Commentary by:
   MICHAEL DOWD
   CONNIE BARLOW


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Rev. Michael Dowd shapes his evolutionary message for a New Thought audience (Unity of Portland, Oregon) on the first Sunday following the November 2016 elections. His three main points: (1) Decline is divine and chaos catalyzes creativity; (2) Interpretations matter — and mythic interpretations matter most; (3) You can't know the impact of your actions, so get on with it.

 

 

Direct download: podcast-58.mp3
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Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd reflect on the past year of learnings and insights, stimulated by listening to the final chapter of William Catton's book, Overshoot. Content is expanded in Dowd's 2016 video trilogy Standing for the Future (on youtube) and in Dowd's Grace Limits Audios webpage compilation.

Direct download: podcast-057.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44am EDT

Terry Patten interviewed Michael Dowd in March 2016 as part of his ongoing "Beyond Awakening" audio series. In this 90-minute program, the two explore the existentially challenging worldview offered by Dowd in this "century of consequences."

 

Direct download: podcast-56.mp3
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February 7, 2016 Michael Dowd delivered this guest sermon at South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society of Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

Direct download: podcast-055.mp3
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This is the third in a trilogy of sermons that Michael Dowd delivered at Peoples Church Unitarian, Ludington Michigan, during the summer of 2015. (The other two sermons are posted as episodes 52 and 53 in this podcast series.) You can also view this sermon on youtube in video format.

Direct download: podcast-054.mp3
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This is the second in a trilogy of sermons that Michael Dowd delivered at Peoples Church Unitarian, Ludington Michigan, during the summer of 2015. (The other two sermons are posted as episodes 52 and 54 in this podcast series.) You can also view this sermon on youtube in video format.

Direct download: podcast-053.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:42pm EDT

Michael Dowd delivered a sermon series in Summer 2015 at Peoples Church Unitarian, Ludington Michigan. This first sermon in the trilogy is titled "When Religion Fails, Economics Becomes Demonic." You can also view it on youtube in video format.

Direct download: podcast-052.mp3
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Michael Dowd delivered on 4 January 2015 a guest sermon at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, Florida. His 3 points: (1) Challenging times remind us of our humanity and promote humility; (2) Challenging times help us embrace our mortality; (3) Challenging times help us clarify what matters most. Topics include Dowd's advocacy of "legacy consciousness" and living in accordance with "the fundamental law of life," which he speaks of by resurrecting a legal/moral term that was a central concern for Thomas Jefferson: usufruct. Dowd concludes, "Religions have been failing in their most important task, which is helping us live in right relationship to reality and ensuring a healthy future." 

Direct download: podcast-051.mp3
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Michael Dowd was interviewed mid-December 2014 by the hosts of the podcast series Everyone's Agnostic. We edited it down to an hour for our America's Evolutionary Evangelists series. Climate change is front and center for Michael, and you will hear how the interviewers affirm Michael's view. Key points include: "God is Reality with a personality — not a person outside of Reality." Also, "The role of religion has always been to shame any individual or group of individuals who are harming the community or the future. Religion has not been playing that role in our time because of what I call 'the triple idolatries': idolatry of the written word, idolatry of the otherworldly, and idolatry of beliefs."

Visit the "What's new?" page of our website, TheGreatStory.org, to access videos we recorded this year.

Direct download: podcast-050-level.mp3
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Michael Dowd delivered on 8 September 2014 a a guest sermon at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Indianapolis, Indiana. His three points: (1) We are bigger, older, and more deeply related than we thought; (2) Nature is more holy, more divine, than we've been led to believe; (3) Our way into the future is crystal clear. Dowd begins with a reading from Thomas Berry and ends with a prophetic call:"The past is rooting for us, and the future is calling us to greatness!"

Direct download: podcast-049.mp3
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Michael Dowd delivered on 22 June 2014 a a guest sermon at The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango, CO. His three points: (1) What we call Reality, the ancients called God; (2) God/Reality is communicating today primarily through scientific, historical, and cross-cultural evidence; and (3) in order for religions to pass forward a healthy world for future generations, each must undertake a kind of "evidential reformation" — celebrating that "Reality is God and evidence is scripture."

Direct download: podcast-048.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:53pm EDT

Michael Dowd delivered on 13 April 2014 a a guest sermon at Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Prescott, AZ. In addition to his primary themes (as presented in podcast episode 43, "Ecology As Theology," Dowd offers that "all gods and goddesses can be understood in either a fictional or a factual way." Other memes include thinking of the human as the "Prodigal Species": "We have squandered our inheritance, and now we must come home to Reality." He advises secular folk to "Make your legacy your primary concern." For Christians he advises, "Make your legacy your Lord."

