Welcome to episode 88 of the Legion of Reason podcast, and Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, whatever your preference. The podcast will have a one-week hiatus as I will be away after Christmas, but I will be providing an interview Haysn did with Stephanie Zvan and Pharyngula’s PZ Myers at the American Atheists conference earlier this year. Later on we talk with Faisal Al-Mutar, Iraqi-born founder of the Global Secular Humanist Movement (https://www NULL.facebook NULL.com/GSHMP). Faisal is a life-long nonbelieving émigré to the United States, and Haysn, Twylla, Kris and I discuss Middle Eastern sectarian strife and the secular movement on a global scale. But first, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has a less-than-secular Christmas message (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=BawVAAJJhzY&fb_source=message) for the citizens of the province. Way to preach from political office, jerk!
We have with us (Twylla, Christine and Randy) this week on the Legion of Reason Spencer Lucas, coordinator of the Atheist Census (http://atheistcensus NULL.com/) sponsored by Atheist Alliance International (http://www NULL.atheistalliance NULL.org/). We take a look at some of the interesting and surprising demographics of those making themselves known to the world, if anonymously. We invited Spencer to stick around to listen to Pat Robertson divulge the nefarious plan of atheist club to destroy Christmas (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=cxj1NJ8nh-8) and make everyone feel as miserable as we feel. Which is true, actually, since I would love it if everyone felt as miserable as we do, which is to say we don’t! And William Lane Craig gives us atheists a Christmas gift (http://www NULL.foxnews NULL.com/opinion/2013/12/13/christmas-gift-for-atheists-five-reasons-why-god-exists/) through the medium of Faux News. Thanks for the laugh, Craig! That was a great gift! Well, get a gift, give a gift…
Part 2 of this week’s Legion of Reason!
It’s December 8 and welcome to the Legion of Reason. We have an extra long one this week and so I’ve split it in two to keep your eyes from glazing over. In this episode, Twylla, Christine, Haysn and I discuss the refusal by the Vatican to submit to a request from the United Nations for information regarding the worldwide epidemic of sexual abuse of children by clergy (http://www NULL.bbc NULL.co NULL.uk/news/world-europe-25204805). How about a little transparency for once without having to pry it out of the Holy See’s dead fingers? In New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has engaged the services of a PR agency in an attempt to better sell banning same-sex marriage (http://www NULL.newslo NULL.com/catholic-church-outsourcing-same-sex-marriage-fight-to-top-ad-agency/). I guess the pope’s infallibility isn’t enough anymore. Kenyan sufferers of AIDS are going to Pentecostal pastors to ‘treat’ their affliction (http://www NULL.queerty NULL.com/pentecostal-pastors-in-kenya-burn-hiv-drugs-in-favor-of-prayer-20131207/) while they watch their medications go up in flames. In a Time magazine article we atheists are yet again denigrated (http://science NULL.time NULL.com/2013/11/27/why-there-are-no-atheists-at-the-grand-canyon/). Apparently, no one who goes to the Grand Canyon and sees it in all its splendor and remain a non-believer and must submit to “God did it” as they are over-awed. For a science columnist, he completely gets the science wrong. How many times do we have to say it? The ability to find wonder and awe at nature does not equal god belief! The journal that published an anti-GMO paper by Gilles-Eric Séralini has retracted the work (http://www NULL.cbsnews NULL.com/news/journal-retracts-genetically-modified-corn-tumor-rats-study/) citing methodological flaws and conflicts of interest that peer review somehow missed. We’ve been Andrew Wakefielded again! And we discuss why some of us – not yours truly! – feel that having a life-size statue of Ronald McDonald in the basement or Xmas nutcrackers is creepy. But first, I talk with CFI Canada’s Chief Spokesperson Justin Trottier about yet another secular humanist-positive ad campaign rejection in Vancouver (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/Atheist+advertising+rejected+Vancouver/9253641/story NULL.html) without explanation.
This week on the Legion of Reason, special guest Justin Schieber from the Reasonable Doubts (http://freethoughtblogs NULL.com/reasonabledoubts/) podcast joins Haysn, Kris and me to share with us his personal journey to atheism and some counter-apologetics. Enjoy the discussion!
Still catching up on the backlog… One more to go after this one. Episode 84 was recorded November 24, 2013. Christine, Twylla, Haysn and I present another potpourri episode. Later, Twylla’s head hurts over trying to figure out the thinking process of those who rely on alternative-to-medicine to cure what ails them. Case in point is the recent tragedy of a child who died of strep throat. Let me say that again – STREP THROAT! an infection easily treated. The mother was treating her son with herbal remedies (not homeopathy as we were led to believe prior to the podcast recording, but nary a difference…) and following an eight-month investigation, she was charged with criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessities of life (http://globalnews NULL.ca/news/985030/calgary-mother-arrested-in-connection-to-7-year-old-sons-death/). The Illinois bishop who wanted to exorcise the state’s same-sex marriage law (http://www NULL.queerty NULL.com/illinois-bishop-to-same-sex-marriage-law-i-exorcize-you-20131122/#ixzz2lUY4IKRC) carries out his threat, but did the law’s head do a full turn on its neck? Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey warns that Christianity is at risk of dying out in a generation (http://www NULL.telegraph NULL.co NULL.uk/news/religion/10458380/Christianity-at-risk-of-dying-out-in-a-generation-warns-Lord-Carey NULL.html). But Carey, I can’t wait that long! And we have found the Evil Empire, and it is Walmart. But first, we lament the demise of self-styled psychic Sylvia Browne (http://www NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2013/11/22/arts/television/sylvia-browne-dies-at-77-self-proclaimed-psychic NULL.html?_r=2&). Why am I reminded of a song from the Wizard of Oz?