Episode 42 – The Tragic Case of Savita Halappanavar and Human Rights Apparently not for Alberta Home Schoolers

Welcome once again legionnaries! Once more into the breech! Woo on the left of us, religious nonsense to the right of us… Ours is but to do and evaluate claims based on evidence. In this episode Twylla and I discuss recent changes to the Alberta Education Act removing references to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/thecurrent/episode/2012/11/14/the-exclusion-of-the-charter-and-human-rights-in-the-new-alberta-education-act/) that contain nasty ideas of tolerance and opposing discrimiation, and by doing so advance education into the 19th century. We discuss these events with a few exerpts from a panel discussion on CBC Radio’s The Current (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/thecurrent/episode/2012/11/14/the-exclusion-of-the-charter-and-human-rights-in-the-new-alberta-education-act/). But we start off with a discussion of the unfortunate case of 31-year old dentist Savita Halappanavar (http://www NULL.bbc NULL.co NULL.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20321741) who died in late October from septicaemia. According to her husband Praveen doctors at the University Hospital Galway in Dublin, Ireland would not terminate her miscarrying fetus because, they told him, Ireland was a “Catholic country” and that they couldn’t terminate the the pregnancy while the fetus was alive, the fact that the Halappanavars are Hindu notwithstanding. We look at an assessment by MD blogger Jen Gunter (http://drjengunter NULL.wordpress NULL.com/) based on what information is available and her conclusions on the level of care Savita received. We also look at some anti-choice newspaper comments (http://www NULL.independent NULL.ie/opinion/analysis/eils-mulroy-prochoice-side-must-not-hijack-this-terrible-event-3294723 NULL.html) pleading that Savita’s death should not be ‘exploited’ (http://www NULL.catholicherald NULL.co NULL.uk/commentandblogs/2012/11/15/the-tragic-death-of-savita-halappanavar-should-not-be-exploited-to-sweep-away-irish-abortion-law-under-which-she-could-legally-have-been-saved/) to end the draconian and backwards abortion laws of Ireland. That’s like saying we shouldn’t exploit burn victims to create laws banning flammable children’s clothing.

On a lighter note, I’d like to do an episode segment on what to give your secular and/or atheist friends, family, husband, wife, life partner, significant other, you name them for Christmas. Yeah, that’s right, I said CHRISTMAS! The holiday is secular and in no way requires us to be religious to celebrate it regardless of the etymology of the word, so bite me Pat Robertson. Some of us happen to think it’s a good idea to give gifts external to religous reasons, so there! But I’m rather unimaginative when it comes to this kind of thing, opting for giving books, and I’m sure our listeners have far better ideas than that. We’d love to hear your suggestions, so email us at the_legion@legionofreason.com!

Speaking of books, I mentioned two on “free will” in the episode that I think are very important to any discussion on the subject. The first, and the one that had the most influence on me, is Alex Rosenberg’s The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/The-Atheists-Guide-Reality-Illusions/dp/0393344118/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353713529&sr=8-1&keywords=alex+rosenberg). The second is Sam Harris’ essay

Also, one correction NULL. I mention the scandal in Saskatchewan with the Grant Devine Conservative government there which resulted in the disbanding of the PC party there NULL. Thirteen MLAs were charged and at least six were found guilty of fraud NULL. I said 15 were found guilty and subject to prison time NULL. That’s memory for you NULL.

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Episode 41 – Myth of the Secular, Prayer as Crime Prevention Policy and Politicians Awarding Anti-choice Criminal Harassment

The more observant of you will note that we skipped a few episode numbers. That was a test. Yeah. That’s it, a test. Actually I didn’t want to release episode 38, at least not without some serious editing. The number 39 I seem to have forgotten about entirely. Chalk it up to absent mindedness.

Anyway, Kris, Twylla, Haysn and I discuss a couple of topics this go round. Later, we discuss comments made by Winnipeg’s new chief of police, Devon Clunis. Apparently, Clunis’ policy for reducing crime is an act of applied prayer (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2012/10/22/mb-winnipeg-police-chief-prayer-clunis NULL.html). Yeesh. And Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott has nominated two anti-choice who have criminally harassed women seeking legal abortion services to receive the Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee medals (http://www NULL.leaderpost NULL.com/news/Tory+awards+Jubilee+medal+incarcerated+anti+abortion+activist/7429422/story NULL.html). In a bizarre comparison, Vellacott compared these two women seeking to restrict women’s rights to Martin Luther King Jr.! Our first segment, however, requires a bit of introduction. Recently, a CBC radio program called Ideas had a series entitled “The Myth of the Secular” (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/ideas/episodes/2012/10/22/the-myth-of-the-secular-part-1/). Honestly, I couldn’t get past the first one of the six part series, and didn’t even finish that. Nor were the comments on the show’s webiste kind, either. As staunch secularists, we recognize that religion in the public sphere has had its day. Been there, done that, no way. It’s just more of that “sophisticated theology”(TM) we keep hearing about.

Episode 40 – Potpourri

Well, it’s been a while Legionairies, and that’s entirely my fault. And it may be a couple weeks till I get the next episode out as I’ll be in Krakow this week. I was hoping to find a free thinkers group there to meet up with but haven’t been successful yet. This episode is a big one, and Kris, Dean and I run the gammut between a dubious remedy for acid reflux disease (http://www NULL.refluxremedy NULL.com/presentation NULL.php?subid=AR1), a visit to the new Mormon temple in Calgary (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/entertainment/Mormon+temple+Calgary+northwest+unveiled+public/7304705/story NULL.html), Christian training in engaging atheists (http://www NULL.westwoodchurch NULL.bc NULL.ca/blog/2012/10/unpacking-atheism-october-14-6-8pm/), and a new study refuting Bishop Fred Henry’s assertion that getting the HPV vaccine causes kids to engage in sex (http://www NULL.calgarysun NULL.com/2012/10/15/new-study-prompts-push-for-calgary-catholic-school-board-to-drop-ban-on-hpv-vaccine). Lots of stuff this week!