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.

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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/).

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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).

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Episode 99 – Ex-Muslims of North America

There are many Muslims who feel the need to remain in the closet when they stop believing. Apostasy in Islam is a taboo with serious consequences. We are pleased to have with us to day Canadian representatives of EXMNA (http://www NULL.exmna NULL.org/) (Ex-Muslims of North America), a group dedicated to supporting and helping ex-Muslims through outreach and advocacy. Nas Ishmael (a pseudonym) is Director of Media Relations at the Ex-Muslims of North America. Sadaf, a local Torontonian, became an ex-Muslim in 2009. Sadaf is the Director of Community Development for EXMNA. Out of their and others’ desire for a safe space for those leaving Islam, Sadaf and Nas Ishmael (among others) founded EXMNA and join Christine, Haysn, Nate and Randy from Toronto for a discussion of the issues involving Islam in North America, and share their stories of how they left the faith.

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Episode 98 – With Guest Joyce Arthur

Joyce Arthur is a founding member of FIRST, a national feminist sex worker advocacy organization based in Vancouver that lobbies for the decriminalization of prostitution in Canada. Joyce works as a technical writer and pro-choice activist, and is the founder and Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, a national pro-choice group in Canada. She has written articles for numerous publications and has regularly made many television appearances on Canadian news networks. As a badge of honor, Lifesite (or rather, LIEsite) News has called Joyce an embarrassment to feminism.

Joyce spoke with us from Vancouver on a number of topics including the recent victory in the Supreme Court (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/news/national/supreme-court-rules-on-prostitution-laws/article16067485/), striking down a number of prostitution laws in favor of safety, several Ottawa physicians who refuse to prescribe contraceptives (http://www NULL.ottawacitizen NULL.com/news/Some+Ottawa+doctors+refuse+prescribe+birth+control+pills/9450917/story NULL.html) or even refer patients to other doctors who will, and the tactics of anti-choice weasels.

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Episode 97 – Pope Reform, Fracking Oklahoma, Bishop Henry At It Again and Another High Profile Debate

Welcome to episode 97 of the Legion of Reason, podcasting a critical eye on a sometimes less-than-critical world. It’s February 23rd and Kris, Haysn, Twylla and I discuss the report of a potential 500% or so increase in minor tremors in the state of Oklahoma due to fracking (http://www NULL.msnbc NULL.com/rachel-maddow-show/fracking-caused-quakes-oklahoma) and dissention (http://energyindepth NULL.org/national/wastewater-seismic-activity-and-fracking/) with that report. Local bishop Fred Henry earns my ire yet again (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/health/Henry+Unclear+language+clouds+push+euthanasia/9505745/story NULL.html) in his quest to vilify dying with dignity as murder in a letter to the Calgary Herald. Finally, Haysn has a report on a recent debate between physicist/cosmologist Sean Carroll and Christian apologist William Lane Craig (http://www NULL.preposterousuniverse NULL.com/blog/2014/02/20/god-and-cosmology-debate-with-w-l-craig/). But first, we discuss Pope Francis, fresh off the spanking he got from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/world/vatican-slammed-by-un-human-rights-committee-over-sex-abuse-1 NULL.2523737), and his busy week in the Vatican (https://www NULL.google NULL.ca/search?q=vatican+survey&oq=vatican+survey&aqs=chrome NULL. NULL.69i57j0l5 NULL.8898j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8#q=vatican+survey+ctv&tbm=nws) with keeping their financial institutions from laundering money and what to do about the sudden realization that Catholics no longer follow their teachings, a situation that everyone else knew about decades ago.

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Episode 95b – Vatican Slam

Later on in the podcast, Kris takes us through a bit of satire from the Borowitz Report (http://www NULL.newyorker NULL.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/01/stephen-hawkings-blunder-on-black-holes-shows-danger-of-listening-to-scientists-says-bachmann NULL.html) in the New Yorker that she didn’t find funny, but first we take up where we left off in episode 95a (hence the super-intelligent choice of ‘95b’ for this release) with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child kicking the Vatican right in the doctrine (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/world/vatican-slammed-by-un-human-rights-committee-over-sex-abuse-1 NULL.2523737) where it hurts.

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Episode 96 – Guests Amy Davis Roth and Rebecca Watson, Is Alvin Plantinga Rational? and Universities that Perform Paranormal Investigations

Welcome once again to the Legion of Reason, podcasting a critical eye on a sometimes less-than-critical world! Later on in the podcast, Kris, Twylla, Haysn and I discuss a recent New York Times interview of philosopher and theologian Alvin Plantinga titled “Is Atheism Rational?”, but we prefer the title “Is Plantinga rational? (http://opinionator NULL.blogs NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2014/02/09/is-atheism-irrational/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0)“. And finally we voice our opinions on The Atlantic’s article about one of a number of universities around the world that has a department dedicated to investigating the paranormal (http://www NULL.theatlantic NULL.com/health/archive/2014/02/there-is-a-paranormal-activity-lab-at-the-university-of-virginia/283584/). But first, we invited Amy Davis Roth (http://skepchick NULL.org/author/amy/) and Rebecca Watson (http://skepchick NULL.org/author/rebecca/) onto the podcast to have an energetic discussion of skeptical activism.

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Episode 95a – Sliced Ham on Nye

Kris, Twylla, Haysn and I have a lively discussion on the recent Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate on creationism and what its effects might be.

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Episode 94 – Physicist, Philosopher and Author Victor Stenger

We are very pleased to have with us today particle physicist Victor Stenger, who received his PhD in that arena from UCLA and whose research was focused on gluons, quarks and neutrinos. Even though he was a member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Hawaii till his retirement in 2000 (where he is still Emeritus Professor), he lives in Colorado where he is Adjunct Professor of Philosophy. He has authored a dozen books for lay audiences on physics, quantum mechanics, cosmology, religion and atheism, and pseudoscience, and their intersection and have greatly influenced my own thinking. “God The Failed Hypothesis” had the most impact on me, getting me to realize that the absence of evidence of the existence of god IS evidence of absence if one has looked for the evidence and removing a blind spot that I think is prevalent. “The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason” showed me that atheism is no longer limited to the realm of philosophy. And his most recent book “God and the Atom: From Democritus to the Higgs Boson” demonstrated something I had not realized, that atomism is an inherently atheistic concept, and was the subject of his talk at last year’s Imagine No Religion conference in Kamloops.

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