Commentary by:
   MICHAEL DOWD
   CONNIE BARLOW


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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
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:06pm EDT

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
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:25am EDT

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
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:17pm EDT

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
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:45pm EDT

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
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:14pm EDT

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
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:58pm EDT