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The Aidan Project

Author: Aidan Coughlan

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Aidan Coughlan's inquisitive podcast examines history, current events and culture. What is happening in the world and how do we make sense of it? Aidan, assisted by expert guests from around the globe, is on a quest to find out. Why not join him?
83 Episodes
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In this edition of the podcast, Aidan is speaking to Eric Pratt, a former radical member of the Mormon Church. Born and raised in Utah, Eric was a follower of Mormonism for over 20 years, including two years spent as a proselytizing Mormon missionary. In this intriguing audio, Eric tells the story of his indoctrination into, and his escape out of, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Eric also talks about the infamous founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, what it was like to be a missionary, the prevalence of misogyny within religion, living a moral life as an atheist, and much more. A prequel of sorts to this episode is also available, see episode 82 – Project Extra: The Legacy of Christopher Hitchens.
This episode of the podcast is a bonus audio edition ahead of a full-length episode to follow. Aidan’s guest is Eric Pratt, who for over 20 years was an aggressively active member of the Mormon Church, including two years spent as a proselytizing Mormon missionary. Although it is addressed only briefly in this episode, in the full episode, Eric will explain his journey into, and out of, the Mormon faith. In this bonus audio, Aidan and Eric talk about the life and influence of Christopher Hitchens, whose reasoned arguments assisted Eric in leaving religion altogether. Aidan and Eric also discuss atheism and religion, friendship, and Eric’s possible foray into podcast hosting. Eric, as will be discussed in the full episode, is not on social media, but is working on a book about his life which will hopefully be available in the near future. Expanded show notes are available at https://theaidanproject.org/
In an intriguing episode from February 2018, #73 - Abraham’s Secular Covenant, Bernard Lamborelle discussed his remarkable book, The Covenant: On the Origin of the Abrahamic Faith, by Means of Deification. This episode,  #81 - Project Extra: Revisiting The Covenant, is an abridged version of a follow-up conversation which was streamed live on Facebook on 6 April 2018 (The Aidan Project Live #3: Revisiting the Covenant). In this bonus podcast audio, Bernard provides a brief summary of his thesis, discusses additional evidence which was not covered in the original podcast episode, and addresses the response to his argument that the Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – very likely do have a real story to tell about a covenant, but not a religious one.  Expanded show notes are available at https://theaidanproject.org
In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is joined by author, historian, philosopher and exceptional debunker of Christian apologetics, Dr. Richard Carrier. What are the origins of Christianity? What is the evidence for a historical Jesus? What is it like to debate Christian apologists, and what are the common arguments made in defence of the faith? These questions, and much more, are answered in this episode. Dr. Carrier’s books and articles have received international attention. With a Ph.D. from Columbia University in ancient history, Dr. Carrier specializes in the intellectual history of Greece and Rome, particularly ancient philosophy, religion, and science, with an emphasis on the origins of Christianity, and the use and progress of science under the Roman empire. Dr. Carrier is also a published expert in the modern philosophy of naturalism as a worldview. Dr. Carrier is the author of On the Historicity of Jesus, Proving History, Sense and Goodness without God, Science Education in the Early Roman Empire, Not the Impossible Faith, Why I Am Not a Christian, and Hitler Homer Bible Christ. For purchase options, see https://www.richardcarrier.info/BooksbyRichardCarrier.html Dr. Carrier’s website is an incredible resource for additional information, including articles, useful links, classes, social media, and more. See https://www.richardcarrier.info/ Expanded show notes are available at https://theaidanproject.org/
In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is speaking to Steven Keslowitz, author of books including The World According to the Simpsons, The Tao of Jack Bauer, and Why You Better Call Saul. Steven is a practicing attorney and pop culture expert, and in this episode, Steven explains the success within popular culture of disreputable fictional characters, including the lawyers Saul Goodman (Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul) and Lionel Hutz (The Simpsons). Also considered within this fun episode: ‘Cultivation Theory’ (an examination of the effect that watching television over the long-term may have on the ability to differentiate fiction and reality), what is the relationship between celebrities (including the late Stephen Hawking) and The Simpsons, how does The Simpsons deal with controversial issues, such as gun control, and how accurate are the legal proceedings in Better Call Saul? Also mentioned within this episode are the famous comments made about The Simpsons by former US President George HW Bush. At the 1992 Republican Convention, Bush said: "We're going to keep trying to strengthen the American family. To make them more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons." Steven has written about this very quote in The World According To The Simpsons, and shares his view of the relationship between The Simpsons and the ideal of the American family. For more information on Steven, you can view his website at http://www.stevenkeslowitz.com/, his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/skeslowitz/, and his Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steven-Keslowitz/e/B001JS3LLC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1522146986&sr=8-1 (UK) and https://www.amazon.com/Steven-Keslowitz/e/B001JS3LLC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1522146986&sr=8-1 (US). Expanded show notes are available at https://theaidanproject.org
