While We’re On the Subject

Amidst my frantic assembling of necessities for my third (and final) year of collegiate education, I’ve been catching up on my myriad of awesome podcasts. Another great one for your consideration is Atheists Talk, produced on AM 950 by Minnesota Atheists. They do a great show and have had the likes of PZ Myers and Lori Lipman Brown of the Secular Coalition of America among their guests.

This past week’s show is titled All About Humanism and is an excellent primer for anyone interested in the subject. They take questions from a live audience (this broadcast was hosted at the Minnesota state fair) and go over the key points of the Humanist Manifesto, a wonderful document that begins thus:

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance.

It’s hard apparently easier than you’d think to imagine how anyone could disagree.

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Friendly Skepticism

If you’ve never heard of the podcast Skeptoid, you’re really missing out. Imagine Penn & Teller: Bullshit! minus profanity (and with some regret, nudity), about 10 minutes long, and produced weekly without breaks. Brian Dunning does a masterful job bringing everyday skepticism to your ears.

His most recent podcast is titled How to Be a Skeptic and Still Have Friends, a bit of a divergence from the usual debunkery, but very well worth listening to. My closest friends are almost all skeptics, though some might not use the word or aren’t familiar with the movement. However regarding day-to-day interaction with other people I found this podcast to be very insightful.

Focus on where you agree, never on where you disagree. Start by finding common ground. No matter who you’re talking to, they have some level of skepticism about something. Ask them, “Isn’t there some myth you’ve heard that you don’t necessarily believe?”

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