Photo by Korney Violin
To request a media interview with me, please use the Contact page. This page is for links to past interviews.
Interview with Seth Andrews and Psychiatrist J. Anderson Thomson, (59 min)
Many thanks to Andy Thomson and Seth Andrews for inviting me to join this enlightening conversation on the evolutionary bases of religious beliefs. We cover lots of ground, including the conspiratorial aspect of fundamentalist religion, religious imagery as supernormal stimuli, the infantile dimension of religiousness, the link between narcissism and cultishness, and Lee Kirkpatrick's attachment theory of religion.
Interview with the thoughtful crew of the Left at the Valley Podcast, (30 min)
My thanks to Kevin Francis, Nancy Weisz-Gallagher, and Kristina Randall for this interview on their podcast, Left at the Valley. Based in Vancouver, this enthusiastic group of Canadian skeptics asked many challenging questions about my book. Our conversation explored my personal religious background and the central ideas of the book, with special emphasis on the infantile aspects of religiousness and the strange obsession with sex found in most religions. Their conversation with me begins at about 29 minutes into the podcast.
Interview with Nathan Dickey for his Leap of Doubt Podcast, (58 min)
Nathan Dickey, who interviewed me about my book for another podcast (see below), here discusses with me a series of articles I've written on a different subject: science-based politics and a better way to elect presidents. These articles grew out of my interests in cults, narcissism, frequency-dependent selection, and the Trump phenomenon. A critical catalyst in these efforts was Danny Kleinman, who contacted me after reading one of my pieces in the Huffington Post. Among his many interests (mathematics, chess, backgammon, bridge, and music), Danny has studied the mathematics of voting systems and the incentives a voting system creates for candidates and voters. In this conversation, Nathan and I explore not only those ideas, but also the broader issue of how a more empirical and scientifically oriented approach to political problems could fix the political dysfunction that now plagues our nation. When you get to the Leap of Doubt website, scroll to the bottom of the text there to start playing the podcast. You can find links to my articles on this subject on the blog page.
Interview with three sharp skeptics for their Trolling-With-Logic Podcast, (1 hr 7 min)
Nathan Dickey, Jenna Bowyer, and Callum MacDonald kept me on my toes throughout this lively and wide-ranging conversation. Trolling With Logic is a relatively new star in the firmament of online skepticism and free thought, but already it has an impressive archive of fascinating podcasts and blog posts. Our conversation lived up to that high standard and explored a broad sample of ideas from my book, including the tenacity of religion, its possible adaptive value, the gender of God, the religious obsession with sex, a new attack on the apologists' last-ditch defense, the kludginess of biological evolution, the plus side of life after religion, and what exactly does Doctor Strangelove have to do with any of this? Have a listen and find out!
Interview with Seth Andrews for his Thinking Atheist Podcast, (46 min)
Seth Andrews is an interesting guy with a fascinating backstory of his own. His first few decades of life were largely devoted to his Christian faith, which he served, in part, as a Christian radio announcer. You'll understand why when you hear his smooth, deep, broadcast-perfect voice. But the scales started to fall away from his eyes when he saw meaningless tragedy strike an undeserving Christian musician, and then the 9/11 attacks shook loose the rest of those scales. He now uses that broadcast-perfect voice in the service of science, skepticism, and free-thinking. In his chat with me we discussed why the innate basis of spiritual longing is not evidence for God's existence; why God is not beyond the reach of science; the feeling of God's presence as a cognitively impenetrable illusion; the role of cooperative breeding in the evolutionary shaping of the neonatal mind; the role of the neural circuitry of addiction in infantile and spiritual longing; and the distinction between linguistic and theistic competence in the brain of a newborn infant. We also talk about the empathy that he and I both feel for believers, having come from religious backgrounds ourselves.
Interview with Darrel Ray for his Secular Sexuality Podcast, (54 min)
Dr. Darrel Ray is a clinical psychologist who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian church and ultimately found his way to atheism. He has authored several books on the subject, including The God Virus: How Religion Affects Our Lives and Culture and Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality. He founded the organization Recovering from Religion and treats clients who struggle with the damaging effects of religion in their personal lives, especially sexual problems. This is the central focus of his podcast, and in this interview we discuss many details of my hypothesis and its relevance to the religious obsession with sex. My conversation with Darrel begins about 15 minutes into the podcast.
Interview with Josh Zepps for Point of Inquiry podcast (35 min)
This conversation with Josh touched on many interesting aspects of the book and on the place of religion in society more generally. Topics included: deism and the intersection of God with science; intuition versus science as ways of "knowing"; the two biological roots of religion and the two-faced nature of God; sacrifice and the need to belong as essential aspects of the social root of religion; and the biological explanation for the religious obsession with sex. My thanks to Josh for his insightful questions.
Interview with Drew Marshall for The Drew Marshall Show (20 min)
The Drew Marshall Show is Canada’s most popular spiritually-themed radio talk show, but this is no ordinary religious broadcast, and Drew Marshall is no radio evangelist. After a very public crisis of faith in 2010, Drew offered to resign from hosting the show when he came out as agnostic. His listeners supported him, however, and today his show probably has the broadest spectrum of guests — atheists included — of anything on Christian radio. In this interview we discuss the nearly disastrous hike that precipitated my own sensed presence experience and why I don’t accept a religious interpretation of it. I elaborate on this discussion in a blog post.
Interview with Staks Rosch for Publisher's Weekly (written)
This was my first interview on The Illusion of God's Presence. It was severely constrained by PW's word count limit, but Staks asked thoughtful questions and did a superb job of editing my replies. We covered several essential points in remarkably few words.
Interview with Michelangelo Signorile on his Sirius XM radio show (20 min)
Journalist and gay activist Michelangelo Signorile now has a thought-provoking talk show on Sirius XM radio, and in this conversation he and I discuss several topics not mentioned in my prior interviews. Chief among these: possible reasons for the persistence into adulthood of an infant's innate neural model of the mother; the possible adaptive value of religion in human evolution; and the persistence into adulthood of infantile traits (neoteny) both in the evolution of dogs from wolves and in the evolution of human hypersociality. A minor correction: I mistakenly attribute the phrase "Father-Mother God" to Seventh Day Adventism; in fact it comes from Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science. You will need a Sirius XM subscription to hear this interview online. If you are not already a subscriber, you can get a free 30-day trial subscription at the Sirius XM website. After you log in, search for "Michelangelo Signorile." My interview was about halfway through his show of Friday, 18 March 2016, the title of which is his first topic of the day, The Republican "Unity Ticket".