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Why, Al Franken, Why?

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Jessica and I sat down to talk about several stories from the past week involving religion and politics.

— How should we be reacting to the news that Sen. Al Franken once groped and kissed a model without her consent? (0:42)

Roy Moore‘s defenders are not making him look good. (18:17)

— An Australian lawyer will help a Christian couple get divorced after marriage equality passes. (24:43)

— An assisted suicide bill was defeated in New South Wales, in part due to misinformation. (27:30)

— Will Donald Trump hurt the “pro-life” movement in the long term? (31:49)

— A conservative Ohio lawmaker resigned after getting caught having an affair in his office with another man. (37:44)

— Should Muslim Barbie wear a hijab? (42:00)

— Televangelist Jim Bakker says “They outlawed ‘Merry Christmas’ a few years ago.” (44:45)

— Did this truck driver break any laws when she put a derogatory message about Trump on her back window? (48:55)

(Image via Shutterstock)

Peter Boghossian, Author of A Manual for Creating Atheists

Peter Boghossian is a philosophy professor at Portland State University and the author of A Manual for Creating Atheists, a book in which he talks about “street epistemology” — essentially how to talk people out of their faith. He’s currently working on a phone app that’ll guide people through that process.

We spoke with Peter about why his approach isn’t just “atheist evangelism,” why smart people can believe silly things, and whether his techniques work on his own children in other areas of life.

You can see his upcoming speaking engagements here.

Noelle George, Founder of Secular Avenue

Noelle George is a secular activist interested in making a tangible difference in the world, rather than simply arguing about religion behind a keyboard. She founded the SECULAR Center in Houston and is the Director of Special Projects for Foundation Beyond Belief (a group I work with). But her latest endeavor is aimed at helping those people who most need it.

It’s called Secular Avenue. The group will assist those who are unsafe at home because they are no longer religious, living under religious extremism, victims of domestic abuse, or coming out as LGBTQ. Secular Avenue will offer those people financial help, counseling, and legal assistance, among other things.

We spoke with Noelle about how people in need can get help, what we can do to pitch in, and why it’s so important for atheists to find a way to volunteer.

Check out our longer interview with Noelle and please consider making a donation to her organization.

Parisa Tabriz, Google Chrome’s “Security Princess”

Parisa Tabriz is Google’s self-described “Security Princess,” a euphemism she created in part because “hired hacker” sounds kind of evil. Her job is to figure out the problems with Google Chrome and fix them before the bad guys do. That’s a pretty amazing job for anyone, much less a 31-year-old woman, which isn’t exactly the norm in the tech world. Last July, Elle magazine ran a long profile on her.

(Full disclosure: I knew Parisa in high school and we had classes together, though we haven’t talked much since graduating.)

We spoke with Parisa about how she gets into the mind of a hacker, how we can get more women into this field, and how ignorance really isn’t bliss in her world.