A Leap of Doubt

#026: Biology, Women, and Religions (feat. Dr. Abby Hafer)

September 12, 2018


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: https://americanhumanist.org/what-we-do/speakers-bureau/abby-hafer/ 

Abby Hafer’s book: https://www.amazon.com/Not-So-Intelligent-Designer-Evolution-Explains-Intelligent/dp/1620329417 

Check out Abby Hafer’s chapter in Karen L. Garst, ed., Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith―and for Freedom: https://www.amazon.com/Women-v-Religion-Against-Faith_and/dp/1634311701 


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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: https://librivox.org/history-of-the-decline-and-fall-of-the-roman-empire-vol-iv-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.

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