Bi Any Means Podcast #84: Rational Politics with Gleb Tsipursky

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Returning to the show today is Gleb Tsipursky. He contacted me a couple of weeks ago to mention a new project he’s working on called the Rational Politics project which gathers thoughtful citizens of all political stripes devoted to fighting post-truth politics. According to the press release he sent me, “We see these political methods as one of the worst problems for our global society in terms of how important, neglected, and solvable it is. In addressing this issue, we aim to use best practices in communicating and marketing both to get people to care about truth in politics and to provide them with the tools and resources to use evidence and reason in making wise political decisions that will benefit our society as a whole. To do so, we are launching the post-lies movement to bring us from our post-truth present into a post-lies future.” So I invited Gleb to come back on the show to talk about the project.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #84: Rational Politics with Gleb Tsipursky” on Spreaker.

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The Hill I’m Willing to Die On–A Response to Current Controversy

This weekend was rough for all of us. Friday’s Trump inauguration ushered a new time of uncertainty and fear for our nation. Yes, Saturday’s Women’s March was a huge success, but in the aftermath the atheist community is in turmoil. Instead of working together to fight the new Trump regime, we’re fighting with each other. The lines have been drawn; you’re part of either the problem or the solution.

I tried to stay away from all of it, but after thinking about it, I can no longer stay silent. Today I’m announcing the hill upon which I am willing to die. I know I will lose a lot of friends with this, but I know what side I’m on:

Pineapple belongs on pizza.

Now I know this isn’t a very popular opinion among the Left nowadays, but let me explain where I’m coming from.

Back in high school I took my then-girlfriend to Ledo’s Pizza for Valentine’s Day. I wanted pepperoni, and she wanted pineapple and ham. I had never heard of such a thing. Of all the things to put on a pizza, why the hell would you pick pineapple? But since it was Valentine’s Day, I decided to give it a try, so we got a half pepperoni and half Hawaiian pizza. I took a bite of that Hawaiian pizza and thought, “HOLY SHIT, WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS BEFORE?” The sweetness of the pineapple was a perfect match for the saltiness of the ham the same way salt and caramel compliment each other. From that moment on, I was hooked.

Yet nowadays something that shouldn’t be so controversial as a Hawaiian pizza has now triggered an entire generation of Regressive Leftists. I see meme after meme on Facebook from whiny millenials who think anyone who like pineapple on pizza is a Nazi sympathizer. What has our country become? How did we end up with an entire generation of special snowflakes who feel entitled to not have their feelings hurt? Friends, we should be fighting real issues like Islamic terrorism and post-truth America, not legislating what people put on their pizza.

You want authoritarianism? ‘Cause that’s how you get authoritarianism!

This post is hard for me to write, but I can no longer stay silent while the Left implodes over pizza toppings. Call me a Pineapple Pizza Warrior all you want, but I don’t care. Grow up. liberals!

In Solidarity

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[Image description: Me holding a piece of paper that reads, “Feminism is Humanism. Deal With It!”]

I’m unable to attend any of the Women’s Marches today, but I am in solidarity. Stay safe and stay angry!

The Biskeptical Podcast #17: WTF Are Identity Politics?

Just in time for Inauguration Day, today Morgan and I discuss identity politics. What the hell are they, and did they put Trump in the White House. Tune in to find out!

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #17: WTF Are Identity Politics?” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #83: Women, Ecology, and Slender Loris with Kaberi Kar Gupta

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My guest for today is Kaberi Kar Gupta. She’s an ecologist who is the principal scientist for the Urban Slender Loris Project, which is a citizen-science based collaborative project among various academic institutions, environmental educators, non profit-organizations, city governments, and the forest department of Karnataka to develop a conservation program for the slender loris (a nocturnal primate distributed in southern India and Sri Lanka) in urban Bangalore. So today we’re going to talk about her life and her work.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #83: Women, Ecology, and Slender Loris with Kaberi Kar Gupta” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #82: Leaving Islam and Toxic Concepts with Farah Shah

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My guest for today is Farah Shah. She’s an ex-Muslim born in Pakistan who now lives in Canada, and she contributes to Kaveh Mousavi’s blog On the Margin of Error. Today we’re going to talk about her backstory, her writing, and why cultural appropriation is a toxic concept.

