In this instalment, recorded August 3, 2014, we take a look at the new Atheist TV (http://www NULL.atheists NULL.org/AtheistTV) presented by American Atheists; an Alberta Liberal MLA is making positive waves about ending government support of sectarian and elitist schools (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/Hehr+Private+schools+divide+pupils+wealth+religion/10063441/story NULL.html) in the province; more conundrums in medical ethics, this time a Calgary fertility clinic that has issues with women wanting “rainbow children” (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/health/rainbow+families+Ethnic+donor+stipulation+fertility+centre+floors+local+woman/10063343/story NULL.html); the Texas medical board is yet again trying to get rid of Stanislaw Burzynski (http://www NULL.usatoday NULL.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/24/new-charges-for-burzynski/13111483/) and his unsubstantiated treatments; Richard Dawkins steps in it yet again (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2014/07/richard-dawkinss-rape-pedophelia-logic-tweets-ignite-twitter-storm NULL.html), this time on Twitter; and finally, Canada’s ambassador to the Vatican compares abortion to the horrific events that occurred on 9/11 (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/news/politics/harper-appoints-dennis-savoie-as-next-ambassador-to-holy-see/article19889661/). But first, congratulations are in order for one of our very own cohosts…
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While not necessarily a bad thing, choosing the anti-choice Christian group the Edmonton Pregnancy Care Centre wasn’t exactly a stellar decision. Eighteen-year-old Emily Dawson and her mother Kathy have filed a human rights complaint (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/edmonton/edmonton-school-board-drops-abstinence-based-sex-ed-after-complaint-1 NULL.2704291) as a result. But in true Canadian fashion, the school board has temporarily suspended it’s reliance on this clearly inappropriate group rather quickly. But we wonder why this group was chosen by a PUBLIC school board in the first place? Imitating some of the lunacy south of the 49th parallel, Kelowna mayoral candidate Kelly Row wants to run on the Jeebuz ticket (http://www NULL.castanet NULL.net/news/Kelowna/119082/Mayoralty-bid-God-s-calling). Kelownans, both east and west varieties, let’s create a new parable and teach him the error of his ways when it comes time to vote. Pope Frank makes our podcast yet again in his recurring role of religious immoralist. Frank claims that 2% of priests are of the pedophelia bent (http://www NULL.abc NULL.net NULL.au/news/2014-07-13/pope-promises-solutions-to-priestly-celibacy-report-says/5593408), but other members of his organization dispute that number and think he has vastly low-balled it (http://www NULL.abc NULL.net NULL.au/news/2014-07-14/church-body-says-4pc-of-clergy-have-been-paedophiles/5596540). Kris gives us a report of her experiences at The Amaz!ng Meeting in Las Vegas and the panel she was a part of there. Gordon Klingenschmitt thinks atheists need to be exorcised if they feel uncomfortable in a church. And finally, Ken Ham sees no point in looking for extraterrestrial life (http://www NULL.salon NULL.com/2014/07/21/ken_ham_wants_to_end_the_u_s_space_program_because_aliens_can%E2%80%99t_have_salvation/) because, well, “he has a book.” But first, I want to remind people that the deadline for having your say to the College of Physician and Surgeons of Ontario (http://policyconsult NULL.cpso NULL.on NULL.ca/?page_id=3403) on the ethics of physicians refusals to provide or even discuss legal and often necessary therapeutic choices with their patients is rapidly approaching, and I urge everyone to provide why they feel this is (or isn’t, as the case may be) an ethical provision of their guidelines on conduct. I’ve given them my 2 cents’ worth and I urge our listeners to chime in themselves.
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We continue with further developments following the story of Chantal Barry (http://news NULL.nationalpost NULL.com/2014/06/26/doctor-on-duty-will-not-prescribe-the-birth-control-pill-reads-sign-at-calgary-walk-in-clinic/), a Calgary walk-in clinic physician who refuses to prescribe birth control. Later, before we discuss This Week in the Vatican (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/world/vatican-formally-recognizes-international-group-of-exorcists-1 NULL.1897357), we find out that Bishop Fred “You-know-who” Henry predictably weighs in (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/life/Pill+health+care/9995705/story NULL.html) on the kerfuffle and continues his amazing streak of getting it all wrong… Very wrong. CBC Radio One’s weekly program The Sixth Day (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/day6/podcasts/) discussed the situation in a more general sense with guests Arthur Schafer and Margaret Somerville, two medical ethicists with greatly differing opinions on the matter. Indeed, I scoff at the description of Somerville as a “medical ethicist”. I think it more accurate to describe her as “Catholic apologist”. She certainly makes no more sense than Henry. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is revisiting the ethical guidelines regarding conscience rights and looking for public input. You have until August 5th to fill out their survey (http://policyconsult NULL.cpso NULL.on NULL.ca/?page_id=3403), and I urge everyone who cares about this to do so. I think President Obama said it best, paraphrasing what we’ve been saying all along: “No, you can’t deny women their basic rights and pretend it’s about your ‘religious freedom’. If you don’t like birth control, don’t use it. Religious freedom doesn’t mean you can force others to live by your own beliefs.” While he was talking about the Hobby Lobby case, this sentiment applies just as much to Chantal Barry and her unprofessional ilk. But first, I get a response from the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons to an email I sent in requesting answers to a number of questions I had regarding this situation.
