A Leap of Doubt
#045: The Fundamentalist Fear of Fantasy, Part I (w/ Hertzey Hertz)

#045: The Fundamentalist Fear of Fantasy, Part I (w/ Hertzey Hertz)

February 17, 2020

This episode is a slightly abridged mirror of a different show on which I was a guest a couple years ago, hosted by Hertzey Hertz on her YouTube channel, with her permission. Hertzey and I did a point-by-point commentary and debunking of a fundamentalist Christian program that aired in 1984, titled Deception of a Generation, and which is available on YouTube. In this program, two Christian fundamentalists, Gary Greenwald and Phil Phillips, talked for an hour and a half about what they considered the evils of children’s fantasy cartoons and toys.

Hertzey and I had great fun debunking and making fun of what is clearly and hilariously ridiculous, even by the standards of the Christian fundamentalist panic over secular culture that was rampant in the 1980s, and which today is known as the Satanic Panic. But along the way, Hertzey and I had occasion to touch on a lot of important points about the psychology of the fundamentalist mindset and how such narrow-minded religious doctrine hinders children’s imagination and development. And of course, it gave us the perfect excuse to geek out and talk about 1980s shows and movies like He-Man, She-Ra, Thundercats, Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, The Smurfs, Rainbow Brite, and many more, all of which sent these fundamentalists into a frenzy because of their belief that such things were part of an evil satanic plot to program children’s minds. It’s entertaining just hearing these conspiracy theories, but again we are not merely going after low-hanging fruit; some very interesting psychological insights emerge from our review about fundamentalism as a mindset and what their paranoid reaction to fantasy fiction says about just how weak their own theological worldview is.

Because the original show I did on Hertzey’s show ran for about three hours, I have edited and abridged this somewhat to make it more manageable, and I have also split it into two parts. I have also incorporated audio from the program we are responding to and critiquing, so you get some context as we progress.

Links:

The original YouTube show with Hertzey Hertz on Hertzey Talks:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJAsrj32aZo

Deception of a Generation (1984), the video we are responding to, is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hnjdq32u-MU

Report regarding children and when they can tell fantasy from reality: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689871/

The Bible Skeptic’s YouTube series “Jesus in Genesis: A Study of Macrocodes”: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL894809D83D303EAD

My interview with Dr. Joseph Laycock on the Satanic Panic, fantasy games, and religion: https://reasonrevolution.org/032-the-satanic-panic-fantasy-games-and-religion-w-joseph-laycock-phd-2/

 

Join the official discussion group of this podcast at www.facebook.com/groups/aleapofdoubt.

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheNatheist.

The opening intro and closing outro were written by Nathan Dickey, produced and edited by Rich Lyons and read by Deanna Joy Lyons.

Check out our website: https://reasonrevolution.org.

Give us a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reasonrevolution.

 

#044: Remembering Jacob Bronowski (w/ Timothy Sandefur)

#044: Remembering Jacob Bronowski (w/ Timothy Sandefur)

February 3, 2020

This episode is a tribute to the late great philosopher, mathematician, poet, and science popularizer Jacob Bronowski (1907-1974). Forerunner to such figures as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins, Bronowski was a true Renaissance man of the twentieth century and a pioneer of intellectual communication to the public at large and science popularization. Best known as the writer and host of the 1973 BBC documentary series The Ascent of Man, Bronowski deserves recognition on a much wider scale among the general public for the effort he put into promoting humanism, science, and world peace in his day. Hence this episode, for which I am honored to be joined by special guest Timothy Sandefur. He is the author of the 2019 book The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski: The Life and Ideas of a Popular Science Icon, the first ever biography of Jacob Bronowski.

Timothy Sandefur is vice president for litigation and holds the Duncan Chair in Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute. He is also an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute and a graduate of both Hillsdale College and the Chapman University School of Law. He has written a number of other books, including a biography of Frederick Douglass, and dozens of scholarly articles on subjects ranging from slavery and the Civil War to political issues in Shakespeare, ancient Greek drama, and Star Trek.

