One of the areas that I feel Sam could do a better job at is explaining the root cause of some of the irrational behaviors that we see in the topics discussed. I believe that the quickest way to dis-empower many of these irrational beliefs is to unravel them to their origins and find the rational(if only biologically rational) reasons surrounding their beginnings.
One of the things that Sam brings up a lot is the Catholic stance on birth control, something completely irrational that flies in the face of what we objectively know as a method to increase well-being and almost everything good in scciety and the societal reasons against birth control that the church brings forward are all completely bogus. This we can all agree on , but you will never have a religious person accept the evidence with any weight because, as Sam points out, what kind of evidence can you give a person that actively rejects evidence day to day, that will sway their minds on an issue?
What I think does help to open peoples minds is to explain the rational for why something exists and show that there were specific social, biological or political reasons that made real sense at the time. This was exquisitely done during the first 15 minutes of the first Zeitgeist movie by showing the pagan and star/sun-base explanation for nearly every religious belief on the planet
Anyways, back to condom usage and the Catholic faith, there’s an interesting little part of the latest episode of Sci-show(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXSu68PmbKQ) at 3:45 that correlates the vehemency of the opposition to birth control by the catholic faith and the societal pressures to increase population as quickly as possible in the aftermath of the Black Death that wiped out 1/3 of Europe’s population. The waste of seed was declared a sin some 1000 years prior but not with the same fervor as we are used to which kicked in in the 1400’s by pope Innocence. It makes perfect sense to do what you can to encourage a population to have as many babies as possible in the wake of such dramatic drops in local populations and for such naive people the threat of eternal damnation was probably the most compelling way to accomplish this. More research should be done in the matter to correlate the intensity of the anti-contraception rhetoric in the church with the drop in population after the Black Death but it would rationally explain this little piece of dogma and showing the roots of these things like this can really kickstart peoples rational thought processes and help them let go of them as ‘scripture’ and accept them as necessary systems for change in the crazy times they were needed in. Not for all things mind you, but a lot of them at least