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I’ve been a very bad podcast host not getting an episode out for a while. Excuses include “It’s summer”, “I’m starting in a new position” and “I’m just plain lazy.” The latter is likely the closest to the truth. Well, anyway, we’re back, and I had to get this episode out because the next when is the follow-up to some of the discussion in this one. When we first started recording only Kris was available (Haysn joined us later), and I really like having at least a third. So I desperately searched the intertubes and found one Darrel Ray (http://recoveringfromreligion NULL.org/board-of-directors/). We met Darrel in Kamloops and had a great time with him at the after-conference get-togethers. Darrel is a psychologist and the author of two books, The God Virus: How Religion Affects Our Lives and Culture (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/The-God-Virus-religion-infects/dp/0970950519/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371851386&sr=8-1&keywords=God+Virus) and Sex and Secularism: What Happens When You Leave Religion? (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Sex-God-Religion-Distorts-Sexuality/dp/0970950543/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371851448&sr=8-1&keywords=sex+and+god+how+religion+distorts+sexuality), and an excellent choice for the topic du jour.
When Joan Chand’oiseau went to a Calgary walk-in medical clinic she was gob-smacked to see a prominently-posted sign that said, highlighted in bright yellow, that Chantal Barry, the physician on duty, “WILL NOT prescribe the birth control pill.” (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/health/Calgary+doctor+refuses+prescribe+birth+control+over+moral+beliefs/9978442/story NULL.html) Appalled at this, Chand’oiseau posted a picture of the sign on her Facebook page and it quickly went viral around Calgary. Considering that one in five Calgarians are without a family doctor and that prescribing birth control is one of the most common services provided by clinics, this has serious implications. Along with Darrel, Kris, Haysn and I discuss the what is permitted by ethical guidelines and the ethics of this action.
After Darrel left us, we continued on to discuss provincial Progressive Conservative party hopeful Rick McIver and his association with the demonstrably-bigoted March for Jesus group headed by street preacher Artur Pawlowski. The predictable fallout from this (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/crime/McIver+regrets+March+Jesus+calls+anti+remarks+ugly+nasty+video/9954879/story NULL.html) (well, predictable to everyone other than Rick) caused his leadership significant damage and to disassociate himself from Artur’s group. This led us to finish off with a request from our listeners to provide me with a non-gender slur which is at least as good as the word “dick”.
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Well, it’s been a few weeks since our last episode. A couple of weeks ago Twyla, Kris and I were in Kamloops for Imagine No Religion, while Haysn was in Virginia attending Women in Secularism. As for last week I did a very early photo shoot, volunteering as an even photographer for the Calgary MS Walk and Run and was just way too tired to speak intelligibly that night. So this is our first post-INR episode and we have with us two special guests in this instalment, brothers Gus and Luke Holwerda. These indie film producers had the onerous task of following Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss all over the world, and not in a stalkish kind of way. The resulting film is called The Unbelievers (http://unbelieversmovie NULL.com/), and is now available at the time of this podcast release on iTunes, and will be available later from other distributors such as Netflix. Gus and Luke discuss with us their impression of INR and share behind-the-scenes stories with us. It was great having them on!
