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Rocked by Doubt

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Jeff Viniard and Sookyoung Lee resting during a cross country bike trip (Lulu Miller)

In 2010, Lulu Miller was biking across the country, taking some time to clear her head for a new phase of life. And somewhere in Nevada, she ran into a guy named Jeff Viniard who was on a similar journey. They shared the road for two weeks, pedaling hundreds of miles together until Utah. Along the way, they got to be pretty close, and Jeff, a geologist by training, rekindled Lulu's long-lost love of rocks. But it turns out the ground beneath his own feet was shifting that summer... and he found himself desperately searching for some rock-solid evidence to help him figure out his future.

Shot of a two-lane highway and rock formation
Lulu Miller
The open road...
Jeff Viniard on a cross-country bike trip.
Lulu Miller
Jeff on his bike.
Jeff Viniard and Sookyoung Lee at Bryce Canyon.
Lulu Miller
Jeff and Sookyoung Lee at Bryce Canyon.
Jeff Viniard and Sookyoung Lee at a restaurant
Lulu Miller
Jeff and Soo at a restaurant.
Jeff Viniard hugs a
Lulu Miller
Jeff embraces Utah.
Lulu Miller and Sookyoung Lee.
Lulu Miller
Lulu and Soo.


Lulu Miller

Comments [64]

Ben from America

This episode only served to spread pseudoscience and anti-rationalism. Radiolab's appeal is the appreciation of science and engineering. Why is objectivity being compromised in this piece? This show appears to be following in the footsteps of the History Channel and Animal Planet. A chance is being missed to improve society when programs like this take the direction of this episode. I'm sure pandering to the religious crowd is good for ratings though. Soon the episodes are going to start promoting cancer curing super foods that help you lose weight. This episode demonstrates this show isn't really above that.

Dec. 04 2015 12:04 AM
Rudy from Sacramento

Lulu - I thought you did a great job. I believe in God. I ride bikes. I was attracted to the story mostly because it started with a bike ride and then became a story about someone searching. Then it became a story about two people wanting to be married but wanting to be on the same page. Jeff was ready to wed until he found the answers he was looking for. When he was ready, when she was too - boom, beautiful ending... I was captivated! Keep writing. Keep riding. Keep telling stories!

May. 13 2015 08:27 PM
marc from Blue Lake CA

I just listen to this story and I ave to say that unlike many others I really enjoyed it. I am an atheist but am respectful of all belief if they are genuine. In today's America it is very hard to have reasonable dialogue about faith, our dichotomic society tries to pin us against each other every chance it gets. It was refreshing to listen to a story where doubt, faith and love were laid bare alongside their emotional consequences.I have to say that listening to Jeff's story, my only "oh gee..." moment was about Meghan potentially not accepting such a soulful man as her would have been a really dumb mistake for her to pass and settle for a standard brainwashed hubby.
And No I did not need to have counter view points to faith to enjoy a sweet story about love..sometimes it's ok to just enjoy the story. Cheers!

Apr. 27 2015 02:10 PM
James from Portland, Oregon

What do you say about a story that is clearly attempting to celebrate one of the more awful aspects of human nature? A man and a woman are (supposedly) in "love." They both follow a a particular religion until the man comes to his senses and stops believing in this form of magical thinking, and the woman who (supposedly) loves him announces that her life with him is over if he does not start following her religion again.

In the end ... he knuckles under, and we're supposed to think there is something deeply meaningful and moving about this surrender?

Because ... why?

It isn't just that the woman is a horrible person for setting her religious beliefs above her love for a flesh and blood human being--she most definitely is. But it's also about a man betraying his own hard fought battle to overcome superstition, betraying his own emerging sense of who he is, in order to keep the "love" of this horrible woman.

What if, instead of being a follower of Jesus, the woman were, say, a Scientologist? Would we still be encouraged by Radiolab to think of this as a "beautiful" and "inspiring" story?

I don't think so.

