Episode 5

Smooth as silk!  New mixer, new recorder, better mics, no utter disasters… all in all, a pretty good episode, I think.  We go a bit long, but are actually fairly on point for a change.  The Items of Interest are salvaged from last week’s aborted attempt at a show, and I’m in the process of cutting up the rest of it to share on YouTube.

News Items:

The firestorm over the position paper “After Birth Abortion”

Whoever brought this paper to the attention of the fundamentalist Christians was demonstrating, in Brian’s words, ‘graduate level trolling.’

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

A blog post from the editor of the publication in defense of the paper: http://blogs.bmj.com/medical-ethics/2012/02/28/liberals-are-disgusting-in-defence-of-the-publication-of-after-birth-abortion/

Oh?! No Oxnard parents show up to protest teacher’s alleged porn past

“Parents were invited to a school board meeting Wednesday evening to express their concerns after an Oxnard middle school teacher was placed on paid leave for allegedly dabbling in hardcore pornography.

However, not one parent with a student at Haydock Intermediate School attended, according to CBS2’s Suraya Fadel.”


Some follow up – she was eventually outed by name: http://www.nationalconfidential.com/20120307/stacie-halas-middle-school-teacher-allegedly-worked-as-pornstar-tiffany-six/


ID Promoter sues JPL for Discrimination

Trial begins this week in a lawsuit over whether NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) unlawfully discriminated against an employee for discussing the scientific theory of intelligent design (ID) at work, according to the Discovery Institute.

Defendant’s trial brief: http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1746
Plaintiff’s trial brief: http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1685

Iconic Church Sold to Church, Church Relocates

The Crystal Cathedral, where modest services at a drive-in movie theater morphed into the Hour of Power at a fabulous glass-paned home to a global televangelical empire, will relocate and the Orange County megachurch will get a new name, the Associated Press reports today. The financially-struggling church sold its iconic glass-paned home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange last month to emerge from federal bankruptcy protection.

Items of interest:

Brian – http://spicopsairsoft.blogspot.com/

We talk with Brian’s friend and early supporter of this podcast.  It’s blog dedicated to reviewing the gear, guns, events, & personalities within the airsoft community of Southern California. Manny and his brother are the only ones contributing to it at the moment, but as they increase the size of their team they hope to expand their level of content. I’ll be heading out to the range to get shot at with BB’s myself fairly soon, so I’ll have a report back on my impressions of the sport within the next few episodes.

Matt – http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/

Just your everyday man-made object about to leave the solar system…

“The twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft continue exploring where nothing from Earth has flown before. In the 33rd year after their 1977 launches, they each are much farther away from Earth and the Sun than Pluto. Voyager 1 and 2 are now in the “Heliosheath” – the outermost layer of the heliosphere where the solar wind is slowed by the pressure of interstellar gas. Both spacecraft are still sending scientific information about their surroundings through the Deep Space Network (DSN).

The primary mission was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn. After making a string of discoveries there — such as active volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io and intricacies of Saturn’s rings — the mission was extended. Voyager 2 went on to explore Uranus and Neptune, and is still the only spacecraft to have visited those outer planets. The adventurers’ current mission, the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM), will explore the outermost edge of the Sun’s domain. And beyond.”

The Game:

A soldier’s deadly march to massacre in Kandahar

What can we say about this one, really?  We end up mainly bashing on CNN for such a florid piece of crap of a news story.

Listener Feedback Section (New! (because we just now got enough feedback)):

We talk about some cool listener feedback we’ve gotten from an early listener, cwebb, who runs the show over at http://atheistsocialworker.org, and respond to some questions he had.  Thanks again, cwebb!

We also discuss an email I received from a listener named Jonathon, and invite him to be on the show to discuss fun with door-to-door proselytizers.  Thanks for the email, Jonathon!


6 thoughts on “Episode 5

  1. I wanted to take a moment and respond to the comments Brian made about the atheist group discriminating against the Christian group in Santa Monica over this past holiday season.

    On the surface it appears that this atheist group did indeed discriminate against Christians but when viewed as a social theory and with an understanding of the dynamics of discrimination/power , a minority group cannot discriminate against the majority group. Discrimination occurs when power and privilege is unevenly distributed and where the members of the dominant group use this power and privilege to enforce subordination. There can be no doubt that Christianity it the majority in this country Christian (and Brian even state that this particular town is predominantly) and given the above definition, a minority group cannot discriminate against the majority group. It is like White people claiming reverse discrimination, you can say it all you want but being white and christian affords you certain privileges that insulate you from true discrimination.

