|The internet radio program, Godless, began airing in January 2009 on UTSC's Fusion Radio.|
by Rob Wulkan
The atheist and freethinker movements have been picking up steam
nationwide and across the world. There is also growing interest at
UTSC, with a noteworthy addition to this outspoken community being a
radio show titled Godless, which began airing on UTSC’s
Fusion Radio in January 2009. It is the only show of its kind at U of
The name Godless evokes a reaction from most who hear it, and
that's exactly the purpose behind the chosen moniker. The term,
brought to light in popular culture by right-winger and controversial
figure Ann Coulter through the titling of one of her books, was
initially used as a pejorative label. The hosts of the show, however,
wear the term as a badge of pride.
“Atheism is a lack of a religious world view. There's no dogma
or ritual that surrounds it. In fact, the only thing that atheists by
definition will have in common with one another is the mutual lack of
belief in a God,” says fourth-year mathematics student David
Leaman (known as 'Dave' on the air), co-host and founder of the online
show. “My own personal brand of atheism is one that embraces
evidence-based and logical reasoning along with the scientific method.
Using these tools, I've come to the realization that the evidence for
the existence of God just doesn't hold up. The idea that applying
modern methods of inquiry to the 'big questions' should be a bad thing
is actually pretty laughable.”
There were two driving reasons behind the creation of the show,
according to Leaman. The first was the result of a large gap in
representation on this campus. Although there are a wide range of
religiously based clubs and organizations, there is no place for
atheists and freethinkers to gather communally at U of T Scarborough,
he says. Godless is there to let them know that they are not
“The second reason is that I was just pissed off,” he
muses, citing local examples such as a religiously based
anti-evolution display that was found in the Student Centre that he
says was chock-full of misinformation. Another broader issue relates
to medicine, he notes, when some parents let their kids die rather
than seek proper medical treatment because of their unwavering faith
in prayer and 'natural' remedies (see Episode 19 of Godless,
titled “Alternative Medicine.” (See the web site
listed below.) “I felt compelled to speak out against the
atrocities and the misinformation that was out there in the
world,” states Leaman.
Show topics have included subjects such as blasphemy, losing faith,
and homosexuality. Striving to deliver a radio show that fosters
discussion, the hosts encourage listener feedback both on the air by
phone and chat, as well as off the air via e-mail and the contact form
on their web site.
“Listener feedback is important to us, and we do our best to
address questions and criticism on air,” says Leaman, who notes
that it is important to get a diverse range of views. The show often
brings in guests for interviews. Recent guests have included Professor
Michael Inzlicht of psychology at U of T Scarborough, who talked about
his research on religion and the brain, and Professor Larry Moran of
biochemistry at U of T’s St. George campus, author of the
science blog “Sandwalk.” He discussed the incompatibility
of science and religion.
Over the past several months, the show has been well-received, with an
average of more than 200 listeners per episode. The show has also
attracted international attention, with people tuning in online from
as far away as Kuwait and Australia. Godless is believed to
be one of the most successful shows in Fusion Radio's history.
Asked if there has been any negative response to the show, he notes
that posters advertising the show on campus bulletin boards have been
routinely torn down. “It's a sad state of affairs when free
speech is endangered even on a university campus,” says Leaman.
“But it just reaffirms the need for this type of programming to
break the stigma surrounding atheism. Targeting atheists is no
different than targeting Muslims, Christians, or Jews. Hate is hate,
and it cannot be tolerated.”
That being said, all feedback received by the hosts of the show via
e-mail and otherwise has been very supportive. “Even those who
disagree with us do so in the form of a respectful dialogue,” he
said, “and that's what the show is designed to evoke.”
Interested listeners can tune into Godless every Friday from
3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on www.fusionradio.ca.
Archives of past episodes, show notes, links and contact forms can be
found on the show web site at www.godlessradio.ca. For
subscription services, simply search “Godless Radio” in
the iTunes store.
Rob Wulkan is the co-host of the Godless radio program. He is a 2009 graduate of the University of Toronto Scarborough.