 

Direct download: podcast-047.mp3
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Michael Dowd delivered on 23 February 2014 a new presentation to nurture "legacy consciousness" and to motivate action in joyful service of the future. He spoke at the Seaside Center for Spiritual Living in Encinitas, California. This was his inaugural presentation in collaboration with The Great March for Climate Action, which would commence in Los Angeles on March 1 and conclude in Washington D.C. in early November. You will hear embedded audios of three short videos that Michael played for the audience: (1) a TEDx climate talk by David Roberts, (2) a statement on the "intergenerational injustice" if we fail to act on climate change by climate scientist James Hansen, and (3) a recitation by poet Drew Dellinger.

Direct download: podcast-046.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50pm EDT

Connie Barlow delivered a guest sermon on 27 October 2013 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hendersonville, North Carolina. The full title is "How Religion Is Failing Our Youth — and What We Can Do About It." She addressed three major concerns: first, the importance of youth being offered a coherent story by which to navigate the excitement and challenges of life (she recommends the "epic of evolution"); second, helping boys in particular steer away from the most debilitating and addictive aspects of internet gaming and internet video porn (without laying on fear or shame); and third, doing what we need to do systemically to pass on a healthy economy and a healthy planet to the generations that follow.

Direct download: podcast-045.mp3
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Connie Barlow introduces in January 2014 a learning and action series for helping trees adapt to climate change — species by species, decade by decade. Citizen naturalists are invited to research a favorite native tree species and begin to work with others to keep up with the northward movement of forest zones by planting and monitoring small numbers of wild seeds of common species onto private forested lands well north of where those seeds were collectedThis "assisted migration" in a time of unprecedented climate shift will be increasingly necessary in the decades ahead. Foresters can create the maps to show us where species will need to move to. But we citizen naturalists will play a complementary role in ensuring that the full diversity of genotypes keeps pace with a warming and drying continent. NOTE: This podcast is the soundtrack of a richly illustrated videoblog by Connie that is posted on youtube: VIDEO: Climate, Trees, and Legacy.

Direct download: podcast-044.mp3
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Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow discuss Michael's latest version of his ever-evolving "Religion 2.0" -- aiming for a globally relevant, scientifically realistic, inspiring, and activating worldview that can bridge religiously diverse and secular perspectives.  In this episode, Michael pairs a secular term with a religious term in each of his six foundational points: (1) Reality is our God; (2) Evidence is our scripture; (3) Big History is our creation story; (4) Ecology is our theology; (5) Integrity is our religion; and (6) Ensuring a healthy future is our mission. Michael elaborates his points with several quotations drawn from the writings of the late Thomas Berry, mentor to many in this "metareligious" movement.

Direct download: podcast-43.mp3
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Connie Barlow delivered a guest sermon at Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Muskegon, Michigan, on June 30, 2013. While scientifically literate peoples have long appreciated science for what it tells us about our outer nature (the vast universe and the ecological intimacies that surround us), we are now in the midst of a revelatory experience in which evolutionary brain science is helping us understand our inner nature. We learn that the ancient instincts that so vitally served our ancestors without complication a few generations back now cause us turmoil and trauma because they are profoundly mismatched with altogether new temptations — which, in excess, can sabotage our lives and our relationships. Connie explores 4 realms of profound "mismatch" between our inherited instincts and the ramped-up substances and activities that can do us harm in excess: foods, feel-good substances, connectivity compulsion (including internet porn), and advanced medical technologies that all too often prolong the suffering and generational costs of what would otherwise be the natural death of elders.

Direct download: podcast-042.mp3
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Michael Dowd delivered a guest sermon at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe on February 10, 2013. His core message:  "Ecology is the new theology; big history is the new Genesis. Those who fail to understand that evidence is modern-day scripture, and that the world we live in is an honorable world, betray God and humanity in the most egregious of ways." He also pointed to, what he calls, "the twin idolatries": idolatry of the written word and idolatry of the otherworldly. In closing, he implores fellow baby boomers to attend to our collective "generational legacy" by staving off climate change and by reining in the debt we will otherwise bequeath to the young, simply by passively submitting to costly medical technologies when death by old age is on the horizon.

Direct download: podcast-041.mp3
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Connie Barlow recites and discusses a December 2012 essay she and Michael Dowd produced and posted in both the Huffington Post (online here) and Metanexus (here). Barlow and Dowd deliver a call-to-action for religious educators and ministers in theologically liberal settings to revamp their goals and curricula toward offering children and youth the inspiring, practical, and deeply meaningful fruits of a fully evolutionary worldview.

Direct download: podcast-040.mp3
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Michael Dowd propels his personal awakening to the perils of climate change into a powerful sermon. Delivered January 6, 2013 at both services of the Jefferson Unitarian Church (Golden, Colorado), the full title of the sermon is "God Rebukes Religious Right: Repent or Face Hell and High Water." Dowd suggests that "idolatry of the written word" and "idolatry of the otherworldly" have blinded the religious right to the "intergenerational evil" of climate change. Note: This is the audio of a video the church posted onlinehttp://vimeo.com/channels/juc/56939241. A 2-minute video excerpt of Dowd challenging the boomer generation to arise out of selfishness is posted at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1KVzWMKHB0&feature=youtu.be.

