Episode 130 – Just Say “No” To Blasphemy Laws

Later on in this installment we discuss the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision striking down the ban on doctor-assisted suicide and you can bet our favorite kicking horse Bishop Fred Henry (http://www NULL.calgarydiocese NULL.ca/news-a-events/54-health-care-apostolate/1254-bishop-henry-on-the-supreme-court-decision-regarding-assisted-suicide NULL.html) and other alarmists (http://www NULL.thespec NULL.com/news-story/5327821-supreme-court-strikes-down-assisted-suicide-ban/) crank up the hyperbole in their collective belief that Soylent Green was a documentary; Henry makes a second appearance in this episode to tell us why he is NOT Charlie Hebdo (http://www NULL.calgarydiocese NULL.ca/messages-from-the-bishop/1252-we-are-not-all-charlie NULL.html); and a new poll on Albertans’ views on vaccines (http://calgary NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/poll-shows-surprising-views-on-vaccinations-in-alberta-1 NULL.2223504) has been released. But first, while our very own Christine is in New York addressing the United Nations, the ever-feisty Twyla and yours truly, the Very Irreverend Doctor Randy Tyson, look at a new international initiative to eradicate the world of blasphemy laws (http://end-blasphemy-laws NULL.org/).

Episode 129 – Golden Carter: Down the rabbit hole like Alice and back again

Late last year Golden Carter wrote a guest blog post on the Minnesota Farm Living website called A Mom’s Journey From “Food Babe” To Overcoming Her “Food Fears” (http://www NULL.mnfarmliving NULL.com/2014/12/moms-journey-food-babe-overcoming-food-fears NULL.html). In it, she described her well-intentioned journey into the world of food and pseudoscience represented in the most exquisite ignorance and stupidity by the likes of Vani Hari, the so-called “Food Babe”. Golden managed to claw her way back to reason to share her story, and it was shared all over the internet. In retrospect, this shouldn’t be surprising. There are many websites dedicated to debunking the claims of anti-GMO nuts and organic food snobs, but what is missing is the human side. Why do people go this direction in the first place? For those who have accomplished the task of getting out, what was the motivation? How do we get people to realize that they’re listening to the wrong people?

Episode 128 – Nous Sommes Charlie Hebdo

Last week saw a great tragedy in Paris with the brutal attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo that resulted in the deaths of 12 people. In this episode we look at the response to this barbarism around the world, from the continued assertions of denialists that religion has nothing to do with such violent acts to strong support for freedom of speech.

Website rebuild in progress….

Anyone wanting to access old podcast episodes via this webpage will be out of luck. I had some issues with my web host provider. They found some malware in my WordPress installation and shut it down without so much as a “how do you do”. I deleted the affected files, but you can see that pretty much all the old episodes are gone. You can still access them via podcatchers like iTunes and Stitcher, but to rebuild 126 episode entries is just too much.

Episode 127 – Ethics with Prof. Arthur Schafer

Join “Da Prez” Kris and me, the Very Irreverend Dr. Randy Tyson, in welcoming Professor Arthur Schafer (http://umanitoba NULL.ca/faculties/arts/departments/philosophy/ethics/Schafer NULL.html), who is the director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba, my alma mater. He is also a full professor in the Department of Philosophy and an ethics consultant for the Department of Paedatrics and Child Health at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. He has also penned numerous articles for The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Winnipeg Free Press, The Medical Post, and The Sunday Times (London). In addition, he frequently appears on CBC, CTV and The Discovery Channel to discuss matters ethical in science, technology and medicine. I finally made good on my threat to invite Professor Schafer on the podcast to give us his perspective on recent developments in medical ethics in Canada and the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on medical practice.

Episode 126 – Our Festivus Saturnalia Newtonmas Extravaganza!