Links:

Timothy Sandefur on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimothySandefur

Timothy Sandefur’s book: https://www.amazon.com/Ascent-Jacob-Bronowski-Popular-Science/dp/1633885267

“Michael Parkinson Interviews Dr Jacob Bronowski 1974,” Michael Parkinson interview with Jacob Bronowski, 1974, YouTube video, 1:05:12, posted on July 30, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFgnGUL78MU

“Day at Night: Jacob Bronowski,” interview by James Day, April 9, 1974, YouTube video, 28:21, posted on March 28, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvUe94My8Wo

C.P. Snow, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution: https://www.amazon.com/Two-Cultures-Scientific-Revolution/dp/1614275475

Peter Laslett, The World We Have Lost: https://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/prospective-undergrads/virtual-classroom/secondary-source-exercises/sources-people/laslett

The recording of Bronowski discussing the problems of the Is/Ought distinction is taken from his 1973 interview with George Steedman, and is available online at http://ia600504.us.archive.org/11/items/NuclearExplosionUnclearResponsibility/Part06-NuclearExplosionUnclearResponsibility-ConversationsWithBronowski.mp3.

 

Join the official discussion group of this podcast at www.facebook.com/groups/aleapofdoubt.

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheNatheist.

The opening intro and closing outro were written by Nathan Dickey, produced and edited by Rich Lyons and read by Deanna Joy Lyons.

Check out our website: https://reasonrevolution.org.

Give us a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reasonrevolution.

 

#043: Sex, Power, and Partisanship (w/ Dr. Hector A. Garcia)

#043: Sex, Power, and Partisanship (w/ Dr. Hector A. Garcia)

February 2, 2020

In this episode, we’re diving headlong into two really tricky and complex issues: Evolutionary psychology and the world of politics. It is not intuitive to many people that the modern 21st century political landscape has anything to do with our ancient past as hunter-gatherers in the pre-civilization world, a world in which our distant ancestors were largely at the mercy of red-in-tooth-and-claw nature. But as my guest Hector A. Garcia will be discussing with us today, evolutionary history and psychology has everything to do with the often confusing and bewildering maze of current political intrigue and the divisive culture wars that have polarized us now more than at any other time in recent memory.

Hector Garcia is a clinical psychologist who has published extensively on evolutionary psychology and the interplay between war and masculine identity, both of which are central to our discussion today. He is the author of the book Sex, Power, and Partisanship: How Evolutionary Science Makes Sense of Our Political Divide. He is also the author of the earlier book Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression.

Links:

Dr. Hector Garcia on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrHAGarcia

Dr. Hector Garcia’s website: https://www.hector-garcia.com/

Hector Garcia’s book “Sex, Power, and Partisanship: How Evolutionary Science Makes Sense of Our Political Divide”: https://www.amazon.com/Sex-Power-Partisanship-Evolutionary-Political/dp/1633885143

Hector Garcia’s book “Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression”: https://www.amazon.com/Alpha-God-Psychology-Religious-Oppression/dp/1633880206

My previous interview with Dr. Garcia on this podcast: https://reasonrevolution.org/025-of-apes-men-and-gods-feat-hector-garcia-phd-a-leap-of-doubt/

 

Join the official discussion group of this podcast at www.facebook.com/groups/aleapofdoubt.

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheNatheist.

The opening intro and closing outro were written by Nathan Dickey, produced and edited by Rich Lyons and read by Deanna Joy Lyons.

Check out our website: https://reasonrevolution.org.

Give us a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reasonrevolution.

#042: Power, Politics, and Fundamentalism: Commentary on “The Family” Documentary (w/ Chris Shelton)

#042: Power, Politics, and Fundamentalism: Commentary on “The Family” Documentary (w/ Chris Shelton)

November 22, 2019

The subject of this episode is a secretive group of Christian nationalists and fundamentalists who have insinuated themselves into the world of American politics, including foreign policy, at the highest levels. We are discussing the group or movement simply known as “the Family,” and our vehicle for delving into this very important and eye-opening topic is the five-part Netflix documentary series The Family, which we review and offer commentary on throughout this episode. This series is based on the bestselling 2008 exposé by the same name by journalist Jeff Sharlet.

Joining me for this weighty topic is special guest Chris Shelton, host of the Sensibly Speaking Podcast. Chris has been a guest on this podcast before to talk about his former life as a Scientologist and how he managed to deconvert and leave that cult (see episodes #015 and #016). He brings a much-needed perspective on cult mindsets to this discussion of the cult of Christian nationalism and why we should all be concerned about the intrusion of Christian theocrats into the halls of American power.

