The Phil Ferguson Show – 106

Guests – Jason Torpy, Mario Mouton & Joey Kirkman (more below)

The price of oil. Is it just supply vs. demand?

Story on oil from Forbes.

Initial Jobless Claims….

A measure of the number of jobless claims filed by individuals seeking to receive state jobless benefits. This number is watched closely by financial analysts because it provides insight into the direction of the economy. Higher initial claims correlate with a weakening economy.

Unemployment rate is now 5.6%

Stock Market Returns (link for all of the numbers discussed in the show)

The Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund was up 12.43% (2014)

Investing for just 5 years, the worst case is a loss of 2.35% and you have a 90% chance of doing better than -0.47% in total returns. When you look at the 10 year results the worst is -1.38% and there is a 90% chance that you will do better than +5.86%.

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The Phil Ferguson Show – 105

Guests – Lauren Lane & Steve Hill

Investing Skeptically – Women And Investing

– Women make less

– Women live longer

– Women have lower financial literacy

See the two examples of a man and a woman that try to save enough for retirement.

I recommend you read this book….

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Firebrand Atheism

firebrand_atheismAtheism has to deal with a lot of growing up pains. Big names like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Michael Shermer have faced an onslaught of criticism for being too conservative, didactically judgmental, or just plain obliviously sexist, racist, or disablest, with even accusation of misdeeds. It’s no longer an old white tent without contestation.

There have also been accusations that there is a “Big Atheism” and it’s too confrontational. We could see the start of it a few years ago when Religious News Network hired crossover atheists like Chris Steadman, who calls himself an interfaith activist or a Faithiest, where atheists should treat the religious respectfully.

Then there is the periodic concern that Atheist bulletin boards are too aggressive. As Massimo Pigliucci put forth.

“Few will listen to you if you start out the conversation by telling them that they are idiots.“. The counter argument to that is “The billboards are instead aimed at closeted atheists, trying to encourage them to come out and be counted“.

Again it’s really not new as Alternet and others said back in 2009.

The New Atheist movement is being led by several egomaniac intolerant fundamentalists. It’s relevant to ask about who they are, not just what they say or write, because the New Atheism isn’t just about non-belief in God. The leaders of this movement make loud, repeated, and bold claims about atheism being better and more moral, more ethical, and a vastly improved alternative to religion. They also name names when blasting religious leaders.

Now it’s being called Firebrand Atheism.

The president of American Atheists, David Silverman, defines firebrand atheism as simply telling the truth about religion, with the emphasis on the telling. He says we should make clear that it’s religious beliefs we’re attacking, not the person. He says, “I’m not attacking humans; I’m attacking those humans’ silly beliefs.”

Aaah for the old days when rebels would just create new organizations and do admin changes. Anyone remember Ellen Johnson, in 2008, who was run out because she said there should be a movement to not vote, to show strength?

“I didn’t vote because I’m tired of being ignored by the politicians… because I’m an atheist. All of the candidates court the religious voters and ignore me.”

She then urges the 11% of non-religious voters to “stay home” during the 2008 general elections.

Of course telling people to promote not voting is like rubbing salt in the wound of activism, and she had also said to vote shortly before. My, my. What she was looking for was attention of a big block not voting and they would ask why. Because there were and are no choices. No minority is represented less than atheists that I know of.

Silverman has brought in some statistics noting that until New Atheism there wasn’t much comment or recognition, with contrary comment back from his friend Massimo.

Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci concluded in a recent essay that Silverman’s kind of analysis “ought to be done by professional statisticians and social scientists in order to be convincing,” and that “the evidence adduced by [Silverman] to justify his firebrand atheism is shaky and inconclusive to say the least.” Pigliucci points out that one of Silverman’s own sources, sociologist Ryan Cragun, questions the validity of Silverman’s conclusions. Pigliucci quotes Cragun as saying, “causality cannot be statistically determined between whether searches for ‘American Atheists’ cause searches for ‘atheists’ or vice versa.”

Of course it’s impossible to really know since there haven’t been double-blind tests. Nor do we   know how atheism would had progressed without the New Atheist movement. It seems hard to believe that atheism would have gone as far as it has without raising controversy with such pejoratives as poisoning, no god, and delusion.