Apr. 13 2015 01:33 AM
John from Ohio

This is an obnoxious non-story and the second example of how Lulu Miller rides her bike, meets people, and thinks that it makes for something profound.

Apr. 09 2015 09:56 AM
Dylan from New York

I wouldn't comment except you seem to have taken a lot of flak for this one. This episode was a critical part of causing me to rethink my belief system. Because of your work, I was able to discard deeply held beliefs that were clouding my judgment. The depth of Jeff's feelings convinced me that my reasons for believing I knew the truth weren't any better than anyone else's reasons for believing things I "knew" were not true. You have my deepest gratitude.

Feb. 08 2015 04:45 PM
Josh Gipson from Evansville Indiana!

Worst. Episode. Ever.

Aug. 27 2014 08:57 PM
Lane Phillips from Omaha, NE

Stay strong, doubters, there is no god!

Aug. 04 2014 05:27 PM
Frank Caughlin from West Sussex

Isn't it strange that many comments on the reasons (usually God's reasons) for a particular tragedy or happenings, either to individuals or collectively are stated in human terms. In other words "why did this or that happen" "what have I, or we, done to deserve this? are judged in terms of human experience. We are in fact questioning God's ethics

Oct. 17 2013 03:38 PM

Aside from the brief side-story about realizing some rocks are formed from organic matter, how exactly does the "Rocked by Doubt" story enhance "public understanding of science and technology in the modern world?" Twenty minutes of an anecdote about a guy dealing with his faith is NOT why I support Radiolab. They really missed the mark with this piece. I hope no NSF funding went toward this waste of airtime, because it would be better spent on actual science outreach. Get back to your roots, Radiolab!

Sep. 01 2013 02:15 PM
A Santos from California

As a minister I find myself talking to many people who share Jeff's story on one level or another. Listening to him talk, it struck me, it wasn't that he suddenly realized he didn't believe in God, he finally realized he had never been given a reason to. Real faith is not credulity, it is based on tangible concrete evidence. For example, could the men who wrote the Bible have predicted the name of the king who conquered Babylon almost 200 years in advance, if there wasn't a higher power involved? Jeff traveled a long way looking for evidence that is in every hotel room across the country.

Jun. 11 2013 07:13 PM
Shawen from Florida

I was driving along the Florida highway this morning and planned to stop for food. I drove right past the exit at full-speed. I couldn't bear to turn off this episode, I was completely enthralled. Thank you for adding a bit of wonder and doubt to my morning.

Jun. 01 2013 08:14 PM
Vanessa - from Sac

The story sounded like it was about a person struggling with religious faith. I listened to it a couple of times and heard something different. He's struggling with his reality, his fundamentals. He readily admits he has been engrossed in the church and god all of his life. He has made this a piece of his being or it made him the being that he is. He measures all of his decisions based upon this belief system. The approaching marriage being such a solid binding commitment within the religious realm sparked some doubt within him. He hit a mental wall and went on a search for answers that were not being answered by his god or his belief system. I've seen this so pattern so many times with people that wholly rely and believe in a god and are dedicated to religion/church. They doubt, then begin to self doubt then crumble and start to search and wind up right back at the starting point. He's not searching for god/religion or answers about his faith he's questioning his decisions and certainty of his commitments and only finding basic fundamental answers that have for so many years been the grains of his life.

May. 31 2013 03:06 PM

As far as I can see the hook for this story turns on the fact that someone had third grade but not eighth/ninth grade science. Deep.

May. 31 2013 01:54 PM

There are a lot of complainers. "Boo, you talk about God." Blah, blah, blah. Open your minds and your hearts people. One man's struggle to find himself in the world is what was told...and that's all it was supposed to be. If you were looking for Radiolab to oust this man for his beliefs in a higher power, then I am glad you are disappointed. Keep up the good work Radiolab. You can't please everyone, I guess.

