes must have been created in their current form - by a creator!

But as Dr. Ivan R. Schwab explains in his new book Evolution's Witness: How Eyes Evolved, this argument doesn't hold vitreous fluid. Much simpler eye designs not only existed in our evolutionary past, but in some animals alive today! We know how eyes evolved, and (spoilers!) no creator is needed. From the Amazon description of Evolution's Witness:

From initial photoreception 3.75 billion years ago to early spatial recognition in the first cupped eyespot in Euglena to fully formed camera style eyes the size of beach balls in ichthyosaurs, animals have processed light to compete and survive in their respective niches. It is evolution's greatest gift and its greatest triumph.

Tune in to Atheists Talk this Sunday November 25th for our inteview with ophthalmologist Ivan R. Schwab as he shares with us the story of the evolution of the eye. 

Related Links:

Atheists Talk is produced with funding from the Minnesota Atheists and the Humanists of Minnesota. We also wish to thank Q. Cumbers restaurant for purchasing on-air advertising and for providing a great place to eat and gather. This radio program is put together by dedicated volunteers and the generous donations of listeners. If you are able to help with a donation please consider doing so at our Radio Fund page. 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE iTunes PODCAST
SUBSCRIBE TO THE STANDARD RSS FEED
Write a review of Atheists Talk

Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio: 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show.

"Regenesis" George Church on Atheists Talk #194, November 18, 2012

They are the stuff of horror and science fiction stories. They are the fodder for much political debate and public fear. Yet they may be our future and our salvation.

What are they? They are artificially created biological organisms. Authors George Church and Ed Regis, in their new book, Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Recreate Nature and Ourselves, tell us they are coming, and they tell us not to be afraid. Wary, perhaps, but not afraid.

Church is a molecular geneticist, who created many of the tools we use for genetic sequencing. He is also the founder of the Personal Genome Project, which looks to sequence the genomes of 100,000 volunteers and place the data in the public domain to facilitate research into the interplay of genetics and environment in determining how we become who we are. This Sunday, he will talk to us about what we may expect from this future in which we have this kind of information and this kind of power.

Related Links:

Atheists Talk is produced with funding from the Minnesota Atheists and the Humanists of Minnesota. We also wish to thank Q. Cumbers restaurant for purchasing on-air advertising and for providing a great place to eat and gather. This radio program is put together by dedicated volunteers and the generous donations of listeners. If you are able to help with a donation please consider doing so at our Radio Fund page. 


SUBSCRIBE TO THE iTunes PODCAST
SUBSCRIBE TO THE STANDARD RSS FEED
Write a review of Atheists Talk

Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio: 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show.

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