Monday, October 20, 2008

The Point of Inquiry? Reasonable Doubts

The latest Reasonable Doubts podcast sounds like a good one if you're into that sort of thing:

[T]he Doubtcasters present their critique of Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN). This celebrated argument attempts to demonstrate that natural selection, if unguided by god, could not produce beings with reliable cognitive faculties capable of discerning the truth. But is EAAN all its cracked up to be? Also on this episode: The Doubtcasters consider William Lane Craig's rebuttal to Euthyphro's Dilemma, answer listener e-mails, and discuss Bill Maher's new movie Religulous.
It sound like a rich episode of a very fine podcast.

While I'm on the topic of podcasts that threaten to unmoor you from your favorite god's harbor, recent Point of Inquiry podcasts have been hit and miss:
  • Ed Tabash discusses the stakes of the presidential election vis-a-vis perilously close Supreme Court decisions. Some very fundamental questions of law -- on abortion, privacy rights, church-state separation, gay rights -- hinge on the outcome on November 4. Tabash isn't allowed to endorse particular candidates, but I am, and Barack Obama is extremely likely to appoint judges who will protect many of our cherished rights, while John McCain is extremely likely to appoint judges who will strip them away. A vote for McCain-Palin is a vote for at least one more Supreme Court justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia. Be afraid, be very afraid.
  • Lawrence Krauss discusses physics. Eh. The man shows every sign of knowing his stuff extremely well, but his stuff doesn't move me. I will say that he comes as close as anyone has to piquing my interest in the Large Hadron Collider. Your mileage may vary, of course.
  • Michael Lackey works hard to reconcile naturalism with postmodernism as part of a very interesting discussion of African-American humanism. I keep meaning to circle back and see if I can determine, finally, whether he successfully walks the tightrope between "science is merely a discourse" and "science is a means of achieving reliable truths." PZ Myers doesn't hate the guy's ideas, so that has to be a good sign. Right?
  • Greg Long talks about Bigfoot. As my fascination with Bigfoot topped out sometime in the 1980s and has declined steadily ever since, I didn't expect much from this episode, but it was surprisingly informative. For whatever it's worth: I still think it would be very cool if Bigfoot were real, it's just that Bigfoot is not real. It's that stubborn lack-of-evidence thing again.
  • Justin Trottier blabbers about what he has been doing to promote secular humanism on college campuses. Please make it stop. I am not saying the work is unimportant, I'm just saying I don't want to hear someone talk about it.
I feel the need to point out that all the podcasts I've mentioned here are free of charge, and free is a very good price.

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