Direct download: podcast-039.mp3
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Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow "woke up" to the magnitude and speed of climate change in December 2012. The dangers of human-caused climate disturbance had, by then, become undeniable, making this the fundamental moral issue of our time. In this podcast, the duo include clips from the world's most respected climate scientist, NASA's James Hansen, and two key advocates for systemic change: Bill McKibben and David Roberts.  Because this is just the audio track of the original video podcast, we recommend you watch the entire 49-minute video on YouTube: "Climate Change and Intergenerational Evil". Please recommend that your friends watch it too.

Direct download: podcast-038.mp3
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Michael Dowd is interviewed for Blog Talk Radio by Richard Brendan. Widely ranging topics from Michael's book, Thank God for Evolution, are the focus of this 50-minute program, including the evolutionary value of religions, how all religions necessarily are evolving, the "evidential wisdom" of science (science as humanity's "global collective intelligence"), science as "public revelation," and the distinction between "practical truth" (carried forward by all long-standing religions) and "factual truth" (the unique contribution of science). Two links are provided here to projects Michael refers to: (1) "Evolutionary Spirituality: Coming Home to Reality" and (2) the 38-audio-interview series "Evolutionary Christianity".

Direct download: podcast-037.mp3
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Connie Barlow delivers a 20-minute sermon at Cadboro Bay United Church near Victoria, BC (Canada) October 2012. Connie suggests that progressive churches will serve a vital role for the next generations when they evolve their understanding of "religious education" to mean primarily the need to provision children with a sense of feeling at home in the universe. Only in churches and homeschool settings can our culture's widespread malaise of "amythia" be healed. To do so, science must be presented in deeply meaningful ways, while all facets of education are integrated as elements ('beads") in one grand (and globally shared) story: the epic of evolution.

Direct download: cb-cadboro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:53pm EDT

35. The Magic of Reality: New Book by Richard Dawkins

Barlow and Dowd take an inside look at Richard Dawkins' first children's book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True. The couple recite excerpts and discuss why this "courageous and necessary book" may indeed help evolve the religions of the world along the lines of, what Dowd calls, the Evidential Reformation.

Note: This commentary was originally recorded in video format and posted on Youtube here.

Other resources mentioned in the commentary include:

• Jennifer Morgan's Born with a Bang book trilogy for kids

• Evolutionary Parables (stories and dramatic scripts)

• Great Story Beads (13.7 billion years represented in beads)

Theme song "Poetry of Reality" courtesy Symphony of Science.


Direct download: podcast-035.mp3
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34. Death, Budgets, and Generational Justice

Connie Barlow builds on the 2011 call-to-action opinion piece by NYT columnist David Brooks ("Death and Budgets"), and the 2011 essay (in The New Republic) by Daniel Callahan and Sherwin B. Nuland, "The Quagmire: How American Medicine Is Destroying Itself." ( You can also watch an illustrated version of this podcast on YouTube.)

Here, Barlow issues her own call-to-action in order to "foment a revolution" with her fellow boomers and with what remains of the older generations. By "just saying no" to costly medical diagnostics and interventions that merely prolong dwindling life in our elder years, and by pioneering vibrant, responsible, and celebratory ways of openly and actively dying, we can return to humanity's ancestral roots of "generational generosity" in our modes of living and dying. We each can take care to ensure that our legacy "passes forward" blessings to the generations who follow us -- not insupportable debt.

Note: This is a sequel to podcast 30, "Death and Intergenerational Generosity."

You can sample all of Connie Barlow's text, audio, and video programs on a sacred, naturaistic regard for death at http://thegreatstory.org/death-programs.html

Direct download: podcast-034.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:36pm EDT

33. A Deep-Time Model of Transformation

Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd reflect on their current work of translating the discoveries and interpretations of the fledgling sciences of evolutionary psychology and evolutionary brain science into perspectives and practical tools for transforming lives and relationships.  Inspiration and direction for participating in cultural and societal improvement are drawn from the equally new scholarly discipline of Big History, which aims to uncover broad patterns within the trajectory of evolution and their causal links. The duo give examples of how this work has already helped each of them access empowering emotional states: gratitude for the past, trust in the future, inspiration to be in action, and empathy for engaging oppositional views.  Michael directs listeners to a newly posted site for free online viewing of the main public program he has been presenting in 2010, “Evolutionize Your Life.”  Dowd also commends a new downoadable audio lecture series by Allen D. MacNeill, “The Modern Scholar: Evolutionary Psychology I”.

