Episode 133 – Lions and Tigers and Atheists… Oh my!

In this episode: CNN airs a documentary about us atheists (http://edition NULL.cnn NULL.com/videos/tv/2015/03/17/exp-cnn-creative-marketing-atheists-inside-the-world-of-non-believers NULL.cnn), and for once we aren’t represented as the evil monsters we really are; convicted fraudster and professional narcissist Conrad Black (http://news NULL.nationalpost NULL.com/full-comment/conrad-black-the-shabby-shallow-world-of-the-militant-atheist) and Phil Robertson (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.ca/2015/03/24/phil-robertson-duck-dynasty-hate-speech_n_6934164 NULL.html) think so! Angus Reid (http://angusreid NULL.org/faith-in-canada/) has released the results of an interesting poll looking at the demographics of belief in Canada; Indiana Governor Mike Pence signs a law (http://www NULL.cnn NULL.com/2015/03/25/politics/mike-pence-religious-freedom-bill-gay-rights/index NULL.html?ts_pid=2) which with its broad wording could lead to discrimination in that state. Did I say could? George Takei and others say “would”; and finally, an unnamed priest says a woman raped and murdered would still be alive (http://www NULL.msn NULL.com/en-ca/news/other/priest-in-australia-says-murdered-woman-would-still-be-alive-if-she-had-been-more-faith-filled/ar-AAaaJpA) if she had stayed at home and been more “faith filled”.

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.

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.

Episode 90 – Marathon Recording Session – Part Un

Another week, another episode… Welcome to the Legion of Reason. Last night’s recording session was a marathon that spanned over three hours, so once again it will be a split episode. In the second half, we discuss the first case of H5N1 bird flu in North America (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/health/alberta-woman-who-died-of-h5n1-was-in-her-20s-1 NULL.2490018), giving Red Deer a dubious distinction, the recent depletion of influenza vaccine in Alberta (http://www NULL.edmontonjournal NULL.com/health/Province+expects+vaccines+Friday/9365227/story NULL.html) along with a terrible report from CTV News Calgary on what you can do to limit your chances of contracting influenza (http://calgary NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/more/medical-watch) if you missed out, and an article in Slate that entreats us atheists to be more assertive (http://www NULL.salon NULL.com/2014/01/11/15_ways_atheists_can_stand_up_for_rationality/). In the first half, Twylla gives us her feisty take on a recent CBC item on pesticides found on organic foods (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/canada/manitoba/pesticide-residue-found-on-nearly-half-of-organic-produce-1 NULL.2487712). But first, a controversial decision by York University to commit gender segregation all in the name of religious accommodation (http://news NULL.nationalpost NULL.com/2014/01/08/york-university-professor-who-refused-students-request-to-be-separated-from-female-classmates-broke-obligation-to-accommodate-officials/).

Don’t forget! Peter Boghossian will be in Calgary Sunday, January 19 at 3 pm (https://www NULL.eventbrite NULL.ca/e/lecture-by-peter-boghossian-author-of-a-manual-for-creating-atheists-tickets-9913754306)!

Episode 90 – Marathon Recording Session – Part Deux

Welcome to the Legion of Reason and part 2 of our marathon episode where Twylla, Kris, Haysn and I discuss an article in Slate that entreats us atheists to be more assertive. But before that, we talk about the recent depletion of influenza vaccine in Alberta (http://www NULL.edmontonjournal NULL.com/health/Province+expects+vaccines+Friday/9365227/story NULL.html), the first case of H5N1 bird flu in North America (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/health/alberta-woman-who-died-of-h5n1-was-in-her-20s-1 NULL.2490018), which gives Red Deer a dubious distinction, and a CTV News Calgary report on how to protect yourself from contracting the flu if you missed out on the vaccine (http://calgary NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/more/medical-watch). It ain’t pretty.

Don’t forget! Peter Boghossian will be in Calgary Sunday, January 19 at 3 pm (https://www NULL.eventbrite NULL.ca/e/lecture-by-peter-boghossian-author-of-a-manual-for-creating-atheists-tickets-9913754306)!

Episode 85 – Justin Schieber

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!

Episode 78 – Anthropogenic Global Warming with Guest Dr. Donald Prothero

This week on the Legion of Reason delve into the world of climate change denial with Dr. Donald R. Prothero (http://www NULL.donaldprothero NULL.com/) and how science denial works in general. Donald has recently published his book Reality Check (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.ca/Reality-Check-Science-Threaten-ebook/dp/B00BIP240A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380571373&sr=8-1&keywords=reality+check+donald+prothero) which discusses the motivations behind a number cases of science denial including creationism and intelligent design versus evolution, denying the link between cancer and smoking, the anti-vaccination movement, AIDS denialism, and a host of other examples. Donald spoke to us from his home in California. And later, since Haysn couldn’t be with us last week for our discussion on recent comments made by Richard Dawkins, he presents his own take on the hubub. But before we get to that interview, I want to mention something that we can’t cover in detail this week but that I want to make people aware of, and so I direct you to a recent essay by CBC’s Michael Enright (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/thesundayedition/essays/2013/09/29/atheists-stop-whining/). I want to send in as many emails to Michael explaining exactly why we atheists won’t shut up. So I am putting out a call to all of our listeners to send in emails to the_legion@legionofreason.com. We need to enlighten poor Michael.

