Welcome to the Legion of Region, podcasting a critical eye on a sometimes less-than-critical world. I have with me this week Twylla and Kris to discuss a variety of topics. As the number of cases of measles and pertussis rise, so do the calls for mandatory vaccination (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-measles-cases-spark-vaccination-discussion-1 NULL.2598160) – Calgary and area is no different in this regard; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in an effort to protect the freedoms of speech and thought, equates the freedom to not believe part with terrorism (http://www NULL.ibtimes NULL.co NULL.uk/saudi-arabia-new-law-sees-atheism-terrorism-1442819); as church attendance goes down, the question of what to do with the empties is on the rise – first reduce, then reuse and recycle (http://www NULL.businessinsider NULL.com/churches-in-england-are-being-converted-to-bars-photos-2014-3); is the internet responsible for the rise of the nones? We look at a study which says, “yes” (http://www NULL.technologyreview NULL.com/view/526111/how-the-internet-is-taking-away-americas-religion/?utm_campaign=socialsync&utm_medium=social-post&utm_source=facebook), and then from there digress into a discussion on beaver butt juice (http://www NULL.businessinsider NULL.com/castoreum-used-in-food-and-perfume-2013-10#ixzz2yAkKKUzM). Don’t ask, just listen. But first, an anti-choice organization is having a convention in Saskatchewan with the likes of Bill Whatcott and Peter LaBarbera (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/anti-gay-speaker-from-u-s-vows-to-speak-in-saskatchewan-1 NULL.2595034). We’ve talked about Bill Whatcott before, so this time we focus on the latter of the two anti-gay schmucks.
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In this instalment of The Legion of Reason, we discuss a freedom of speech issue where someone who, while we vehemently disagree with, feel has had his rights violated by a local university (http://www2 NULL.canada NULL.com/calgaryherald/news/opinion/story NULL.html?id=4fc1828a-9562-4426-9746-7c533c2e367b), more anti-vaccination nonsense in BC (http://bc NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/b-c-vaccination-rates-drop-amid-misinformation-campaign-1 NULL.1744379) that’s contributing to the current outbreak of measles in that province, the city of Saskatoon is taking a closer look at how untaxed churches are using their property (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/saskatoon-churches-coming-under-tax-review-microscope-1 NULL.2584022) to generate income, a couple (http://www NULL.patheos NULL.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2014/03/a-philosophy-professor-analyzes-gods-not-deads-case-for-god/) of stories (http://www NULL.rawstory NULL.com/rs/2014/03/26/nj-bank-wont-notarize-american-atheist-documents-for-personal-reasons/) that maybe Kevin Sorbo should read before saying how nice the religious are compared to us atheists, and finally someone who yearns for the good ol’ days (http://www NULL.examiner NULL.com/article/tristan-emmanuel-bill-maher-should-be-publicly-whipped-for-blasephemy) where free speech against God should be met with torture rather than itself met with free speech. But first – horror of horrors! – homeopathic remedies are being recalled (http://www NULL.independent NULL.co NULL.uk/news/world/americas/homeopathy-product-recalled-over-fears-it-may-contain-actual-medicine-9217206 NULL.html) because they might have bioactive compounds in them that aren’t diluted into oblivion.
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Welcome to episode 102 of The Legion of Reason, podcasting a critical eye on a sometimes less-than-critical world! In this installment, Kris, Twylla, Haysn and I take a look at Answers in Genesis’ Ken Ham’s complaint that creationism isn’t getting equal time on the reboot of Cosmos (http://www NULL.rawstory NULL.com/rs/2014/03/21/creationists-demand-equal-airtime-on-neil-degrasse-tysons-cosmos-to-provide-balance/). Waaaaaaa! There has been a spate of movies based in Christianity lately. “Son of God” has been royally panned, “Noah” angered the faithful because it wasn’t historically accurate (irony!) and now “God’s Not Dead” (http://godsnotdeadthemovie NULL.com/) raises every pejorative atheist stereotype like a necromancer on Halloween to create two-dimensional characters that no one could care less about. We have a look into the mind of star Kevin Sorbo and his fear of us (http://www NULL.breathecast NULL.com/articles/god-s-not-dead-movie-cast-interview-former-hercules-actor-kevin-sorbo-14628/). And finally I give our first book review. In honor of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos I review the book, The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.ca/Cosmos-Astronomy-New-Millennium/dp/110768756X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395708562&sr=8-1&keywords=the+cosmos+astronomy+in+the+new+millennium). But first, Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps passed away last week (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/2014/03/20/fred-phelps-dead_n_5000577 NULL.html) the night before his estranged son Nate’s autobiographical talk titled “Leaving Hate Behind” (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=gecHgApB48A) here in Calgary. We discuss the effect the WBC has had on the perception of the LGBT movement in a lively and entertaining discussion.
