Episode 109 – The Unbelievers

Well, it’s been a few weeks since our last episode. A couple of weeks ago Twyla, Kris and I were in Kamloops for Imagine No Religion, while Haysn was in Virginia attending Women in Secularism. As for last week I did a very early photo shoot, volunteering as an even photographer for the Calgary MS Walk and Run and was just way too tired to speak intelligibly that night. So this is our first post-INR episode and we have with us two special guests in this instalment, brothers Gus and Luke Holwerda. These indie film producers had the onerous task of following Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss all over the world, and not in a stalkish kind of way. The resulting film is called The Unbelievers (http://unbelieversmovie NULL.com/), and is now available at the time of this podcast release on iTunes, and will be available later from other distributors such as Netflix. Gus and Luke discuss with us their impression of INR and share behind-the-scenes stories with us. It was great having them on!

Posted in Atheism, Humanism, Podcast, Religion, Skepticism | Comments Off

Episode 108 – Upcoming Vatican Reaffirmation of Dogma, Liver and Herbs, Rob Schneider Remains Unfunny

This is the last episode before we pack up and head off to Imagine No Religion (http://imaginenoreligion NULL.ca/) in Kamloops sans Haysn, who will be at Women in Secularism (http://www NULL.womeninsecularism NULL.org/) down south. So we’ll have a lot to report in the next instalment. But first things first. In this episode we discuss an upcoming debate in the Vatica (http://www NULL.latimes NULL.com/world/europe/la-fg-vatican-family-20140430-story NULL.html#page=1)n on its teachings on divorce, birth control and same-sex marriage. Will Randy have to cough up a bottle of whiskey to Kris? The use of herbs is increasingly becoming a major cause of liver damage (http://www NULL.medpagetoday NULL.com/MeetingCoverage/AASLD/42744) according to medical experts. But first, more anti-vaccine nonsense from naturopaths and chiropractors, with Rob Schneider lending his voice to a video (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.ca/2014/05/02/measles-alberta-naturopaths-anti-vaccine_n_5150252 NULL.html) going around on their websites. Yes, the comedian who brought you such fine films as Deuce Bigalow and The Animal is selling anti-vaccine crap, which is about as funny as his comedy.

Posted in Atheism, Humanism, Podcast, Religion, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Episode 107 – Vatican Double-Double, Measles Nostalgia, Religious Schools: Respect Our Right To Discriminate!

This week Twylla, Haysn, Kris and a hoarse Randy take on Calgary Herald writer Kevin Brooker who looks fondly upon his youth when measles “wasn’t so bad” (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/touch/story NULL.html?id=9735786&fb_action_ids=10152349436137453&fb_action_types=og NULL.comments&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B855148241168713%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og NULL.comments%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D) despite the many, including Twylla (who predictably became quite feisty on the topic), who bear the permanent scars of the disease; another author in the Herald who defends public funding of sectarian charter schools (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/opinion/op-ed/Carpay+lose+faith+religious+schools/9776623/story NULL.html) that demand adherence to bigoted values under the guise of religious freedom; accreditation of Trinity University law school has been rejected by law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/trinity-western-blasts-n-s-ontario-law-societies-1 NULL.2622913) because the school violates discrimination laws by demanding that students and staff adhere to their sexual morays. But first, we couldn’t ignore the big event Sunday (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/news/world/unprecedented-canonization-ceremony-has-distinctly-polish-feel/article18287456/) that none of us watched when magic words make demi-gods of ex-popes John XXIII and John Paul II.

Posted in Atheism, Humanism, Podcast, Religion, Skepticism | Comments Off

Episode 106 – With Guest Bill Ligertwood

Bill Ligertwood joins us in this instalment to talk about the upcoming Imagine No Religion (http://imaginenoreligion NULL.ca/) conference in Kamloops on the May long weekend that most of us will be attending. Afterwards, we as Bill to stick around to help discuss a variety of topics that came up this past week, including calls in Australia to remove homeopathic products from pharmacies (http://www NULL.smh NULL.com NULL.au/national/health/call-to-get-homeopathic-remedies-off-pharmacy-shelves-20140419-36xlk NULL.html), the recent wedding of Nate Phelps to his fiancée Cindi, the upholding of charges against street preacher Artur Pawlowski (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/calgary/High+court+upholds+noise+traffic+convictions+street/9741095/story NULL.html) for violating city noise by-laws, the public funding of charter schools (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/calgary/publicly-funded-school-with-anti-gay-policy-spurs-alberta-review-1 NULL.2610122) which violate human rights legislation under the guise of freedom of religion, and the strange compulsion of the media to ask the most irrelevant people for answers (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/calgary/Bringing+light+dark+night+Calgary+soul/9749934/story NULL.html) to horrific events just because they are religious authorities (http://www NULL.calgarysun NULL.com/2014/04/18/no-answers-bishop-says-of-deadly-stabbings-of-five-in-calgarys-worst-mass-murder). In this case, the recent mass murder of five university students at a quiet party here in Calgary.