Direct download: podcast-033.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:38pm EDT

32. Imprinting Is Not Indoctrination

Connie Barlow reflects on events that motivated her to write her boldest statement yet on the importance of provisioning children with a coherent cosmology.  Now available online, "Imprinting Is Not Indoctrination" is a challenge to freethinking parents and liberal religious educators who are so determined to not indoctrinate their kids that they fail to give them "a creation story / worldview through which to enjoy and securely navigate the years of childhood wonder, learning, and innocence."  Connie concludes this podcast with brief descriptions of the newest additions to the "What's New?" page on TheGreatStory.org website.  Notably, a preview of a new children's curriculum (which uses Great Story Beads): "Your Universe Story." Also Connie's newest videomashing project, "Praise Darwin!" — an evolution revival meeting now on YouTube. Finally, links to a terrific dialogue with scientist and kids curricula developer Jon Cleland-Host and a moving 21-minute documentary, "The Great Story in Kosovo."

Direct download: podcast-032.mp3
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31. Sermon: The New Atheists As God's Prophets

June 6, 2010 was a landmark day for Michael Dowd as an evangelist of the evolutionary perspective in American churches.  This was the day that he delivered his boldest sermon ever, titled "The New Atheists As God's Prophets."  People's Church of Ludington, MI was his first religious venue for this title.  He will reprise this sermon on July 11 at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Syracuse, NY, then twice in August in Oklahoma City: first at Mayflower Congregational Church and then at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral.  This sermon offers the ideas first presented on September 6, 2009, in the sixth podcast of this series, and which Michael presented as a blogpost on June 4. Michael's aim is this: “I want to encourage religious people not to get defensive when the New Atheists are attacking religion or attacking concepts of God. Instead, recognize that they are fulfilling the role of a prophet."

Direct download: podcast-031.mp3
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30. Death and Intergenerational Generosity

Connie Barlow reflects on her visit to Pioneer Cemetery in Canandaigua NY, where her paternal ancestors six generations back are buried.  (Photo right is of her brother Bill and nephew Myles Barlow pondering the stone memorials of Abner and Mary Barlow.)  This podcast topic was also stimulated by a memoir in the 6/20/10 issue of New York Times Magazine: "What Broke My Father's Heart".  Barlow notes that the essay well depicted the modern-day obstacles that make achieving a natural and good death for the elderly exceedingly difficult in our highly medicalized culture, but that it was sorely lacking in addressing the equal need for the elderly themselves to make decisions in light of "intergenerational equity."  To this, Michael Dowd added, "It is more than just intergenerational equity we are calling for; it is intergenerational generosity."  The duo explore the role that a deep-time perspective can play in naturalizing our understanding of death and thereby calling forth voluntary and joyful expressions of intergenerational generosity. Recommended background reading on the current imbalance in intergenerational equity is the 2/1/10 Op-Ed column by David Brooks, "The Geezer's Crusade". Also, you can access online Connie's brief memoir on her mother's death, a bold proposal for re-incentivizing end-of-life medical choices, and an annotated list of other resources for evolving our cultural approach to death.

Direct download: podcast-030.mp3
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29. Supernatural Is Unnatural Is Uninspiring

Michael Dowd returns to the theme of our most popular podcast thus far: "The New Atheists As God's Prophets." This meme, which has since generated a lot of commentary on the internet, was introduced by Michael in Podcast #6, posted September 6, 2009.  Now Connie Barlow joins Michael in discussing his companion blogpostwhich is also titled "Supernatural Is Unnatural Is Uninspiring" (dated 7 June 2010). A key historical understanding grounds his premise: "The supernatural realm emerged as a thought form after we began to understand things in a natural, scientific way. Only after the concept of 'natural' emerged was it deemed necessary by some to speak of the 'supernatural': that which was imagined to be above or outside of nature."

Direct download: podcast-029.mp3
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28. Inspiring Naturalism and Evolving Faith: Two New Podcast Series

Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd announce the launch of two new podcast series and provide snippets from the first several episodes.  "Inspiring Naturalism" is a new series in which Barlow and Dowd serve as cohosts, interviewing and engaging ideas with scientists, historians, educators, and others leading the way toward reality-based views of the world that are both meaningful and motivating.  "Evolving Faith" is hosted by Michael; he engages theologians, ministers, and other religious professionals in exploring ways for evolving religious traditions toward congruence with the foundation of inspiring naturalism. The short samples include dialogue with evolutionist David Sloan Wilson, big historian David Christian, and theologian Bishop John Shelby Spong.

Direct download: podcast-028.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:03pm EDT

27. Deep-Time Remembering, Deep-Time Blessing

Michael Dowd extemporaneously delivers a guest sermon at a large, very progressive church in Spring Lake Michigan: C3 Exchange. This being Memorial Day weekend, his theme is remembering — but from a deep-time perspective.  Michael offers the congregation four essential components for experiencing deep-time grace: (1) Learn your story, (2) Interpret life generously, (3) Honor your instincts, and (4) Be a blessing to others and the world.  His wife, Connie Barlow, regards this as his best sermon ever.

