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Reasonable Doubts Podcast

Reasonable Doubts Podcast

Reasonable Doubts takes an informative and humorous look at religion from a freethinking perspective; offering news and commentary of interest to skeptics, atheists, agnostics, humanists, courageous religious believers looking for a challenge and freethinkers of all persuasions. In addition to interviewing the top minds in skepticism (former guests include Christopher Hitchens, Susan Jacoby, Paul Kurtz, Edward Tabash, DJ Grothe) RD offers regular segments on counter-apologetics, biblical criticism, creationism intelligent design and church state issues. RD also examines the psychology of religion, reviewing recent and exciting research you won't hear about anywhere else. Tune in for a hard-hitting critique of religion balanced by plenty of humor, a fair-minded attitude and a commitment to critical thinking. Check out our website at for information, episode links or to email questions, comments and challenges. Reasonable Doubts...for those who won't just take things on faith.


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139 What's Past is Prologue

Here it is?the final episode of Reasonable Doubts, featuring new Counterapologetics, God Thinks Like You and Polyatheism segments mixed with goodbyes from our fans and outtakes from the past eight years of doubtcasting. Thank you to everyone who made this show what it was. Special thanks to Jonathan MS Pearce for the spoken word introduction to the show and to Hugh McDonald for allowing us to use his song "Schrodinger's Cat" for this episode.
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rd138 Interview with Shelley Segal

This podcast features a previously unreleased interview with Australian Singer and Songwriter Shelley Segal. Shelly shares about her experience growing up in a conservative Jewish household and how her music naturally turned to turned to secular themes when she decided she was an atheist. She also performs two songs from "An Atheist Album."
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rd137 Je Suis Charlie with guest Dan Fincke

This one is all about Charlie. Guest Dan Fincke defends free speach and the right to blaspheme. Dr. Galen examines the psychological root to religious extremism and the Enuma Elish is the subject of this episode's Polyatheism.
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rd136 Freedom Isn't Free

Dale McGowan, executive director of the Foundation Beyond Belief talks about some of the exciting ways the organization plans to put humanist principles into action in 2015. Also, statistics on the public's attitudes towards the Christmas holiday, the John Templeton Foundation donates millions of dollars to philosophers who study free will and the Norse god Oden might just be the world's first Christmas ornament.
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RD Extra: Brayton v Schmig - Was the U.S. Founded on Christianity?

Is the US Government Founded on the Christian Religion? Ed Brayton is the founder and owner of the Freethought Blogs network and the voice behind the popular blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars. He is the co-founder and past president of Michigan Citizens for Science and the recipient of the Friend of Darwin Award from the National Center for Science Education and has appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show, The Thom Hartmann Show, and C-SPAN. Ed is also a current member of CFI Advisory Board. Ed brayton will be arguing “That the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. Arguing against that resolution is Dr. Tim Schmig, the Executive Director for the Michigan Association of Christian Schools. Tim Schmig has taught High School History, Social Studies, Government and Economics for 5 years in two different Christian Schools. He holds a Doctorate of Literature in Ministry from Maranatha Baptist Bible College.Tim spends much time in Washington D.C. and Lansing meeting with elected officials and has earned respect and garnered influence on both sides of the political aisle. The debate took place November 12, 2014 at CFI Michigan in Grand Rapids. Thanks to Ed Brayton and CFI michigan for letting us share this debate, and special thanks to Mike Slomka for helping capture the audio. Reasonable Doubts will be back with another regular format episode on December 15th.
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RD Extra: Lowder v Vandergriff - Metaphysical Naturalism or Christian Theism? Where Does the Evidence Point?

This RD Extra features a debate, hosted by the Reasonable Doubts Podcast, between Jeffery Jay Lowder and Kevin Vandergriff on "Metaphysical Naturalism or Christian Theism? Where Does the Evidence Point?"
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rd135 Pain and Paradox

Physical pain plays an important biological role, but should we expect it to in a world created by God? Also, a recent paper in the journal cognition posits distinct cognitive attitudes underlying religious belief and factual reasoning, but is the evidence from cognitive science and philosophy sufficient to support this claim?
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rd134 Coming Out Atheist