 

Links

Chris Shelton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sheltondesigner

Chris Shelton on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF326xyA0QHI7Z5xAwKQDJg/featured

The Sensibly Speaking Podcast: https://sensiblyspeaking.com/

Jeff Sharlet, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power: https://www.amazon.com/Family-Secret-Fundamentalism-Heart-American/dp/0060560053

Find the Project Blitz playbook here: https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2019-01/Project%20Blitz%20Playbook%202018-19.pdf.

Motivated reasoning: Charles G. Lord et al., “Biased Assimilation and Attitude Polarization: The Effects of Prior Theories on Subsequently Considered Evidence,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37, no. 11 (1979): 2098-2109, https://tinyurl.com/rv6lc7e.

Join the official discussion group of this podcast at www.facebook.com/groups/aleapofdoubt

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheNatheist

The opening intro and closing outro was written by Nathan Dickey, produced and edited by Rich Lyons and read by Deanna Joy Lyons.

Check out our website: https://reasonrevolution.org

Give us a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reasonrevolution

#041: Darwin and His Evolutionary Defenders (w/ Dr. David Orenstein)

#041: Darwin and His Evolutionary Defenders (w/ Dr. David Orenstein)

November 18, 2019

In this episode, I am joined by special guest Dr. David Orenstein, professor of Anthropology at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, to discuss his new book Darwin’s Apostles: The Men Who Fought to Have Evolution Accepted, Their Times, and How the Battle Continues, co-authored with Dr. Abby Hafer and available soon from Humanist Press.

In honor of the upcoming 160th anniversary of the day on which Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published, Dr. Orenstein and I talk about Darwin’s life and times and the men who supported and advocated for both Darwin’s and Alfred Russel Wallace’s grand, independently uncovered theory of evolution by natural selection. We discuss the similarities and differences in the failed challenges and attacks against evolution by the church in the nineteenth century and in our own day, why creationism consistently fails and always will, and what the future of science education and evolutionary literacy among the general public might look like in the coming years.

Links

Excerpt from the book “Darwin’s Apostles”: https://thehumanist.com/arts_entertainment/books/darwins-apostles-the-legendary-debate

Order the book: https://tinyurl.com/rq2ewyg

Dr. David Orenstein on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paleolibrarian

About Dr. Abby Hafer: https://americanhumanist.org/what-we-do/speakers-bureau/abby-hafer/

Dr. Abby Hafer’s book “The Not-So-Intelligent Designer”(2015): https://tinyurl.com/v8oavom

Dr. David Orenstein’s book “Godless Grace” (2015): https://tinyurl.com/yx7ngyy5

Darwin Correspondence Project: https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/

 

Join the official discussion group of this podcast at www.facebook.com/groups/aleapofdoubt

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheNatheist

The opening intro and closing outro was written by Nathan Dickey, produced and edited by Rich Lyons and read by Deanna Joy Lyons.

Check out our website: https://reasonrevolution.org

Give us a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reasonrevolution

#040: The Case Against Miracles and Apologetics (w/ John W. Loftus)

#040: The Case Against Miracles and Apologetics (w/ John W. Loftus)

September 29, 2019

The subject of our doubt and scrutiny for this episode is miracles and the metaphysical religious truth-claims that all miracle accounts come pre-packaged with. Joining me in this discussion is my special guest, John W. Loftus, author and editor of the upcoming anthology, The Case against Miracles.

John W. Loftus is a leading atheist writer and thinker who was once an evangelical minister and Christian apologist. He has written numerous books that brilliantly counter his former religious worldview and devastate apologetics, including Why I Became an Atheist, The Outsider Test for Faith, and Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End.

Links:

John W. Loftus on Twitter: https://twitter.com/loftusjohnw.

John's "Debunking Christianity" blog: http://www.debunking-christianity.com/.

 

Join the official discussion group of this podcast at www.facebook.com/groups/aleapofdoubt.

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheNatheist.

The opening intro and closing outro was written by Nathan Dickey, produced and edited by Rich Lyons and read by Deanna Joy Lyons.

Check out our website: https://reasonrevolution.org.

Give us a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reasonrevolution.

#039: Sympathy for the Devil (w/ Jon Hammond)

#039: Sympathy for the Devil (w/ Jon Hammond)

July 23, 2019

In this episode, we are exploring the intersection of mythology, history, and common interpretations of ancient texts that many millions hold to be sacred. We’re looking at the biblical depiction of the Christian God’s arch-nemesis and rival in a new light, one that does not take the traditional Christian perspective for granted. If it’s the case that history is written largely by the winners, and that we are all the hero of our own internal narrative, then what kind of alternative story might unfold if we try looking at the biblical narrative from Satan’s point of view?

