Episode 69 – Rex Murphy’s Whiny Screed

It is indeed episode 69, recorded July 28, 2013. Later on in the podcast we take a look at Canadian radio and television personality Rex Murphy’s take on secular chaplaincy in the US military (http://fullcomment NULL.nationalpost NULL.com/2013/07/27/rex-murphy-the-angry-athiest/), demonstrating a disgusting level of anti-atheist bigotry in a whiny attempt at preserving an aspect of religious privilege that the religious shouldn’t have in the first place. Particularly astounding is the claim that human rights are god-given! We also take a look at a credulous article describing a blessing for those in need of healing that took place last week at Alberta’s very own Lourdes, Lac Ste. Anne (http://www NULL.edmontonjournal NULL.com/life/Mystical+Alberta+lake+draws+people+from+around+world/8689489/story NULL.html). We also have a look at a new study taking advantage of the difference between the availability of the HPV vaccine in Calgary public and Catholic schools (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/health/Girls+poor+neighbourhoods+less+likely+vaccine+public+clinics+study+finds/8689629/story NULL.html) which demonstrate a socioeconomic effect of vaccination rates. First, though, we look at the recent outbreaks of measles in several Canadian provinces (http://calgary NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/measles-show-up-in-several-provinces-1 NULL.1370949). Is there a lower form of life than the anti-vaccination crowd?

“Religious” Epistemology

[Originally posted to the Freethinkers mailing list (https://groups NULL.google NULL.com/d/msg/freethinkers-club/5suqBnx811I/l5pNp2epxbQJ)]

One of my “top 3” talks from Imagine No Religion 3 was Peter Boghossian’s on “Street Epistemology (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=orW1AstN7AI).” He proposed we should switch from arguing about what we believe, to how we believe it. The majority of theists are expecting you to nitpick over interpretation, so they can tut-tut over your broad generalizations and misunderstandings; a more foundational approach would throw them off-balance.

I should give that lecture another watch, actually, to see if Boghossian made a common mistake: thinking that theists use a different epistemology than atheists.

Both actually use an empiric Bayesian epistemology.

Continue reading ““Religious” Epistemology” »

Selective Skepticism

[Originally posted to the Freethinkers Mailing List (https://groups NULL.google NULL.com/d/msg/freethinkers-club/0aFrTC8Eu-Q/XLfyfLkI6sQJ).]

I love it when an argument flies off on a tangent and lands at a bizarre conclusion.

You’re probably all aware that I strongly disagree with Jamy Ian Swiss and Steve Novella, at least when they argue that science has nothing to say about untestable claims (https://groups NULL.google NULL.com/d/msg/freethinkers-club/W5Q6-ba1-Xo/Uk3OoqsQozUJ). You’ve gotta deny that Ockham’s Razor is a part of science to make that work, which is a clear absurdity. TAM caused this controversy to flame back into life, via a Facebook tussle involving Randy Tyson and several prominent skeptics.

Buried within that flame-war, however, was an innocuous-sounding question: can we say with certainty that life exists somewhere else within the universe? Continue reading “Selective Skepticism” »

Episode 68 – Recovering From Religion’s Sarah Morehead

It’s July 14 and special guest Sarah Morehead joins us to talk about her involvement with Recovering from Religion (http://recoveringfromreligion NULL.org/) and their latest venture, the Hotline Project (http://recoveringfromreligion NULL.org/hotline-project/). But first, a soliloquy from yours truly. Congratulations, Ireland! You’ve managed to simultaneously take one small step towards women’s rights while completely violating them. This is a country where the penalty for rape is up to seven years in prison while a woman seeking to obtain an abortion resulting from rape could face up to a fourteen-year sentence! How screwed up is that? The new law, prompted by the death earlier this year of Savita Halappanavar (http://www NULL.bbc NULL.co NULL.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20321741) after she was refused a life-saving abortion, makes the termination of pregnancy legal in cases where a woman’s life is deemed by a council of physicians to be in jeopardy (http://www NULL.bbc NULL.co NULL.uk/news/world-europe-23277590). But this woefully inadequate law will still result in 4,000 Irish women every year traveling to Britain should they wish to seek a safe end to their pregnancies (and that’s those that can afford it). Despite the din generated by protestors on both sides of the issue, the ruling party’s loss of five deputies during the debate and threats of excommunication from representatives of that corporation of evil known as the Catholic Church, this inadequate law passed by a vote 127-31. During the debate, Archbishop Eamon Martin pleaded (http://www NULL.bbc NULL.co NULL.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-23252725) “Knowingly, willingly and intentionally voting to promote abortion, which is the killing of an innocent child, is co-operation with evil and cannot be reconciled with your faith.” Well, false equivalences aside, access to abortion most definitely IS against Catholic doctrine. So is the use of contraception in family planning. So, it seems, is concern for the welfare of children sexually abused by clergy. As a result, I have no idea why there are still Catholics. Where was the good archbishiop’s concern prior to Ireland’s recent and painful Murphy Commission of Inquiry (http://www NULL.guardian NULL.co NULL.uk/world/2009/nov/26/ireland-church-sex-abuse) which portrayed a devastating picture of the Catholic Church in Ireland actively covering up sex crimes committed by its clergy against children? Any concern shown came AFTER they got caught hiding crimes and sexual predators. Nowhere has the Catholic Church any credibility remaining, not even with Catholic representatives in the Irish Parliament that ‘risked’ excommunication voting in favor of this law, inadequate a law such as it is. Vatican, thy name is ‘Mudd’.

Episode 67 – Yes, there is an Episode 66…

(I just haven’t finished editing it yet…) My trip home from a local jewelry designer was fraught with anti-choice propaganda (https://www NULL.facebook NULL.com/photo NULL.php?fbid=385332644911829&set=a NULL.335048199940274 NULL.67101 NULL.139473299497766&type=1&theater) and forced-birthing agenda nonsense (https://www NULL.facebook NULL.com/photo NULL.php?fbid=385330651578695&set=a NULL.335048199940274 NULL.67101 NULL.139473299497766&type=1&theater), so once again we revisit the abortion “issue”. Bishop Fred Henry opens his big trap (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/opinion/Marriage+diminished/8609056/story NULL.html) once again to weigh in on SCOTUS’ overturning of California’s Prop 8 and the Defence of Marriage Act (http://abcnews NULL.go NULL.com/Politics/supreme-court-rules-gay-marriage-cases/story?id=19492896). Why, I don’t know, but let’s just say that every time he loses a shoe he should check his mouth first. We talk about more horror stories involving priests in Milwaukee (http://www NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2013/07/07/opinion/sunday/bruni-the-churchs-errant-shepherds NULL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) and another Sophisticated Theologian(TM) who think he’s special (http://www NULL.spectator NULL.co NULL.uk/features/8932301/atheism-has-failed-only-religion-can-fight-the-barbarians/) without actually engaging any of the arguments posed by vocal nonbelievers such as Richard Dawkins. But we start with our very own Kris’ recent experience as one of between 75,000 and 100,000 people displaced during the recent floods Calgarians experienced (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/canada/three-confirmed-dead-in-alberta-flooding-as-evacuations-continue-1 NULL.1335330).