As a head’s up, the audio in this episode isn’t the best. Farah kept breaking up on her end—and yes, even with Zencastr—so I tried to salvage the audio as much as I could. You can hear about 85% of what she’s saying, but there’s about 15% that’s still hard to decipher, especially the part where I asked her about her about the article she wrote on cultural appropriation. Here’s a link to that article so you can fill in the gaps yourself.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #82: Leaving Islam and Toxic Concepts with Farah Shah” on Spreaker.

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Genderqueer Literature Review #1: Alternating Gender Incongruity

As you know, I’ll be speaking at this year’s American Humanist Association conference about what it means to be genderqueer/nonbinary. I’m currently doing research for my talk, and since most of the scientific papers I’m using aren’t available for the general public (or at least not for free), I’ve decided to do a literature review series for my blog summarizing these articles.

The first is a 2012 paper by Laura K. Case and Vilayanur S. Ramachandran published in Medical Hypotheses called “Alternative gender incongruity: A new neuropsychiatric syndrome providing insight into the dynamic plasticity of brain-sex.” In the study, Case and Ramachandran created an online survey posted in a group for people who identify as bigender. The study had a total of 39 participants, although they had to eliminate one participant for having Multiple Personality Disorder, and three for having Dissociative Identity Disorder. This was done, I assume, in order to rule out the possibility of confusing gender fluidity with something completely different.

According to the survey, 14 participants reporting involuntarily “switching” their gender identities daily, 9 said weekly, 6 said monthly, and 4 said several times a year. The study also reveals “21/32 bigender respondents reported experiencing phantom body parts and rated them as moderate in strength (mean = 2.9 on a scale of 1 = weak and 5 = very strong)” (627). Case and Ramachandran reiterate that these cases of gender fluidity and phantom body parts happen involuntarily, so it’s not just “wishful thinking” (628).

In conclusion, Case and Ramachandran theorize that being bigender–or as they refer to it in the report, “alternating gender incongruity (AIG)”–“to be a neuropsychiatric condition; we reject false dichotomies between so-called ‘‘neurological’’ and ‘‘psychological’’ conditions” (629). They also believe that studying bigender people can help us better understand the complexities of gender.

I should point out that, according to Gary Stix of Scientific America points out, Medical Hypotheses is a “controversial journal” that “only adopted a peer-review system in 2010.” Nevertheless, the article sheds a little bit of light on the Big Question that drive skeptics bananas: Is there a scientific cause for non-binary gender identities? We know there’s plenty of evidence suggesting one for binary transgender people, but so far (that I know of) none for non-binaries, hence the reason why so many skeptics scream, “There are only two genders, you special snowflake!” While this particular article doesn’t say either way, it speculates that there might be a scientific basis for non-binary gender identities.

What do you think?

The Biskeptical Podcast #16: Resisting Trump

Today Dan Arel joins Morgan and me to discuss how to resist the upcoming Trump regime. Is fact-checking enough? What about reaching across the proverbial aisle? Listen to find out!

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #16: Resisting Trump” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #81: Atheism and Music with Shelley Segal

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I’m kicking off 2017 with an interview with singer/songwriter Shelley Segal. She has five EPs under her belt, but is best known for the 2011 release “An Atheist Album,” which includes fan favorites “Saved,” “Gratitude,” and “I Don’t Believe in Fairies” (all of which I’ll play in this episode). Today we’re going to talk about her background, her music, and what to expect from her in the new year.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #81: Atheism and Music with Shelley Segal” on Spreaker.

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