May. 23 2013 01:28 PM

All of these supposedly profound responses against Pascal's wager presuppose that all religions are equally dubious. This is simply not the case, and that attitude amounts to intellectual laziness, or at least ignorance of the evidential arguments associated with different religious views. Logically analyzing various religions can help us narrow the list down quite a bit. In other words, it is more reasonable to accept some religions than others. And, as I'm convinced, Christianity tops the list by a longshot.

May. 16 2013 12:42 PM
Mike Blejer from Brooklyn

I cannot believe you guys would end on Pascal's wager. 

There are numerous responses to Pascal's wager, including the fact that you can't necessarily choose what you believe and also pascal was assuming that his one conception of god was the only one. When you're picking from multiple gods from multiple religions your odds fall drastically, and say you pick Jesus and it's actually some god that hates Jesus, you're even worse off if you choose Jesus than if you believed in nothing. Or how about if it's a god who only let's you into heaven if you don't believe in him. The problem is that the math makes no sense when you don't actually know for certain what the possible outcomes are. Even just looking at Wikipedia for 5 minutes would have done the trick:

I went to Oberlin I love your show, I respect you both immensely but if your show is about ideas and wants to talk to the highest level of ideas available/accessible, this was either lazy, irresponsible, or worse. It's the equivalent of ending a lecture on the development of human biology with Lamarck.

May. 02 2013 07:34 PM
Ian A from Australia

Like many who have commented her, I found this episode disappointing. More than anything it showed that many people, given the choice between reality and superstition will chose superstition. On a personal level, if the love between two people is conditional upon shared religious delusions then it is not much of a relationship (just think how beautiful their relationship could have been if neither were indoctrinated)

Apr. 24 2013 10:30 PM
Kurt from Chicago

This is the first time I've ever been disappointed in a RL story. Jeff and Megan's story could've been handled better in that it seemed to me Jeff was cast as the one who bollixed up his relationship with Megan rather than the reverse. Jeff was rightly questioning his beliefs in God, I have no idea how a geologist could believe such things in the first place as the cognitive dissonance must be immense, whereas Megan is willing to give up the man she supposedly loves for a bloody fairy tale. Finally: c'mon, guys, Pascal's Wager? That's your compelling argument for belief? Which God(s) are the ones in which we should believe so we don't go to hell? What if we believe in the wrong God(s)? Homer Simpson put it best: "Suppose we’ve chosen the wrong god. every time we go to church we’re just making him madder and madder!" Also, if there is a God and s/he punishes me for using the brain with which I was gifted then s/he is not worth worshiping. As it is, there aren't any Gods so I'm safe. I still love the show.

Apr. 16 2013 08:05 AM
Alex from Brooklyn, NY

This is an incredibly beautiful and relateable story, especially for anyone who has ever struggled with their beliefs, whatever they may be. Thanks for sharing it, Lulu. It resonated deeply within me and is among my favorite Radiolab stories to date.

Apr. 15 2013 10:58 PM

Snoozefest. Probably my least favorite story of radiolab

Apr. 12 2013 02:28 PM


Apr. 12 2013 01:24 PM

I don't see that marriage lasting unless she gives up her absolutes about what he believes in or does not. It figures a non-existent deity would wedge apart what originally seemed to be a loving relationship. Whatever happened to Jesus's unconditional love. Although I'm not sure he ever preached unconditional love. But then again if my girlfriend all of a sudden went full on Republican the relationship might get rocky. Anyway I liked the story.

Apr. 12 2013 01:30 AM
jack b

There was opportunity to make this a great story about uncertainty, but it took a wrong turn and never recovered. And the attempt to frame the conclusion of the story as: man loses faith, but "regains" it as evidenced by marrying a devout believer who under no circumstance would marry a nonbeliever--is disjointed, tiresome and amateurish.

It's sad to see that such a breakthrough by the groom, having come from a deep religious upbringing, apparently never received any compassion or encouragement to further explore his new thoughts about the veracity of gods. All those miles/days and apparently no one provided any guidance? Losing one's faith isn't a tragedy, it's a chance for personal growth.

