Episode 22

Were the big, moralistic gods of most major religions created to control the people of the early cities? Did big gods enable the creation of big cities? Is religion just an artifact of the agricultural revolution? Which came first, and why is it so important? 

Support this podcast on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/DowntheWormholepodcast

More information at https://www.downthewormhole.com/

 

produced by Zack Jackson 
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis

 

Show Notes

Dunbars number, 150, and where it came from: https://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/social-media-affect-math-dunbar-number-friendships

And : https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191001-dunbars-number-why-we-can-only-maintain-150-relationships 

 

Books:

Kurt Vonnegut book, Galapagos: https://amzn.to/2tHuQWW

Book by Andrew Newberg “How God changes your brain”: https://amzn.to/36if6Hc

 

Early writing, in Egypt:

Extensive article: https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935413.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199935413-e-61 

A bit more reader-friendly: https://www.reckon.com/reckon-blog/ancient-egyptians-the-original-bookkeepers1/ 

 

“Hidden Brain” episode of the origin of religion:  https://www.npr.org/2019/05/06/720656274/where-does-religion-come-from-one-researcher-points-to-cultural-evolution 

Short video on humans from 200,000 years ago to now and the population changes throughout the world: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/aekazg/watching-humans-take-over-the-earth-in-200000-years-is-pretty-relaxing 

 

BIblical references: 

Gen 11: 1-9 and tower of Babel: https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.11?lang=bi&aliyot=0 

Gen 4:1-16 and Cain/Abel story: https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.4?ven=Jewish_English_Torah&lang=bi&aliyot=0 

Big Gods or Big Cities….and the problems with trying to find out:

        1. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/scienceonreligion/2019/05/did-big-gods-come-before-or-after-big-societies/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=share_bar&fbclid=IwAR3lVLCmhHpZ1uXfDveYj2q3ppmT7CHiU3Q59Td6W6ntr45UQBSf9UBJcXw#pbXkMxz9qZkCbB8O.01 
        2. http://nautil.us/blog/which-comes-first-big-cities-or-big-gods 
        3. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/349/6251/918.full 
        4. https://theconversation.com/big-gods-came-after-the-rise-of-civilisations-not-before-finds-study-using-huge-historical-database-113801 
        5. https://www.livescience.com/65039-punishing-gods-rise-with-complex-societies.html 
        6. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/big-religion-may-have-gotten-too-much-credit-for-the-evolution-of-modern-society/ 

 

More Episodes

Human Origins Part 2 (Did Neanderthals Go to Heaven?)

January 15, 2020

Episode 21

Our Human Origins miniseries keeps rolling as we explore the implications of art, social structures, and burials among Neanderthals and early Homo Sapiens in the Stone Age (specifically about 65,000 BCE to 10,000 BCE). How much can we infer from the clues they left behind? What of the small idols that predate all known religions by 15,000 years? Was God speaking to early humans like God speaks today? Are we making too much out of too little? Why does spirituality always seem to pop up whenever humans are around? 

Support this podcast on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/DowntheWormholepodcast

More information at https://www.downthewormhole.com/

 

produced by Zack Jackson
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis

 

Show Notes

Cave Paintings

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/02/neanderthals-cave-art-humans-evolution-science/

Cave Burials

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131216-la-chapelle-neanderthal-burials-graves/

Venus Figures

http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/prehistoric/venus-of-berekhat-ram.htm 

https://www.ancient.eu/Venus_Figurine/ 

Honey Bee Dance “the Waggle”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU_KD1enR3Q 

 

Hominids

Overview of human evolution

http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species 

Neanderthals

https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/who-were-the-neanderthals.html 

Denisovan

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/08/news-denisovan-neanderthal-hominin-hybrid-ancient-human/ [first generation offspring of Denisovan and Neanderthal; tiny pinky bone fragment]

https://leakeyfoundation.org/origin-stories-the-denisovans/ [podcast which was referenced]

Homo Sapiens

http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/homo-sapiens 

 

Giant fauna

Sloth for Kendra to curl up into : https://www.livescience.com/56762-giant-ground-sloth.html 

Marsupials with large pouches : 

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160208-the-lost-giants-that-prowled-the-australian-wilderness 

They went extinct : 

https://daily.jstor.org/what-really-happened-to-the-megafauna/ 

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/in-a-few-centuries-cows-could-be-the-largest-land-animals-left/558323/ 