Episode 65a – Freethinking Island’s David Ince

This week fellow podcaster David Ince joins me (and Haysn, till the Skype connection died on our first attempt). David is one of the hosts of Freethinking Island (http://freethinkingisland NULL.com/), a podcast available on iTunes discussing atheism and skepticism issues particular to the Caribbean Islands. I talked with David for some time and decided to split this episode into two parts. In this first sub-episode, David shares with us his journey to skepticism and atheism, as well as some of the special problems of spreading critical thinking in the lands of rum, sand and palm trees.

But first, I want to make our listeners aware of an important project that we should all be backing with our wallets. Recovering From Religion, an organization started by Darrell Ray, is attempting to start a 1-800 number for those questioning their faith and they need to raise $30,000 for the phone equipment. It’s not clear if this will be the case, but I’m hoping this can cover North America. For those wishing to donate, you can head over to www.recoveringfromreligion.org/hotline-project (http://www NULL.recoveringfromreligion NULL.org/hotline-project).

Episode 62 – More Potpourri…

Twylla, Haysn and I have another discussion on Jamy Ian Swiss’ narrow definition of skepticism (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=iyLULErf_6E). How can anyone forget Carl Sagan’s parable (http://rationalwiki NULL.org/wiki/The_Dragon_in_My_Garage) of the fire-breathing dragon living in the garage? Sorry Jamy, any version of skepticism that serves to legitimize the burden of proof fallacy isn’t our idea of skepticism. Alberta Health announces a return to funding chiropractic treatment (http://www NULL.nationalpost NULL.com/m/wp/news/blog NULL.html?b=news NULL.nationalpost NULL.com%2F2012%2F06%2F06%2Falberta-to-revive-controversial-chiropractic-treatment-subsidies-for-seniors), at least for seniors. We also speculate on the potential consequences between Health Canada’s licensing of untested homeopathic vaccine substitutes (http://www NULL.bcmj NULL.org/council-health-promotion/health-canada-licenses-homeopathic-vaccines) (nosodes) and Ottawa public school boards’ decision to suspend students without proof of vaccination (http://www NULL.nationalpost NULL.com/m/wp/news/canada/blog NULL.html?b=news NULL.nationalpost NULL.com%2F2013%2F05%2F03%2Fna0504-th-vaccines). But first we talk about the increasing numbers of nonbelievers in Canada (http://www NULL.torontosun NULL.com/2013/05/08/2011-census-nearly-one-in-five-canadians-are-visible-minorities-statscan-reports) as shown in the latest census and evidence that the number of practicing Catholics in Calgary is decreasing (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/life/Calgary+Roman+Catholic+churches+merge/8367713/story NULL.html).

Episode 57 – Feminism, Syed Soharwardy and Asshat Awards

Welcome to another episode of the Legion of Reason! It’s been a few weeks, I was croaking like a chorus of frogs and I figured that no one wanted to hear that, if they want to hear me at all, and last week I was the only one available and again, I don’t think anyone would be terribly interested in listening to me talk to myself. I couldn’t do this podcast without my co-hosts.

Anyway, Kris, Twylla, Haysn and I discuss the response from Imam Syed Soharwardy to the recent Islamist terrorist attack in Algeria in which two Canadians participated (http://www NULL.sunnewsnetwork NULL.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2013/04/20130403-182657 NULL.html). The good imam is clearly in denial about the relationship between fundamentalis Islam and religion-based terrorism. We discuss with bemusement a recent poll which asked American voters their opinions on the validity of various popular conspiracy theories (http://www NULL.publicpolicypolling NULL.com/main/2013/04/conspiracy-theory-poll-results- NULL.html). And we announce our intention to create our own version of the JREF’s Pigassus Awards (http://www NULL.randi NULL.org/site/index NULL.php/jref-news/2074-jrefs-pigasus-awards-honors-dubious-peddlers-of-woo NULL.html) – the inaugural annual “White Ass-hat Awards”. There are various categories of asshattery, religious and nonreligious in nature, and we will be taking nominations from our listeners in each category. We will announce the winners in a couple of weeks! The episode ends with a bit of inspirational music from that great British satirical television program Spitting Image.

I want to remind people that on April 30 we will be visited by the incomparable George Hrab for an evening of skepticism and music at Ten Nightclub. You can get your tickets to that at Eventbrite, (http://cfiyychrab NULL.eventbrite NULL.ca/#) and even save a couple of bucks using the promo code hidden somewhere in this episode! There are also apparently still some tickets (and even hotel space!) available for INR3 in Kamploops May 17-19 (http://imaginenoreligion NULL.ca/). So, those still on the fence had best make a move if they want to attend. Another name has been recently added to the speaker list, Peter Boghossian, instructor of philosophy at Portland State University and author of “Street Epistemology: A Manual for Creating Atheists” that will be coming out soon. That weekend is going to be a blast and you’ll regret having missed it if you aren’t there!

But first, we tackle a topic that seems to be raging through the skeptic and atheist movements – feminism. To quote a Talking Heads tune, “My God! What have I done?”