Posted in Atheism, Humanism, Podcast, Religion, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Episode 105 – When Michael Enright Misspells “The Public Good”

In this, the 105th instalment, Twylla, Kris, Haysn and I discuss a decision by the Alberta government to not pass legislation mandating the formation gay-straight alliances (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/news/national/gay-straight-alliance-bill-for-schools-voted-down-in-alberta/article17871798/) should students wish it, the consequences of provincial governments that do not value reproductive rights manifest themselves in the closing of the last private abortion clinic in the Maritime (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/news/national/frederictons-morgentaler-abortion-clinic-closes-citing-public-funding-gap/article17912762/)s; more on the bigotry convention in Weyburn (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/peter-labarbera-anti-gay-u-s-activist-allowed-into-canada-1 NULL.2606727), Saskatchewan; why homeopaths shouldn’t promote homeopathy awareness week; (http://www NULL.theguardian NULL.com/science/2014/apr/11/world-homeopathy-awareness-week-homeopathic-preparations) and chiropractors in Calgary have a new toy (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/life/Electrotherapy+treatment+used+speed+healing+process/9722949/story NULL.html) – they don’t just want to ‘manipulate’ your spine anymore, they want to zap you with electricity. But first, Michael Enright hosted a CBC town hall discussion on religion in the public sphere (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/thesundayedition/2014/04/08/the-public-god---a-sunday-edition-public-forum/). We have our own take on the questions posed to the panel.

Posted in Atheism, Humanism, Podcast, Religion, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Episode 104 – More Proof Steven Weinberg Was Right

Welcome to the Legion of Region, podcasting a critical eye on a sometimes less-than-critical world. I have with me this week Twylla and Kris to discuss a variety of topics. As the number of cases of measles and pertussis rise, so do the calls for mandatory vaccination (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-measles-cases-spark-vaccination-discussion-1 NULL.2598160) – Calgary and area is no different in this regard; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in an effort to protect the freedoms of speech and thought, equates the freedom to not believe part with terrorism (http://www NULL.ibtimes NULL.co NULL.uk/saudi-arabia-new-law-sees-atheism-terrorism-1442819); as church attendance goes down, the question of what to do with the empties is on the rise – first reduce, then reuse and recycle (http://www NULL.businessinsider NULL.com/churches-in-england-are-being-converted-to-bars-photos-2014-3); is the internet responsible for the rise of the nones? We look at a study which says, “yes” (http://www NULL.technologyreview NULL.com/view/526111/how-the-internet-is-taking-away-americas-religion/?utm_campaign=socialsync&utm_medium=social-post&utm_source=facebook), and then from there digress into a discussion on beaver butt juice (http://www NULL.businessinsider NULL.com/castoreum-used-in-food-and-perfume-2013-10#ixzz2yAkKKUzM). Don’t ask, just listen. But first, an anti-choice organization is having a convention in Saskatchewan with the likes of Bill Whatcott and Peter LaBarbera (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/anti-gay-speaker-from-u-s-vows-to-speak-in-saskatchewan-1 NULL.2595034). We’ve talked about Bill Whatcott before, so this time we focus on the latter of the two anti-gay schmucks.

Posted in Atheism, Humanism, Podcast, Religion, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Episode 103 – Homeopathy Horror Story and Other Bedtime Tales

In this instalment of The Legion of Reason, we discuss a freedom of speech issue where someone who, while we vehemently disagree with, feel has had his rights violated by a local university (http://www2 NULL.canada NULL.com/calgaryherald/news/opinion/story NULL.html?id=4fc1828a-9562-4426-9746-7c533c2e367b), more anti-vaccination nonsense in BC (http://bc NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/b-c-vaccination-rates-drop-amid-misinformation-campaign-1 NULL.1744379) that’s contributing to the current outbreak of measles in that province, the city of Saskatoon is taking a closer look at how untaxed churches are using their property (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/saskatoon-churches-coming-under-tax-review-microscope-1 NULL.2584022) to generate income, a couple (http://www NULL.patheos NULL.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2014/03/a-philosophy-professor-analyzes-gods-not-deads-case-for-god/) of stories (http://www NULL.rawstory NULL.com/rs/2014/03/26/nj-bank-wont-notarize-american-atheist-documents-for-personal-reasons/) that maybe Kevin Sorbo should read before saying how nice the religious are compared to us atheists, and finally someone who yearns for the good ol’ days (http://www NULL.examiner NULL.com/article/tristan-emmanuel-bill-maher-should-be-publicly-whipped-for-blasephemy) where free speech against God should be met with torture rather than itself met with free speech. But first – horror of horrors! – homeopathic remedies are being recalled (http://www NULL.independent NULL.co NULL.uk/news/world/americas/homeopathy-product-recalled-over-fears-it-may-contain-actual-medicine-9217206 NULL.html) because they might have bioactive compounds in them that aren’t diluted into oblivion.