Many non-theists keep their doubts hidden for fear of losing friends and love ones. But remaining in the closet also has drawbacks: stress, hypocrisy, the oppression of silence and fear of being found out. Despite the risks, those who've made the decision to be open about their atheism almost never regret it. Luckily, doubters do not need to make this important decision on their own. Greta Christina (FTB blogger and author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry) conducted over 400 interviews with non-theists about their experiences of leaving the closet. Along the way she discovered that differing circumstances call for different coming-out strategies. Her latest book Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help, and Why?--distills this wisdom into clear and compassionate strategies for preserving important relationships while being open about your doubts.
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rd133 Your God Detector is Busted

Our cognitive faculties evolved to help us detect agents in our environment and to predict the content of their minds but those same faculties also generate beliefs in supernatural minds and divine agents. While this seems to suggest that religious intuitions are untrustworthy by-products of ordinary cognitive processes, Cognitive psychologists like Justin Barrett argue the existence of these "god-faculties" in the brain should not make the atheist more comfortable with their skepticism. In fact, Barrett believes they actually provide a defeater for atheism.
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rd132 Euthyphro's Revenge

Does God approve actions because they are good? Or is an action good because God approves it? Euthyphro's Dilemma is perhaps the oldest challenge to a theistic conception of morality, but many modern philosophers of religion believe the dilemma to be a false one. While the traditional formulation of the dilemma may have an answer, Socrates' challenge lives on in a new form.
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rd131 Witch-Hunt

The award-winning human rights activist Leo Igwe exposes how witchcraft accusations are used to prey upon societies most vulnerable, often with tragic consequences. He recounts how the study of philosophy emboldened him to speak out against the dangers of superstitious and magical thinking in his home country of Nigeria and some of the challenges of promoting critical thinking and humanism in Africa.
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RD Extra: Kozak vs Schieber - Does the Christian God Exist?

This debate on the existence of the Christian God took place at Ferris State University on October 23rd. Steven Kozak - Christian Apologist, Author ( Justin Schieber - Atheist, Podcast Co-host (
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rd130 How Jesus Beacame God with guest Bart D. Ehrman

How did Jesus, an apocalyptic prophet from Galilee, come to be regarded as a God by his followers? Bart D. Ehrman, Professor of Religious studies at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, joins us on the show to discuss his new book "How Jesus Became God", which traces the historical evolution of early Christian thought about the nature and identity of Jesus.
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rd129 Get A New Hobby, Lobby

Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars joins the Doubtcasters for an analysis of the SCOTUS ruling on the recent Hobby Lobby case. Some popular misunderstandings about the ruling and its implications are dispelled, and the true dangers of the decision are discussed. Also, Luke Galen reviews polling data on where the American public stands on the issue of birth control and offers some predictions on how the SCOTUS ruling may impact individuals and the nation.
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rd128 Inside the Mind of a Religious Sexual Abuser

Major League Baseball player Chad Curtis will always be remembered as the man who led the New York Yankees to victory by catching the last out of the last World Series game of the 20th century. To many religious sports fans, Curtis was a hero for taking a strong stand for Christian principles. He regularly spoke out against performance enhancing drugs and the hedonistic lifestyle of many professional athletes. He donated half of his income to charities that promoted Christian values. His friends described him as "morally blameless" and in the eyes of many, Chad Curtis was one of the few true role models left in professional sports. After retirement, Curtis returned to his home in west Michigan and began working as a teacher and coach in public and private religious schools but eventually resigned when three students accused Curtis of sexually molesting them in the school training room. Curtis denied the allegations, and his community rallied behind him even as more victims came forward. Transcripts from his trial reveal how Curtis used his reputation as a righteous man to manipulate his victims and win the support of the community after his crimes had been exposed. Disturbing but insightful, the Chad Curtis story provides a unique window into the mind of a religious sexual abuser. Also on this episode: Gay marriage advocates try an unusual legal strategy, the AFA claims they are being bullied and Christianity Today debates the causes of female masturbation.
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rd127 God's Not Dead

The Doubtcasters spend the whole hour reviewing the film "God's Not Dead." The whole hour. Seriously.
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RD Extra: Does Religion Make Us Better People?

Does Religion Make Us Better People? An Empirical Critique of the Religious Prosociality Hypothesis. Does religion make us happier, healthier and more helpful? A number of popular psychology books and articles argue that religion is a positive force for enhancing the health and well-being of both individuals and whole communities. A careful examination of the social psychological literature, however, reveals a complicated relationship between religion and "pro-social" traits that defies such a simple characterization. Luke Galen, Professor of Psychology at Grand Valley State University, recently reviewed dozens of studies on religion and pro-social traits for the American Psychological Association's Psychology Bulletin, exposing some of the misleading ways in which this research is conducted and presented to the public. For this talk Jeremy Beahan will summarize key details of the review in a way that is accessible to non-professionals.
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rd126 Why Would God Hide?

