Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Reasonable Doubts has moved to its new home on at freethought blogs. A new place, a new look and a new community, but besides that not much has changed. Hope to see you there!

Also, the doubtcasters wanted to express thier thanks to RD listener Jim Tuckwell for creating the logo and banner for the new website.

Episode 88 Summer Genocide Series part1

RD kicks off its "Summer Genocide Series" with a critical review of Paul Copan's book "Is God a Moral Monster?" Copan argues that the holy war waged against the Canaanites was not the blood-soaked genocide that critics of the Bible make it out to be . It was a limited, relatively humane campaign that was morally and spiritually justified. Thom Stark disagrees. He's written a massive point-by-point refutation of Copan's book entitled "Is God a Moral Compromiser?" (free pdf available here!). We'll take a look at Copan's arguments and Stark's response for this weeks Counter-apologetics segment. Also on this episode: the doubtcasters discuss the religion and politics of Anders Breivik and for a new segment of "God Thinks Like You" we share new data which proves fundamentalists are kind and helpful--except towards people who are different from them.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

RD Extra: Deceived Into Thinking

This episode features the lecture "Deceived Into Thinking: Teaching Students to Think Critically Through The Study of Deception" presented by Jeremy Beahan to CFI Michigan on May 11th, 2011

After trying (unsuccessfully) to get young students excited about learning informal logic, Jeremy Beahan began flirting with a different strategy. Perhaps a better way to convey the value of fair-minded/ critical thinking would be through the study of its intellectual opposite — deception. This simple idea had a surprisingly strong impact on how students engaged with the material.

Instead of endlessly rehearsing procedures for analyzing arguments, students delight in examining real "case studies in deception"-- everyday instances of fraud, distortion, manipulation,self-deceptio​n and group think. Through class activities and assignments students can imaginatively step into the role of the deceiver by learning how to fake psychic powers, perform classic street-cons or twist logic in order to defeat an opponent. Also, when students witness the harm done to individuals and society by deception they can come to see the value of thinking skeptically and work to expose deception in their own community.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Episode 87 The Unintelligent Design of Sex

The design argument may be the most intuitively appealing argument for the existence of God. Creationists often point to organs such as the human eye as examples of complex systems that could not have arisen by chance. But take a closer look at nature and one will find several instances of "unintelligent design"--design flaws which reveal the blind processes of natural selection at work. For this episode Justin Schieber kicks the design argument in crotch when he brings the debate over design into the arena of human reproductive biology. Also in this episode: Will rejecting belief in free will make you a bad person? We'll look at the latest attempt to discredit determinism for a new installment of "God Thinks Like You" plus Dr. Galen gives his book review of "American Grace" and Zeus makes his debut on Polyatheism.

Check back soon for links to articles and research from this episode.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Episode 86 The Man Who Didn't Sell His Soul on eBay

Hemant Mehta (author of the friendly atheist blog) was only looking to expand his horizons and raise a little money for a local freethinking student group when he came up with the idea that made him a media sensation. He started a page on Ebay where he offered to attend the church of the highest bidder. Stories quickly spread in the media of an atheist "selling his soul" on eBay, which drove the bid higher and higher. Soon Mehta was traveling across the country visiting different churches to make good on his commitment. These church visits became the basis of his book "I Sold My Soul on eBay"--which gave Christians a chance to see church through the eyes of a friendly but critical atheist. For this episode Hemant joins us in the studio to talk about what he saw and how Christian readers reacted to his book.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Episode 85 They Had It Coming

Life isn't always fair. Sometimes good people suffer needlessly while immoral people prosper. Nevertheless belief in a just world persists. Deep within the human psyche is a strong urge to believe people get what they deserve and while this mentality may bring some comfort to the individual it can also result in victim blaming or turning a blind eye toward real injustice. Unfortunately religion often bolsters just world belief--especially when the believer is forced to reconcile the idea of a righteous God with the reality of suffering. Also on this episode: the doubtcasters remember Jack Kevorkian and argue in favor of allowing physician assisted suicide; the Myan goddess of suicide and a stranger than fiction that will make you loose your head.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Episode 84 Armageddon Outta Here

On May 22nd, 2011 dozens of people will be disappointed to find that the world is still spinning, hundreds of billboards across the world will look ridiculous and Harold Camping will struggle to find an explanation for how he could have gotten it wrong once again.
Yes, yet another "Judgement Day" draws nigh. The Doubtcasters take the opportunity to discuss end of the world prophecies past and present and what happens to the true believers when their dreams of leaving us behind are inevitably dashed.
In counter-apologetics Justin takes on the moral argument from a new perspective and asks the question: If Yahweh is so moral, how come people like Abraham and Moses need to remind him to do the right thing? Then in God Thinks Like You, Luke looks at a study that reveals how your view of God affects your moral choices. We offer Props to yet another godless institute of higher learning and making the Shit list is a Southern Baptist minister playing a part in a case of anti-gay international parental kidnapping.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Episode 83 Exodus; Pursued by Pharaoh

The Biblical account of the Jewish slavery in and exodus from Egypt is regarded by many as a historical fact, give or take a few miracles. But what does modern archaeology have to say on the subject? We dive into the evidence (or lack thereof) for this ancient tale.
Luke and Justin take on recent criticisms concerning the roots for morality and the sacrificial practices of ancient Jews and early Christians. Dave takes a look at another springtime resurrection god in a PolyAtheism segment and the doubtcasters discuss Terry Jones trip to Michigan, a "miraculously healed" child, and some people in the Philippines who take their Easter celebrations very serisously. Also, more bad news and some potentially good news out of the on-going Catholic sex abuse scandal.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

RD Extra: Religion and the Roots of Morality

This RD Extra features a lecture by Luke Galen entitled The Roots of Morality: Does Religion Play a Role or is the Tail Wagging the Dog? Grand Rapids Community College hosted and sponsored the event as part of the 2010-2011 Psychology Department Speakers Series. A pdf file of Luke's lecture slides can be downloaded here.

