Episode 2.7


Beth,  Jen and Tracie are joined by Tanya Smith from Atheist Alliance International to discuss AAI's mission and more.

  • Thomas Grainger

    The audio from that is XTC-Dear God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk41Gbjljfo

    Mar 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm
  • Hanna

    Really cool you had guest outside of USA. :D And it’s great to listen to a feminist and atheist podcast, so thanks for it. :D

    Mar 25, 2012 at 5:46 am
  • Steve

    I admired the determination of Tracie Harris to make the point that it is wrong to criminalize women for wearing burkas in public, as they are merely the visible victims of a discriminatory culture. But how do you enlighten the culture?

    A few years ago British Airways fired a check-in clerk for wearing a small crucifix, on the grounds it contravened the airline’s uniform code. Despite the code allowing Sikhs to wear bangles and turbans, and Muslims to wear headscarfs, the clerk lost her appeal to an industrial tribunal. Was that fair, or rational? Is it ok to cause offence to Christians and atheists, but not ok to offend Sikhs, Muslims and atheists?

    Mar 25, 2012 at 7:32 am
  • callista

    About the thing with separation of church and state in Europe, here’s a short educational programme on some views by a professor at Aarhus University (you actually mention some of the issues in the podcast, such as competition between religions). It’s in English though I don’t know if it can be watched outside of Denmark: http://www.dr.dk/DR2/Danskernes+akademi/Filosofi_Tro_Historie/Religions_betydning_i_Danmark_og_USA.htm

    I found it very interesting (it’s actually been the kick-start of my Spring semester project in Psychology on the influence of religion on the self).

    Great episode, though I always miss news when it’s not the theme. Very interesting to hear about the atheist associations.

    Mar 25, 2012 at 8:53 am
  • Muriel

    Wow. That was interesting, though hard to listen to. That whole Burka-ban-thing is a pet peeve of mine, and I could scream whenever I hear people talking about “sending a message” by punishing people for doing something they don’t like. (And yes, I realize that many women wear Burkas because they are forced to by men. But then wearing the Burka is not the crime. Forcing somebody to wear one is a crime.)

    Mar 25, 2012 at 10:37 am
  • reality_enthusiast

    Just added to the spring 2012 Godless Bitches fashion collection, it’s godless britches: http://postimage.org/image/guqbxcwh9/

    Mar 25, 2012 at 11:34 pm
  • Senectus

    Great to hear a fellow aussie on your show :-D

    On the burqa subject I’m a bit saddened to hear that Tanya is in favour for banning the burqa. I suspect her argument isn’t fully thought out, You cant legislate that hiding your identity is illegal… If you do that and you’ll institute a process that guarantee’s that no one will have a private live. With the on going growth of absurdities like facebook/google+, face recognition software, RFID, Web Tracking, CCTV etc this is a very dangerous precedent to set.

    I value my privacy and am paranoid about my childrens privacy until they’re old enough to understand what is at risk.

    The best way to have new cultures integrate into our culture is acceptance. Don’t forget we outnumber them hundreds of thousands to one when they’re in our country… don’t think our culture isn’t rubbing off on them, over time they will become more moderate and western if we are accepting and approachable…

    Mar 26, 2012 at 12:22 am
  • Chew

    One important consideration for requiring helmets is to prevent the motorcyclist from losing control when he/she gets smacked in the head by something and crashing into somebody else. Seat belts will hold a driver in their seat when they swerve to avoid something. Otherwise they could get thrown out of their seat and lose control of the car.

    Mar 26, 2012 at 12:59 am
  • Muzz

    Ooh, lots of individualism vs pragmatism this week. Interesting stuff. You end up in some real tricky places with these topics. Like the seatbelt thing. What does someone do about people’s poor ability to accurately assess risk to themselves and others? Is it individual rights above all else? Smoking was banned because it affected other people and the push generally continues to total bans because a person killing themselves with cigarettes can still affect others just by getting sick and dying. That’s hospital care taken away from other people. That’s family members left financially damaged, never mind the emotional aspects. I’m not sure what I think about that exactly but that’s the argument. So to with seatbelts. A lack of one turns even a minor accident that people can walk away from into one that can cause terrible leg and head injuries. Even circumstances appear where the car might keep going but they are no longer able to control it and thus cause more damage. The injuries in question can be crippling, or at least have a long recovery period. This goes beyond pure personal responsibility for the impact it has on police, emergency services, health services, families, employers. It’s been a while since I read this stuff but I’m pretty sure it’s demonstrable that seat belts save lives and they save money. It’s also demonstrable that seat belt laws increase seat belt use far and away above education and mere personal risk assessment. So they go beyond the individualist principle, a little bit like the way vaccines do. I’m not suggesting it’s a straightforward thing, but there are many occasions where protecting individualism on principle alone in every facet of life is impractical. It’s a tricky one.