His difficulty discussing the concecpt of gods after "reconciling" with the bride is the most important sub-story. Once one has the kind of doubt that the groom did, there's no undoing it.

Apr. 10 2013 08:53 PM
Blaine P from Pasco, WA

I'm not going to wade into the argument about whether or not this piece belongs on RL. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Maybe it's better suited to "Philosophy Talk". But the piece was aired and so what's done is done and now people are commenting on it. Judging by the number of negative comments here, some people just can't stomach the idea that someone who doubts his or her faith might just recover it. That is not an acceptable narrative, apparently. If he had decided to renounce his faith and become a full-blown atheist, I wonder if he might find a more sympathetic audience.

And what's wrong with wanting to marry someone who holds your own core beliefs and values? If it were an atheist having second thoughts about her fiance who suddenly converted to Christianity (or Islam, or pick your favorite)would she be considered intolerant or enlightened?

Apr. 09 2013 11:38 PM

I guess everybody misses the mark sometimes, and this segment was literally the most mark-missingest piece I've heard from Radiolab, a show I usually love. I found the girlfriend to be a fairly horrible human being and felt terrible that the guy had to buckle under all that pressure to lie and pretend to be something he clearly wasn't. It's possible that such a situation could have actually been handled well and made for a compelling story but it was badly fumbled here. It felt directionless and weak, and honestly it left me feeling sort of annoyed that Lulu insisted on presenting it as if there was something magical about it.

Apr. 09 2013 08:07 PM
Rob from Chicago

No science in this RadioLab piece. Just religious gobbledygook. This kind of story gives the religious nuts just the right amount of anecdotal evidence that they just LOVE. Good work, if you were a faith-podcast; but you're not...what a total waste of a story.

Apr. 09 2013 05:23 PM
sandman from tennessee

Emma - your comments are spot-on. I thought the segment reached for profundity and grasped nothing. Radiolab has done episodes in the past that dealt with religious themes and done them well (as has This American Life), but this one felt aimless. And the aimlessness may have been intended to echo the uncertainty theme, but, for me, it left a disagreeable Krulwichian aftertaste that no volume of Jad-sterine could eradicate.
Also, it's interesting to read through the comments and note that different listeners have very different ideas of what Radiolab is supposed to be. For me it's a science show with a narrative approach and great sound design - for others it's more about personal stories that intersect with science. Neither is right, I guess.

Apr. 09 2013 12:27 PM

I want to clarify something. There are a few people who really liked the religious doubt story. There are a few other people who did not like it because they are not interested in stories about religion. The MAJORITY of comments, however, complain about the story because it does not explore its topics. It's fine to have a story about religion. There are all sorts of fascinating things to discuss from thousands of years of philosophy, history, psychiatry, mythology and literature. You could do a mind-blowing show on religious doubt. This story did not do any of that. It simply told a frankly uninteresting story about an average person's average struggle with faith and how it affected his relationship. So?

I just want to clarify that because I see that a lot of people are commenting that atheists and cynics and science-centric people are angry just because the show talked about God. Radiolab has talked about religion intelligently and interestingly before.

Apr. 05 2013 02:11 PM

What a beautiful story. I wish I knew all three of these people. I find the cynical comments about this story in this forum sickening.

Apr. 05 2013 12:17 PM

I think it is interesting how people are responding to this segment. My personal thoughts aside, I think that there is an important place for people telling their story. Science loses meaning when it no longer applies to our experience. The idea of Radiolab is to tell a story, and engage people on big ideas. Doubt is one of those. The reason for less commentary was for the very reason that doubt means that there isn't conclusiveness, and maybe that is okay.

Apr. 04 2013 12:36 PM
bill from Chicago

First off, I thought this was a great story. Handled delicately and with skill.

But you misrepresented Pascal's wager - and his beliefs. Pascal already was a believer. He had a "Road to Damascus" type of conversion. What he wanted to do was get his friends in the Mathematical and Scientific worlds to consider God. He didn't want to convince them of anything - he knew he couldn't. But he believed that "if you seek you will find." So his wager was designed to get them to seek by showing them that seeking God was not illogical.

