This episode begins with an introduction and explanation of the show's new title, "Studies in a Dying Culture," borrowed from the title of a book by Christopher Caudwell in the 1930s. Ralph next reads his poem "Raggedy Poet Society", a poem about the elder generation's attempt to express itself at a time when it has become culturally obsolete. Next comes a tribute to the recently deceased writer Martin Gardner, best known for his publications on mathematical recreations and on fringe "science" and extraordinary knowledge claims. The balance of this show is devoted to setting the historical stage for the evaluation of the ideologies of the atheist/humanist/skeptical movement(s) in the USA and current controversies dividing different factions of atheists and humanists.The theme of this radio show, borrowed from my blog also titled Studies in a Dying Culture:
What is to become of critical culture in this dumbed-down millennium? We aim to provide historical, social, and philosophical perspective.
Read the Introduction to my blog for a somewhat fuller explanation. See my Christopher Caudwell bibliography for more information on the author of Studies in a Dying Culture (1938) and Further Studies in a Dying Culture (posthumous publication, 1949), wherefrom my upbeat title originates. Now is not a replay of the 1930s, but we too approach a civilizational crisis.
The bulk of Episode 3, setting the stage for an historical perspective on atheism, freethought, humanism, and skepticism, begins at 13:15.
The 26 minute mark is where discussion of the history of "humanism" and "atheism" in the USA in the 20th century begins.
At 40 minutes I ask: why these humanist manifestos, and I say a few words about the historical context probably relevant to each.
At the 44 minute mark, I question Paul Kurtz's Neo-Humanist Statement of Secular Principles and Values: Personal, Progressive, and Planetary and his Institute for Science and Human Values newly founded in the wake of the recent crisis within the Center for Free Inquiry. Fred Mohr adds some remarks on programs presented at CFI and the perspectives of Kurtz and other CFI members presented in these encounters.