    (I don’t know where the conversation went after that because podbean is being unbelievably slow lately. I’m getting 11kb/s at the moment)

    Mar 26, 2012 at 5:39 am
  • Chris

    Muzz: If we ban smoking and the likes for the reason of it costing money in health care, then we would also have to ration food, drink and other necessities in prevention of obesity and other illnesses. The problem with smoking in public is that everybody has to inhale somebody else’s smoke. I still don’t know how I feel about that subject overall, as I haven’t thought enough about it not being a smoker myself.

    On seatbelts - it should absolutely be forced! Unlike smoking, transportation is a necessary part of our society. It’s not about freedom. To me, I couldn’t care less if you choose to drive without a seatbelt and hurt yourself, but this choice will affect others as mentioned above in further accident, or even cause of accident due to not being seated properly. I doubt people who wish to drive without a seatbelt would teach their children to use one. That’s bad for somebody who isn’t old enough to decide for themselves and should be protected as much as possible.

    Great podcast, thanks.

    Mar 26, 2012 at 6:16 am
  • Lars

    I found the mouse-clicking distracting and annoying. Good episode otherwise.

    Mar 26, 2012 at 11:24 am
  • Alvaro

    I was very impressed with Tracie´s portrayal of the burka issue and could not agree more with her. Ever since I have known I´m going to be father to a daughter I have become more aware of feminist issues. Keep it up grils/women/female humans! Muchas gracias!

    Mar 28, 2012 at 7:29 pm
  • Chirico

    I agree that it was a bit hard to listen to at times, because I just could agree with the “ends justify the means” approach that Tanya presented. There are any number of laws that could be passed to ’send a message” that disregard personal freedom, but we usually recognize that the ends do not in fact justify the means if they require bypassing individual liberties. I know this was a more friendly conversation and Tracie did a great job as always but I was a little uncomfortable at times that Tanya wasn’t taken a bit more to task. Also, I’m one of those people who WOULD literally die of embarrassment on a nude beach. Hell, even fully clothed I’m often embarrassed to be in public. :P

    Mar 28, 2012 at 10:53 pm
  • mond

    Just to clarify:Tanya mentioned several times that the UK has sharia courts. These are not a branch of the judiciary but tribunals of arbitration set up by muslim organisations to solve various disputes. As far a I am aware both parties must agree to the arbitration and have the similar legal standing to other 3rd party arbitration set ups.

    The use of the word court was a bit of equivocation. It made it sound as if a state appointed judge was ruling using sharia principles.

    Mar 29, 2012 at 7:00 am
  • Chris

    @mond but does this mean that a repressed muslim will “agree” and be subjected to the rulings of this “court”?

    Mar 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm
  • Chris

    oppressed would be a better word.

    Mar 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm
  • TByte

    So, at one point your guest suggested: …that feminists should support a law …that restricts the rights of women to wear the clothing they choose …and that when a woman breaks this law …any man in her company should be held accountable and punished.

    None of you found this particular point objectionable?

    Mar 29, 2012 at 11:10 pm
  • mond


    I am was not commenting on the merits of these “courts”. I simply don’t know. I was merely pointing out that Tanya’s wording may have mislead people into thinking that sharia was now part of the state legal system. It was stated that the uk has sharia courts and no further explanation was given.

    Mar 30, 2012 at 6:53 am
  • Chris

    @mond Yes, you are right.

    @Tbyte Very. We can’t punish the woman who is oppressed in the first place. I don’t think anybody should be wearing this because of religion or for fear of being outcast or punished, but this is not the solution.

    Mar 30, 2012 at 7:01 am
  • Muzz

    Let’s not forget she also said the answer is education for the family as a whole, that the situations should be considered as one that goes beyond an individual woman. That’s the point. Ultimately problematic perhaps, but let’s not over react to notions of accountability and punishment. Plenty of mild to harmless things could ultimately land you in prison if taken far enough. Parking tickets spring to mind. We let that fact slide because it almost never does. I would agree that in principle noone should bring in a law that we’re not willing to go the full distance on. I’m just saying that we do, regardless. Generally the only people who don’t tacitly support this are pure rights based libertarians. If we aren’t one of those we might be able to imagine a gentle approach, rather than assume it’s going to be harshly authoritarian.

