Evo and SI open this week's podcast with birthday greetings for Charles Darwin. The herd celebrates this event with a discussion of "Seeing and Believing," Jerry Coyne's review of books by Kenneth Miller and Karl Giberson. The question that Coyne and the herd address is whether science and religion are compatible. Evo thinks the answer to this question may differ for scientists and non-scientists, and Chappy thinks that science should be considered as a method of inquiry, or a way of thinking and learning, rather than a body of knowledge about particular phenomena. (00:00)
SI opens this segment by noting another anniversary that occurred recently, then leads the herd in a discussion of Giberson's "argument from convenience" (many thanks to Jerry Coyne for coining that term) for retaining religious beliefs. After chewing on this idea for awhile, the herd discusses Michael Brooks' proposition that people are born with a predisposition to believe in the supernatural. Evo offers some good reasons for agreeing with the proposition, but OG, ever the skeptic, wants more evidence before she'll accept it. (21:05)
After OG reveals the latest poll results, the herd discusses the Freedom from Religion Foundation's latest billboard campaign. Are the billboards part of an atheist meme? SI wraps up the evening with an interesting observation about President Barack Obama's second swearing-in ceremony. (39:31)
Opening Music [00:06]: excerpt from "Another Goddamned Draft"
Bridge Music [19:23]: excerpt from "The Atheists's Hymn"
Bridge Music [38:26]: excerpt from "Swing to the Left"
Closing Music [54:25]: excerpt from "As Jazzy as I Get"
(All music: copyright 2008 by Rachel Murie)
This Week's Goddamned Links
Seeing and Believing by Jerry Coyne
Born believers: How your brain creates God
Intelligent design, revisited