Read more : https://www.americanscientist.org/article/what-became-of-the-megafauna 

 

Religious pieces

Rachel sitting on idols : https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.31.34?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en 

What is religiousity : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religiosity 

Spiritual / religious : https://chopra.com/articles/religion-vs-spirituality-what-is-the-difference

“Sapiens” by Yuval Harari book : https://www.ynharari.com/book/sapiens/

Human Origins Part 1 with Briana Pobiner (Big Questions and Little Bones)

January 8, 2020

Episode 20

This week, we welcome paleoanthropologist Dr Briana Pobiner as we begin to explore our own evolution. Dr Pobiner is the head of education and outreach for the Smithsonian Natural History Museum's Human Origins Program. We talk about how we know what we know about early humans, where we came from, what caused us to advance so quickly, and what that means for our self-identity today. If you're into saber-tooth cats, pumpkin spice crickets, and hope for humanity, then make sure you listen to this one!

Support this podcast on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/DowntheWormholepodcast

More information at https://www.downthewormhole.com/

 

produced by Zack Jackson
music by Zack Jackson

 

Show Notes

Dr Briana Pobiner's bio and publications
https://anthropology.columbian.gwu.edu/briana-l-pobiner

 

The "Teaching Evolution through Human Examples" (TEtHE) three-year exploratory research and development project was funded by National Science Foundation Discovery Research K-12 grant #1119468. The project has created four curriculum units for Advanced Placement (AP) Biology classes, aligned to the learning objectives, using human case studies to teach core evolutionary principles. The curriculum units are: (1) Adaptation to Altitude, (2) Malaria, (3) Evolution of Human Skin Color, and (4) What Does It Mean To Be Human?. The project has also created a CRS (Cultural and Religious Sensitivity) Teaching Strategies Resource to help teachers create a comfortable and supportive classroom environment for teaching evolution.
http://humanorigins.si.edu/education/teaching-evolution-through-human-examples

 

 

The Expensive Tissue Hypothesis
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312921/

 

Edible Insects and Human Evolution by Julie Lesnik
https://amzn.to/2N4vN2k

 

Interview with Julie Lesnik on the amazing but somewhat NSFW podcast "Ologies"
https://www.alieward.com/ologies/entomophagy-anthropology

 

If you're interested in trying some cricket protein bars or protein powder, click this link to get $5 your first order at Exo. I would recommend the variety pack, because they are so yummy and I promise there are no bug legs sticking out of it or anything. Save $5 and save the world! 
https://prz.io/BNJjPqCl

 

Evolution Part 5 (Pie is the Answer)

December 11, 2019

Episode 19

Aright. So you understand the basics of evolution and you've found ways to harmonize that with your own faith and understanding. That's wonderful. Now, how are you going to communicate that to someone with a fundamentally different worldview? What is the point of communication if we can't escape our own echo chambers? Has technology made our echo chambers more echo-y? What can YOU do right now to make the world a more harmonious place? What is the best pie and why is it pumpkin pie? 

Support this podcast on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/DowntheWormholepodcast

More information at https://www.downthewormhole.com/

 

produced by Zack Jackson
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis

 

Show Notes

Astrophysics for Babies and others:

https://www.amazon.com/Astrophysics-Babies-University-Chris-Ferrie/dp/1492671134/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=astrophysics+for+babies&qid=1574362920&s=books&sr=1-3 

 

Chris Ferrie (author of above) speaks at Google

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVomLTqOZYI 

 

Echo Chambers and their issues

https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2017/dec/04/echo-chambers-are-dangerous-we-must-try-to-break-free-of-our-online-bubbles 

 

http://theconversation.com/the-problem-of-living-inside-echo-chambers-110486 

 

Nalini Nadkarni

https://www.aaas.org/membership/member-spotlight/doser-supports-scientists-who-connect-religious-communities

Evolution Part 4 feat. Michael Zimmerman (We Don’t Need No Education)

December 4, 2019

Episode 18

Dr Michael Zimmerman sits down with us to discuss some of the work he has been doing around religion and evolution for the past several decades as we look at some of the cases being decided today. how do we reclaim the authority of experts? Can/should we teach some form of intelligent design in public schools? What is at stake in this discussion?