Thus, the wager is not "Believe in God or don't." The wager is "set out to live your life as though there is a God...or there isn't." The only logical wager is to live as though there is a God and look into it. That's it. So Pascal wasn't offering proof, either. He wasn't saying "you have to be sure." He was just saying "it's not illogical to consider the existence of God."

It's a small point, but it makes a big difference.

thanks for the show.

Apr. 04 2013 10:35 AM

I am a little surprised at the number of folks who saw this episode as endorsing faith, instead of simply exploring the experience of uncertainty. This is a story about believing without sufficient evidence. Hence, the title "Are you sure?" The answer Jeff gives is "No". Jeff comes to believe on the basis of an ineffable experience that even he knows isn't obvious evidence for God's existence. He knows it is plausible that he is just reacting to the long history of the eucharist. He understands that people like Lulu will find his experience weird. Ultimately, he chooses to take this as evidence not because it 'resolves' things, but because it brings him 'relief'. So, here we have a guy who comes to an uncertain acceptance of God's existence, because he is in love with a woman who will not have him unless he believes. Desire clearly shapes his handling of his evidence. Those listeners who took this to be some sort of argument for faith just weren't listening. At the very least, the story suggests that people who believe must at some level recognize the insufficiency of their evidence. It might even suggest that people like Jeff are simply self-deceived. I love the moment at the end when Megan asserts that ultimately love is a choice. In a way, Jeff has chosen both to believe and to love, neither being completely well grounded. Kierkegaard would be pleased.

Apr. 04 2013 08:19 AM

I liked the first story for the human aspect, and the theme of being in that place of doubt, which to my view was the discomfiting perch both sides of the couple were finding themselves perching on at the end of the story, in order to hold on to each other. Kinda beautiful in a way. One could understand either one of them finding a different partner who was more in line with their beliefs/outlook. But they chose each other. I do think that the commenter who said the guys doubts were not truly resolved, but would likely continue to cause him issues, was probably right. I know that non-supportive relationships can be very damaging to people, and hopefully now that they have committed to each other, they will be able to be there for each other no matter how discordant or in harmony their beliefs are at any moment in time. It is not easy, but that sort of love and commitment is a beautiful thing. My hubby and I have both gone through major transformations in our beliefs during our years together...such things can tear relationships apart...but it is amazing and powerful when love, along with forgiveness, compassion, empathy & commitment is powerful enough to see you through it together. I can see how some people would interpret this piece in conjunction with the Pascal's wager bit to be preaching a lame "lesson" and get more than a little annoyed (many of the points made by commenters I would agree with, and I do think it could have been played better) but I doubt that was a sermon that was intended, and there was something more to find in these pieces than that.

Apr. 04 2013 01:36 AM

I'm still listening to it, but the female narrator talking about rocks IS SOOOO CUTE!! So adorable.

Okay, now I'm onto the second part of the narrative, the 'actual' story now. To those who have made comments about the 'boring' God bit... I don't find it boring at all. It's about a person's story, finding his belief-- how can that be boring?

Thanks RadioLab for sharing these stories :)

Apr. 03 2013 10:09 PM
Steve from Seattle

A story that will challenge some, as evidenced by some of the comments here. But for me - as staunchly confused an agnostic as there is - this existential, geological love story led me to think again about how I might choose - despite my own doubts and fears - to love others and participate with love in my community.

Thank you, Jad and Robert and Lulu, for sharing a story that pushed me to reflect on how I want to show up in the world.

Apr. 03 2013 09:53 PM
I, J

This story WAS frustrating. Why couldn't Megan just be mature enough to deal with Jeff's lack of faith? Why is the free-thinker expected to be the one to come to God, but the believer doesn't have to do anything? What kind of compromise is that?

Why is belief ANY better than doubt?

Apr. 03 2013 03:14 PM
Matt from WV from Kenna, WV

I find it odd that the whole title is "Rocked By Doubt" that the subject, spirituality, bothers some people that have commented.