Jesus said "seek and you will find" but for many spiritual seekers, clear evidence for God cannot be found no matter how hard they search. If He really exists, why would God reveal himself only to some people and not to all? For this episode we examine "The Argument from Divine Hiddenness" which assumes that a perfectly moral being would want to enter into a relationship with His creation. But If that is true, theism faces some trouble in explaining how genuinely "non-resistant" seekers of God could exist. Also on this episode: Creationists attack FOX's Cosmos series, Fred Phelps is dead, Michigan overturns its ban on gay marriage, and the link between depression, fear and belief in Hell is examined for this episodes installment of God Thinks Like You.
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rd125 Nye Smokes Ham with guest Jordan Fett

The doubtcasters, along with friend of the show Jordan Fett, share thoughts and analysis (scientific, philosophical and psychological) on the debate between Creationist Ken Ham and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Also we discuss some of the psychological barriers to understanding evolution that both creationists AND evolutionists share, for this weeks "God Thinks Like You." Also, learn about the Babylonian Ark Tablet and what it means for Biblical literalists in this episodes "Skeptics Sunday School"
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rd124 The Role of Religion in Global Conflict

New data from the Pew Research Center shows religious violence is on the rise world-wide. Religiously motivated sectarian violence, harassment of women, mob-violence and terrorism have increased steadily and dramatically over the past 7 years in every region except the Americas. Still, many of these conflicts erupt in areas plagued by disputes over land and political control, so is religion really to blame? For this episode we review empirical research that attempts to understand the role religion and politics play in global religious conflicts. Also on this episode: What the hell is going on in Philosophy of Religion departments? While only 12% of philosophers accept or lean towards theism, 72% of philosophers who specialize in Philosophy of Religion are theists. Of course, both theists and atheists can find self-serving interpretations of this disconnect, but what is really going on? In trying to answer this question we examine research and educated opinions of those who work in the field.
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RD Extra Hallquist vs Rauser

In late 2013, Chris Hallquist ( and Randal Rauser ( participated in a debate on the rationality of belief in God. This debate was not a live debate, rather it was a series of audio exchanges that took place in late 2013.  The exchanges were according to agreed upon time limitations on each section. For each of their several sections, the debaters were given at least a week to analyze, script and record their entries before submitting it to their opponent.  Each submission, has been edited together in the agreed upon order for your listening interest.  As one speaker ends, the next will follow without interruption.
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rd123 Rules vs. Concequences

For the second part of our "Winter of Morality" series, Dr. Galen examines the psychological factors that make a deontological (rule-based) approach to morality more appealing to most religious people than a consequentialist approach. Meta-ethical questions aside, does adopting a deontological perspective over a utilitarian ethic actually make any difference in real-world measures of moral behavior? According to new studies it might. Fundamentalists, for example, tend to adhere rigidly to a rule-based moral code and in some instances may act on their convictions more than their liberal counterparts. But as you've guessed, the devil is always in the details. Also on this episode: the Pope is Time's person of the year, the ACLU sues Catholic Bishops and a Polyatheism segment delves into the bizarre and adorable beasts of Japanese mythology.
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rd122 a Deluge of Stupidity

Ken Ham is trying to raise 24 million Dollars to build a life size replica of Noah's Ark for the Ark Encounter theme park and zoo. Ham hopes that the park will convince people that Noah really could have fit two of each of the worlds animals on a 450 foot wooden boat. While apologists like the Creation Research Institute's John Woodmorappe argue it could have been feasible for Noah to build an ark, investors are not as confident in Ham's Ark project. Which is why the young earth creationist organization Answers in Genesis has been actively seeking public funding for the project,in the form of tax subsidies and public works projects for the park. But should tax payer dollars really be used to push a religious fantasy? For this episode we will plunge into the tale of Noah's Ark and note the absurd consequences of reading this myth literally. Also for this episode we begin a multi-part "God Thinks Like You" mini-series examining the hidden influences behind how religious believers and skeptics make moral choices.
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rd121 Divine Deception with Erik Wielenberg