Support this podcast on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/DowntheWormholepodcast

More information at https://www.downthewormhole.com/

 

produced by Zack Jackson
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis

 

Show Notes                 

Clergy letter project, founded by Michael Zimmerman

https://www.theclergyletterproject.org/ 

 

Court Cases / Board of Education rules

1981 Arkansas: McLean vs. Board of Education

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4726786 

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mclean-v-arkansas.html 

2004 Wisconsin, Grantsburg

https://ncse.ngo/grantsburgs-third-try 

2005 Pennsylvania, Dover vs Kitzmiller  [teaching intelligent design as alternative] 

https://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/education/judge-rejects-teaching-intelligent-design.html 

1987 Louisiana; Edwards v. Aguillard [do not have to teach creationism in parallel to evolution]

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Edwards-v-Aguilard 

2008 Louisiana; “Science education act” 

http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=503483&n=SB733%20Act%20473 

2019 Ohio Science bill

https://www.cleveland.com/open/2019/11/ohio-lawmakers-clear-bill-allowing-students-to-turn-in-inaccurate-work-in-name-of-religion-second-anti-science-bill-in-a-week.html 

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/ohio-school-religion-answers/ 

Various states/years

https://www.pewforum.org/2009/02/04/fighting-over-darwin-state-by-state/ 

 

Definitions/People

Stephen Jay Gould

https://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/21/us/stephen-jay-gould-60-is-dead-enlivened-evolutionary-theory.html 

Intelligent Design

https://intelligentdesign.org/whatisid/  [pro]

https://web.archive.org/web/20021113213410/http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id2.shtml [against] 

Irreducible Complexity

https://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/ic-cr.htm [pro]

http://www.talkreason.org/articles/Suboptimal.cfm [against]

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/05/30/devolution-2 [against]

http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html [invoking the flagellum]

God of the gaps

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps 

Ship of Theseus 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus 

Evolution Part 3 (In the Beginning)

November 27, 2019

Episode 17

Does accepting evolution mean that you can no longer believe in a personal God who is involved with the world? Are there ways to read evolution into the Bible? Did God really create everything? How do we even begin to have these conversations?

 

Support this podcast on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/DowntheWormholepodcast

More information at https://www.downthewormhole.com/

 

produced by Zack Jackson
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis

 

Show Notes:

Movies

[Ian] The Dark Knight : https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468569/ 

[Zack] Toy Story 2 : https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120363/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 

[Adam] Star Trek Wrath of Khan: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084726/

[Kendra] Lion King 2 simba’s pride : https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120131/

[Rachael; broke the rules again] Raiders of the Ark : https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082971/ 

 

Definitions/People

Spectrum of creationists: https://ncse.ngo/creationevolution-continuum 


Young Earth

https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/young-earth/young-earth-creationist-view-summarized-and-defended/ [pro]

https://biologos.org/personal-stories/confessions-of-a-failed-young-earth-creationist/ [someone’s personal account; anti]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Earth_creationism


Theistic evolution

https://biologos.org/articles/series/science-and-the-bible/theistic-evolution-history-and-beliefs 


Day-age creation

http://www.religionfacts.com/day-age-creationism 


Gap creationism

https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_654.cfm


Teleology

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleological_argument   [definition]

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/teleological-arguments/ [article describing various needs in the 

teleological argument for the existence of God]


Divine actions 

https://www.theopedia.com/divine-action [definition]


Ken Ham

https://answersingenesis.org/bios/ken-ham/ [in support of his ideologies]

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/a-giant-ark-is-just-the-start-these-creationists-have-a-bigger-plan-for-recruiting-new-believers/2017/05/24/b497bd14-2920-11e7-be51-b3fc6ff7faee_story.html 


Heliocentric 

https://www.britannica.com/science/heliocentrism 


Stories

St. Agustine stealing pears

https://augustinianvocations.org/blog-archive/2017/1/19/st-augustine-and-the-pear-tree-a-lasting-story 


Luther quote of adam sinning

https://lutheranreformation.org/get-involved/bible-study-luther-genesis-37-15/ 


Story from Book of Joshua (sun held in sky)

https://www.sefaria.org/Joshua.10?lang=bi [Joshua 10:12 quote]

https://www.timesofisrael.com/3224-years-later-scientists-see-first-ever-recorded-eclipse-in-joshuas-battle/ [was it really an eclipse?]


