Sunday, April 17, 2011

Podcast Shout-Out!

So I know we're behind on Podcast #3, but we're going to try to have to recorded in the next week or so.

In other news, I wanted to give some shout-outs to some podcasts that I have subscribed to and that I think are awesome - you should too.

The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast -
Each episode, these guys go over one of Lovecraft's stories with selections being read by professional actors.  The podcast is very well-made, the audio quality is superb, and the content is really entertaining.  I was only vaguely familiar with Lovecraft's work before finding this podcast, and I find that it actually appeals to me greatly.  Also, the music and sound effects that they use really add to the ambiance of the story.  Check out their podcast!

Living After Faith -
Rich Lyons is a former Pentacostal preacher who discusses his experiences in leaving religion and his life now as an out Atheist.  He also appears on Ask an Atheist regularly, and his voice is a genuine pleasure to listen to.  Moreover, he discusses topics that many people struggle with, but few people actually discuss openly.

Godless Bitches -
The ladies of the Atheist Community of Austin have started a separate podcast where they talk about feminism, LGBT issues, women skeptics, etc.  It's an awesome podcast that I highly recommend for anyone!

The Non-Prophets Internet Radio Show -
I've been listening to the Non-Prophets ever since I discovered The Atheist Experience, and each show is entertaining and educational.  Topics generally covered are the same as on the show (religion, atheism, church/state separation, etc.) but they do not take live callers, and the format is much more relaxed and explicit.

Happy Jack's RPG Podcast -
If you play tabletop RPGs, or even if you don't but enjoy the 'gamer culture', this podcast is for you.  The folks at Happy Jack's are hilarious, well-spoken, and have some great ideas and tips on gaming, GMing, and beer.  Oh, and the Happy Jack's crew also has a band called the Poxy Boggards and they feature their music in the podcast regularly.  Good stuff!

Fear the Boot -
Fear the Boot is RPG/Gaming podcast that focuses heavily on helping GMs and players, as well as interesting stories and discussions.  They also happen to put on a gaming convention in St. Charles, Missouri every year called Fear the Con.  Great podcast!

Other notable podcasts worth listening to:

Kicked in the Dicebags! -
Postcards from the Dungeon -

Anyway, if you come across an awesome podcast, drop a comment here and let us know!

- Chris

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mysterious Mysteries: Belief in the Unknown

"You can't solve a mystery with another mystery." - Matt Dillahunty, The Atheist Experience

I see it time and time again, when theists get backed into a corner, they often resort to a 'Mysterious Ways' argument, or they appeal to 'The Unknown' to account for their unreasonable beliefs.  It's weak, but they use it anyway.

This is, of course, not acceptable in the slightest.  If mankind has no actual knowledge about something, why choose to believe the most plausible-sounding lie?

For starters, many people are indoctrinated from a very young age to accept authority for authority's sake; but I think that the problem is much deeper than this.  It seems like we want to find answers, but for some reason many of us don't care whether or not those answers are correct.  When you watch or listen to a few debates/arguments between theists and atheists, you find very quickly that 'I don't know' is an unacceptable answer to most theists.  These same theists often claim that science 'thinks it knows everything', when the reality is that an 'I don't know' answer is the launching point of all of Science.  We don't know everything, but we wish to learn as much as we possibly can, and accepting an answer without justification is a hindrance to this process.

Furthermore, this kind of thinking tends to lead to a 'God of the Gaps' mindset where you essentially train yourself to stick your God (or whatever superstitious belief you may hold) wherever we have a 'gap' in our knowledge - for instance:  "We don't know what happened before The Big Bang, therefore God did it".  Of course, the obvious problem with this kind of nonsense is that you can just do this:  "We don't know what happened before The Big Bang, therefore Hercules did it."  Some people even take it further in order to attack science:  "Science can't explain love, therefore God did it", which suffers from the same problem as before (as well as a new one - science actually does a great job at explaining love, but that's another issue).  Oddly enough, these attacks on science are usually given in response to the question "What reason do you have to believe that God exists?" which makes the whole thing a complete non sequitur.

What do you think?  Why do we worship mystery so much?  What mechanism can we use to shift people's mindset to seeking truth instead?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Advocating Reality Podcast - Episode #2 with co-host Lonny!

Hey everyone, we've finally got Episode #2 finished up!  I think that it turned out well, and we definitely learned a great deal in the process.  Please comment and let us know what you like, what you don't like, etc.

Advocating Reality Podcast #2 - Evidence-Based Thinking


Edit:  I've created an MP3 version of the podcast, I don't want to use the Blogger video module any more.