Philosopher Erik Wielenberg joins us on the show to discuss his upcoming paper on Skeptical Theism and Divine Deception. The evidential argument from evil concludes that the existence of God is unlikely given the many cases of gratuitous suffering we witness in nature. Some theists have responded that we cannot grasp the mind of God and have no reason to assume these instances of suffering may not work out to some greater good. Wielenberg argues that this skepticism, if adopted, would undermine many other theistic claims to knowledge. At the heart of his argument is the idea of divine deception. The scriptures record numerous instances of God deceiving humans to achieve some greater moral end. But if God can lie to his children in this way, what reason do we have to suppose any doctrine based on divine testimony reliably speaks the truth?
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rd120 Church for Atheists? with guest Jerry Dewitt

After 25 years of ministry, Pentecostal preacher turned atheist, Jerry Dewitt, finds himself behind the pulpit once again. He's still singing, teaching and calling upon his congregation to share testimonials...but this is no ordinary "church." The Community Mission Chapel, where Dewitt now serves, spreads a humanist message to a congregation of atheists. But do atheists really need a church? Dewitt joins us in the studio to tell us about his church, the challenges of ministering to atheists and to share his thoughts on why some skeptics desire a more traditional form of fellowship. Also on the episode: sorry, but Jesus was not made up by the Roman aristocracy no matter what biblical pseudo-scholar Joseph Atwill tells you. We'll tell you why for this episodes Skeptics Sunday School.
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rd119 Quivering Part 2 with guest Vyckie Garrison

Ex-quiverful mom and activist, Vyckie Garrison, joins us in the studio to talk about the aftermath of her decision to leave her husband and religious community and to share what she is doing to help women like her to escape abusive patriarchal households. Also on this episode we take a critical look at Bill O'Reilly's new book "Killing Jesus". We also explore the new Atheist Mega-Church "The Sunday Assembly" and debate just how closely secular communities should emulate religious congregations. Finally we examine and critique a research report which creates a taxonomy of non-believers to be used by researchers studying "the nones".
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rd118 Quivering Part 1 with guest Vyckie Garrison

A disturbing trend is catching on among Christian fundamentalists across the nation. Couples are abandoning birth control and encouraging women to view their “wombs as weapons? in America's culture wars. Dubbed the “quiverful? movement, these families come from different denominational backgrounds but are united in the hope that by out breeding the competition they might stem the tide of secularism. Vyckie Garrison once made her living promoting this extreme patriarchal view of the family. But as the arrows in her quiver multiplied the quiverful lifestyle began to take its toll on her mental and physical health. Today she runs No Longer Quivering, a blog devoted to exposing the hidden struggles of quiverful families and to support those trying to escape. Also on this episode: the crisis in Syria has prophecy buffs combing the scriptures, an advice show for Catholic fathers explains why girls shouldn't be allowed to attend college, and a mustache to die for infuriates the Taliban.
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rd117 Why Are Atheists More Intelligent?

The Doubtcasters return from their ridiculously long, unannounced break to dissect the research behind the much reported headline that non-religious people are, on average, more intelligent than the religious. While the available data makes it clear that religion is negatively correlated with intelligence, the reasons behind this relationship are less clear. We will review some of the best theories advanced to explain this relationship for this episodes "God Thinks Like You" segment. Also, a new counter apologetics segment asks "What is the probability that God would want to raise a first century religious leader from the dead?"; and the laughter is contagious in this weeks "Stranger Than Fiction"
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RD Extra: Andrews vs Schieber Debate - Does the God of Christianity Exist

