By Critical Mass
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Critical Mass is a podcast about science, religion, and the way they affect one another and the world around us. The show is the brainchild of two writers and former reporters, one who covered and wrote about science, the other who covered and wrote about religion. Each week, the hosts look at issues from the week’s news in which science and/or religion played a major role, discuss an important moment in history that affected science or religion (or both), and look at one work of art that reflects either a scientific or a religious interpretation of the world. If the show has a central thesis (which we are not yet certain it does), it likely goes something like this: Science and religion are not opposing forces, nor are they mutually exclusive realms. They are complementary, interconnected, and at times overlapping systems of thought, both of which hold tremendous power to affect the world in good ways and bad ways.
||ExplicitEpisode 46: Monumental Physics, The Illuminati, Young Adult Content||This week, after picking up on a previous story that proves that Tim and Tom are the cutting edge of journalism (sort of), the guys go on to explore a recent story about the Large Hadron Collider, and what it might mean. In the history segment,||5/1/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 45: Bernie & The Pope, Library of Congress, Prince||This week, Tim and Tom discuss the meeting between the Pontiff and The Bern, discuss the founding of the Library of Congress, and observe Prince’s passing. All that and the Magic Numbers.||4/24/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 44: Ribose in Space, Rogue One, House of Wax||In this week’s news, Tim and Tom discuss a scientific finding that may have implications for interstellar life. In the arts they look at the new trailer for Rogue One, and in history they talk about House of Wax, the first film released in 3-D.||4/9/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 43: Easter, Orson Welles, the Church of Tyson||In this week’s history segment, Tim and Tom talk about Easter, both the ancient and modern traditions. They look at a great essay by British writer Sam Kriss about Neil deGrasse Tyson, and they look back at a wonderful little film that NASA produced||3/27/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 42: Ego Depletion, Saint Patrick, Spring Break||In this week’s news segment, Tim and Tom talk about Ego Depletion, a long-standing concept in the psychology literature that may turn out to be bunk. In the arts section they talk about spring break, and in history they discuss the real-life Saint Pat||3/13/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 41: Competition, JPL Posters, The Telephone||This week, Tim and Tom talk about new social science research regarding competition, they look at a series of posters put out by the Jet Propulsion Lab, and they observe the anniversary of the invention of the telephone,||3/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 40: Super Tuesday, Leap Year, The Oscars||In this week’s news segment, Tim and Tom talk about Super Tuesday. In history they look at Leap Year, and in the arts they talk about the Academy Awards. All that and the magic numbers.||2/28/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 39: CDC Report, Saint Valentine, Tim’s Top Secret Project||This week, the guys discuss a recent botched job by the CDC regarding a recommendation about alcohol and pregnancy. In history, they discuss the historical figure of Saint Valentine, and the origin of the holiday that bears his name. And in the arts,||2/14/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 38: Zika Virus, Super Bowl, Henry VIII||In this week’s news segment, the guys talk about the furor over the Zika virus. In entertainment, they talk about the frenzy over the “Big Game,” and in history, they look at the possible medical history of England’s King Henry VIII.||2/8/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 37: Academic Freedom, The Iowa Caucuses, B.O.B. vs. Neil Tyson||This week, Tim and Tom discuss the recent controversy over a faculty member at Wheaton College who is in hot water because of her choice of head covering, they talk about the recent feud between rapper B.O.B. and television personality Neil Tyson,||1/31/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
Balanced and Conversational
I’ve been a Tom Breen fan ever since my sister thrust a copy of “The Messiah Formerly Known as Jesus” in my hands and said, “you’ll love this, y’all both love wrestling”. His twitter feed led me to this podcast. The podcast is Tom Breen, a former journalist, author, and unlikely Catholic ( his words ) and Tim Miller, who best I can tell is a combination of a trained scientist ( I want to say physics? ) but also an actor. This combination is strange enough that it might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s right.
Each week the two pick a topic from the news / the arts / history or pop cultures that has a direct intersection between the realms of Science and Religion ( though obviously in this case Religion predominantly means Roman Catholic Christian ). They do a great job of keeping the podcast conversational in tone and nature - outside the first couple of episodes, it feels like you’re listening to two friends talk back and forth about some very interesting topics.
Breen’s responses to various questions are interesting because they typically bend towards historic Christian reactions to similar situations rather than attempting to divine the one true “Christian response” to questions such as Colonialism.
If you aren’t religiously inclined, you won’t be put off by Tom Breen’s comments. If you believe people in the realm of Science have been unduly harsh towards religious individuals, you’ll find Tim Miller’s thoughts refreshing and honest.
Interesting, Informative, and Balanced
I’ve known Tim for some time, and he’s been long been interested in the notion that many today treat Science as a sort of religion, taking scientific findings on faith and treating scientists as a sort of priest class. In Tom, he’s found someone with really interesting and complementary perspective on religious history, who is also a person of faith, to explore these ideas. They have a great rapport with one another, and are really fun to listen to — interesting, funny, and I learn something about film or history or current events every time I listen!