Is the renewed influence of religion in public life a threat to reason and science? That's the conviction of some nonbelievers aggressively advocating Atheism. We hear the latest version of an ancient argument in the US, where Atheists have less credibility than anyone else. Plus, Mexico swears in its new President amidst a slug-fest, and a conversation about Hugo Chavez. Dictator out of control or secular saint?
FROM THIS EPISODE
Three hundred years after the Age of Enlightenment began some nonbelievers are worried that reason is losing out to religion. Their concern has provoked what's called a New Atheism movement. Proponents, who see the growing influence of religion in public life as an attack on reason and science, are fighting back with an intellectual movement that has produced several best-selling books. At the same time, surveys show that Atheists are America's least trusted people, and critics accuse them of being fundamentalists in their own right. Does religion foster ignorance and lead to violence and war? Can human society survive without it?
Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Science of Public Understanding at Oxford
Francisco Ayala, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at UC Irvine
Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches
Penny Edgell, Director of Graduate Studies in Sociology at the University of Minnesota
A new president was sworn into office today in Mexico, after much uncertainty after a disputed election. On Sunday, President Hugo Chavez is running for re-election in Venezuela. Reviled in the United States, but in his own country Chavez arouses passion in supporters as well as opponents. What are the chances of the man who called President Bush "the devil" in a speech to the United Nation?
Guy Taylor, International Editor for World Politics Watch
Felipe Calderón took the oath of office as President of Mexico today amid jeers and whistles from opposing factions in Congress. For three days, his elected friends and enemies have assaulted one another with soft-drink cans, pizza boxes--and punches--in the Congressional chamber.
Hector Tobar, author and journalist
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Imprisoning our mentally ill? American jails and prisons have become hospitals for the mentally ill. A murderer doing 20 years at New York’s Sing Sing prison works with schizophrenics serving 24 months for misdemeanors. He tells Warren that sick people should be treated outside. The Sheriff in Chicago says it’s not just inhumane but a waste of taxpayers’ money. How did we get here? What can be done?
Did Trump get conned by Kim? Six months after threatening nuclear warfare, “little rocket man” and the “dotard” were talking peace in Singapore. Beyond the hype, did President Trump and Kim Jong Un really mean it? A seasoned diplomat, a UN nuclear weapons inspector and veteran journalists provide contrasting assessments.
Post primary wrap, what’s the takeaway? California’s billed as the heart of “resistance” to President Trump. But in this month’s Golden State primary, young and Latino voters stayed home. That’s produced a clash of voices between Progressive Democrats and Clinton-era Centrists. What will that mean come November with control of the Congress at stake?
The politics of prison reform Prison reform is moving in Red States, Blue States and (maybe) on Capitol Hill. But America still incarcerates more people than any other country-- including China. Meantime, the Trump White House is divided. Jared Kushner is pushing sentence reform, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to stay “tough on crime.” What are the prospects for much needed change?
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