In this instalment, recorded August 3, 2014, we take a look at the new Atheist TV (http://www NULL.atheists NULL.org/AtheistTV) presented by American Atheists; an Alberta Liberal MLA is making positive waves about ending government support of sectarian and elitist schools (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/Hehr+Private+schools+divide+pupils+wealth+religion/10063441/story NULL.html) in the province; more conundrums in medical ethics, this time a Calgary fertility clinic that has issues with women wanting “rainbow children” (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/health/rainbow+families+Ethnic+donor+stipulation+fertility+centre+floors+local+woman/10063343/story NULL.html); the Texas medical board is yet again trying to get rid of Stanislaw Burzynski (http://www NULL.usatoday NULL.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/24/new-charges-for-burzynski/13111483/) and his unsubstantiated treatments; Richard Dawkins steps in it yet again (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2014/07/richard-dawkinss-rape-pedophelia-logic-tweets-ignite-twitter-storm NULL.html), this time on Twitter; and finally, Canada’s ambassador to the Vatican compares abortion to the horrific events that occurred on 9/11 (http://www NULL.theglobeandmail NULL.com/news/politics/harper-appoints-dennis-savoie-as-next-ambassador-to-holy-see/article19889661/). But first, congratulations are in order for one of our very own cohosts…
We continue with further developments following the story of Chantal Barry (http://news NULL.nationalpost NULL.com/2014/06/26/doctor-on-duty-will-not-prescribe-the-birth-control-pill-reads-sign-at-calgary-walk-in-clinic/), a Calgary walk-in clinic physician who refuses to prescribe birth control. Later, before we discuss This Week in the Vatican (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/world/vatican-formally-recognizes-international-group-of-exorcists-1 NULL.1897357), we find out that Bishop Fred “You-know-who” Henry predictably weighs in (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/life/Pill+health+care/9995705/story NULL.html) on the kerfuffle and continues his amazing streak of getting it all wrong… Very wrong. CBC Radio One’s weekly program The Sixth Day (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/day6/podcasts/) discussed the situation in a more general sense with guests Arthur Schafer and Margaret Somerville, two medical ethicists with greatly differing opinions on the matter. Indeed, I scoff at the description of Somerville as a “medical ethicist”. I think it more accurate to describe her as “Catholic apologist”. She certainly makes no more sense than Henry. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is revisiting the ethical guidelines regarding conscience rights and looking for public input. You have until August 5th to fill out their survey (http://policyconsult NULL.cpso NULL.on NULL.ca/?page_id=3403), and I urge everyone who cares about this to do so. I think President Obama said it best, paraphrasing what we’ve been saying all along: “No, you can’t deny women their basic rights and pretend it’s about your ‘religious freedom’. If you don’t like birth control, don’t use it. Religious freedom doesn’t mean you can force others to live by your own beliefs.” While he was talking about the Hobby Lobby case, this sentiment applies just as much to Chantal Barry and her unprofessional ilk. But first, I get a response from the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons to an email I sent in requesting answers to a number of questions I had regarding this situation.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Welcome to episode 91 of the Legion of Reason! Peter Boghossian, author of A Manual for Creating Atheists (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.ca/Manual-Creating-Atheists-Peter-Boghossian/dp/1939578094/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390328594&sr=8-1&keywords=peter+boghossian) and previous guest on LoR, was in Calgary this weekend to talk about his book and how to convince people who come to knowledge through faith that they do not know what they think they know. Twylla, Kris, Haysn and I discuss his talk, as well as the Vatican finally handing over information on the defrocking of priests (http://news NULL.msn NULL.com/world/pope-defrocks-400-priests-in-2-years-for-sex-abuse) by Pope Benedict aka Pope Palpatine to a United Nations panel and why it’s a bad idea that Bill Nye the Science Guy will be debating creationist Ken Ham on February 4th (http://www NULL.patheos NULL.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/01/02/hey-bill-nye-why-the-hell-would-you-agree-to-debate-a-creationist/). But first, Alberta@Noon, a local CBC radio program, recently invited Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/albertaatnoon/episode/2014/01/14/tuesday-january-14-2014/), co-authors of Toxin Toxout, to present an unbalanced and frankly completely biased and ill-informed view of the benefits of organic produce.