Direct download: podcast-027.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:44pm EDT

26. Idolatry of the Written Word

Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow discuss ideas and share stories from their 8 years of experience evangelizing a modern evolutionary perspective in churches -- many of which have yet to update their beliefs, creedal statements, and liturgies beyond pre-medieval norms and understandings. Specifically, the duo highlight the harm caused by veneration of ancient religious scriptures over more modern evidential discoveries. Dowd suggests that, by making an idol of the written word, "The Christian church in the developed world will continue down a long and slow path to its own extinction, or irrelevance, as long as it sees the Bible as God's Word, as the main way the divine communicates, while failing to see scientific evidence as divine revelation." Dowd has also posted a companion blog to this podcast (same title), on his ThankGodForEvolution.com website. Note: This podcast builds upon Podcast #6, posted 6 September 2009, "The New Atheists As God's Prophets" and Podcast #7, posted on 20 September 2009, "Humanity Grows Up: From Beliefs to Knowledge".

Direct download: podcast-026.mp3
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25. Deep-Time Eyes

Connie Barlow was one of 17 guests interviewed by Craig Hamilton in early 2010 as part of Craig's free, multi-week telecourse: "Awakening the Impulse to Evolve: The Birth of Evolutionary Spirituality".  35,000 people signed up to listen to the interview series live or to visit the audio archives at their leisure. This was a landmark event, both for giving free access to the insights and ruminations of many acclaimed thinkers across a spectrum of views and for its use of new technology that enabled listeners to ask questions and to enter into small-group discussions. In this podcast, Connie Barlow dialogues with Craig about how, what Connie calls, "deep-time eyes" inspire and enliven her naturalistic approach to evolutionary spirituality, as a religious naturalist, aka "evolutionary emergentist." Note: For more on the topic of "emergence", which Connie discusses in this interview, see our 5 September 2009 podcast, "Evolutionary Emergence".

Direct download: podcast-025.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:31pm EDT

24. Evolutionize Your Life

Michael Dowd was one of 17 guests interviewed by Craig Hamilton in early 2010 as part of Craig's free, multi-week telecourse: "Awakening the Impulse to Evolve: The Birth of Evolutionary Spirituality" audio archives at their leisure. This was a landmark event, both for giving free access to the insights and ruminations of many acclaimed thinkers across a spectrum of views and for its use of new technology that enabled listeners to ask questions and to enter into small-group discussions. In this podcast, Michael Dowd responds to Craig's questions on the theme of how to evolutionize your life.

Direct download: podcast-024.mp3
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23. Dark Green Religion, Neo-Humanism, and More

Dark Green Religion, Bron Taylor's new book, is one of the topics covered in this potpourri podcast by Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow.  Other current events discussed are the March 2010 iaunch of a "Neo-Humanist Statement" by Paul Kurtz and others, Sam Harris's recent TED Talk, the Dennett/LaScola study "Preachers Who Are Not Believers", their recent experience at "The Little Church That Could," and more.

Direct download: podcast-023.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:26pm EDT

22. Music for Fossil Lovers

Connie and Michael sample 5 songs from "Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway" (companion CD to the extraordinary fossil + art exhibit (by that same title) now on display at the Burke Museum of the University of Washington, Seattle).  Titles include "Ages of Rock," "Hey Fishface," "I Am a Paleobotanist," "Ammonite" (which is an extinct mollusk, pictured here), and "Time Travellin' with a Shovel" -- all destined to become classics!  Inspired by the latter song, Connie composed a song to convey the content of her 2001 book, "Ghosts of Evolution" -- and that song is played here too. (You can also watch the full 5-minute music video "Ghosts of Evolution" on Connie's YouTube channel.)   Closing out this podcast is the audio from the latest "Symphony of Science" music video (by John Boswell): "Poetry of Reality".

Direct download: podcast-022.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:59pm EDT

21. The Scientific Basis of Compassion

Here is Michael Dowd's Feb 28, 2010 sermon at the Unity Church of Portland -- his first sermon since re-launching itinerant evolutionary evangelism following 6 months of successful cancer treatment in Seattle. Fresh from reading Jeremy Rifkin's new book, The Empathic Civilization, and listening to Frans de Waal's The Age of Empathy, Michael offers that "The challenge of our times is to create a global empathic civilization -- where we cooperate at the scale of a species and where we do so from a place grounded in respect for our differences."  At the personal scale of relationships he advises, "To the degree that we share our vulnerability with each other, we become much more beautiful to each other because that's where our hearts open with compassion -- suffering with -- and our natural, instinctual empathy begins to embrace the other." Michael has also blogged on this topic at his Thank God For Evolution website.