    And to Brian’s point about a group of white people buying up plots in an all black area would be discrimination for the above reason I stated. The white’s hold the power and are using the power to further subjugate a minority group.

    Christians in this country have to understand the difference between discrimination and not getting your way. You think being a Christian in America is hard, try being one in Iraq or Nigeria.

    So, in conclusion, the atheist group did not discriminate against the Christian group.

  2. Hi Webb, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

    The point in question was really a throw away, and the example I used was chosen for two reasons: One, it was the one and only example that comes to mind, and Two, because it was such a blatant attempt at exclusion – which is what were talking about with discrimination, isn’t it? Exclusion from public discourse/appearance? If the group had worked towards a goal of inclusion, a la MLK Jr’s table, well and good, I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on – but, again, that wasn’t their goal – their goal was the deliberate exclusion of the voice of the majority. And that’s why I object, and call it discriminatory – not their message of atheism, but their tactics.

    I agree with the overall point you make – I do not think that, in general, there is discrimination against Christians. (Against a number of their beliefs, yes, but not the group itself, but that’s a completely different argument.) And we’ve talked about the need for Americans of all stripes to grow a pair and stop whining about their lot in life vis a vis the real suffering in the rest of the world, so you’re definitely preaching to the choir on that point.

    One quibble, however, with your overall argument – historically speaking, with the US being the exclusion to the rule, it’s been the powerful minorities that have discriminated against the majorities.

    And, finally, I have to disagree – again, in degree, not in totality – but racism exists in all the races, and to claim that racism against whites is ineffective does not negate its existence.

    With that being said, thanks again for your feedback and responses – and please, enjoy the holiday weekend safely.

  3. I appreciate your comments Brian and this discussion. Let me counter a few of your arguments:

    1. In order to display your scene, you had to apply for a space. So this one atheist applied for several spaces (or a collation of atheist, which is no different than a collation of Christians apply for these permits). The city had too many applications for the spaces and had to hold a lottery. The atheist won the vast majority of those spaces via a lottery. So this group played by the rules and when the Christian’s did not get their way, they cried foul. If I play the lottery in my state and do not win, would I be justified in crying about not winning if my neighbor won? No, its the risk we take in playing the lottery

    2. My initial argument moved from discrimination to power and privilege, which I think fits more with what was going on here. Discrimination can be a two-way street, you are correct but certain groups hold specific power and privilege over other groups. Christians try to do this but thankfully we have a constitution to protect us. So, yes, minority groups can discriminate again the majority, you are correct.

    Sorry to pick this one small conversation from the podcast but it is a topic I am familiar with given my education. Keep up the good work.

  4. No need to apologize – I enjoy a good back-and-forth.

    Here’s the article which I was basing most of my argument from: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/22/us/santa-monica-nativity-scenes-replaced-by-atheists.html

    In reading the article, you can see that the atheist was not previously denied a spot in the display. He signed up, he got one. People were disappointed in his lack of decorating skill, but there was no backlash, and no attempt to discriminate against him or prevent him from participating in the future. You will also see that the Jewish community was happy with their prominent presence in the displays throughout the city. However, you then see the atheist organize with foreign agitators (i.e. non-city resident atheists) in an attempt to buy up all the spots, with the sole purpose of excluding the christians from displaying. No such organization of churches existed or, to my knoweldge, exists today – the individual, local churches would apply for their spot. The city recognized what was occurring, and instituted a lottery system so that their residents would have a chance to participate in the sixty or so year old tradition.

    I’d like to be clear – I don’t think they acted illegally. It was a very legal attempt at discrimination. And, as I said before, a very unique, and individual occurence of such against the majority. I’d be 100% on your side of the argument if the facts leading up to the event had been in any way different, i.e. if there had been a collusion of churches to exclude other groups from participating, if the atheist organizer hadn’t received space in the past, etc.

    • Well let’s agree to disagree then…..j/k. I hate when people say that, it usually means that the evidence you presented challenged my preconceived belief and I do not like it, therefore I must protect it by not conceding to your argument.

      Great points and given the context, it does make sense. I cannot wait (well, I can…its not marked on my calendar or anything) to see how this plays out this year….

      • LOL the way I phrased it to Matt, during this week’s podcast, was that I felt it was going to come down to an individual weighing of the evidence, and whether or not the activities involved reached whatever limit our personal definition of discrimination called for. (I’ll just marked that down as “nailed it!”)

        It’ll definitely be interesting to see how the three groups (atheists, christians and local government) act next year…I’ll have to set some kind of calendar reminder just to follow up.

        Thanks again for the conversation – especially given the week I’ve had personally, it’s nice to run into “a gentleman and a scholar.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.