This episode’s topics include: Richard Dawkins has been deplatformed from speaking at UC Berkeley because of speech hurtful to Muslims; Dan Arel’s journey to demented delusion takes him beyond CJ Werleman in nuthattery in a new article claiming the so-called “new atheists” are “white nationalists”; death threats are the norm du jour for a new liberal mosque in Berlin; in Britain, the NHS makes plans to scrap coverage of useless homeopathic prescriptions; Women’s March wishes terrorist Assata Shakur a happy birthday; In Catholic Watch, a new report claims that 547 children were physically abused at the Catholic Regensburger Domspatzen choir school in Bavaria and a pair of officials at a children’s hospital in will be in a Vatican court as defendants on charges of embezzling donated funds to finance the renovation of a senior cardinal’s apartment; the new Doctor Who has changed genders, and not all fans are pleased.
Welcome to our first interview of 2017! Our guest Dr Edzard Ernst (http://edzardernst NULL.com/) trained as a physician in Germany in the late 1970s, as well as in acupuncture, autogenic training, herbalism, homoeopathy, massage therapy and spinal manipulation. After occupying professorships at the Hannover Medical School and University of Vienna, he became became the Chair in Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter in 1993. He founded and is editor-in-chief of two medical journals, written more than 1000 peer-reviewed journal articles awarded 14 scientific prizes. In 2008 he joined forces with Simon Singh to write Trick or Treatment, a book well-known in the skeptic community, and in 2015 wrote the autobiographic A Scientist in Wonderland. His latest book, which came out this past October, is titled Homeopathy – The Undiluted Facts: Including a Comprehensive A-Z Lexicon.
Later we look at the surprise resignation of Bishop Fred Henry and a couple of recent comments on the Facebook page – one bad, one good.
In this, the 182nd installment of LoRD, the Legion of Reason Diversion, Kris, Twyla and yours truly, the Supreme Irreverend Doctor Randy Tyson share relevant news items in another potpourri episode: Duke University’s Women’s Center is offering men a nine-week reprogramming to get in touch with their feminine side; a theater group in Bristol canceled their production of Aida because no Ancient Egyptians were cast; a new clinical trial at McMaster University in Ontario is testing the efficacy of homeopathic vaccines known as “nosodes”; disturbing anti-Muslim posters were found on the University of Calgary campus and a “Make America Great Again” hat-wearing student at Mount Royal University in another part of the city was accosted by an outraged student; a local Anglican church blesses dogs, cats and even lizards this week; a boycott of next year’s women’s world chess championships in Iran is in the works as all women competing will be required to wear the hijab. And of course we couldn’t leave The Donald out of our discussion. Meow!
Later on in this installment, Christine, Twyla and yours truly, the Very Irreverend Dr Randy Tyson give kudos to CBC Marketplace (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/marketplace/episodes/2014-2015/drugstore-remedies-licence-to-deceive) demonstrates how ridiculously easy it is to obtain a license from Health Canada to sell a natural remedy; yet another Conservative MP comes out of the creationist closet (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/ID/2656936485/?page=3) and we get to listen to former leader of the Canadian Reform Alliance Party (which, by the way, in Freudian manner spells out ‘CRAP’) confuses the right to hold a belief with demanding respect for beliefs; Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons calls the niqab “anti-women” (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/news/politics/harper-says-overwhelming-majority-agrees-with-tories-on-niqabs-1 NULL.2990439); and finally while Islam needs its Voltaire, the town of Taber, Alberta needs its Kevin Bacon (http://www NULL.taber NULL.ca/DocumentCenter/View/1006, http://www NULL.calgarysun NULL.com/2015/03/10/town-of-taber-alberta-moves-to-ban-swearing) to Footloose away the anti-swearing and anti-assembly provision of its “Community Standards” bylaw. But first, our very own Christine Shellska read a statement to the Commission for Social Development (https://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=Eok1jRSsBtc&feature=youtu NULL.be) promoting secular values (as well as some unfinished business involving a bottle of Johnny Walker).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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).
Sad news this week. I’m old enough to remember watching a human being walk on the surface of a planetoid beyond our own for the first time. Neil Armstrong died this weekend. One more hero gone from this world. Later, I demonstrate my ignorance of modern Canadian geography (you can email your corrections to randy@screwed-up-but-doesn’t-care.com) as we discuss the latest attempts by HPV Calgary to get the human papillomavirus vaccine in Calgary Catholic schools (http://metronews NULL.ca/news/calgary/339686/legal-action-looms-in-calgary-catholic-school-hpv-vaccine-standoff/) and show that not all Catholics agree with Bishop Henry’s depraved indifference to women’s health just because they commit the heinous crime of engaging in sexual intercourse (http://metronews NULL.ca/news/calgary/345572/former-calgary-catholic-school-district-head-throws-support-behind-hpv-vaccine-in-schools/). We urge everyone to sign the petition (http://www NULL.thepetitionsite NULL.com/169/149/477/tell-catholic-school-district-dont-deny-the-hpv-vaccine-to-female-students/) at the petition site. There’s some good news out of the town of Morinville Alberta where enrollment in the new secular public education ‘alternative’ has hit 252 registered students (https://www NULL.facebook NULL.com/pages/Public-non-faith-based-school-in-Morinville-AB/186801464664262) for the coming school year. We also comment on the FDA’s banning of a homeopathic product because of quality assurance issues (http://news NULL.discovery NULL.com/human/homeopathy-takes-hits-in-europe-us-120821 NULL.html) – the potential for part of it to be broken glass, Richard Dawkins interview in Playboy (http://www NULL.playboy NULL.com/playground/view/playboy-interview-richard-dawkins), and take a stab at the latest meme to hit the atheist community known as “atheism+ (http://freethoughtblogs NULL.com/blaghag/2012/08/how-i-unwittingly-infiltrated-the-boys-club-why-its-time-for-a-new-wave-of-atheism/)“. But first, we discuss weird sports superstitions (http://www NULL.menshealth NULL.com/mhlists/strangest-athlete-superstitions/printer NULL.php) that began with Winnipeg Blue Bomber quarterback Joey Elliott and a PowerBalance bracelet.