I am comfortable with my spirituality. Human nature and intelligent thought must doubt concepts, ideas, theories, and beliefs. People really get uncomfortable with beliefs.

Apr. 03 2013 01:19 PM
Martin from Northwest

I enjoyed this story and in general appreciate the inter-play of science and spirituality. Thank you RadioLab.

Apr. 03 2013 12:40 PM
Joe Harris

I usually love Radiolab, but this story made me really uncomfortable. It felt a lot like a religious testimonial, complete with a conversion experience. If you really must include this kind of piece, could you please at least give someone non-religious a right to reply?

Apr. 03 2013 09:43 AM
Pete from London

What's going on guys? Something weird happened with this episode. Did you owe someone a favour? Did you lose a bet? Did you get a big bunch of money from a religious group? Is this part of a larger scientific experiment that you're conducting and us commenters have falled into your trap? I found this episode really puzzling.

Stick to what your good at. Trying to convert your listeners to God in a subtle/boring way is not one of them. If that is what this episode was.

I really like Radiolab. I will continue to listen despite this uncharacteristic blip.

Apr. 03 2013 03:55 AM
Tanya from Kentucky

Great story. The moment we ignore people with a religious point of view, is the moment we become like bigots ourselves. We are so used to "gotcha" stories and being entertained by "stuff", that we are bored by a beautiful story of accepting that we don't have to have it all figured out. I appreciate Megan's perspective and do not see her as close-minded at all. Her faith is a big deal to her, and being with someone she can't share it with, would be difficult. I can appreciate that. The fact that he husband was seeking and okay without having the answers, was just as valid. I am really surprised at some of the intolerant comments and comments of boredom on this page. As if people who think differently is not worth your time. Now who is the bigot?

Apr. 02 2013 07:56 PM
abandonwoo from Kansas

Pascal's Wager, debunked and long sunk as legitimate reasoning, closes a rare lame radiolab segment as sort of an admonishment/warning. Intended or not -- and I find it hard to believe this is intended -- it nonetheless comes across to me as Something You'd Better Give Some Serious Thought To, Foks; you don't wanna wind up in that bad place, now, do ya'?

It concludes a bewildering story that manages to sequentially fail to deliver anything useful about reasoning, geology, or advice for the lovelorn. Too bad this thing aired. I continue to look forward to future programs, though. Radiolab's success rate is still damned high.

Apr. 02 2013 05:22 PM
Matt from Memphis

@Sandman in Tennessee: I actually think the "Jeff's Story" / Pascal's Wager Debacle was a combination of your "owing Lulu Miller a favor" theory and sloppy editing. I have a feeling that someone may have actually said something intelligent about Pascal's Wager but the content got snipped and the remaining senseless scraps were tacked onto the Jeff story, thus inadvertently creating the awkward woo cocktail that defined the first part of the show.

Apr. 02 2013 05:12 PM

Rarely feel this way about RL, but this segment falls into the category of Time Wasted I Will Never Get Back. No new science, and a kind of crappy romance. Not interesting. Not fun. I kept waiting for Something to Happen. But it never did.

Apr. 02 2013 02:29 PM

I love Radiolab but keep religion out of it!!!

Apr. 02 2013 07:32 AM
Joshua Davis from Somewhere in Texas

FINALLY! I've only been waiting for you to produce this exact story for 3, no... 4 years! Waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Took you guys a while but I knew you would eventually stumble upon it. And I really thought that how you told the story was great! Because now I can point to something that perfectly illustrates my case. The very tone of the story itself, how slow and uncertain it was and its placement in a broadcast called "are you sure" was just perfect. I mean you guys hit the nail on the head in terms of tone, atmosphere, and development and even conclusion. Its amazing but you probably will never realize just how exactly perfect, how well matched your story is to the case in point. But that just goes to show that you don't need to understand everything about a matter to be able to appreciate it and share your enjoyment of its content with others. I can appreciate 34 things before breakfast without having a clue how they really work at their most fundamental level. Good job radiolab!

