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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
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.