The Biskeptical Podcast #47: The Comey Memos and the Psychology of Trump Supporters

Today on the show, we’ll first take a look at the Comey Memos and find out what kind of tea they spill, and whether or not it’ll have any effect on the Trump administration. Then we’ll discuss a recent Vox article called “9 essential lessons from psychology to understand the Trump era” in order to figure out how exactly we got into this mess.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #147: Creating a Safer Atheist Movement with Ashley F. Miller and Jessica Xiao

Today’s episode is a small panel discussion between Dr. Ashley F. Miller, Jessica Xiao  and meabout how to make the atheist movement a safer space. As a head’s up, we’ll be talking sexual assault and harassment in the movement, so if you’re not in a good place right now, feel free to skip this episode for now and listen when you’re a much better place. For everyone else, I hope you gain something from this conversation.

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China’s Crackdown on LGBTQ Rights — My Latest for Splice Today

The debate about social justice and free speech in the United States burns on. Some argue that asking for more diverse representation is “identity politics,” while I argue that identity diversity often equals idea diversity. I recently came across a news story where social justice and free speech go hand-in-hand.

According to Brendon Hong of The Daily Beast, last week Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo reversed its decision to ban the hashtag #IAmGay from its site after worldwide condemnation. The hashtag ban was part of Sina Weibo’s plan to remove “illegal content” from the site, which included “videos with pornographic implications, promoting violence or (related to) homosexuality.” LGBTQ people and allies in China responded to the ban by using the hashtag even more, until finally Sina Weibo realized this was a battle they couldn’t win. What’s interesting to note is that, according to Hong, while China never outright outlawed homosexuality (except from 1979 to 1997 when it was “indirectly criminalized” under a law that lumped together with sexual assault), the existence of LGBTQ people is still virtually erased throughout the nation.

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Why Are Secular Skeptic Communities Failing To Address Sexual Crime? — My Latest for The Establishment

CN: Sexual assault

It’s no secret that Christianity has a history of mishandling sexual misconduct allegations. From the Catholic Church’s well-documented pattern of silencing child abuse victims, to evangelicals brushing aside allegations against both Roy Moore and Donald Trump, there’s a common theme that one should not touch God’s anointed, no matter what they do. One would think secular communities that promote skepticism — a method of determining truth where beliefs are questioned until sufficient evidence is presented — would do a better job of handling sexual misconduct allegations. Yet, a recent BuzzFeed article documenting the many sexual misconduct allegations against famous physicist Lawrence Krauss, taken with the attendant responses from the atheist community, demonstrate how even skeptics have a long way to go.

To be fair, several prominent atheist organizations and activists severed ties with Krauss shortly after the article’s publication. The American Humanist Association released a statement on March 9 saying they would no longer invite him to speak at any upcoming conferences, and they are considering rescinding his 2015 Humanist of the Year Award. The Center for Inquiry likewise announced that they were suspending their association with Krauss “pending further information,” as did evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne after doing his own investigation.

However, author Sam Harris, whose 2004 book The End of Faith first launched the so-called New Atheist movement, voiced his doubts about the accusations against Krauss on his “Waking Up” podcast, saying “there were many things obvious about [the BuzzFeed article] that suggested that we shouldn’t rush to accept all of these allegations,” and that he hoped Krauss “finds some way to redeem himself.”

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Bi Any Means Podcast #146: The Trans Podcaster Visibility Initiative with Callie Wright and Marissa McCool

Today’s episode is the audio from an online panel discussion Callie Wright, Marissa McCool, and I did about the Trans Podcaster Visibility Initiative during last week’s online OrbitCon. OrbitCon was a three-day online conference organized by the bloggers at The Orbit featuring panels and talks livestreamed on YouTube about atheism and social justice. Benny Vimes introduced us and asked us a few audience questions near the end, but mostly it’s the three of us talking about what the Initiative does, as well as talk about trans visibility in the atheist movement.

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Learning to Love Tommy — My Latest for Splice Today

I was 10 when I first discovered The Who’s Tommy. I rented the cassette tape of the 1975 movie soundtrack, and fell in love with the story of the deaf, dumb, and blind boy who could play a mean pinball. Four years later I watched the movie, and hated it. It was over-the-top and confusing. Luckily I bought the original 1969 Who album shortly after, which washed the awful taste of the movie out of my mouth. It’s still one of my all-time favorite albums.

Now almost 35, I’ve grown to appreciate director Ken Russell’s cinematic interpretation of Tommy. Not only did he bring Pete Townshend’s vision to life, but also added his own interpretation to the story. Tommy tells the story of a boy who becomes psychosomatically deaf, mute, and blind after watching his father kill his mother’s lover. He experiences the outside world through vibrations, and his parents subject him to the abuse of his Cousin Kevin, Uncle Ernie, and the Acid Queen. Despite his disability, Tommy becomes a pinball champion, and when he finally regains his senses he’s hailed as the new messiah. Unfortunately, he abuses his power, his followers disown him, and the story ends with Tommy realizing true enlightenment comes from within.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #46: Scientific Racism and Atheist Movement Drama

On today’s episode, we’re going to first talk about the recent debate between Sam Harris and Vox writer Ezra Klein about Harris’ interview with Charles Murray, co-author of the infamous book The Bell Curve. We’ll talk about what both Harris and Murray got wrong, and go a little bit into the science behind intelligence and genetics. For the second half of the show, we’ll talk about how stress from all the atheist movement drama led me to a suicidal episode last week, and whether or not being part of the movement is worth it.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #145: My Suicidal Episode

As you may remember from the intro to last week’s episode, I recently had an emergency where I almost drank myself to death. I’m doing much better now, thankfully, but I’ve been focused so much on recovery that I didn’t feel like booking a guest for this week, so instead I’m going to tell you what happened and how I’m re-evaluating my life.

Needless to say, this episode has all the trigger warnings, so if you’re not in a good place right now, you can skip this and come back if and when you’re in a much better space.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to do this episode or not because I’m sure I’ll write about it in future articles and mention it on other podcasts. But since most of you all know me best through this podcast, I figured this would be the best place to share my story right now.

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When Monsters Invade Your Happy Place — My Latest for Splice Today

CW: Sexual abuse

When I was a child, I collected various pop culture icons to create an alternate reality for myself called the Happy Place. It was somewhere I could go whenever the real world became too much, which was frequent. Where the Wild Things AreThe Dark Crystal, Nirvana, The Beatles, TommySuper Mario Bros., The Maxx, and The Legend of Zelda were all pieces of media I used to build a fantasy world that made more sense than the real world.

I pretended I was in Hyrule fighting monsters in order to save the princess. I imagined I was in the Pac-Man maze walking through the halls of school on my way to class. I sat on the couch with my Ren and Stimpy plush dolls and pretended I was watching The Muddy Mudskipper Show with them. Living in the Happy Place was the only way I could make it through my grandmother’s violent temper and the kids bullying me daily at school.

As I got older, I realized many of the people who created the works that went into my Happy Place were extremely problematic. John Lennon was abusive to his first wife and eldest son. David Bowie had sex with a thirteen-year-old girl. More recently, I found out the creator of Ren and Stimpy, John Kricfalusi, is an alleged sexual predator.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #144: Atheism, Bisexuality, and Activism with Amanda Scott

My guest for today is Amanda Scott. She’s a fellow bisexual atheist activist whose first foray into activism was speaking out against having an “In God We Trust” display being installed in a Mobile, Alabama government building. She’s currently a Georgetown University student studying government and American history, and continues to put her humanist values into action through political activism. Today I have her own the show to talk about her story and her activism.

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