On All the Podcasts

I’ve been a bad guest. A bunch of great podcasters have had me on their shows recently, and I’ve been just boosting their social media posts instead of linking them here. So if you want to hear me talk about various topics, here’s where you can do that.

Bi Any Means with Trav Mamone, “‘Divisiveness’ in the Atheist Movement

Today we’re going to talk about a recent blog post she wrote about “divisiveness” in the atheist movement.

The post was written in response to Dogma Debate host David Smalley’s recent talk at this year’s Gateway to Reason conference (the link to which I’ll put in the show notes). As I tell Stephanie in the interview, at first I thought he did a good job talking about how not to let different opinions divide the movement. But as Stephanie explained, when people in the atheist movement talk about divisiveness, they’re not talking about the “Everyone I don’t like is Hitler” meme.

Serious Inquiries Only with Thomas Smith, “Stephanie Zvan on Anti-Harassment Policies and More

Stephanie was on the ground floor in terms of trying to get anti-harassment policies into the codes of conduct for skeptic and atheist conferences. We talk about the history of that, and then we discuss whether the atheist movement is worth saving or if we ought to abandon it altogether and start something new.

I recall going on at least one rant about the conceptual penis “hoax” as well.

The Inciting Incident with Marissa Alexa McCool, “Outrage Brigade

This week, Rissy is joined by activist Stephanie Zvan in studio to discuss the Outrage Brigade, among other things, and Bethany and Rissy reflect on what’s transpired since the interview was recorded afterward.

We touched on a lot of issues in this one: Mythinformation Con, who gets to have their concerns heard, the problems of celebrity in movements that are supposed to be about truth.

Brainstorm Podcast with Cory Johnston, “Sexual Harassment in the Atheist Community

There’s something troubling going on in the atheist and skeptic community, and apparently it’s been happening for awhile. People are getting away with sexual harassment and sometimes assault because they have standing in the community and people want to hear them speak at their conferences and have them as guests on their shows. I talk with Stephanie Zvan about this, how long it’s been going on, and what we can do about it.

This is very different than my interview with Thomas. There’s a lot less history and a lot more practical details, including evaluating allegations as a skeptic. I turned an awful lot of these questions on their heads and was perhaps not at my most diplomatic. Cory handled it all with very good grace.

On All the Podcasts
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“Growing Up Humanist” on The Humanist Hour

This week, we’re hearing from several young Humanists about the difference Humanism makes in their lives.

Today’s American adolescent Humanists aren’t the first generation of young people to be raised in a nonreligious philosophy. They are the largest in modern times, however, and the demographic shift in the U.S. means the generations that follow will likely be even larger. That means it’s time for us to pay attention to the challenges and opportunities faced by teenaged Humanists.

At the American Humanist Association’s annual conference in Chicago this May, AHA convened a panel of familiar names. At least the last names of the panelists were familiar. This was a new set of humanists, however, the teenaged children of Humanist leaders and other longtime Humanists. They came together to discuss the challenges of being a religious minority among their peers, charting their own paths, and finding ways to live up to their humanitarian ideals. We’re sharing audio from that panel this week.

Due to time constraints, part of the Q&A session for this panel is not included in the podcast. You can watch the entire panel on AHA’s YouTube channel.

You can listen to the podcast here.

“Growing Up Humanist” on The Humanist Hour

“Skepticon and Rethinking Conferences”, Lauren Lane on The Humanist Hour

This week, I talked with Lauren about Skepticon’s track record of mucking about with the conference format. Pretty much everything I cut while editing this podcast was laughing.

Skepticon is an unusual conference in several ways. It started as a student-run event that survived its founders’ graduation. It’s an independent event, run as its own nonprofit organization. It’s a free conference and vows to remain that way. In any given year, roughly half its speakers are women. It’s held in a smaller city in the middle of the country in a very religious area. It attracts a younger audience on average, many of whom bring their families. It blends religious skepticism with what proponents call scientific skepticism with a minimum of friction.