There is a current push to have a lovable fool, which feeds into popular anti-intellectualism..

As the authors wrote in the study: “Because they are liked by a disproportionate number of people, lovable fools can bridge gaps between diverse groups that might not otherwise interact.” That likeability factor is exactly what is needed in order to improve atheism’s image—and shift the Overton Window. The authors also say that since people are more likely to listen to likeable colleagues, we should “have widely liked individuals serve as evangelists for important change initiatives.”

Yet, the fear of hell has promoted more people to Christianity and Islam than the promise of heaven. These most successful religions won by conquest and domination. If softness were the most powerful influence, pagan and pacifist religions would have dominated. That’s why the all powerful equalizing single god made such a big tent effective.

In US history religious influence was formed by fervent preachers insisting that there be religious statements such as in god we trust and under god as well as national prayers and so forth. If you read their appeals there is no softness. Lincoln may  to have liked them but their appeals was the strongest voice around. The moderates swayed to the heavy voices. The trope is the squeaky wheel gets greased.

Indeed history is written by those who aggressively set forth in the world. It’s not a pleasant observation as most of us prefer peace but over and over again people have chosen authority and strength to form successful cultural and social change.

Clearly the Firebrand atheists don’t intend terrorism and physical harm but it is clear that Islamist terrorism has a disturbing effect of quelling opposition rather than raising it. Instead of objection to Islamist ideology, liberals and moderates point to imperialism and colonialism as the cause of problems rather then the direct ideology. Even when the extremists insist it is their ideology and not history or material issues moderates apologize for behavior they would find intolerable in their own. Liberals sided with free speech in Charlie Hebdo but refused to publish their cartoons under the guise of security, and apologetic tolerance of the terrorism.

The reaction to Charlie Hebdo was at first sympathetic and then rapidly twisted to justification for the terrorism, slipping into classic victim blaming. I fear that unless at least some atheists are firebrands the movement will stagnate. People like Dennett predicted the world would have gone secular by now and atheists aren;t even represented in government. Change against such requires strength. Even Gandhi knew nonviolence can only come after there is power.

I would risk violence a thousand times rather than risk the emasculation of a whole race. I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence… I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.

But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns a soldier…But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature….But I do not believe India to be helpless….I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature….Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Jim Newman,

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The Phil Ferguson Show – 104

Guest – James Croft

Rotary International

“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.” —Paul P. Harris

Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.

Our ongoing commitment


Rotarians have not only been present for major events in history—we’ve been a part of them. From the beginning, three key traits have remained strong throughout Rotary:

We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today we’re working together from around the globe both digitally and in-person to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.

We persevere in tough times. During WWII, Rotary clubs in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Japan were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally and following the war’s end, Rotary members joined together to rebuild their clubs and their countries.

Our commitment to service is ongoing. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. By 2012, only three countries remain polio-endemic—down from 125 in 1988.

Find a Rotary club almost anywhere in the world on this page….

Learn about Rotary Youth Exchange.

Are you interested in learning a new language or meeting new people? Rotary Youth Exchange is the opportunity of a lifetime for the more than 8,000 students who participate each year. By sharing your own culture and embracing a new one, you help foster global understanding—and learn a great deal about yourself and your home country in the process.

Help Rotary End Polio NOW!

Rotary, along with , has reduced polio cases by 99 percent worldwide since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. We are close to eradicating polio, but we need your help. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, here are some ways to make a global impact and protect children against polio forever.

Is Rotary a Christian Organization?

Paul Harris saw the importance of this and discussed it in two places in his book, The Rotarian Age. He said:

To create a harmonious environment for the fellowship that held clubs together, Rotary discouraged religious and political positions. (p. 91)


“The 1905 members of the Rotary Club of Chicago, so valued the friendship of their fellow-members that they put a ban upon religious and political discussions, fearing that they might become disturbing factors, and they were richly rewarded for their foresight.” (p. 59). [emphasis added]

James CroftJames Croft

James Croft is a Humanist activist and public speaker who has swiftly become one of the best-known new faces in Humanism today. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and is currently studying for his Doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a leader in training in the Ethical Culture movement – a national movement of Humanist congregations – he is an in-demand public speaker, an engaging teacher, and a passionate activist for human rights. James was raised on Shakespeare, Sagan and Star Trek, and is a proud, gay Humanist. His upcoming book “The Godless Congregation”, co-authored with New York Times bestselling author Greg Epstein, is being published by Simon & Schuster.

