Freethinking power couple on “Freethought Matters” this Sunday

Rebecca Goldstein and Steve Pinker

You can watch a globally famous intellectual power couple — Steve Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein — interviewed this Sunday on the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s weekly “Freethought Matters” TV show, already available to view on FFRF’s YouTube channel.

Goldstein, an honorary FFRF director, and Pinker, FFRF’s distinguished honorary president, are renowned the world over. Goldstein is a philosopher who has taught at Barnard, Rutgers, Dartmouth and New York University and whose many books include Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity, Thirty-Six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction and Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away. Her numerous accomplishments include receiving the MacArthur Genius award and the National Humanities Medal at a White House ceremony.

Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard and has been named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Pinker is the author of many bestselling books, including The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of our Nature and, most recently, Enlightenment Now: The Case For Reason, Science, Humanism And Progress.

Pinker and Goldstein were interviewed remotely from their home on Cape Cod. Hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF’s co-presidents, chatted with them not only about freethought and philosophy, but how the couple is doing during the pandemic shutdown. Be sure to watch the show to learn about the new book each is writing, both which are exciting and will be of special interest to freethinkers and FFRF members.

“I had been asked by the Wall Street Journal to look at three particular philosophers — Aristotle, John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant — and what they might have to offer us in these times,” Goldstein explains a recent popular article of hers. “And the reason that the Wall Street Journal had chosen them is that those three philosophers are representative of the three major philosophical moral theories that are still in play: virtue, ethics, that’s Aristotle, John Stuart Mill would be utilitarianism, and Kant is deontological theory. As you probably know, I would have chosen Spinoza, my favorite philosopher.”

Pinker offers his erudite thoughts on the origins of “creation.”

“How can there be design without a designer? Well, we’ve got the theory of evolution to the theory of natural selection to dismantle that argument: step-by-step cumulative processes over 4 billion years,” says Pinker. “And the theory of natural selection goes to town on that. So there is the appearance of design, but we can explain it away and that’s exactly what the theory of natural selection does.”

You can watch this show instantly on YouTube by clicking here, or on your television in 12 cities Sunday (see listings below).

You will also enjoy catching up with previous episodes of “Freethought Matters.” The first guest in the new season was U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, founder of the Congressional Freethought Caucus. Huffman’s appearance on the show made media waves due to his remarks about his colleague Rep. Liz Cheney’s dogmatic stance on the religious oath. Freethought icon Ron Reagan, world-renowned philosopher Daniel Dennett, acting legend Ed Asner and U.S. Reps. Jamie Raskin and Mark Pocan have recently appeared on the show. Most recently, the show has featured Katherine Stewart, the leading expert on Christian Nationalism in the United States, and agnostic bible scholar Bart Ehrman. Guests on past seasons include comedian Julia Sweeney, former Planned Parenthood director Cecile Richards and a variety of freethought authors and activists. “Freethought Matters” has also shown two classic FFRF movies in recent weeks, the first film exposing religion, and the second one focusing on major state/church U.S. Supreme Court cases.

If you’d prefer to watch it on television, the cities where “Freethought Matters” broadcasts, along with the channels and timings, are listed below:

  • Chicago, WPWR-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 9 a.m.
  • Denver, KWGN-CW (Ch. 2), Sundays at 7 a.m.
  • Houston, KUBE-IND (Ch. 57), Sundays at 9 a.m.
  • Los Angeles, KCOP-MY (Ch. 13), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Madison, Wis., WISC-TV (Ch. 3), Sundays at 11 p.m.
  • Minneapolis, KSTC-IND (Ch. 45), Sundays at 9:30 a.m.
  • New York City, WPIX-IND (Ch. 11), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Phoenix, KASW-CW (Ch. 61, or 6 or 1006 for HD), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Portland, Ore., KRCW-CW (Ch. 32), Sundays at 9 a.m. Comcast channel 703 for High Def, or Channel 3.
  • Sacramento, KQCA-MY (Ch. 58), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Seattle, KONG-IND (Ch. 16 or Ch. 106 on Comcast). Sundays at 8 a.m.
  • Washington, D.C., WDCW-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 8 a.m.

FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and her husband, Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister and well-known atheist author, are creators and co-hosts of the show.

As an antidote to religion on the airwaves and Sunday morning sermonizing, the half-hour show airs Sunday mornings in 11 cities and Sunday evening in FFRF’s hometown of Madison, Wis. All previous programs are also available to view on FFRF’s YouTube channel.

The show is usually produced in the Stephen Uhl Friendly Atheist Studio at Freethought Hall in Madison, Wis., by FFRF’s videographer Bruce Johnson, a public television veteran. Crew includes staff members Bailey Nachreiner-Mackesey, Kristina Daleiden, Lauryn Seering and Chris Line, plus various floor managers, with sound production provided by Audio for the Arts.

Please tune in to “Freethought Matters” . . . because freethought matters.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is the nation’s largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics), with more than 31,000 members nationwide. FFRF also works as a watchdog guarding the constitutional separation between religion and government.

P.S. Please tune in or record according to the times given above regardless of what is listed in your TV guide (it may be listed simply as “paid programming” or even be misidentified). To set up an automatic weekly recording, try taping manually by time or channel. And spread the word to freethinking friends, family or colleagues about a TV show, finally, that is dedicated to providing programming for freethinkers!

Photo by Chris Johnson

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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