In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan examines the claims regarding culpability and blame within the historiography of The Irish Famine (circa 1845-1850). The Irish Famine devastated Ireland’s population: it is estimated to have killed a million people, with around two million more people forced to leave the country. Furthermore, this appalling event is a key example of the uneasy history between Ireland and the United Kingdom. At the time of the Famine, Ireland was a formal part of the UK, following the Act of Union in 1801. Did the British intend to extirpate the Irish, as has often been claimed, or were the British simply incompetent? The genocide charge dominates the historiography of the Famine. This debate over culpability and blame is, of course, a contentious one. This episode, after providing a brief introduction to the Famine, will summarise the competing arguments. This episode includes audio from episode 24 – The Irish Famine: Tragedy and Propaganda, which featured an interview with Professor Liam Kennedy, Emeritus Professor of History at Queen’s University Belfast. Aidan and Professor Kennedy discussed the comparisons made by Irish nationalists between the Irish Famine and the Jewish Holocaust. Professor Kennedy’s most recent book is Unhappy the Land: The Most Oppressed People Ever, the Irish. Expanded show notes are available at https://theaidanproject.org/
Dr. Larry Fedewa says that Donald Trump would do well to tweet less often and to rein in some of his unseemly language, but, nevertheless, Dr. Fedewa argues that Trump is doing a good job as United States President. In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is speaking to Dr. Larry Fedewa, a conservative political commentator, with countless media contributions to his name, including the Washington Times. How successful has Trump’s administration been in gaining legislative support? What can be said of Trump’s foreign policy? Is Trump a new Ronald Reagan or is he more akin to a much earlier President, Andrew Jackson? Could Trump face impeachment, and if so, how does the impeachment process work? What is the future of the odd relationship between Trump and the mainstream media? All of these questions, and much more, are considered during this intriguing episode. Aidan also spoke to Dr. Fedewa for the bonus audio episode, #75 – Project Extra: The Gun Debate. For more information on Dr. Larry, you can visit his website at http://www.mypoliticalinsights.com. Larry is also on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lawrencefedewa, and you can view his Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/Lawrence-J.-Fedewa/e/B076P8Q1W8 (US) and https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lawrence-J.-Fedewa/e/B076P8Q1W8 (UK). Expanded show notes are available at https://theaidanproject.org/
In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is talking to Dr. Gleb Tsipursky of the Pro-Truth Pledge about the battle for honest discourse. This is an important consideration. During a speech at the White House in January 2017, Donald Trump’s Press Secretary at the time, Sean Spicer, famously said: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.” This statement has been endlessly mocked, but, in more serious terms, it has come to represent, as stated shortly afterwards without irony by Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway, as not being a lie, but an entirely different version of the truth. Spicer, explained Conway, was not being dishonest, but was dealing in “alternative facts”. Comparisons to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four were manifestly obvious and, indeed, were deeply indicative of a very real problem. What is the answer to alternative facts? Utilising research in behavioral science, Dr. Tsipursky is leading a team effort to address post-truth politics, fake news, and those unscrupulous alternative facts. Dr. Tsipursky is asking people, be they members of congress or members of the public, to sign the Pro-Truth Pledge as a commitment to deal in only one type of fact, and not the alternative variety. Dr. Tsipursky explains the motivation behind this movement, and outlines his hopes for a more honest arena of public discourse. Why are humans so easily misled? What can be done about fake news? Is it possible that Donald Trump would sign such a pledge? How has social media been manipulated to spread misinformation, and can this be prevented? These questions, including a fascinating look at why humans are, from an evolutionary standpoint, poorly equipped to deal with the modern age, are featured in this episode. For more information on the Pro-Truth Pledge, or to sign the pledge, head to https://www.protruthpledge.org/take-the-pro-truth-pledge/ Expanded show notes are available at https://theaidanproject.org/
In this bonus edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is speaking to Dr. Larry Fedewa, a conservative political commentator, with countless media contributions to his name, including the Washington Times. In this mini-episode, Dr. Larry offers his reflections on the 14 February 2018 mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, before discussing the wider issue of guns in American culture. Dr. Larry talks about the Second Amendment, the failures of the FBI, the culture clash in the US between rural and urban areas, and more. How soluble is the gun problem in America? Or is the problem less about guns, but more about mental health and law enforcement? Dr. Larry provides considered insight into these questions. For more information on Dr. Larry, you can visit his website at http://www.mypoliticalinsights.com. Larry is also on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lawrencefedewa, and you can view his Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/Lawrence-J.-Fedewa/e/B076P8Q1W8 (US) and https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lawrence-J.-Fedewa/e/B076P8Q1W8 (UK). Expanded show notes are available at https://theaidanproject.org/
In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is joined by Mary Shores, author of Conscious Communications: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Harnessing the Power of Your Words to Change Your Mind, Your Choices, and Your Life, to discuss neuroscience, positive thinking, free will, the self, consciousness, stress, the negative aspects of social media, and much more. In fact, Aidan and Mary are having this conversation for the second time, the previous conversation having been lost due to the capricious nature of technology. This time, however, nothing was lost, and a wide-ranging conversation has been preserved. Recognized as a leader of innovative thought, Mary travels across the United States giving lectures, and teaching courses, and has been featured on local and national radio and television shows, podcasts, and blogs. Within this episode, Mary speaks candidly about life’s challenges, providing practical guidance, alongside first-hand experience, to explain the power of positive thinking.  For more information on Mary, you can head to Mary’s website at http://www.maryshores.com/, you can find Mary on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mary_shores, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/shoresmary/ and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/c/maryshores. For options on purchasing Conscious Communications, head to http://maryshores.com/the-book/. Expanded show notes are available at https://theaidanproject.org/
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