Direct download: podcast-21.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:50pm EDT

20. Evolutionary Legacy

Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow discuss current events in the context of "evolutionary legacy" -- the ripples of action that continue on in the world after we, as individuals, are gone.  Intentional, even courageous, action are what the evolutionary impulse is calling forth from each of us now.  As Dowd frames the issue, "The growing edge of both Eastern and Western thinking is participatory: How do we, in an embodied way, participate in the evolution of life, the evolution of consciousness and culture, such that we further evolution in positive, constructive ways?" Examples come from the work of Thomas Berry, notably, his distinction between a "redemption" focus v. a "creation" focus, as well as a February 7, 2010, sermon by Rev. Marlin Lavanhar of All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Direct download: podcast-020.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:34am EDT

19. Deep Time, Deep Integrity, Deep Bliss

Michael Dowd published 3 blogs recently on his ThankGodforEvolution.com website, which he and Connie Barlow discuss here.  The first is for general audiences and is titled, "Evolutionary Spirituality: Coming Home to Reality".  Dowd advocates a very practical form of evolutionary spirituality that is above all relational.  Striving for "deep integrity" and pursuing an evolutionary calling ("deep bliss") are core elements. Next come the highlights of the two blogs Dowd wrote specifically for Christians: "Atheists Promote Bible Reading?!" and "The Salvation of Religion: From Beliefs to Knowledge"

Direct download: podcast-019.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:49pm EDT

18. The Technium

Connie and Michael discuss a variety of ways in which new technologies and new information systems are boosting and challenging their own work: both in staying informed and getting their ideas out into the world. Kevin Kelly calls this suprabiological phase of evolution, "The Technium."  New modes for the free exchange and collaborations of ideas and meaning include not only podcasts, such as these, but video uploads to YouTube, video "mashing" (by which third parties freely offer their time to make video snippets more accessible and entertaining), downloadable and thus ever-updated curricula, webinars and teleseminars, and synergistic mixes of all these modes. 

Direct download: podcast-018.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:34pm EDT

17. Science's Meaningful Universe: A Tribute to Primack and Abrams

View from the Center of the Universe made a powerful impression on Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow when it was published in 2006. This podcast celebrates its coauthors: Joel R. Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams and their continuing role in interpreting cosmological science in ways that offer modern peoples not only a deeply meaningful universe but one in which the human project can be experienced as central. Michael and Connie offer listeners a sampling of their favorite quotations from this book, while reflecting on their own experience of evangelizing mainstream science as our common creation story. Web references include: Primack Quotes and View from the Center of the Universe, as well as two YouTube videos: Nancy Ellen Abrams: "Cosmic Society" and Joel and Nancy's 4-part 2009 Terry Lectures.

Direct download: podcast-017.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:40pm EDT

16. Evolutionary Activism Tom Atlee, fellow evolutionary, has just published a book titled Reflections on Evolutionary Activism. This book enters new territory in applying an evolutionary perspective for motivating, guiding, grounding, and consoling those now in or called into any form of activism for bettering the human project and ameliorating our collective ecological impacts on the world. Connie and Michael discuss how this book informs and inspires them and how feeling oneself as an expression of this creative universe profoundly builds trust and an openness to possibility, even in the midst of chaos and disappointments. Click to learn more about the book, view the table of contents, purchase the paperback, or download for free.
Direct download: podcast-016.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:19pm EDT

15. Every Man's Dream, Every Man's Nightmare Marital infidelity is big-time in the news again with the Tiger Woods debacle. Also, the New York Times Magazine (November 17) offers an in-depth examination of a new marital dilemma: with cheap and easy DNA paternity testing, we have entered a new era in which husbands grown suspicious of their wives sometimes have to cope with devastating news that they are not, in fact, the biological fathers of children they dearly love. Michael and Connie, as usual, bring an evolutionary perspective to these heartbreaking family issues.
Direct download: podcast-015.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:47am EDT

14. Revelation: Public and Private "Public v. private revelation" and "day v. night language" are two distinctions Dowd has brought to religious audiences that have yielded tangible benefits in bridging the reason v. faith divide. In this podcast Dowd and Barlow reflect on their experiences with these key distinctions — notably, why and how these concepts move traditionally religious listeners to shed fears of embracing an evolutionary, evidential worldview. The independent discovery of species change by means of "natural selection" provides a timely historical example (given this 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species) of the foundational distinction between public revelation (Darwin's long honing of his idea) v. private revelation (the spark of insight itself gained by Wallace during a malarial fever). Link to the book chapter Dowd refers to: "A Story Big Enough to Hold Us All" and to Barlow's book chapter: "Evolution Now!"
Direct download: podcast-014.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:23pm EDT

13. The Big Integrity Model of Evolutionary Spirituality "Right relationship with Reality" is how Dowd defines, what he calls, the Big Integrity model of evolutionary spirituality, which he regards as a secular (nonmetaphysical) expression of human universals, grounded in our best scientific understandings of both objective and subjective realities. The bedrock understanding is that individuals and humanity as a whole are expressions of the universe, 14 billion years in the making. Consequently, an ultimate concern of those on this path is "leaving a positive legacy." Personal challenges, however, can sabotage that endeavor, so adopting an appreciative stance ("making life right") and looking for "what's possible now" when an inner or outer breakdown occurs are primary spiritual practices. Dowd suggests that eastern "enlightenment" and western "salvation" are ineffectual if personal "unfinished business" remains uncleared. Foremost, we must let go of resentments and acknowledge that we are always interpreting -- and that our own interpretations are not the only valid ones. Barlow punctuates Dowd's assertions with a call for honoring feelings and gut instincts, and for an "ecosystem" approach to pursuing Great Work, such that "each of our personal gifts are called forth, while minimizing our foibles."
Direct download: podcast-013.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:46pm EDT