    Frankly I think if taken through the complexities she’d probably drop it. As mentioned or aluded to, I think, fighting authority with another authority, however mild, often results in people digging in their heels even further. Particularly with insular minority groups. There’s quite a bit of Hijab pride around and plenty of young Muslim women will line up to tell you how it frees them, as far as they’re concerned, and gives them strength and they don’t want to hear sniffy superficial westerners telling them how to be a woman. I don’t know about Burka cultures. You’d probably have a hard time getting them to talk to you in the first place, so finding out is difficult.

    @Chris re: earlier We wouldn’t have to restrict food because we banned smoking. Tobacco smoke isn’t sustainance and there are other ways to deal with those side effects of a poor diet. In any event, we already do restrict what food people can eat. Most products as demonstrably harmful as cigarettes to personal health are banned when they appear, I’d say, on health grounds. Chips using super heavy fats that you can’t digest didn’t last long, and they just keep you on the toilet. Regardless, one restriction doesn’t follow from the other just because they have some similarities. I’m mostly ok with leaving smokers with one small pleasure left anyway. Other methods have reduced smoking quite effectively.

    Mar 30, 2012 at 12:02 pm
  • Muzz

    Crap, I forgot Sharia courts.

    You could already go and get adjudication from a priest or a rabbi under English law. So Sharia courts couldn’t really be banned. They are civil entities and nothing they do can override the law of the land, technically speaking. The fuss was some crackpot imams trying to dish out severe punishments and so on like they did overrule the law of the land. The main problem is really that an insular minority culture might permit this to happen and you won’t get people going to the police when they should, taking the law in their own hands etc. Basically if the relationship between muslims and western co-existance wasn’t so troublesome at the moment we wouldn’t be so worried. And of course the fundamentalist islamists aren’t helping much there.

    Mar 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm
  • Chris

    @Muzz I should have clarified; I meant if we were to ban smoking solely on the basis that it costs the government money in health care, then we should consider doing the same for other things that cost the government money in health care. But you are right, they can not be compared.

    Mar 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm
  • Nina L

    Australians are great atheists, just look at Tim Minchin ;) Can I make a suggestion for a future interview? You should talk to Kylie Sturgess, the host of the Global Atheist Conventoin too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kylie_Sturgess

    Kylie Sturgess is an award-winning blogger and independent podcast host of ‘The Token Skeptic Podcast’. A Philosophy and Religious Education teacher with over ten years experience in education, Kylie has lectured on teaching critical thinking, feminism, new media and anomalistic beliefs worldwide. She is a Member of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Education Advisory Panel and regularly writes editorial for numerous publications, and has spoken at The Amazing Meeting Las Vegas, Dragon*Con (US), QED Con (UK). She was a presenter and Master of Ceremonies for the 2010 Global Atheist Convention and returns to the role in 2012. Her podcast is at www.tokenskeptic.org.

    Mar 31, 2012 at 9:13 pm
  • Ray N

    On twitter, I had a discussion about the garb that Muslim women wear, and Sarah Sun @peacefulrays said that what Muslim women wear was a privilege and an honor and represented the purity of women, that women are freed by the writings in the Qur’an and makes them equal to men. I was astounded, as she is really indoctrinated or dedicated to being a 2nd class citizen or something, but I was puzzled, told her so, and left it at that. She also said suicide is wrong according to the Qur’an and there are not 72 virgins waiting for the suicide bombers, martyred, that those lies are spread by Israeli media. I did find a Hadith that mentioned in Paradise that 72 wives could be had if you were worthy. Hope this gives a different perspective, as it was new to me anyway.

    Apr 2, 2012 at 3:18 am
  • U5K0

    I just wanted to note that in its essential principal, the burka ban is identical to indecent exposure laws.

    Goes in a different direction but still.

    Apr 2, 2012 at 10:32 am
  • Gordon

    I’m one of those people uncomfortable with my own naked body, but I work as best I can not to pass it on to the next generation. I agree with (Tracie?) that there is something wrong with me. I want something better for the next generation.

    Apr 4, 2012 at 3:52 am
  • Brandi

    What was the song in the beginning?

    May 6, 2012 at 1:22 am
  • patricia

    What has Western society got against head coverings? I find it puzzling (as a Westerner.)

    Aug 15, 2012 at 10:39 am
  • patricia

    What has Western society got against head coverings?

    Aug 15, 2012 at 10:40 am

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