This debate was not a live debate, rather it was a series of audio exchanges that took place through the months of June and July of 2013. The exchanges were according to agreed upon time limitations on each section. For each of their several sections, the debaters were given at least a week to analyze, script and record their entries before submitting it to their opponent. Each submission, has been edited together in the agreed upon order for your listening interest. As one speaker ends, the next will follow without interruption.20 minutes were allowed to each debater for opening statements.Followed by 20 minutes to each for first rebuttals. Then 15 minutes to each for a second round of rebuttals.Then 5 minutes to each for closing statements.Arguing in the affirmative is Max Andrews. In the negative, Justin Schieber. Max Andrews is senior writer and public relations administrator for Reasonable Faith with William Lane Craig but, just to be clear, he is NOT representing either entity in this debate. He has a BS in Religion specializing in Biblical Studies and an MA in Philosophical Studies from Liberty University. His primary research is on the fine-tuning argument for the existence of God as it relates to multiverse scenarios. Max has two papers in the Cornell University History and Philosophy of Physics pre-print archive on Albert Einstein and scientific theology as well as the relationship between scientific realism and epistemology. He has also written a review in the Midwestern Journal of Theology on Molinism, which concerns the relationship between divine omniscience, human freedom, and providence. Last November he coauthored a paper on God and the multiverse with David Beck, which was presented at the Evangelical Philosophical Society's annual conference in Milwaukee. Additionally, in 2010 Max studied at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in Seattle, Washington. Max has been a member of Phi Sigma Tau, the National Honors Society for Philosophy, and was an officer for the Philosophy Club and Ratio Christi during his graduate studies. This summer Max and his wife, Leah, will be moving to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to begin his PhD in Philosophy under Alasdair Richmond. His dissertation will be on the fine-tuning of nomic behavior in multiverse scenarios and the ontology of the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics. Max maintains a blog at Justin Schieber is Co-Host of Reasonable Doubts, the radio show and Podcast.Reasonable Doubts wants to thank Max Andrews for his participation in this debate and wishes him well as he continues his education at the University of Edinburgh
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RD Extra: A Skeptical Review of Religious Prosociality Research

This RD extra features a lecture by Luke Galen "A Skeptical Review of Religious Prosociality" delivered to CFI Michigan June 26th 2013 It is often suggested that religion leads individuals to be more prosocial, that is, more cooperative, generous, friendly, and happy. A commonly held belief is that "religion makes better neighbors". However, a closer examination of the research supporting these claims yields important qualifications to this relationship. Dr. Galen will offer some common examples of these types of studies and invite the audience to ask critical questions regarding the types of conclusions that can be drawn from the "religion makes you good" literature.
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rd116 The Outsider Test For Faith

How can one accept the Bible at face value but reject the Quran's teachings? How can one accept Christian miracles as evidence but reject Hindu miracles? John Loftus, author of the Christian Delusion and God or Godless, joins us on the show to discuss the Outsider Test For Faith, which challenges believers to thoughtfully consider why they reject the claims of other religions and then apply the same critical standards to their own beliefs. Also on the show, its the Gospel of Superman! Why has Hollywood decided to promote the latest superhero film specifically to evangelical churches? And for God Thinks Like You, can just thinking about Superman turn you into a hero? All that plus a polytheism that is , quite frankly, a little twisted.
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rd115 The Myth of Martyrdom part 3

The doubtcasters wrap up their "Myth of Martyrdom" series by discussing the evidence of others (non-apostles) who supposedly witnessed the resurrection, other miracle claims from antiquity and the false dichotomy at the heart of the "die for a lie" argument. Also, the Dr. Professor makes up for lost time by reviewing numerous studies on the psychology of religion, including: religious rationalizations of criminal behavior, cognitive overlap between deontological and consequentialist moral reasoning, and the different paths that lead people to doubt the supernatural.
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RD Extra: Smith vs Schieber - The Status of God in the 21st Century

Last month Justin Schieber was invited by Etcetera ( to Traverse City, Michigan to debate/discuss with Scott Smith ( the ?Status of God in the 21st Century?. The lively discussion touched on a wide range of topics from moral intuitions to the strength of positing a God as an explanation. For video of the debate go to
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rd114 The Myth of Martyrdom part 2: Who Would Die for a Lie?

Would anyone knowingly die for a lie? Christian tradition teaches us that many of Jesus' disciples were persecuted and martyred for their faith. But if Jesus did not really rise from the dead why would the apostles be willing to sacrifice their lives over claims they knew were false? To many Christians, the apostles martyrdom is compelling confirmation that the message they preached was true. But is there any reliable evidence that the apostles actually were martyred for their faith in the resurrection? Also on this episode: The Pew Research Center releases a global study on the views of Muslims world-wide. We'll take a look at the survey and what it suggests about the source of Islamic extremism.
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rd113 The Myth of Martyrdom Part 1 with guest Candida Moss