In this presentation, Dr. Galen, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology at Grand Valley State University, will consider the root of morality and pro-social behavior. Are we kind and considerate of others because religion creates a set of rules and "commandments" or are these behaviors a natural result of our evolutionary need to live in community? Dr. Galen will also cover related topics such as why humans construct religions and how religion can create prejudicial beliefs and behaviors.

To download this or any previous Reasonable Doubts episode click here. Find the episode you want and right click the "play now" link and select "save target as..."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Video: The Roots of Morality by Luke Galen

Here is a lecture by RD's Luke Galen entitled The Roots of Morality: Does Religion Play a Role or is the Tail Wagging the Dog? It's a great overview of several topics discussed in past "God Thinks Like You" segments. If you enjoy this lecture please leave a positive comment on YouTube and be sure to tell your friends about Many thanks to the psychology department at Grand Rapids Community College for hosting and sponsoring the event.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Episode 82 Hell's Bells

West Michigan's own Rob Bell has a new book out entitled Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Has Ever Lived. The Doubtcasters take the opportunity to revisit Bell's "theology," and take a look at just what it means, historically, to go to Hell. We also discuss a new study which draws the not-so-new conclusion that Yahweh had a wife.

Also in this episode: Props and Shit List and PolyAtheism goes to Hel.

Watch Rob Bell squirm

Monday, March 7, 2011

Episode 81 Sacrificial Lambs

The DoubtCasters take on some of the most bizarre stories in the news recently, including the latest Catholic sex scandal (not what you expect), the latest anti-gay crusader's sex scandal (exactly what you'd expect), the Supreme Court, Fort Bragg, and beyond. Plus, liberal use of the word "booty."

In Skeptic's Sunday School Justin takes a look at Jesus' role as a sacrificial lamb. And in God Thinks Like You, Dr. Prof. Luke offers up props to other researchers who think like him and addresses a listener question about Terror Management Theory. We close out the episode with a PolyAtheistic look at the Titan Prometheus and his sacrificial liver.

Vote for RD as the Best Agnostic/ Atheist Podcast on

Episode 80 - Faith of the Fatherless

Episode 80 - Faith of the Fatherless

In his book Faith of the Fatherless, Dr. Paul Vitz explains that atheism is the result of weak, absent or abusive fathers. Dr. Prof. Luke debunks Vitz's 'theory' through the wily use of actual research. In counter-apologetics, Justin offers desire utilitarianism as one approach to morality. And Fletch introduces us to a Celtic love god in PolyAtheism.

Also in this episode: Props in Australia and Hawaii, a Stranger Than Fiction that'll help our single fans find like minded dates. And, we open up the Doubtcast Mail Bag and read some of your comments and questions.


Paul Vitz Interview

How did Jeffrey Dahmer Define Morality?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Episode 79 - Porn, Politics and Perfection

First, we take a look at's latest attempt to dress puritanical sexual policies in a slutty outfit. Then we focus on recent events in Egypt and discuss whether or not we should be afraid of a Muslim Caliphate taking over the world like Glenn Beck says we should.

In response to listener comments from our previous episode, we take a look at Sarah Palin's idiocy and look at the data about the claim that the American political left is just as bad in its violent rhetoric as the right is.

In our counter-apologetics segment, Justin Schieber schools apologist William Lane Craig and his argument for ontological perfection.

We wrap up the show with another adventure in the world of PolyAtheism as Fletch tells us the story of Enki, Mesopotamian god of mischief, water and incestuous rape.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Episode 78 Why Bother?

Getting into debates over religion can be frustrating and people rarely ever change their minds. So why bother? What would an atheist possibly hope to achieve by debating religious apologists? Justin Schieber has had plenty of time to ponder those questions. He represents the atheist viewpoint for a monthly debate series called "A Christian and an Atheist Walk Into a Coffee Shop." For this episode the doubtcasters are joined by Justin for a roundtable discussion on the joys and frustrations of debating theists. Also on this episode: the latest development in the Catholic child-abuse scandal and inspiring proof that moderate Muslims do exist.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

RD Extra: Stem Cell Research Update

With exiting new developments in stem cell research hitting the media, we thought it would be a great time to revisit the science behind the controversy. Is stem cell therapy really the panacea it's advocates claim it to be? How is an embryonic stem cell different from an adult stem cell and is experimentation on embryos really necessary? For this RD extra, Dr. Greg Forbes gives us an overview of the current state of stem cell research.

Dr. Greg Forbes is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Grand Rapids Community College. He has served as the Director of GRCC's Science Education Center and as Education Director for the Michigan Evolution Education Initiative. He was awarded the Michigan Science Teachers Association highest award, College & University Science Teacher of the Year in 2004.

*The doubtcasters want to thank loyal RD fans for their patience during our recent unannounced hiatus. Look for regular shows to resume within the next week.

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