Blog: Temple of the Future

Ethical Society of St. Louis

The Ethical Society of St. Louis is a welcoming home for a group of people from various religious backgrounds in the major faiths, as well as agnostics and atheists, who come together to celebrate our journey through life and affirm our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Some of our members and visitors concurrently attend their more mainstream houses of worship (such as a churches or synagogues) sometime during the week and then join us on Sundays and, perhaps, during the week for our other programs.


Please like the Facebook page…

iTunes link….

RSS feed to add to your favorite podcast player

NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing education series. This information is for educational purposes only. This information does not constitute investment advice. Please consult with your financial advisor before taking any action.

For planning advice contact Polaris Financial Planning.



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The Phil Ferguson Show – 103

Guest – David Fitzgerald

Guaranteed Mutual Funds

Details and math behind a sample “Guaranteed Mutual Fund”.

David Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald lectures across the nation at secular events and universities. He is best known for his multimedia presentations “The Ten Thousand Christs and the Evaporating Jesus” as well as “The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion”. In November 2010 he presented his research at Skepticon 3 in a presentation titled Examining the Existence of a Historical Jesus

Get “Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All” on audio book!




The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion, Book 1: The Mormons

The Mormons


David’s other books under the name of Kilt Kilpatrick

Under The Kilt


Movie about Mormons – September Dawn



The Mormon “Space Jesus”


Space Jesus


Humanist Community Forum (2014-01-19): Ten Beautiful Lies About Jesus


Please like the Facebook page…

iTunes link….

RSS feed to add to your favorite podcast player

NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing education series. This information is for educational purposes only. This information does not constitute investment advice. Please consult with your financial advisor before taking any action.

For planning advice contact Polaris Financial Planning.

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The Phil Ferguson Show – 102

Guest – Andrew Seidel

The Lottery as my retirement plan.

“You are 21,574 times more likely to get hit by lightning then winning the Mega Millions with one ticket.”

What is an Index Fund.

Northwest Mutual Internship

“The Northwestern Mutual internship is a waste of time. It’s nothing more than you selling insurance to your friends and family. There are many opportunities out there that are much better.”

Andrew Seidel

Andrew Seidel

He has written a book on International Human Rights Law and his essay on the role of religion in government and the founding of our nation placed second in the FFRF’s 2010 graduate student essay contest. Andrew is a former Grand Canyon tour guide and accomplished nature photographer; his work has been displayed in galleries in Colorado, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Maryland. He joined the FFRF staff as a constitutional consultant in November 2011.

FFRF challenges Piedmont, Ala., ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ themed parade .
According to the Piedmont Journal, the theme “reflect[s] our strong belief in prayers.” The city’s annual Christmas parade is set to be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4. Piedmont High School’s track and field team will reportedly serve as grand marshals.
School board meetings open with a prayer, and often include bible readings and proselytizing by board members. Board President James Na injects Christianity into many of his official statements, FFRF’s legal complaint notes. At one typical meeting, Na “urged everyone who does not know Jesus Christ to go and find Him,” after which another board member closed with a reading of Psalm 143.
FFRF has remained consistent throughout this ordeal: Public schools should not be allowing the distribution of bibles, atheist materials or any other religious or nonreligious material. Religion is best left to the private sphere.
Kapparot coincides with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Hasidic Jews grab a chicken by the wings and swing it around their heads three times to transfer their sins to the bird. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, while swinging the birds, the soon-to-be-redeemed supplicants chant, “This be my substitute, my vicarious offering, my atonement. This cock [or hen] shall meet death, but I shall find a long and pleasant life of peace!”

Some legal battles the Freedom From Religion Foundation is fighting….

You can join or donate to the FFRF here….


Please like the Facebook page…

iTunes link….

RSS feed to add to your favorite podcast player

NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing education series. This information is for educational purposes only. This information does not constitute investment advice. Please consult with your financial advisor before taking any action.

For planning advice contact Polaris Financial Planning.



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