Jesus famously told his disciples "take up your cross and follow me" and the church has proudly circulated stories of Christian martyrs ever since. Stories of believers who refused to renounce their faith in the face of persecution inspire some to great acts of heroism but can also promote a spirit of victimization. In her new book "The Myth of Christian Persecution" Candida Moss argues that the martyrdom stories from the first centuries of the Christian church have been exaggerated, and in some cases even fabricated. Contrary to popular accounts of church history there never was any widespread systematic persecution of Christians in the first centuries of the common era. Join us as we discuss her fascinating book.
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rd112 The Great Agnostic with guest Susan Jacoby

Today most Americans have never heard of Robert Green Ingersoll but in the 19th century he was considered one of the greatest orators of his age. Known as "the Great Agnostic", Ingersoll criticized religion and championed progressive political causes with great ferocity, wit and humor. Though his writings are controversial even by today's standards his personal charm was so disarming that people would travel miles for a chance to hear him speak. Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers and the Age of American Unreason joins us to talk about her new biography of Ingersoll and to illuminate how his courage and integrity continues to inspire to this day. Also on this episode: Unlike Ingersoll, Pope Francis seems to have more charm than courage and the doubtcasters enjoy a hearty "I told you so" moment thanks to a new study on the impact of free will/ determinism belief on ones larger worldview.
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RD Extra: Orme vs Schieber Debate - Does The Christian God Exist?

For this RD Extra, we give you a lengthy debate on the existence of the Christian god. Arguing in the affirmative is apologist Jared Orme of Conversion Points Radio and in the negative, Justin Schieber. Reasonable Doubts wants to thank Jared for the time and effort he put into this exchange
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rd111 Goodbye Joey Ratz

Celebrate the end of Pope Benedict XVI's short reign with a look back at the good the bad and the ugly of the polemical pontiff's career. We'll discuss all the big questions you probably don't care about: will Benedict still be 'infallible'? What were the real reasons for his resign? What will he do now? Who will be the next pope? Also, a brief history of Papal resignations before Benedict and we turn to Stephen Greenblatt's book "The Swerve" for a surprising connection between a former Pope and the rebirth humanism in the western world.
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rd110 Clever Hermeneutics

What is a thoughtful, compassionate Christian to do with all the outrageous violence and hatred in the Old Testament? Many liberal Christians will reject the notion that these texts are inspired by God but in rescuing God's character they sacrifice the divine authority of the scriptures. Fundamentalists will often bite the proverbial bullet and accept that God really did command these atrocities but how can one give any intelligible account of God's holiness if He commands such evil deeds? Are these the only options available to a believer who wishes to keep the Bible and their conscience too? Apologist Randal Rauser doesn't think so. He advocates an approach to interpreting the Old Testament which he calls a "qualified embrace" of the scriptures. It's a clever hermeneutic but does it succeed in providing an intellectually and biblically sound way out of this dilemma? Also on this episode: Jesus shares your political views but he is more extreme, the Boy Scouts of America consider admitting gays and we conclude the episode with a touching Polyatheism segment.
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RD Extra: Debating the Amalekite Genocide

When Richard Dawkins wrote “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction.?, he was spot on. Many Jews and Christians recognize the deep problems these texts present to their views on the most basic moral questions. Unfortunately, it?s become commonplace for some christian apologists to claim they ?wrestle? with these difficult passages when, in reality, they are rewriting them. Recently, Justin Schieber was invited to debate God?s command to slaughter the Amalekites on the popular christian radio show, ?Unbelievable? against apologist John Allister. In this episode, we give you the debate, response emails and closing commentary.
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RD Extra: The Nativity Debate

Don't get into heated debates with your family this Christmas without first getting your facts straight. Check out this debate between Jonathan Pearce and Randal Rauser on the historical reliability of the Nativity narratives so you can impress your family by being the most informed troublemaker at the dinner table. Merry Christmas from the Doubtcasters!
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rd109 The Biology of Religious Patriarchy

Why are religious moralists so preoccupied with sex? Attitudes on sexuality are far more predictive of religiosity than attitudes on charity, social justice or any other measure. Religious scriptures abound with rules and restrictions aimed at controlling women's sexuality in particular. Is the current religious obsession with sex just an unfortunate result of religion's male-dominated history or are there deeper forces at work? On this episode the doubtcasters review recent studies which illuminate possible procreative strategies underpinning religious patriarchy. Also on this episode: the supreame court hears gay marriage cases, the Pope Who Stole Christmas and fan favorite Ed Brayton joins us to discuss his new book about the violence and intimidation many secular activists face when defending the separation of church and state.
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rd108 Post-Election Withdrawal