Apr. 01 2013 11:43 PM

I think you could do a smart story about religious doubt but this was not it. A guy and a girl who are religious get engaged. Guy then has doubt. Girl won't marry him. Guy later gets over his doubt but his faith is now different. Girl marries him. That's it? How is this interesting to anyone who doesn't know the people? There was nothing about faith or doubt or religious crisis or what it means to make peace with god- all topics which have a rich philosophical and historical context you could've explored. There was nothing about how the individual's background (he was a scientist, right?) affected his faith. Nothing. It was a feel-good, trite love story- nothing more.

The other two stories were good except that in the gambling story you returned to the religious theme as a bet. Bet on god, go to heaven if you are right and to hell if you are wrong. No exploration of this either. No mention of the fact that this is only accurate for one particular way of understanding one particular religion. Not even a mention of the fact that accepting the logic of the proposition has nothing whatsoever to do with actually being capable of believing. I think Robert started to say something like this but then dropped the ball. And why was that included in the gambling story anyway- especially following the chicken soup for the soul type of story about the bicyclist?

What I'm saying is that I think stories about religion can fit into Radiolab intelligently. You have thousands of years of philosophy and religious experience at your fingertips to make a fascinating show about this topic. This episode did not do that.

Apr. 01 2013 09:12 PM
Jim G.

Lame. I was hoping this one was actually about rocks. Maybe more science, please.

Mar. 31 2013 09:11 PM

The singalong of "Amazing Grace" that closed this section summed it up perfectly: too long, boring, overtly religious, and hitting all the wrong notes.

Mar. 31 2013 07:44 PM
Sandman from Tennessee

I have to agree with much of what's been said here. I have enjoyed and admired RadioLab for several years. And I always felt that maybe Robert provided some yin to Jad's yang, although RK has certainly vexed me with his hazy reasoning at times. But this story is so absolutely out of place on RadioLab. I don't even believe it would be a great story for a squishier show like TTBOOK. How did this get on the show?! Did someone owe Lulu a favor? Did Krulwich drug the sound engineer? Did Viniard's hoped-for deity miraculously air the piece as evidence of his existence? That must be it! Stay tuned for the next edition of ReligioLab. Jad - you got some splainin' to do.

Mar. 31 2013 03:41 PM
Jonah from Bay Area

That story about the young man who had a girlfriend that would not marry him unless he fell into her religious requirements was bizarre to place on Radiolab. I absolutely love this show till no end, but that felt like an AM radio ministry station special. I am a dedicated listener and will keep enjoying the program, but this particular episode dismayed me so much with it's heavily religious overtones and lack of substance, I felt like commenting. Odd choice.

Mar. 31 2013 12:07 PM

I have to agree with the rest of the comments here. Certainly one of the weakest Radiolab stories to date. Harsh as it is, "Chicken Soup for the Doubting Christian's Soul" is a pretty good description for this piece. Maybe it's slightly interesting that the couple are now facing uncertainty together, but that's about it. I expect Radiolab to dig a little deeper. I just fail to see what is Radiolab-worthy material about this. A rare misstep for what is usually such an incredible program.

Mar. 30 2013 02:49 PM
Matt from Houston

I am a Masters student about to graduate with a degree in geosciences and this story spoke to me only because I know what the guy was going through. An area of study such as geosience has ways of shaking you faith and leaves you questioning what is real, what is not, and what to believe. I was curious if it would be possible for me to get into contact with him I would like to talk to him about his resolution in more detail. If this is not possible I understand, I was just hoping to gain some insight to my own situation by hearing more details of his experience during the years between his contact with Lulu. Thanks!

Mar. 29 2013 05:49 PM
John from St. Louis, MO

FINALLY! Someone else says the exact words! "Love is a choice." It is something you just choose...same for trust, same for faith, same for all the assumptions we make in life. How we see our situation in this world and in this universe. I love Radiolab

Mar. 29 2013 03:37 PM
Julius Schorzman from Seattle

The rest of this episode was so amazing I recant my earlier comment of displeasure!