Talmud matchmaking

https://www.sefaria.org/Bereishit_Rabbah.68.4?lang=en [Quote from Genesis midrash, 68:4]

Evolution Part 2 (Increasingly More Complicated Tubes)

November 20, 2019

Episode 16
So what is evolution exactly? How would you explain it to someone who doesn't think they are "good at science"? Can we see evolution happening today? Should we be worried about mutant Vikings and hybrid coyotes?

Support this podcast on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/DowntheWormholepodcast

More information at https://www.downthewormhole.com/

 

produced by Zack Jackson
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis

Show Notes 

Kleptoplasty Sea Slug:  

https://manoa.hawaii.edu/exploringourfluidearth/biological/aquatic-plants-and-algae/structure-and-function/weird-science-kleptoplasty

 

Al regel achat: while standing on one foot--story explanation (and how it is used in modern Hebrew)

https://www.haaretz.com/word-of-the-day-al-regel-akhat-1.5318459 

 

Elephants adapting to be tuskless

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/11/wildlife-watch-news-tuskless-elephants-behavior-change/ 

 

Peppered Moths of London

http://www.mothscount.org/text/63/peppered_moth_and_natural_selection.html 

 

Chicken or Egg…first the egg!

https://www.science.org.au/curious/earth-environment/which-came-first-chicken-or-egg 

 

We don’t understand big numbers

https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/11/1000000-grahams-number.html 

 

Coywolf (or wolfoyte if preferred)

https://www.earthtouchnews.com/natural-world/animal-behaviour/is-this-coyote-wolf-hybrid-taking-over-north-america/ 

 

Worm composting

http://www.franklincountywastedistrict.org/vermicomposting.html 

Zack's Worm Bin

https://amzn.to/330caxl

 

Lactose tolerance or intolerance, who’s the mutant now?

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/12/27/168144785/an-evolutionary-whodunit-how-did-humans-develop-lactose-tolerance 

And this one has a map: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27938-everything-you-need-to-know-about-lactose-intolerance/

 

Reading up on evolution

https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/resourcelibrary.php 

https://www.yourgenome.org/facts/what-is-evolution 

 

Video on natural selection (Crash Course): 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTftyFboC_M&list=PL3EED4C1D684D3ADF&index=14

 

Video on evolution (Crash Course) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3GagfbA2vo&list=PL3EED4C1D684D3ADF&index=20 

 

History of language evolution

http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID=axx 

Or a TED-ed short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWDKsHm6gTA 

 

Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper (Kindle Edition)

https://amzn.to/2O4ekYo

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch (Kindle Edition)

https://amzn.to/33YQN0G

 

A forest of language trees, showing their relationships: 

https://eurotalk.com/blog/2015/06/03/the-language-forest-how-are-world-languages-related/ 

 

Darwin

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-Darwin 

  

Evolution Part 1 (The Dogs They Are a-Changin’)

November 13, 2019

Episode 15

As we begin our first evolution miniseries, our hosts take some time to discuss why this topic has become so central to the "religion vs science" conflict and why it matters to us. How do we reconcile a sovereign God with the randomness of natural selection? Can we find meaning through science or only facts? Who ever thought that breeding pugs was a good idea?

Support this podcast on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/DowntheWormholepodcast

More information at https://www.downthewormhole.com/

 

produced by Zack Jackson
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis

 

Show Notes

Favorite fruits

Kiwiberries

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actinidia_arguta 

Watermelon [and how they’ve changed in the last few centuries]

https://www.vox.com /2015/7/28/9050469/watermelon-breeding-paintings 

Banana [other fruits talked about too]

https://www.sciencealert.com/fruits-vegetables-before-domestication-photos-genetically-modified-food-natural 

Threat to the cavendish: https://www.cnn.com/2015/07/22/africa/banana-panama-disease/index.html 

Strawberries [a brief history]

https://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/strawberryhistory.html 

 

Dogs

Labradoodle Regrets:  

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/25/us/labradoodle-creator-regret.html 

French Bulldog insemination

https://www.frenchie.shop/blogs/frenchie-shop-blog/do-french-bulldogs-have-to-be-artificially-inseminated [pro-Frenchie site]

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/03/30/25974515/your-french-bulldog-is-an-abomination [biased against them]