That’s the question author and illustrator Jon Hammond explores in the form of The Falling Star, a unique and fascinating graphic novel that tells Satan’s side of the story. It tells the story of Samael, the first being created by the god Yahweh and one of the highest angels of the heavenly host, a character most people recognize as the supposed villain Satan, or the Devil. I am joined by Jon Hammond himself to talk about his inspirations and process as a storyteller and artist when it comes to the mythology and folklore surrounding these themes.

Links

Buy The Falling Star on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Falling-Star-Jon-Hammond/dp/1912701901.

The Falling Star Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheFallingStarComic/.

The Gospel According to Jon (Facebook page): https://www.facebook.com/thegospelaccordingtojon/.

Jon Hammond’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/hamo1701/videos?view_as=subscriber.

David Gee, “A New Comic Tells Story of the Bible from Satan’s Perspective,” Friendly Atheist, June 16, 2019, https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/06/16/a-new-comic-tells-story-of-the-bible-from-satans-perspective/.

 

Join the official discussion group of this podcast at www.facebook.com/groups/aleapofdoubt.

Consider supporting me Patreon if you enjoy the show: http://www.patreon.com/aleapofdoubt. Thanks to Jeff Prebeg, Jeanne Ikerd, Torsten Pihl, Chris Watson, Kim Bojkovsky, Freethinker215, and Rob Schreck for being my patrons!

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheNatheist.

The opening intro and closing outro was written by Nathan Dickey, produced and edited by Rich Lyons and read by Deanna Joy Lyons.

Check out our website: https://reasonrevolution.org.

Give us a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reasonrevolution.

#038: Escaping Religious Purity Culture (w/ Linda Kay Klein)

#038: Escaping Religious Purity Culture (w/ Linda Kay Klein)

July 8, 2019

On this episode, we cover the evangelical Christian “purity movement” that emerged primarily as an American phenomenon in the 1990s. This movement built an entire industry out of the concept of purity and abstinence from any and all sexual expression. The resulting subculture saw the marketing of purity rings, purity pledges, and purity balls. But the message this movement offered was a dangerous one that has devastated many lives, especially girls and women but also for men as well.

My special guest for this episode, Linda Kay Klein, has an insider’s perspective on the purity culture and why it’s so devastating to psychological and physical wellbeing. She is the founder of Break Free Together. A storyteller and social innovator, Linda has spent over a decade working at the intersection of faith, gender, sexuality, and social change. She earned an interdisciplinary master’s degree from New York University focusing on American evangelical Christian gender and sexuality messaging, and she is the author of the book Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free, available from Touchstone Publishers.

Links

Linda Kay Klein website: https://lindakayklein.com/

Follow Linda Kay Klein on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaKayKlein

Buy Linda’s book: https://tinyurl.com/y69b49f3

Tina Schermer Sellers, “A Biblical Scholar and Clinical Sexologist Debate Christian Sexual Purity,” June 22, 2012, https://tinyurl.com/y4euqre6.

 

Join the official discussion group of this podcast at www.facebook.com/groups/aleapofdoubt.

Consider supporting me Patreon if you enjoy the show: http://www.patreon.com/aleapofdoubt. Thanks to Jeff Prebeg, Jeanne Ikerd, Torsten Pihl, Chris Watson, Kim Bojkovsky, Freethinker215, and Rob Schreck for being my patrons!

 Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TheNatheist.

The opening intro and closing outro was written by Nathan Dickey, produced and edited by Rich Lyons and read by Deanna Joy Lyons.

Check out our website: https://reasonrevolution.org.

Give us a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reasonrevolution.

#037: Christian Nationalism’s Founding Myth (w/ Andrew L. Seidel)

#037: Christian Nationalism’s Founding Myth (w/ Andrew L. Seidel)

June 19, 2019

My guest for this episode is Andrew L. Seidel, an atheist, secular activist, and constitutional and civil rights attorney at the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which has been instrumental in litigating many successful cases involving entanglements between religion and the US Constitution. Andrew has written extensively about religious freedom and the wall of separation between church and state. He is the author of a new book, “The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American.”

In this conversation, Andrew and I discuss the threat posed by Christian Nationalists and theocrats to American (i.e. secular) values, debunk a few of the major myths put forward by “Christian Nation” historical revisionists, talk about why we need to bring emotion to the fight against theocracy, not just facts, and what average everyday citizens can do to aid in that fight.