Mar. 29 2013 03:08 AM
Julius Schorzman from Seattle

I love you guys - you do great work!

But this story sucked! I mean, there's really nothing interesting about this couple. It would be ok as This American Life filler -- but it was out of place on RadioLab. It's just a narrow minded woman and her clueless husband -- the end!

But, that sad, I have days where I do bad work too -- so I forgive you!

Mar. 29 2013 02:08 AM

This was sadly not a very enjoyable section of the episode. I did not feel like it accurately displayed doubt, more like a crisis of faith gone through by a likable young man who was basically dumped by the woman he was ready to marry. Once he conformed to her expectations and allowed himself to be controlled by her demands for him to believe in God, they got married. The rest of it is fluff. An unpleasant story about an unpleasant couple.

Mar. 28 2013 10:53 PM
Geoff from Ohio

Dear Radiolab,
I have been a huge proponent of yours since I discovered you six years ago. I have donated, burned and distributed CDs for my friends, and constantly bug the producers at my local NPR station to have you as a regular feature. I defended your position on "yellow rain." I waited for how you would respond to the Jonah Lehrer situation. I rejoiced in what I hoped was your return to glory in "Solid as a Rock" and "Bliss"

My proselytizing ends with this sad episode.

"Rocked by Doubt" sounds like the audiobook for "Chicken Soup for the Doubting Christian's Soul" mixed with the worst of "This American Life (TAL)." I love TAL for its ability to recognize a mistake and correct it clearly and loudly in the same forum as its stories.

You clearly have lost your voice, and I have lost my love for Radiolab.

Mar. 28 2013 08:17 PM
Jean from Rochester, NY

Just finished listening and this segment is so bad I need to comment again. Was Radiolab really that hard up for material? There is no story here, no insights, no thought-provoking discussion, and the attempt to manufacture profundity out of the extremely banal was, as the poster below complained - very annoying. Robert, if you're reading, you can stop now I have something I need to discuss privately with Jad..... Jad, I'm afraid it's time to find a new partner. I have a suspicion that Krulwich was behind this segment, as he was with other recent negatively received segments (What if There Was No Destiny, the backlash from Yellow Rain). His commentaries lately have little to add to the show. I far prefer your voice, and Krulwich provides no inspiration to bring out your best. Without him, you'd be even better. I figure you two are probably close friends, and dumping him would be very difficult, but if your goal is to provide a quality show, keep your listeners and boost donations, he's got to go. Think about it.

Mar. 28 2013 11:32 AM
Brian from right behind you

Two things:

1) Megan sounds incredibly intolerant.
2) He fell out of faith and desperately tried to find a way back in. What is this doing on RadioLab?! There was no examination of the origins of doubt, faith, or certainty in this story.
3) This was a missed opportunity to introduce the audience to the concept of "confirmation bias".

Mar. 28 2013 12:59 AM
Jean from Rochester, NY

Listening to this segment now - average guy struggles with his faith - borrring! Let's hope the other segments pick up the pace. We wait too long between new episodes.

Mar. 27 2013 08:35 PM
GeeKay from NY

I agree with Archie about everything but the part about sedimentary rocks. You would be surprised how many people don't know this little fact. Take a random sample of people on the street and see how many people will get this right. I say, maybe 25%. The rest of your comment was spot on. :)

Mar. 27 2013 03:42 PM
Archie from Here

"Really? Some sedimentary rocks are made of millions of tiny dead things? No way?"

How can anyone with a basic education not know this?

This has to be one of the MOST ANNOYING episodes of RadioLab. The stop and start, are we there yet? approach to telling the story was infuriating.

To make matters worse, we're then treated to a load of woo about the loss and recovery of religious faith. No questions asked. No skeptical counter viewpoint offered.

Mar. 27 2013 03:37 PM

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