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In this instalment, we discuss one of the primary reasons for a recent outbreak of measles in the Fraser Valley (http://www NULL.vancouversun NULL.com/touch/news/metro/Chilliwack+pastor+tells+congregation+vaccines+interfere+with/9620133/story NULL.html?rel=813152) of beautiful British Columbia, the attempts by the ultra-fundamentalist Jewish community called Lev Tahor (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/fifth/episodes/2012-2013/rabbi-of-the-pure-hearts-inside-lev-tahor) to play a game of keep away with government child protection services and of course the requisite talk about Seth McFarlane and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reboot of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (http://www NULL.cosmosontv NULL.com/). But first we learned of something making the rounds of the atheist movement (http://www NULL.thestar NULL.com/news/world/2014/03/16/antigay_westboro_baptist_church_founder_fred_phelps_on_the_edge_of_death NULL.html) that greatly affects a good friend of ours, Nate Phelps (http://natephelps NULL.com/).
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Welcome to episode 100 of the Legion of Reason, podcasting a critical eye on a sometimes less-than-critical world. We have with us to help celebrate the 100th installment is Jake Farr-Wharton, host of the very entertaining Imaginary Friends Show (http://imaginaryfriendsshow NULL.com/) and author of Letters To Christian Leaders: Hollow Be Thy Claims (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.ca/Letters-Christian-Leaders-Hollow-Claims/dp/0956427642). Bryce, Christine and I talk with Jake on how he came to atheism and to engage with the atheist world through his podcasting, and Jake sticks around to discuss various subjects du jour. Faisal Al-Mutar joins us later on in the podcast as well. I had my own small victory in the fight against pseuodoscience when I noticed an ad for a dubious pain relief product with what looked to be an endorsement by Health Canada. Health Canada was not amused. Bryce shares with us a sad story of credulity and the real harm that pseudoscience can inflict. And finally, the Pope came out defending the Vatican over the child abuse scandal (http://www NULL.corriere NULL.it/cronache/14_marzo_04/vi-racconto-mio-primo-anno-papa-90f8a1c4-a3eb-11e3-b352-9ec6f8a34ecc NULL.shtml), saying that because molestation occurs in other places people shouldn’t be criticizing them over it. Seriously.
Extra credit reading: Victor Stenger’s piece on debating creationists (http://m NULL.huffpost NULL.com/us/entry/4876997).
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There are many Muslims who feel the need to remain in the closet when they stop believing. Apostasy in Islam is a taboo with serious consequences. We are pleased to have with us to day Canadian representatives of EXMNA (http://www NULL.exmna NULL.org/) (Ex-Muslims of North America), a group dedicated to supporting and helping ex-Muslims through outreach and advocacy. Nas Ishmael (a pseudonym) is Director of Media Relations at the Ex-Muslims of North America. Sadaf, a local Torontonian, became an ex-Muslim in 2009. Sadaf is the Director of Community Development for EXMNA. Out of their and others’ desire for a safe space for those leaving Islam, Sadaf and Nas Ishmael (among others) founded EXMNA and join Christine, Haysn, Nate and Randy from Toronto for a discussion of the issues involving Islam in North America, and share their stories of how they left the faith.
