LoR – Episode 24

Hello again to those coming back to watch us wade through the bs, and to those coming to us for the first time, welcome to the legion of reason! We have a busy episode this week with four items on the list. First, we take a look at the severely low pertussis vaccination rates in rural Alberta (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/health/Alberta+doctor+issues+vaccination+plea+amid+whooping+cough+outbreak/6803017/story NULL.html) and what the top doc in the province plans to do to increase it. Then in a major WTF? moment we wonder how 1/3 of the student population of a Lutheran public school near Calgary – yes, you read it right, a Lutheran public school – can be Sikh (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/life/Lutheran+teaching+appeals+Christian+families/6797517/story NULL.html) of all things. Following that head explosion, we look at a Calgary Herald Op/Ed on the ethics of utilizing ultrasound for sex-selective abortions (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/Editorial+crime+girl/6798227/story NULL.html). And in our last segment, we applaud a health advocacy group attempting to make the vaccine for the Human Papillomavirus available in Catholic Schools in Calgary (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/calgary/Doctors+parents+urge+Catholic+School+board+reconsider+vaccine/6837840/story NULL.html). Listen in amazement as I turn from mild-mannered host to frothing critic at the merest mention of Bishop Fred Henry. We take notice of how this advocacy group calls him out on his idiotic notion that Gardasil will cause promiscuity in children. Have I mentioned I can’t stand that dick Bishop Fred Henry?

The Empire Strikes Back…

In tomorrow’s podcast release, you will hear us talk about a local advocacy group called “HPV Calgary”, composed of concerned physicians and parents, has called for a reversal of Henry’s policy banning Gardacil vaccinations in Calgary Catholic schools ( http://news NULL.nationalpost NULL.com/2012/06/26/187783/). And just like the Empire, Bishop Fred Henry strikes back against his critics ( http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/health/Bishop+Henry+vaccine+supporters+aren+doctors+soul/6844346/story NULL.html). He cites the SOGC position statement on HPV prevention ( http://www NULL.sogc NULL.org/guidelines/documents/gui196CPG0708revised NULL.pdf):

“Counselling and other educational activities should stress (a) that abstinence is the most efficient way to prevent HPV infection, but must include avoidance of not only penetration of the vagina or the anus, but also any anogenital contact and the sharing of sex toys.”

Problem: he didn’t read on. In the chapter on prevention, Marc Steben writes “Efforts to limit the spread of HPV should be based on evidence.” (Steben also writes later on in the same chapter that “Vaccination may present the best primary prevention method,” a statement which Henry seems to ignore in his grand exercise in selection bias.) By the way, Steben presents no evidence that teaching abstinence is at all effective. But Henry doesn’t believe in statistics. In a message to the Edmonton Catholic School System to change their policy of allowing access to Gardasil in their schools he is quoted as saying,

“It’s not about a matter of statistics or any other study,” said Henry, adding he can’t be held accountable for sexual choices.

I believe in doing things that demonstrably work. I’m funny that way. I don’t advocate policy because that’s the way I think it ought to be. So unlike Henry, who seems to pull things out of his ass like so many rabbits out of a magician’s hat, I present the conclusions of several peer-reviewed studies on the efficacy of abstinence-only sex ed (and by no means is this an exhaustive list) in an appendix below. Let’s just say that not only are such programs ineffective in their stated goals, they result in greater harm by not providing critical information on STDs and contraception. Continue reading “The Empire Strikes Back…” »

LoR Episode 23

Later we compare an organization dedicated to religious indoctrine of children to NAMBLA (Good News Clubs of Alberta (http://www NULL.cefalberta NULL.org/goodnewsclubs NULL.html)) and Twylla gives us insight into how she is getting like-minded people to gather for skeptic and atheist talk. Come to the dark side, citizens of Red Deer! We have beer! But first we discuss last week’s news that the British Columbia Supreme Court has struck down the federal law prohibiting assisted suicide (http://www NULL.winnipegfreepress NULL.com/canada/laws-banning-assisted-suicide-infringe-on-charter-rights-bc-supreme-court--159219445 NULL.html) and look at some of the ridiculous bleatings of those in opposition.

LoR Episode 22

Haysn and I wonder why a Calgary Islamic organization (Muslims of Calgary (http://www NULL.muslimsofcalgary NULL.ca/conference)) would try to showcase Islam by inviting some rather, shall we say, controversial speakers? Do they really think that this is going to go over well with the community at large? Yeesh. Haysn also tells us about his exploits in Edmonton with his attendance at a suspiciously-underadvertized debate over abortion. And our favorite dispenser of homeopathy, Xerion, has come out with a new non-product: a homeopathic mosquito repellent (http://www NULL.chbcnews NULL.ca/calgary+homeopath+develops+natural+mosquito+repellant/6442659790/story NULL.html)! Oh, there is no end to the fun we are going to have with this!

Leah Libresco’s challenge

[First published to the Freethinker’s Google Group (http://groups NULL.google NULL.com/group/freethinkers-club/browse_thread/thread/94b604f79c84f09d).]

I’m incredibly fascinated by tales of atheists turning theist. Part of it comes from how impossible such a move seems to me. My own arguments have gotten to the point that I’m close to calling myself gnostic; I’m at a complete loss to think of any path that would lead me to theism, short of brain damage.*

So when Leah Libresco made a splash (http://www NULL.patheos NULL.com/blogs/unequallyyoked/2012/06/this-is-my-last-post-for-the-patheos-atheist-portal NULL.html) by switching from atheism to Catholicism, I was beside myself! Here was a high-profile blogger, spelling out in detail why she made the transition. Excellent, time to put a theory of mine to the test! Continue reading “Leah Libresco’s challenge” »

LoR – Episode 21

This episode is a rather short one. First, Christine and I chat about Ontario’s Bill 13, a piece of legislation aimed at curtailing bullying in schools. The Catholic school system had to this point refused to allow the term ‘Gay-Straight Alliance’ to be used to describe a student club with the goal of eliminating bullying gay and lesbian students. Apparently, Catholicism can’t even handle words associated with homosexuality, and acts like an ostrich looking for a pail of sand to stick its head in. Bullying is really a physical manifestation of discrimination, and if the Catholic school board was allowed to continue this censorship, how could it possibly handle bullying of gay students? The Ontario government wisely attached an ammendment requiring Catholic school boards to NOT prohibit the use of the term “GSA”. The response of Catholics was as predictable as it was ridiculous. We also have some original irreverent music from our good friend Dean Morrison and an editorial by yours truly on the questionable response by Catholic authority to the passing of Bill 13 in the Ontario legislature.

LoR Episode 20 – A Discussion With PZ Myers and Matt Dillahunty

Welcome once again to another episode of The Legion of Reason to risk your eternal soul to hellfire once again!

Ever wonder what you get when you put Matt Dillahunty and PZ Myers together with a round of double margaritas? Wonder no further! We sat down with them at Imagine No Religion 2 on the May long weekend. That’s later in the podcast. Several of the Legion were in attendence and we share our thoughts on the experience.

We also look at how the Ontario government violating the right of Catholic school boards to prohibit using the words “gay straight alliance” as a student club description. Oh, of course! That was NEVER their right!

But first Graham talks about money, nakedness and how those Canadians deficient in their own history see one in the other in the soon-to-come-out Canadian 20 dollar bill. It seems people will find any way go get offended over anything…