12. Tree Talks About Death "Death is natural and generative at every level of reality." That affirmation was a core part of Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd's teachings during their years of living on-the-road as America's Evolutionary Evangelists. Having a naturalized view of death in the cosmos is not, however, intended to diminish the sadness we feel when a loved one dies. Rather, this insight, which emerges from the sciences, provides a "cosmic container" to hold us safely as we experience our grief. What better way to convey this perspective than by story? In this podcast Connie reads to Michael a 5-chapter, interactive story she wrote in 2009, called "Tree Talks About Death." You can freely download this story by visiting the Children's Curricula page of TheGreatStory.org website. A wealth of resources for adults on the topic of death can be accessed via Connie's "Death Through Deep-Time Eyes" webpage.
Direct download: podcast-012.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:57pm EDT

11. Naturalizing Religion Connie and Michael explore a smorgasbord of related ideas and current events in the ongoing religion-versus-science controversies, beginning with the recent atheist invention of "Blasphemy Day" and the New Atheist critique of liberal religionists (and moderate atheists) who "accommodate" (and thus inadvertently foster) religious fundamentalisms. Taking a broader perspective, the duo detect in the current foment and antagonisms the signs of evolution in action: cultural emergents tossed into the pool of possibilities by which the religions of the world are, themselves, becoming "naturalized."
Direct download: podcast-011.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:18pm EDT

10. Symphony of Science Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd riff on the latest sensation in musical culture -- which is also the latest sensation in the public understanding of science. It is a new music video series created by independent video artist John Boswell. Posted on YouTube, and also available in mp3 for free download, the two projects Boswell created thus far have topped the charts. "A Glorious Dawn," which features the auto-tuned (and thus singing) voice of Carl Sagan is now the top-rated music video of all time. Boswell launched "We Are All Connected" on October 19, and within three days it surpassed 100,000 views on YouTube. It features four singing voices blended with the original video images from which the voices were drawn. These are: Carl Sagan, again, Richard Feynman, Bill Nye ("the science guy"), and Neil deGrasse Tyson singing the words from which the title itself is drawn. Watch this video and see if you, too, feel that a whole new world of possibility and hope is now beckoning us forward. Truly a religious experience! You can get there via the artist's website: Symphony of Science.
Direct download: podcast-010.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:03pm EDT

9. Mentors in the Movement Connie and Michael reflect on mentors in the Epic of Evolution Movement, past and present. Among them: Thomas Berry (this photo), Richard Dawkins, Lynn Margulis, and Albert LaChance. Michael speaks of how his cancer challenge has shifted his own priorities away from individual action and leadership and toward mentoring others in this movement and ministry. Connie reminisces on the pivotal role that Carl Sagan's Cosmos series played in her own life and in the lives of others, rounding off this podcast with John Boswell's 4-minute amazing remix of Cosmos that turns Carl's narration into celebratory song.
Direct download: podcast-009.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:55am EDT

8. Your Brain's Creation Story Evolutionary Brain Science and Evolutionary Psychology offer superb perspectives and practical tools for fostering a prime spiritual virtue: compassion. In this final sermon of seven years of living on the road evangelizing evolution, Connie Barlow presents both the background science and playful ways of learning it. The ancient "Reptilian" components of our brain she calls our "Lizard Legacy"; the paleomammalian emotional brain she calls our "Furry Li'l Mammal." Our neomammalian neocortex is our "Monkey Mind." And our distinctively hominid prefrontal cortex (at our forehead), with its executive function and capacity to override our base instincts becomes our "Higher Porpoise." Noting how this perspective can be helpful for facing issues of drug addiction, obesity, and relationship challenges, Connie concludes, "My view is that this aspect of bringing a sacred understanding to evolution is going to be the salvation of the liberal churches in the coming decades." Note: More on this topic, including the 2 diagrams she refers to, can be accessed at http://thegreatstory.org/charts/triune.html.
Direct download: podcast-008.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:22am EDT

7. Humanity Grows Up

September 2009, Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow began a sabbatical after seven and a half years of traveling North America nonstop as America's evolutionary evangelists. The sabbatical was catalyzed by Michael's diagnosis of cancer and the need to stay in the Seattle region for treatment. This podcast is an audio recording of Dowd's last sermon of 2010 on the road.

