Dr. Jerry Coyne, Author of Faith vs. Fact

Dr. Jerry Coyne is a now-retired Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. He has written over 115 refereed scientific papers; 130 additional articles, book reviews, and columns; and a scholarly book about his field (Speciation, co-authored with H. Allen Orr).

He may be most familiar to listeners for his books Why Evolution is True (which spawned his blog of the same name) and Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible.

At the recent American Humanist Association conference in Chicago, we spoke with Dr. Coyne about why science and religion are incompatible, the problems with the “Regressive Left” on college campuses, and what he discusses with his atheist/scientist friends.

Katherine Ozment, Author of Grace Without God

Katherine Ozment is the author of Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age. She has worked for National Geographic and Boston magazine and been published in the New York Times. She lives in Chicago with her husband and three children.

For years now, she has been exploring how the ever-growing segment of non-religious parents raise their children. They’re not all atheists, but they have to grapple with the Big Questions about life and death and belonging, all without supernatural faith. She wrote a magazine article about it a few years ago, and she has now written a full-length examination into the topic.

I spoke with her about what secular “grace” looks like, why atheists may want rituals traditionally reserved for the religious, and how the landscape for atheist parents is rapidly changing.

Julia Sweeney, Comedian and Author

Julia Sweeney may be best known for her years on Saturday Night Live, where she famously played the androgynous character Pat. But she has since written multiple one-woman shows and books which speak to her experiences as a cancer survivor (God Said, Ha!), atheist (Letting Go of God), and mother (If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother).

Speaking of which, if you haven’t heard Letting Go of God yet, stop what you’re doing and go listen to it. It’s an incredible, funny story of how Julia shed her Catholicism. (A condensed version of the show was featured on a 2005 episode of This American Life.)

At the recent American Humanist Association conference in Chicago, we spoke with Julia and her daughter Mulan about how the character Pat would go over today, the movie Mulan finally watched for the very first time, and what Julia thinks about the new all-female Ghostbusters reboot.

Dr. Elizabeth Drescher, Author of Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones

Dr. Elizabeth Drescher is a professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University and the author, most recently, of Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones.

We spoke with her about what atheist “spirituality” really means, the problem with the language we use to talk about faith, and how religion is no longer being passed down generation after generation.

This episode was sponsored by Foundation Marketing, which offers all-encompassing solutions backed by 20 years’ experience. This includes professional web design, graphic design, printing, and online marketing solutions. If you let them know you were sent by the Friendly Atheist Podcast, you’ll get 10% off any sale. They’re also donating 20% of all sales driven by this podcast to the Clergy Project and Foundation Beyond Belief.

Notes:

We mentioned the Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study, which you can read right here.