Podcast #79 – E-meters for Haiti?

Earthquake-devastated Haiti has become a magnet for kooky, misguided (but perhaps well-intentioned) religious groups.  Scientologist John Travolta (disguised, apparently, as L. Ron Hubbard–see photo at right) has personally flown his private 707 to Haiti, delivering food, medical supplies, and “volunteer ministers” who claim the ability to heal through therapeutic touch.  Meanwhile, a Christian group called Faith Comes By Hearing has sent 600 solar-powered audiobook Bibles.  Finally, a group of Idaho Baptists were arrested trying to transport Haitian orphans (some of whom weren’t actually orphans) across the border into the Dominican Republic.

While America is spending billions to ensure a smooth transition of security responsibilities to the Iraqi military, the Iraqis are squandering millions on what are effectively divining rods that supposedly detect explosives, guns–even truffles!  The manufacturer of this quackery is UK-based ATSC, whose founder, one Jim McCormick, has been arrested by British authorities on suspicion of fraud, and his device has been banned for export.

Scott Roeder, who murdered abortion doctor George Tiller in May of last year, has been given a life sentence by a Kansas jury.  Unfortunately, Roeder could be eligible for parole in 25 years.

Also:

We’re Number One!  Atlanta has been named the “Gayest City in America” by Advocate.com.  Take heart, Yankees: Portland, Maine is #8.

We (meaning John and Allison) will be going to the American Atheists convention, April 2-4 in Newark, NJ.  We’ll be going up a couple of days early and staying a day after to enjoy some tourism in NYC, so any suggestions are welcome for cool stuff to do or cool people to see (email john@americanfreethought.com with your suggestions).  The convention’s speakers include CFI founder Paul Kurtz, Freedom from Religion’s Dan Barker, and biologist-turned-philosopher Massimo Pigliucci.

And speaking of Massimo Pigliucci, check out the brand new Rationally Speaking Podcast!  Massimo has teamed up with fellow members of the New York City Skeptics to create this great addition to the skeptical podscape.

Can you spell C-O-N-T-E-S-T? We have a minor trove of nifty things to give away, including a 2009 American Atheists convention program signed by Richard Dawkins, a handful of books by famous critical thinkers, and an American Freethought t-shirt and coffee mug.  To win, simply challenge John C. Snider to a game of “Words With Friends” (the iPhone version of the classic Scrabble).  You’ll need an iPhone, of course; and you’ll need to download Words With Friends (created by game developer Newtoy, Inc.).  John’s user name is “johncsnider.”  The person who beats him by the most points during the month of February wins the tchoch.

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David continues to produce new installments of the Secular Nation Podcast.

Fans of science fiction can check out John’s other project on the web, SciFiDimensions.com.

Theme music by Body Found.

Recorded February 1, 2010.  Hosted by John C. Snider and David Driscoll.

To listen to this episode click here.

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