In short, Skepticon meets many of the demographic and other challenges the secular and skeptical movements have identified. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s the largest annual conference in either of these movements.

This week, we talk with Skepticon co-founder and president Lauren Lane about Skepticon’s past and its future. We talk about its history of innovation, and what’s changing this year. Lauren will tell you what you can expect at this year’s Skepticon, November 11-13, 2016. We’ll also laugh rather a lot.

You can listen to the podcast here.

“Skepticon and Rethinking Conferences”, Lauren Lane on The Humanist Hour

“DYIscizone: Science Engagement for Kids”, Raychelle Burks on Atheists Talk

A couple of years ago, Dr. Rubidium (forensic chemist Raychelle Burks) joined us to talk about using pop culture to teach adults about chemistry. This Sunday, she returns to the show to tell us about the DIY science zone at GeekGirlCon in Seattle.

The DIY science zone uses a combination of demonstrations and hands-on activities to bring out the scientist or science enthusiast in young science fiction fans. Dr. Rubidium will tell us what the kids can expect this October and the lengths she and other will go to in order to make a place for exploring science.

Related Links:

Continue reading ““DYIscizone: Science Engagement for Kids”, Raychelle Burks on Atheists Talk”

“DYIscizone: Science Engagement for Kids”, Raychelle Burks on Atheists Talk

“Foundation Beyond Belief”, Noelle George on The Humanist Hour

This week, Peggy and Jenn talked to Noelle George about Foundation Beyond Belief and the AHA matching grant to support the Humanist Service Corps.

We like to say that we’re “good without a god,” but the fact of the matter is that we’re not always very organized about it. One of the good things organized religion has introduced to the world is ways to encourage giving and volunteering to help those in need. Foundation Beyond Belief is a secular nonprofit organization that provides a similar structure to help those of us who have left religion or who never had religion in the first place when we want to give.

Noelle George is the executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief and the former head of the Beyond Belief Network, Foundation Beyond Belief’s program that supports secular volunteers across the country. She joins us this week to discuss the history of the organization, its various programs, and how people can contribute time, money, or word of mouth to Foundation Beyond Belief. She also talks about the matching grant that American Humanist Association is offering this month to support the Humanist Service Corps’ work in Ghana.

You can listen to the podcast here.

“Foundation Beyond Belief”, Noelle George on The Humanist Hour

“Sex Positivity and Teaching Consent”, Miri Mogilevsky on The Humanist Hour

This week, I sat down with Miri to discuss what sex positivity is, isn’t, and should be. We also talked about her well-received consent workshop.

Sex positivity sounds like a wonderful thing, but do you really know what it is? As a social movement, it’s older than you might think. It can be traced back through the Free Love movement. No, not the one in the 1960s: the Victorian Free Love movement. In its more modern incarnation, sex positivity has been associated with LGBTQ liberation and the battles within feminism over pornography and sex work. It’s also closely tied to movements to destigmatize kink and polyamory.

With all these associations, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that not everyone agrees about what sex positivity is and what it looks like in practice. Sex positivity fills different roles for lots of people. And while, at its heart, sex positivity is an intellectual tradition, not everyone relates to it on an intellectual level.

Miri Mogilevsky is a licensed therapist, a writer, and a long-time provider of sex education for adults. With articles having appeared in xoJane, Salon, and Everyday Feminism, she’s a recognized resource on mental health, feminism, and consent. In recent years, she’s offered a workshop at secular movement conferences titled, “Getting It On at the Con: How to Get Lucky Consensually”. She’s recently written about some of the common misperceptions about sex positivity, and she joins us this week to clear the air.

One note: This is a show about sex. While it doesn’t get graphic, it may still be inappropriate for work for other reasons, such as the swearing.

You can listen to the podcast here.