Links:

John F. Kennedy’s Commencement Address at Yale University, 11 June 1962: https://tinyurl.com/yycregle.

Freedom From Religion Foundation: https://ffrf.org/.

Andrew L. Seidel’s website: http://andrewlseidel.com/.

Follow Andrew on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewLSeidel.

Andrew’s book: https://tinyurl.com/y2vxf3k2.

The Christian Nationalists’ 2018-19 “Project Blitz” playbook: https://www.au.org/sites/default/files/2019-01/Project%20Blitz%20Playbook%202018-19.pdf.

Marc J. Ambinder, “Inside the Council for National Policy: Meet the Most Powerful Conservative Group You’ve Never Heard Of,” ABCNews.com, May 2, 2002, https://tinyurl.com/y6sqrv5e.

Council for National Policy, 2014 membership directory (essentially a Who’s Who of Christian theocrats): https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/cnp_redacted_final.pdf.

Jeff Prebeg’s Extra Life fundraising gaming campaign benefiting Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation:  https://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.participant&participantID=347752.

Special thanks to Natalie Newell, who has been featured on this podcast before, for helping to set up my interview with Andrew.  

 

Thanks to Jeff Prebeg, Jeanne Ikerd, Torsten Pihl, Chris Watson, Kim Bojkovsky, Freethinker215, and Rob Schreck for being my patrons!

Follow me on Twitter at https://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 opening and ending music is “Jade” by Esther Nicholson and is used under license.

Check out our website: https://reasonrevolution.org.

Give us a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reasonrevolution.

#036: Transgender Representation in Fiction (w/ Dharma Kelleher)

#036: Transgender Representation in Fiction (w/ Dharma Kelleher)

June 13, 2019

My guest for this episode is Dharma Kelleher. One of the few transgender authors in crime fiction, Dharma writes gritty novels (four in all, with more to come) about outlaws, renegades, and misfits, all with a progressive bent and written from a trans/queer perspective. Her novels include the Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter series and the Shea Stevens outlaw biker series. She is a former journalist and currently a member of Sisters in Crime, the International Thriller Writers, and the Alliance of Independent Authors. Her work has appeared on Shotgun Honey and in the new “Murder-A-Go-Go’s” anthology.

Dharma and I discuss her process of creating characters, researching gritty elements of society, and the challenges and joys associated with representing transgender women and men as the protagonists and heroes they deserve to be. We also dive into some history, discussing the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and Dharma’s own personal story of transitioning in the early 1990s. For this episode, Dharma also reads the first chapter of “Chaser,” the first book in her Jinx Ballou series.

Links

“Murder-A-Go-Go’s: Crime Fiction inspired by the Music of The Go-Go’s”: https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/west-murder-go-gos/

Dharma Kelleher’s website: https://dharmakelleher.com/

Dharma Kelleher on Twitter: https://twitter.com/zenpunkdharma

Dharma’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMH4bZhCBufbzBh6w5HQgTA.

The Writer’s Detective Bureau podcast: https://www.writersdetective.com/podcast.html

“Linda Fairstein: Literary Group Rescinds Honor over Role in Central Park Five Case,” The Guardian, November 29, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/29/linda-fairstein-mystery-writers-of-america-grand-master-award-rescinded.

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, “Writers Want this Book Canceled for Misgendering its Protagonist,” The Daily Dot, February 15, 2019, https://www.dailydot.com/irl/cape-doctor-book-james-barry-transgender/.

Kristian Wilson, “Forthcoming Book about Surgeon Dr. James Barry Has Sparked an Important Conversation about Trans Stories,” Bustle, February 25, 2019, https://tinyurl.com/y2n2ghqj.

Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) has published a full list of the 369 transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who lost their lives in 2018: https://tinyurl.com/y3kfb9fx.

 

Join the official discussion group of this podcast at www.facebook.com/groups/aleapofdoubt.

Consider supporting me Patreon if you enjoy the show: http://www.patreon.com/aleapofdoubt.

Thanks to Jeff Prebeg, Jeanne Ikerd, Torsten Pihl, Chris Watson, Kim Bojkovsky, Freethinker215, and Rob Schreck for being my patrons!

Follow me on Twitter at https://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 opening and ending music is “Jade” by Esther Nicholson and is used under license.

Check out our website: https://reasonrevolution.org.

Give us a like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reasonrevolution.