It’s December 8 and welcome to the Legion of Reason. We have an extra long one this week and so I’ve split it in two to keep your eyes from glazing over. In this episode, Twylla, Christine, Haysn and I discuss the refusal by the Vatican to submit to a request from the United Nations for information regarding the worldwide epidemic of sexual abuse of children by clergy (http://www NULL.bbc NULL.co NULL.uk/news/world-europe-25204805). How about a little transparency for once without having to pry it out of the Holy See’s dead fingers? In New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has engaged the services of a PR agency in an attempt to better sell banning same-sex marriage (http://www NULL.newslo NULL.com/catholic-church-outsourcing-same-sex-marriage-fight-to-top-ad-agency/). I guess the pope’s infallibility isn’t enough anymore. Kenyan sufferers of AIDS are going to Pentecostal pastors to ‘treat’ their affliction (http://www NULL.queerty NULL.com/pentecostal-pastors-in-kenya-burn-hiv-drugs-in-favor-of-prayer-20131207/) while they watch their medications go up in flames. In a Time magazine article we atheists are yet again denigrated (http://science NULL.time NULL.com/2013/11/27/why-there-are-no-atheists-at-the-grand-canyon/). Apparently, no one who goes to the Grand Canyon and sees it in all its splendor and remain a non-believer and must submit to “God did it” as they are over-awed. For a science columnist, he completely gets the science wrong. How many times do we have to say it? The ability to find wonder and awe at nature does not equal god belief! The journal that published an anti-GMO paper by Gilles-Eric Séralini has retracted the work (http://www NULL.cbsnews NULL.com/news/journal-retracts-genetically-modified-corn-tumor-rats-study/) citing methodological flaws and conflicts of interest that peer review somehow missed. We’ve been Andrew Wakefielded again! And we discuss why some of us – not yours truly! – feel that having a life-size statue of Ronald McDonald in the basement or Xmas nutcrackers is creepy. But first, I talk with CFI Canada’s Chief Spokesperson Justin Trottier about yet another secular humanist-positive ad campaign rejection in Vancouver (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/Atheist+advertising+rejected+Vancouver/9253641/story NULL.html) without explanation.
It’s September 22, the first episode of the fall of 2013! Twylla and Kris join me for a busy episode. Later, we wonder yet again where the Muslim community of Canada is in the face of horrific sectarian acts of violence (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/world/kenyan-soldiers-battle-militants-after-deadly-mall-shooting-1 NULL.1466182). Aren’t these missed opportunities to demonstrate to the public that there is indeed a segment of Islam which deplores violence? I don’t get it. Child abuse in the form of pediatric chiropractic is on the rise in Saskatchewan (http://www NULL.thestarphoenix NULL.com/bridges/Sask+sees+upswing+chiropractics+infants/8923903/story NULL.html), according to an article in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix’s Bridge publication. We look at the most common reason mothers take their babies to a chiropractor and why the claim that this form of alternative-to-medicine therapy can help with colic is bunk (http://welladjustedbabies NULL.com/effective-ways-to-relieve-colic/) despite the publication in bottom feeder journals that it is highly effective. In that discussion, we discover a metric we can use to measure the feistiness off Twylla, as you can hear the rate of popped P’s increase during episodes of feistiness. We discuss Richard Dawkins’ recent faux-pas (http://www NULL.richarddawkins NULL.net/news_articles/2013/9/7/the-world-according-to-richard-dawkins-the-times#) claiming that decades-old crimes of pedophilia shouldn’t be judged using a modern value set. Really, Richard? What the hell? The kinder-and-gentler Vatican presents itself with Pope Frank making gestures to the atheist/agnostic community (http://www NULL.rawstory NULL.com/rs/2013/09/11/pope-francis-to-atheists-agnostics-god-forgives-those-who-obey-their-conscience/) and toning down the “same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception are evil” rhetoric (http://www NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2013/09/20/world/europe/pope-bluntly-faults-churchs-focus-on-gays-and-abortion NULL.html?smid=fb-share&_r=3&) while still believing that same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception are evil. So what’s changed, and why are people falling all over this new pope, some atheists included? This is like spraying the bathroom with Febreeze the morning after attending a chili cook-off. All you can smell are faeces-covered flowers. And last, but not least, I go off on a rant about something the guys at Cognitive Dissonance said that I can’t agree with and goes against every fibre of my being. But first, I make a clarification in response to a blogger’s post on a previous rant (http://scawalrus NULL.wordpress NULL.com/2013/09/21/sketicism-vs-atheism-discussion-comments/) of mine on skepticism, atheism and the JREF. I figure if one person heard us say one thing we would never posit, others might have heard it too and so want to make it clear that we don’t believe The Secret is anything other than a work of fiction.
Welcome to episode 75, recorded September 8, 2013! Kris is back from Boston where she attended a conference reporting on the progress of our plan for atheist world domination. Later on we discuss well-founded opposition to a new Scientology-based drug and alcohol rehab center in Ontario (http://www NULL.simcoe NULL.com/news-story/4070822-narconon-open-to-finding-a-new-site/). Naraconon, as it’s called, has blood on its hands worldwide (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Narconon). The Vatican demonstrates that it has learned nothing from the ongoing priestly paedophilia debacle in how to handle incidents of child molestation by church authorities. Rather than do the right thing, they recall a papal nuncio from the Dominican Republic (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/2013/09/05/josef-wesolowski-child-abuse-dominican-republic_n_3875222 NULL.html?utm_hp_ref=religion) to investigate (we think – the Vatican is saying nothing on this matter, which further shows how little they’ve learned) allegations of you-know-what. But we start off with HuffPo blogger Linda Robertson to whom we give kudos for her humanist stance on standing up and making her voice heard when other Christians spout vitriol (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/linda-robertson/we-cannot-be-silent_b_3861798 NULL.html?utm_hp_ref=religion&ir=Religion#comments) against members of the LGBT community.