“Sex Positivity and Teaching Consent”, Miri Mogilevsky on The Humanist Hour

“Navigating Conflict in the Movement, Part 1”, Callie Wright and Ari Stillman on Atheists Talk

The secular movement is no stranger to conflict. It never has been, though it does have a tendency to treat each new round of conflict as a fresh problem with no precedent and the potential to rip apart a fairly healthy, growing movement.

Recently, such a conflict swept up Callie Wright and Ari Stillman of the Gaytheist Manifesto podcast, and they had some solid thoughts on managing conflicts like these. This Sunday, they join us to talk about it all, the good, the bad, and the ultimately irrelevant.

Then, join us again next week for part 2 of this discussion with another guest with a slightly different perspective.

Related Links:

Continue reading ““Navigating Conflict in the Movement, Part 1”, Callie Wright and Ari Stillman on Atheists Talk”

“Navigating Conflict in the Movement, Part 1”, Callie Wright and Ari Stillman on Atheists Talk

“The Intersection of Humanism and Social Justice Work” on The Humanist Hour

This week, we revisited the AHA conference in Chicago in May for some practical advice.

The concept of social justice is enjoying a renaissance. That doesn’t necessarily translate into action, however. Even people who support social justice may find themselves uncertain how to put their principles into practice. They may be unsure what is needed from them.

At the American Humanist Association’s 75th Anniversary Conference in Chicago this year, Sincere Kirabo, social justice coordinator of the AHA, moderated a panel on this problem. Diane Burkholder, co-founder of Kansas City Freethinkers of Color; James Croft, outreach director of the Ethical Society of St. Louis; and Randall Jenson, executive director of SocialScope Productions, a nonprofit focused on LGBTQ and gender documentary projects, discussed the practical impediments to social justice in the humanist movement and our broader society. They talked about the needs we don’t see and the solutions that allow us to put our time and money where our mouths are.

This panel also had a Q&A session that is not presented here. This can be heard in the full panel video on the American Humanist Association’s YouTube channel.

You can listen to the podcast here.

“The Intersection of Humanism and Social Justice Work” on The Humanist Hour

“Juhem Navarro-Rivera on Changing Demographics and Changing Politics” on The Humanist Hour

This week, I spoke with Juhem Navarro-Rivera about how the changing face of the U.S. electorate is changing our political landscape. This was originally going to be a shorter interview, paired up with my talk with Alix Jules about racial resentment. In both cases, we ended up having more material than fit in an hour show.

There is a significant portion of the U.S. electorate this year who seem determined to “take back their country”. It’s rare, however, that these people are willing to explicitly state who they want to take the country back from. In reality their political fears reflect a voting population that is less white, less male, and less religious than it has ever been before.

Juhem Navarro-Rivera is a political scientist who studies the political behavior of many of the groups within this rising American electorate. He specializes in studying Latino voters and the religious Nones. This week, he joins Stephanie Zvan to talk about the concerns and behavior of these groups, as well as the concerns and behaviors of the largely white, male, and religious voters who are resisting their participation in the political process.

You can listen to the podcast here.

“Juhem Navarro-Rivera on Changing Demographics and Changing Politics” on The Humanist Hour

“Kelly McCullough on Building Religion through Stories” on The Humanist Hour

This week, I sat down with my friend Kelly to have a discussion we’ve held off having for a few years now about approaching religion as a storyteller who doesn’t believe.

Kelly McCullough is a fantasy and science fiction author with twelve novels under his belt to date. Despite being raised outside religion, his work often focuses on what it means to exist in a world where gods are real. In his WebMage series, McCullough’s protagonist is the descendant of one of the Greek Fates. His Fallen Blade series follows what happens when the goddess of justice is killed by the other gods in her pantheon.

This week, Kelly McCullough talks to Stephanie Zvan about why he explores the themes of religion in his books. He also talks about having accidentally created a religion outside his writing and how he managed to become one of those nearly mythical atheist politicians in the U.S.

You can listen to the podcast here.

“Kelly McCullough on Building Religion through Stories” on The Humanist Hour