In this, the 126th instalment of our modest little audio pamphlet we invite you to our non-Christmas, non-Hanukkah, non-Kwanza, non-Ramadan Newtonmas Festivus Saturnalia Extravaganza, wherein Da Prez Kris, the ever-feisty Twyla, hard-rocking Dean and yours truly the Very Irreverend Doctor Randy Tyson bring to you happenings since our last episode! Listen as we express our shock and surprise that Roman Catholic authority supports the now infamous Bill 10 (http://calgaryherald NULL.com/news/local-news/bishops-wade-into-bill-10-gsa-debate), which would allow Alberta school boards to arbitrarily ban gay-straight alliances in their schools; the parents of 14-month old John Clark are charged with his death due to a staph infection complicated by faith-based dietary malnutrition (http://calgaryherald NULL.com/news/crime/parents-charged-in-connection-with-death-of-infant); The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons has come out with new guidelines on doctors unwilling to provide contraception to their patients (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/ontario-doctors-who-deny-abortion-birth-control-must-refer-patients/article22035376/) and fail utterly; Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has alienated a significant fraction of his province’s citizenry by yet again promoting Jesus (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=u3RJBe2BEpk) and implying that you can’t perform good acts without believing in him; And, a new report (http://www NULL.religionnews NULL.com/2014/12/17/atheists-new-persecuted-minority-international-report-concludes-commentary/) by the International Humanist and Ethical Union claims that a number of nations villify and persecute atheists and in addition to the examples cited in this report we add a bizarre incident (http://www NULL.middleeasteye NULL.net/news/egyptian-police-shutdown-atheist-cafe-accused-harbouring-satan-worship-433128763) to this growing list. But first, while most of us believe that the Oprah Winfrey discovery Dr. Oz is totally full of crap, a systematic examination of the advice (http://io9 NULL.com/how-much-of-what-you-hear-on-the-dr-oz-show-is-based-o-1672595666?utm_campaign=socialflow_io9_facebook&utm_source=io9_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow) he gives on his television program shows he’s actually only half full of crap.

Episode 125 – avec Liberal MLA Kent Hehr

In this, the 125th installment, our gaze falls on HPV vaccinations and Catholic school systems yet again; the interference of a Catholic school principal in student projects upholding gay rights (http://ottawacitizen NULL.com/news/local-news/catholic-school-principal-shuts-down-students-project-on-gay-rights); a CBC Marketplace report on homeopathic vaccines (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/health/vaccine-alternatives-offered-by-homeopaths-irresponsible-1 NULL.2852408) known as nosodes; and finally a Legion of Reason Office of Religious Freedom report. But first, last week saw the humiliating demise of Bill 10, which was a preemptive attempt by the Alberta Progressive Conservatives to head off the Liberal opposition party’s Bill 202 which would have allowed the unfettered formation by students of gay-straight alliances. I met with Liberal MLA Kent Hehr (http://www NULL.kenthehr NULL.ca/) at his constituency office in downtown Calgary to discuss Bill 10 as well as public funding of sectarian schools in the province and the LoR discuss those happenings on the most interesting week in Alberta politics in some time.

Episode 124 – Wherein Kris admits not being sanguine about her chances of winning “The Bet”…

In this installment, Kris, Twyla, Dean and yours truly the Very Reverend Doctor Randy Tyson explore fascinating topics including the landing of the Philae spacecraft on a comet after a ten year journey; From the “what’s the harm?” files, clients of an acupuncture clinic in Abbotsford BC have been warned (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/health/abbotsford-acupuncture-clinic-patients-advised-to-get-tested-for-hiv-1 NULL.2113107) to be tested for HIV and Hepatitis; and finally, two First Nations children have been allowed to reject life-saving chemotherapy for leukemia (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/thecurrent/episode/2014/11/13/first-nations-girls-treatmnent-leukemia/) in favor shall we say, dubious, treatments. We talk about the Hippocrates Health Institute (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/aboriginal/doctor-treating-first-nations-girls-says-cancer-patients-can-heal-themselves-1 NULL.2832760) and some views opposing this judicial decision (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/aboriginal/first-nations-children-not-well-served-by-chemotherapy-ruling-arthur-schafer-1 NULL.2836141).