Pugs

https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/c_dg_pug [Note the medical issues associated with them]

 

Theistic evolution

https://biologos.org/articles/theistic-evolution-history-and-beliefs 

Theodicy

In-depth philosophy article

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evil/ 

General definitions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodicy 

https://www.britannica.com/topic/theodicy-theology 

Pardes

An explanation and experience: https://onbeing.org/blog/the-spaces-between-the-consonants/ 

Church and State Part 5 (Give Satan a Chance)

November 6, 2019

Episode 14

In this episode, our hosts take you on a tour of the bizarre and often misunderstood world of the Satanic Temple and their efforts to fight for religious freedom. What role do satirical religions play in our modern world, and should they be treated like traditional religions? Can we create an organization for secular humanists that has the benefits of religion without a deity?

Support this podcast on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/DowntheWormholepodcast

More information at https://www.downthewormhole.com/

produced by Zack Jackson
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis

 

Show Notes:

Our opening question about our favorite tricksters:

Ian: Loki:

https://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/the-aesir-gods-and-goddesses/loki/ 

Rachael: Loki and Puck: analysis of Puck

https://www.thoughtco.com/character-analysis-puck-midsummer-nights-dream-2984577 

Zack: Benjamin Linus from Lost :

https://lostpedia.fandom.com/wiki/Benjamin_Linus 

Adam: Dolos [I don’t love using wiki, but I just couldn’t find anything meaningful elsewhere]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolos_(mythology) 

Kendra: Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

https://buffy.fandom.com/wiki/Spike 

 

The Satanic Temple

https://thesatanictemple.com/ 

 

It’s not the Church of Satan:

https://thesatanictemple.com/pages/what-is-the-difference-between-the-satanic-temple-and-the-church-of-satan 

 

Article on the documentary, Hail Satan?,  produced this year

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-49392867 

 

[if you want another article, explaining the documentary director idea that highlights what we spoke about regarding community and the search for meaning] 

https://www.wired.com/2019/05/geeks-guide-hail-satan/ 

 

List of approved religions in the American military: you will notice neither Pastafarian nor The Satanic Temple are listed.There are over 210 religious affiliations listed as of 2017.

http://americanhumanist.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Faith-and-Belief-Codes-for-Reporting-Personnel-Data-of-Service-Members.pdf 

 

Durkheim and religion

http://durkheim.uchicago.edu/Summaries/forms.html#pgfId=6212 

 

Durkheim and philosophy as religion (slightly different take than the above citation)

https://www.iep.utm.edu/durkheim/#H4 

 

Mircea Eliade and religion

https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Mircea_Eliade#Contribution_to_the_study_of_religion 

[or from britannica, but I found this explanation to a bit more dense]

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mircea-Eliade#ref274286 

 

Is Buddhism a religion?

https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/is-buddhism-a-religion 

 

John Oliver and debt collecting

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/john-oliver-buys-15-million-of-medical-debt-for-60/?fbclid=IwAR0FBYs-n884jjIzwLQ1DotAVCEhn2bJRGc35hC2nR-BZzbRExRjQKJtCFI

Church and State Part 4 with Kenneth Makuakane (The Decommissioned Sacred)

October 30, 2019

Episode 13

We welcome special guest Kenneth Makuakane as we revisit the conflict between scientists and Hawaiians over the sacred peak of Mauna Kea. Kenneth brings his unique humor, deep wisdom, and artist's spirit to dig into the deep questions of our time. How do we forge a life together that includes space for scientific progress without trampling on indigenous peoples?

Support this podcast on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/DowntheWormholepodcast

More information at https://www.downthewormhole.com/

 

produced by Zack Jackson
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis

 

Show Notes

 

A bit of history of Hawaii: 

https://www.britannica.com/place/Hawaii-state/History 

http://www.hawaiihistory.org/index.cfm 

What is a dodecahedron?

https://www.mathsisfun.com/definitions/dodecahedron.html 

Story about the carob tree

https://www.sefaria.org/Taanit.23a?lang=en [14 paragraphs/bullet points down]

UCC and Space Junk

https://www.ucc.org/space_debris 

Dr. Who wiki on the 9th planet

https://tardis.fandom.com/wiki/Mondas

5 Love Languages

https://www.5lovelanguages.com/