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This is the last episode before we pack up and head off to Imagine No Religion (http://imaginenoreligion NULL.ca/) in Kamloops sans Haysn, who will be at Women in Secularism (http://www NULL.womeninsecularism NULL.org/) down south. So we’ll have a lot to report in the next instalment. But first things first. In this episode we discuss an upcoming debate in the Vatica (http://www NULL.latimes NULL.com/world/europe/la-fg-vatican-family-20140430-story NULL.html#page=1)n on its teachings on divorce, birth control and same-sex marriage. Will Randy have to cough up a bottle of whiskey to Kris? The use of herbs is increasingly becoming a major cause of liver damage (http://www NULL.medpagetoday NULL.com/MeetingCoverage/AASLD/42744) according to medical experts. But first, more anti-vaccine nonsense from naturopaths and chiropractors, with Rob Schneider lending his voice to a video (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.ca/2014/05/02/measles-alberta-naturopaths-anti-vaccine_n_5150252 NULL.html) going around on their websites. Yes, the comedian who brought you such fine films as Deuce Bigalow and The Animal is selling anti-vaccine crap, which is about as funny as his comedy.
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This week Twylla, Haysn, Kris and a hoarse Randy take on Calgary Herald writer Kevin Brooker who looks fondly upon his youth when measles “wasn’t so bad” (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/touch/story NULL.html?id=9735786&fb_action_ids=10152349436137453&fb_action_types=og NULL.comments&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B855148241168713%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og NULL.comments%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D) despite the many, including Twylla (who predictably became quite feisty on the topic), who bear the permanent scars of the disease; another author in the Herald who defends public funding of sectarian charter schools (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/opinion/op-ed/Carpay+lose+faith+religious+schools/9776623/story NULL.html) that demand adherence to bigoted values under the guise of religious freedom; accreditation of Trinity University law school has been rejected by law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/trinity-western-blasts-n-s-ontario-law-societies-1 NULL.2622913) because the school violates discrimination laws by demanding that students and staff adhere to their sexual morays. But first, we couldn’t ignore the big event Sunday (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/news/world/unprecedented-canonization-ceremony-has-distinctly-polish-feel/article18287456/) that none of us watched when magic words make demi-gods of ex-popes John XXIII and John Paul II.
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Bill Ligertwood joins us in this instalment to talk about the upcoming Imagine No Religion (http://imaginenoreligion NULL.ca/) conference in Kamloops on the May long weekend that most of us will be attending. Afterwards, we as Bill to stick around to help discuss a variety of topics that came up this past week, including calls in Australia to remove homeopathic products from pharmacies (http://www NULL.smh NULL.com NULL.au/national/health/call-to-get-homeopathic-remedies-off-pharmacy-shelves-20140419-36xlk NULL.html), the recent wedding of Nate Phelps to his fiancée Cindi, the upholding of charges against street preacher Artur Pawlowski (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/calgary/High+court+upholds+noise+traffic+convictions+street/9741095/story NULL.html) for violating city noise by-laws, the public funding of charter schools (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/calgary/publicly-funded-school-with-anti-gay-policy-spurs-alberta-review-1 NULL.2610122) which violate human rights legislation under the guise of freedom of religion, and the strange compulsion of the media to ask the most irrelevant people for answers (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/calgary/Bringing+light+dark+night+Calgary+soul/9749934/story NULL.html) to horrific events just because they are religious authorities (http://www NULL.calgarysun NULL.com/2014/04/18/no-answers-bishop-says-of-deadly-stabbings-of-five-in-calgarys-worst-mass-murder). In this case, the recent mass murder of five university students at a quiet party here in Calgary.
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In this, the 105th instalment, Twylla, Kris, Haysn and I discuss a decision by the Alberta government to not pass legislation mandating the formation gay-straight alliances (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/news/national/gay-straight-alliance-bill-for-schools-voted-down-in-alberta/article17871798/) should students wish it, the consequences of provincial governments that do not value reproductive rights manifest themselves in the closing of the last private abortion clinic in the Maritime (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/news/national/frederictons-morgentaler-abortion-clinic-closes-citing-public-funding-gap/article17912762/)s; more on the bigotry convention in Weyburn (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/peter-labarbera-anti-gay-u-s-activist-allowed-into-canada-1 NULL.2606727), Saskatchewan; why homeopaths shouldn’t promote homeopathy awareness week; (http://www NULL.theguardian NULL.com/science/2014/apr/11/world-homeopathy-awareness-week-homeopathic-preparations) and chiropractors in Calgary have a new toy (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/life/Electrotherapy+treatment+used+speed+healing+process/9722949/story NULL.html) – they don’t just want to ‘manipulate’ your spine anymore, they want to zap you with electricity. But first, Michael Enright hosted a CBC town hall discussion on religion in the public sphere (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/thesundayedition/2014/04/08/the-public-god---a-sunday-edition-public-forum/). We have our own take on the questions posed to the panel.
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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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