Posted in Atheism, Humanism, Podcast, Religion, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Episode 102 – Fred Phelps’ is Gone, Kevin Sorbo Sucks, Ken Ham Whines and a Book Review

Welcome to episode 102 of The Legion of Reason, podcasting a critical eye on a sometimes less-than-critical world! In this installment, Kris, Twylla, Haysn and I take a look at Answers in Genesis’ Ken Ham’s complaint that creationism isn’t getting equal time on the reboot of Cosmos (http://www NULL.rawstory NULL.com/rs/2014/03/21/creationists-demand-equal-airtime-on-neil-degrasse-tysons-cosmos-to-provide-balance/). Waaaaaaa! There has been a spate of movies based in Christianity lately. “Son of God” has been royally panned, “Noah” angered the faithful because it wasn’t historically accurate (irony!) and now “God’s Not Dead” (http://godsnotdeadthemovie NULL.com/) raises every pejorative atheist stereotype like a necromancer on Halloween to create two-dimensional characters that no one could care less about. We have a look into the mind of star Kevin Sorbo and his fear of us (http://www NULL.breathecast NULL.com/articles/god-s-not-dead-movie-cast-interview-former-hercules-actor-kevin-sorbo-14628/). And finally I give our first book review. In honor of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos I review the book, The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.ca/Cosmos-Astronomy-New-Millennium/dp/110768756X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395708562&sr=8-1&keywords=the+cosmos+astronomy+in+the+new+millennium). But first, Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps passed away last week (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/2014/03/20/fred-phelps-dead_n_5000577 NULL.html) the night before his estranged son Nate’s autobiographical talk titled “Leaving Hate Behind” (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=gecHgApB48A) here in Calgary. We discuss the effect the WBC has had on the perception of the LGBT movement in a lively and entertaining discussion.

Posted in Atheism, Humanism, Podcast, Religion, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Episode 101 – The Coda of Fred Phelps Opus, Jewish Band on the Run, Pastoral Contribution to Measles Outbreaks, Contemplating Cosmos

In this instalment, we discuss one of the primary reasons for a recent outbreak of measles in the Fraser Valley (http://www NULL.vancouversun NULL.com/touch/news/metro/Chilliwack+pastor+tells+congregation+vaccines+interfere+with/9620133/story NULL.html?rel=813152) of beautiful British Columbia, the attempts by the ultra-fundamentalist Jewish community called Lev Tahor (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/fifth/episodes/2012-2013/rabbi-of-the-pure-hearts-inside-lev-tahor) to play a game of keep away with government child protection services and of course the requisite talk about Seth McFarlane and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reboot of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (http://www NULL.cosmosontv NULL.com/). But first we learned of something making the rounds of the atheist movement (http://www NULL.thestar NULL.com/news/world/2014/03/16/antigay_westboro_baptist_church_founder_fred_phelps_on_the_edge_of_death NULL.html) that greatly affects a good friend of ours, Nate Phelps (http://natephelps NULL.com/).

Posted in Atheism, Humanism, Podcast, Religion, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Episode 100 – Avec Jake Farr-Wharton!

Welcome to episode 100 of the Legion of Reason, podcasting a critical eye on a sometimes less-than-critical world. We have with us to help celebrate the 100th installment is Jake Farr-Wharton, host of the very entertaining Imaginary Friends Show (http://imaginaryfriendsshow NULL.com/) and author of Letters To Christian Leaders: Hollow Be Thy Claims (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.ca/Letters-Christian-Leaders-Hollow-Claims/dp/0956427642). Bryce, Christine and I talk with Jake on how he came to atheism and to engage with the atheist world through his podcasting, and Jake sticks around to discuss various subjects du jour. Faisal Al-Mutar joins us later on in the podcast as well. I had my own small victory in the fight against pseuodoscience when I noticed an ad for a dubious pain relief product with what looked to be an endorsement by Health Canada. Health Canada was not amused. Bryce shares with us a sad story of credulity and the real harm that pseudoscience can inflict. And finally, the Pope came out defending the Vatican over the child abuse scandal (http://www NULL.corriere NULL.it/cronache/14_marzo_04/vi-racconto-mio-primo-anno-papa-90f8a1c4-a3eb-11e3-b352-9ec6f8a34ecc NULL.shtml), saying that because molestation occurs in other places people shouldn’t be criticizing them over it. Seriously.

Extra credit reading: Victor Stenger’s piece on debating creationists (http://m NULL.huffpost NULL.com/us/entry/4876997).

Posted in Atheism, Humanism, Podcast, Religion, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off