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Joyce Arthur is a founding member of FIRST, a national feminist sex worker advocacy organization based in Vancouver that lobbies for the decriminalization of prostitution in Canada. Joyce works as a technical writer and pro-choice activist, and is the founder and Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, a national pro-choice group in Canada. She has written articles for numerous publications and has regularly made many television appearances on Canadian news networks. As a badge of honor, Lifesite (or rather, LIEsite) News has called Joyce an embarrassment to feminism.
Joyce spoke with us from Vancouver on a number of topics including the recent victory in the Supreme Court (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/news/national/supreme-court-rules-on-prostitution-laws/article16067485/), striking down a number of prostitution laws in favor of safety, several Ottawa physicians who refuse to prescribe contraceptives (http://www NULL.ottawacitizen NULL.com/news/Some+Ottawa+doctors+refuse+prescribe+birth+control+pills/9450917/story NULL.html) or even refer patients to other doctors who will, and the tactics of anti-choice weasels.
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Welcome to episode 97 of the Legion of Reason, podcasting a critical eye on a sometimes less-than-critical world. It’s February 23rd and Kris, Haysn, Twylla and I discuss the report of a potential 500% or so increase in minor tremors in the state of Oklahoma due to fracking (http://www NULL.msnbc NULL.com/rachel-maddow-show/fracking-caused-quakes-oklahoma) and dissention (http://energyindepth NULL.org/national/wastewater-seismic-activity-and-fracking/) with that report. Local bishop Fred Henry earns my ire yet again (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/health/Henry+Unclear+language+clouds+push+euthanasia/9505745/story NULL.html) in his quest to vilify dying with dignity as murder in a letter to the Calgary Herald. Finally, Haysn has a report on a recent debate between physicist/cosmologist Sean Carroll and Christian apologist William Lane Craig (http://www NULL.preposterousuniverse NULL.com/blog/2014/02/20/god-and-cosmology-debate-with-w-l-craig/). But first, we discuss Pope Francis, fresh off the spanking he got from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/world/vatican-slammed-by-un-human-rights-committee-over-sex-abuse-1 NULL.2523737), and his busy week in the Vatican (https://www NULL.google NULL.ca/search?q=vatican+survey&oq=vatican+survey&aqs=chrome NULL. NULL.69i57j0l5 NULL.8898j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8#q=vatican+survey+ctv&tbm=nws) with keeping their financial institutions from laundering money and what to do about the sudden realization that Catholics no longer follow their teachings, a situation that everyone else knew about decades ago.
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Later on in the podcast, Kris takes us through a bit of satire from the Borowitz Report (http://www NULL.newyorker NULL.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/01/stephen-hawkings-blunder-on-black-holes-shows-danger-of-listening-to-scientists-says-bachmann NULL.html) in the New Yorker that she didn’t find funny, but first we take up where we left off in episode 95a (hence the super-intelligent choice of ‘95b’ for this release) with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child kicking the Vatican right in the doctrine (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/world/vatican-slammed-by-un-human-rights-committee-over-sex-abuse-1 NULL.2523737) where it hurts.
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Welcome once again to the Legion of Reason, podcasting a critical eye on a sometimes less-than-critical world! Later on in the podcast, Kris, Twylla, Haysn and I discuss a recent New York Times interview of philosopher and theologian Alvin Plantinga titled “Is Atheism Rational?”, but we prefer the title “Is Plantinga rational? (http://opinionator NULL.blogs NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2014/02/09/is-atheism-irrational/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0)“. And finally we voice our opinions on The Atlantic’s article about one of a number of universities around the world that has a department dedicated to investigating the paranormal (http://www NULL.theatlantic NULL.com/health/archive/2014/02/there-is-a-paranormal-activity-lab-at-the-university-of-virginia/283584/). But first, we invited Amy Davis Roth (http://skepchick NULL.org/author/amy/) and Rebecca Watson (http://skepchick NULL.org/author/rebecca/) onto the podcast to have an energetic discussion of skeptical activism.
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The Legion of Reason: Listener Public Service Announcement | Canadian Atheist (http://canadianatheist NULL.com/2013/10/06/the-legion-of-reason-listener-public-service-announcement/) on About The Legion of Reason Podcast