Originally posted July 7, 2013
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe featured guest Rogue Randall Snyder. Snyder is a SGU listener who was quite eloquent and fit right in with the regular Rogues. (I would even say impressively.) He chimed right in with his thoughts on the SGU review of the recent scifi movie "World War Z."
Snyder was on the show to discuss his de-conversion experience from Mormonism to atheism. Snyder shared his tale of being in the church, and being a missionary and then ending up in a Priest leadership position within his congregation. His family background included his older brother who left the faith a few years before him. I found it all quite interesting, but it felt familiar as these types of accounts are the bread and butter ofIrreligiosophy. (That Mormon podcast as Karl Mamer likes to call it.)
Snyder indicated that during his de-conversion process he listened to SGU to "reboot his brain." (I agree with the Rogues I can see that on a t-shirt in short order as it is quite catchy.) Yet, the segment as a whole felt out of place to me. On Irreligiosophy orReasonable Doubts, this interview would have fit with no problem. Yet, on the SGU a de-conversion tale for its own sake just did not quite seem to fit. If Snyder had talked about a study that prayer over medical treatment was ineffective, or focused on the DNA evidence that Native Americans are not descendants from semitic peoples as is thought within the Mormon faith, that would be fine. These are particular claims of a religion stepping into the ring of science or scholarship that can be challenged. While particular testable or verifiable claims were discussed by Snyder, the focus and intent of the interview was of a person of faith moving to atheism. I am not sure it is appropriate on a Skeptic and science enthusiast podcast.
I admit I am a bit of a zealot of keeping the boundaries of skepticism and atheism fairly clear. The editor thought I was being a bit harsh on our car ride to a social engagement for Snyder giving his de-conversion tale on the SGU. Perhaps, I am. Still, it just did not seem to sit right with me for a skeptical podcast. A skeptical podcast that has a track record of keeping skepticism and atheism from blurring together.