The doubtcasters collectively work through their post-election withdrawal symptoms by examining how demographic shifts are changing the American political landscape with special focus on how religious vs. secular polling locations influence voting. Also for this week's counterapologetics Justin Schieber presents a presuppositionalist argument for atheism developed by Stephen Maitzen.
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RD Extra: Is Abortion Murder? (Debate)

Contrary to what we hear shouted from both sides of the pro-choice/pro-life divide, abortion actually is a complicated issue. Is it possible to make progress on an issue that seems to straddle the line of our deepest philosophical differences? If it is, it certainly won't be done with pictures of dead fetus' or insisting that a women's right to choose is the only morally relevant factor to consider. This RD extra is a debate between Justin Schieber and John Barron on the issue of abortion. John keeps a blog at There John blogs about Christianity, atheism, gay marriage and, of course, abortion.
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RD Extra: Remembering Paul Kurtz

The following is a rebroadcast of the doubtcasters 2007 interview with the late humanist philosopher, author and activist Paul Kurtz.
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rd107 Are We Born Depraved?

The discovery that children have a natural inclination to believe in invisible, immortal, super-knowing agents has some religious apologists boasting that science has found the sensus divinitatis. Despite possessing this inner sense of the divine, John Calvin declared children to be morally corrupt by nature. This doctrine of total depravity has served as a justification for authoritarian child-rearing practices aimed at instilling obedience in strong-willed children. But a close look at the data suggests our theistic inclinations are byproducts of our cognitive development and not a special God-given faculty. Likewise, studies on the moral development of children reveal the foundations for empathy are present even at a young age. Authoritarian parenting may hinder that development and contribute to a variety of social ills.
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rd106 Moonie Madness

The Unification Church was virtually unknown in America until the 1970's when concerned parents, anti-cult groups and members of congress raised alarm about the powerful "brainwashing" techniques used by "moonies" to lure new converts into their dangerous cult. Now that the self-proclaimed "messiah" Sun Myung Moon has died a group of sociologists are defending the Unification Church. While their beliefs and practices may strike most as odd they are hardly the predatory cult some have made them out to be (these sociologists claim). In particular, researchers of new religious movements object to the pseudoscientific notion of "brainwashing"--insisting that what compels people to join groups like the Unification Church amounts to nothing more than ordinary forces of group psychology at play in any religion. Anti-cult groups have fired back accusing these researchers of engaging in apologetics and secretly accepting financial kick-backs from the same groups they defend. What is a cult and how is it different (if at all) from a religion? Is there any scientific support for the concept of brainwashing? We will attempt to answer these questions and more. Also on this episode: violence across the Muslim world, blasphemy laws backfire in Pakistan, and Mark Regnerus' research on homosexual parenting is dissected for this weeks "God Thinks Like You"
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RD Extra: The Problem of Non-God Objects

This RD Extra is a lecture delivered by Justin Schieber to CFI Michigan on August 22nd 2012 Discription: In this week's presentation, Justin Schieber will present - and defend from possible objections - an argument against a Christian view of the divine that insists upon God's perfection while maintaining that God alone is responsible for intentionally creating non-god objects.The Christian scriptures seem clear; John 1:3 says 'All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.' They are equally clear about this God's ontological and moral perfection. But, are these beliefs compatible with the existence of non-God objects?
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rd105 Are We Born to Believe?

Some atheists have argued that children are naturally non-believers. Were it not for indoctrination at the hands of parents and clergy children would never pick up supernatural beliefs on their own and religion would wither and die. But a growing body of research in developmental psychology suggests just the opposite. Children have a natural inclination to believe in invisible, immortal, super-knowing agents who are responsible for design in the natural world. For this first part in a series on the evolved origins of religious belief the doubtcasters review two books (Justin Barrett's Born Believers and Jesse Berring's the Belief Instinct) which make the case that religious belief is not only natural--it is almost inevitable.
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RD Extra: Polyatheism - Modern Lessons From Ancient Myths

This RD Extra features a lecture by David Fletcher, delivered to CFI Michigan on July 11th 2012 Lecture Description: There are many lessons we can learn from the myths of ancient and modern cultures, ranging from the profound to the absurd. In this presentation we will explore the mythologies of various cultures around the world and get to know some of the many gods and goddesses worth not believing in.
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