But first I think we’ll discuss the impending doom Kris is feeling as she realizes that a bottle of whiskey will be mine in February as infallible Pope Francis tells us that euthanasia is a ‘sin’ against God (http://www NULL.telegraph NULL.co NULL.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/11233347/Pope-Francis-denounces-euthanasia-as-sin-against-God NULL.html)

Episode 122 – Red Lobster

In this instalment: Just when you thought it was safe to go back to viewing movies in theaters, atheists will yet again be completely caricaturized and turned into straw men! Michael Scott, creator of God’s Not Dead, is ignoring the crushing 17% received from the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes (http://www NULL.rottentomatoes NULL.com/m/gods_not_dead/) and in an incredible case of delusional thinking has announced that a sequel to the unintentional comedy (http://www NULL.charismanews NULL.com/culture/45859-god-s-not-dead-2-getting-ready-to-rock-atheists-world) is in the works. No word yet on which religious zealot actors will cast; since our last podcast episode, the Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments on whether saying a Catholic prayer (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/montreal/saguenay-prayer-case-hearing-begins-at-supreme-court-1 NULL.2797683) – not just a non-sectarian prayer, but a specifically Catholic one – said before city hall meetings in the Quebec city of Sagueny infringes on anyone’s freedom of religion. In a look at two polar opinions (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/opinion/op-ed/Lakritz+Keep+religion+city+council+meetings/10292704/story NULL.html), Bishop Fred “You-know-what” Henry (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/opinion/op-ed/Henry+wrong+demand+that+religion+confined+church/10308544/story NULL.html) makes yet another appearance (Spoiler alert! I don’t agree with him.); in addition to hockey, maple syrup and Mounties, Canada makes yet another contribution to the world. Or rather, a lack of one, according to a letter signed by 800 scientists (http://www NULL.canada NULL.com/technology/foreign+scientists+urge+Stephen+Harper+lift+restrictions+Canadian+researchers/10310970/story NULL.html) from 32 different countries accusing the current regime in Ottawa of slashing funding for science and gagging federal scientists from speaking on issues such as climate change and fish stocks. But first, and I think everyone could guess what the first topic would be tonight, we’re going to take a look at the two incidents dominating the news in this country, the attacks in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/canada/suspect-in-attack-on-2-soldiers-in-quebec-had-become-radicalized-pmo-1 NULL.2062419) and Ottawa (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/canada/canada-will-never-be-intimidated-harper-says-after-shootings-in-ottawa-1 NULL.2065443) and some fallout (http://www NULL.coldlakesun NULL.com/2014/10/24/mosque-vandalized-in-what-locals-describe-as-disgusting-crime) from these incidents.

Episode 123 – “Barking Mad” Politics

In this installment, we find that the final validation of Big Bang cosmology and evolution (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/2014/10/27/pope-francis-evolution_n_6057378 NULL.html?utm_hp_ref=religion) comes from an unlikely source, at least according to the media, who seem to have forgotten that the Vatican has played fast and loose all along. This time it comes from a guy who also thanked exorcists for showing “Love for those possessed (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/2014/10/29/pope-francis-exorcists_n_6064044 NULL.html).” Let’s face it, we could make jokes on that quote all night long. Homeopaths offer to add the might of Big Placebo in the fight against Ebola (http://www NULL.theguardian NULL.com/world/2014/oct/30/homeopaths-offer-services-fight-ebola) in Africa and a New Zealander MP gets demoted in a plot by Big Pharma to silence him. Federal scientists break their political neutrality (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/politics/union-for-federal-scientists-breaks-neutrality-will-campaign-against-harper-1 NULL.2093214) and finally tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stuff it. But first I’d like to talk about ways we can get the credulous to listen to reason and look at evidence viz a viz a Facebook conversation I had yesterday. Before we get to that, though, episode 122 was a live video podcast wherein I looked like a boiled lobster and you can view it here (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=7VpdUptzQDw).