Direct download: podcast-007-a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:18pm EDT

6. The New Atheists as God's Prophets Michael Dowd steps up to the microphone to extemporaneously present his boldest ideas yet: “I want to encourage religious people not to get defensive when the New Atheists are attacking religion or attacking concepts of God. Instead, recognize that they are fulfilling the role of a prophet. Traditionally, a religious prophet is someone who has sensed what is real in the moment and what is emerging and then has given voice to what is emerging and what is real in a way that was challenging, that was pointed, that was prophetic. Prophets were not typically your most polite people. They were sometimes curmudgeons. They were sometimes quirky. But they spoke with the authority of reality.” Dowd continues, “The religion that the New Atheists are attacking is otherworldly, superstitious religion when it's interpreted as objectively real. And that's not where the power of our religious language lies. . . So long as religious people interpret our scriptures literally, interpret our miracles literally, interpret our language about God and all our traditions literally, we deserve to be the brunt of attacks by the true prophets of our age, which are the New Atheists, who are the defenders of objective reality.” (You can also access online the audio of Dowd reciting the preface of his book.)
Direct download: podcast-006-a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:22am EDT

5. Evolutionary Emergence Connie and Michael discuss the fundamental worldview shift made possible by all the sciences that contribute to our factual understanding of how everything came to be. That worldview shift is ‘evolutionary emergence.’ Connie explains, “Until we had a scientific view, there was no sense that you could ever have something complex in the universe that wasn’t created, fashioned, or intended by something whose complexity was even greater than that complex feature.” Michael concurs, “What I’m talking about here is not teleology. It’s not saying that there is some intelligence or consciousness outside the Universe that is somehow manipulating things or has preprogrammed things or is in some way making things go in a particular way. That’s not what the evidence suggests. What the evidence suggests is, from the perspective of now looking back, we in fact see greater complexity, interdependence, and cooperation at larger and wider scale, both in the prehuman and the human world.” The duo point to the ‘emergentist’ ideas and books of Eric Chaisson, John Stewart, Robert Wright, Ursula Goodenough, Terrance Deacon, Richard Dawkins, and David Christian.
Direct download: podcast-005-a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:12pm EDT

4. Evolution and Infidelity

Connie and Michael take an evolutionary look at current events: specifically, the high-profile case of Jenny Sanford, a woman who refused to give in to humiliation, cover-up, or quick fixes when her husband publicly fell to a sex scandal while serving as governor of South Carolina. Connie and Michael explore in their own lives and through the stories of others how an evolutionary understanding of our “inherited proclivities” offers realistic hope for healing relationships in which trust has been profoundly broken. Connie testifies that evolutionary insights help us move beyond shame or condemnation, while nurturing “compassion for oneself and for others.” (32 mins)

Direct download: evolution-and-infidelity.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:01am EDT

3. When Death Gets Personal This is the first podcast since Michael Dowd learned that he had a potentially life-threatening illness. Michael and Connie have both written and spoken about how an evolutionary understanding of death can enhance one’s gratitude and awareness of the blessings of each moment — and for the generations of ancestors who came before. Now the two talk about how these conceptual understandings actually do bear fruit in times of need, when death gets personal. (31:00 mins)
Direct download: podcast-003.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:36pm EDT

2. Generation Waking Up, with guest Joshua Gorman Connie and Michael talk with Joshua Gorman, a "younger" who is on fire and on-the-road pursuing his great work, birthing his vision of "Generation Waking Up." Joshua talks about his personal story, "as a young person waking up in a culture that did not offer me a story to help make sense of the brokenness I was seeing around me." Hear Joshua talk about from whom and how he found a story, a big picture story of the whole Universe. That evolutionary story is now central to his vision. He explains, "Young people want to be a part of something more. They want to feel that there is greater purpose in their lives. So Generation Waking Up helps share a larger narrative that they can find themselves a part of and then begin to connect their own personal purpose within this larger purpose." Michael Dowd concurs, "We've now got multiple generations who are finding common inspiration from those who can articulate a big picture understanding, an evolutionary understanding that's inspiring, inclusive, and deeply ecological." (30:00 mins)
Direct download: podcast-002-a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:04pm EDT

1. Humanity's Rite of Passage into Adulthood Michael Dowd talks about three worldview shifts necessary for our species as a whole to pass from adolescence into adulthood. The first is "the shift from thinking that the world was made for us, to knowing that we were made for the world." Connie concurs, saying "Evolution is not about engineering solutions, but participating in their emergence." The second necessary shift is "the shift from beliefs to knowledge." For this shift, Dowd gives 5 examples of scientific discoveries over the past 200 years that now make it possible, for the first time, for humans to have vital knowledge about what Reality actually is and how it came to be: extinctions, biological evolution, glaciers, plate tectonics, and the role of supernova stars in creating the chemical elements. As Connie puts it, "Debates between the supernatural and the natural are old history." Dowd identifies the third necessary shift as "the shift from given meaning to chosen meaning." (30:00 mins)
Direct download: podcast-001-a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:28pm EDT