This week on Think Atheist Radio we have our chat with Dr. Jeremy Koons. Dr. Koons received his BA in the philosophy of religion from Virigina's Hampden-Sydney College, graduating Summa Cum Laude, before receiving a PhD in philosophy, with distinction, from Georgetown University. He has held positions at Auburn University, the American University of Beirut, Hong Kong University, and Massachusetts' Stonehill College. Dr. Koons is now an associate professor of philosophy at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Affairs in Qatar. With a particular focus on ethics and epistemology, his areas of interest include the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and logic. The author of Pragmatic Reasons: A Defense of Morality and Epistemology, he has also published numerous papers and presented at several conferences, while being recognized repeatedly with awards and fellowships. We asked Dr. Koons to join us to discuss a recently published paper (pdf) of his that asks the question, "Can God's Goodness Save The Divine Command Theory from Euthyphro?" We discussed whether Christian ethics can be rescued from a dilemma for the theist where choosing one side results in meaninglessness, while choosing the other side results in an arbitrary morality that says that something is or isn't moral– including, for instance, the torture of infants– only insofar God says it is. Theist philosophers of religion recognize the risks here and have tried to come up with some ways to get around the dilemma. Can one solution in particular succeed?
A distinguished chemist and co-author of the acclaimed Pross-Shaik model, Dr. Pross received both his BSc and PhD from the University of Sydney. He did his postdoctoral work at Kings College, London and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem before taking a position at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel where he was ultimately made Professor of Chemistry. Even while maintaining his position at Ben-Gurion University (indeed, while serving as the Chair of the Chemistry Department) he has held visiting positions at the world's foremost institutions. These include the Lund University, Stanford University, Rutgers University, University of California at Irvine, University of Padova, the Australian National University Canberra, and his alma mater, the University of Sydney. He has the distinction of having been the invited plenary speaker to more than 60 conferences and universities. Until more recently, most of Dr. Pross' research has focused on chemical reactivity and organic reaction mechanisms. Switching focus, he has become interested in investigating the mechanisms of the emergence of life from simple chemicals to complex biology. He is the author of over 100 research papers and an influential text on organic reactivity. We asked Dr. Pross to join us to discuss his newly published book, What is Life? How Chemistry Becomes Biology. It's a fascinating subject with implications for several issues of relevance to freethinkers. Don't miss it!
Dr. Church performed his undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Zoology at Duke University before moving on to Harvard University for his MA and PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He is now a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work has led to advancements in the next generation of genome sequencing and synthesis of cell and tissue engineering, with the result being that he has either founded, co-founded, or advised 22 biotechnology companies. He has started the Personal Genome Project to seek volunteers to have their personal genome made publicly available. He is Director of the US Department of Energy Center for Bioenergy at Harvard and MIT and Director of the National Institutes of Health Center for Genomic Excellence at Harvard. With 50 patents and 270 papers published, 2011 saw Dr. Church's election the National Academy of Science. He recently released a book, co-written with Ed Regis, titled Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves. We asked Dr. Church to join us to discuss how advancements in synthetic biology will impact our lives, the challenges left to overcome, and the ethical considerations involved. Do listen in!
Dr. Hoffmann did his undergrad work in physics and mathematics at Technische Universität Clausthal in Germany before receiving an MS in physics at Southern Illinois University and a PhD in materials science and engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Previously a Research Fellow at Oxford University, he is a Professor of Physics and an Associate Dean at Michigan's Wayne State University. One of the founders of Wayne State's Biomedical Physics Program, he conducts research in the Nanomechanics Laboratory using Atomic Force Microscopy to peer into the internal machinery of cells. Dr. Hoffmann is the author of the just released book Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos. We asked Dr. Hoffmann to join us to discuss his new book. During the course of our discussion we discovered just how deeply the physical laws that govern the universe underlie life's processes. It's a fascinating topic and we're thrilled Dr. Hoffmann could join us. Give a listen!
Dr. Paulos received his PhD in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin and is now a professor of that same subject at Temple University. Mathematical logic and probability has been the focus of of his academic work and the subject of many scholarly papers. The recipient in 2003 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Award for Promoting the Public Understanding of Science and Technology, Dr. Paulos has been a long time contributor to print, radio, and television media, including the New York Times, the London Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, the BBC, ABC's 20/20, CNN's Larry King Live, and more. He is the author of several popular level books, among which are Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences (a New York Times Best Seller), A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper, and Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up. We asked Dr. Paulos to join us to get the thoughts of a mathematician on critical thinking and the arguments for God. Join us!