Rational Horizon 06 – The “T” in LGBT – Transgender & Transsexual issues. Justice for All!

9th Annual Heretic's Barbecue
9th Annual Heretic’s Barbecue

In this edition of Rational Horizon, Mark Boyd interviews Jess and Jordan Fitzpatrick, and their friend Rain Chamberlain about issues important to the Transgender and Transsexual community.

Jess and Jordan are speakers at this year’s 9th Annual Heretic’s Barbecue.  You can find their printed biography on the event web page.

In this episode of Rational Horizon, Jess, Jordan and Rain help Mark understand some of the more pressing problems that are faced by people who are changing their gender.  While the gay and lesbian community have made great strides in acceptance and legal equality, the trans community is lagging far behind, for several reasons.

Mark learns about these reasons, which include attacks against trans people through conservative-sponsored legislation, through social and workplace discrimination, through violence, and through mindless computerized bureaucracy.  

We also discuss what the Fresno trans community is doing to assist transgender and transsexual people in need, and what they are doing in order to raise visibility and awareness of trans people with other Central Valley organizations.

This podcast was produced from the interview audio.  The original audio is available to listen to in its entirety in the Members drop-down menu.  Only paid members of CVAAS can access this audio.  If you would like to become a member, check our our store.  Members also receive a $5.00 discount from Heretic’s Barbecue tickets.

CVAAS Lecture Series – 03 – Brian Dunning – “Five Miracles”

Brian_Dunning-201x300In this podcast CVAAS presents Brian Dunning at the 5th Annual Heretic’s Barbecue, held October 7th, 2012.

Mr. Dunning gives his skeptical presentation of 5 different miracles or miraculous events.  These events include:

  1. The Incorruptible Monk – a monk who died in 1927, and whose body has never degraded.
  2. The Angels of Mons – a group of angels who are said to have protected the British Army from the Germans in the Battle of Mons in World War I.
  3. The Miracle of Calanda – a farmer’s amputated leg is miraculously restored.
  4. John Frum and the Cargo Cults of Vanuatu – The mythology and religion of cargo cults.
  5. The Virgin of Guadalupe – The miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary before Juan Diego.

Apologies for the poor recording.  There was a lot of ambient noise, and a lot of cleaning up and removing some very intrusive noises.  

Since 2012 CVAAS has been working toward making better quality recordings, and we will bring better podcasts to you in the future.  

You can hear more of Brian Dunning on his own podcast, from the “Skeptoid” podcast website.

The CVAAS Heretic’s Barbecue is an annual event that happens every year in late October.  This event has been increasing in size since it started, and is always a great time to get together and celebrate with other secular and skeptical people and their supporters.  

We have a great lunch, some excellent presentations, and crafts and activities.  In the past we have created our own UFOs, made pottery on a real potter’s wheel, made T-shirt art, traveled through “bad luck” gauntlets, committed homeopathic “suicide” and even walked on water!

What is coming up in future Heretic’s Barbecues?  Check out cvaas.org and find out!  And instead of hearing our speakers in a podcast, you can hear them while having some delicious barbecue among secular and skeptical friends.

Rational Horizon 05 – Sean and Mark talk about being at the Reason Rally and SkeptiCal conference

Mark and Sean talk about their experiences at the Reason Rally and the SkeptiCal Conference. Special musical appearance by singer bassist Joey Fabian.

Reason-Rally-Header-LogoSean visited the Reason Rally in Washington DC on June 4, 2016, and Mark was one of several CVAAS members who hosted a table at the Skeptical Conference in Oakland, CA on May 15, 2016.

small-avatarSean and Mark discuss these events, the people they met, and what they learned.

As a bonus, singer and bassist Joey Fabian has provided the podcast music for this episode!  If you like Joey’s music, check him out on iTunes.  You can also find him on Facebook, and at his website.

CVAAS Lecture Series – 02 – David Costa – “What is Atheism?”

On March 7th, 2011, CVAAS member David Costa was invited by University of Phoenix professor Ken West to give a presentation about atheism in his course on Western Religions.

On March 7th, 2011, CVAAS was invited by University of Phoenix professor Ken West to give a presentation about atheism in his course on Western Religions.   

This class also explored Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and of course Christianity.   

This was a classroom environment, and other classrooms around this classroom were also in use.  So there is noise from other students in the hallways, and students going into and out of other classrooms.  The background noises can be distracting, but the lecture audio is mostly very good.  

There were several talks given at the University of Phoenix, and this was the first.  During that time, the slides used evolved, and so are not completely representative of this talk.  


More content added!

coverartHave you checked out our “Media” area on the CVAAS website?  You can find it under the “Members” tab.  Most of the media here is open to the public, including our lecture series and podcasts.


We’ve just put online the original CVAAS podcast, “Rational Horizon”, created in 2009.  This short lived podcast covered a wide variety of topics during its brief existence.  Topics that interested CVAAS members.


We are again interested in starting a new podcast series, so if you would like to be part of that, let us know!  Right now we need people who are interested in assisting by being a podcast host, by generating content, and by producing.  If you’ve got some great ideas, we would love for you to share them with us.  Leave us a note on our “contact us” page!

Rational Horizon 04 – Formal arguments, logical fallacies, inductive vs deductive reasoning

Argument_ClinicAnnouncements – 2nd Annual Heretic’s Barbecue is advertised, Rational Horizon is on iTunes.  Atheist & Skeptic podcasts.

We discuss formal arguments.  In logic and philosophy an argument is more than just an angry exchange of opposing viewpoints.  Instead, it is a more formal method of using language as a way to persuade someone that a thing is true, or it is a way of presenting reasons why a conclusion should be accepted.  

Arguments are supported through logic, or through evidence.  For those arguments based upon logic, it is useful to identify when that logic is weak.  Being able to identify logical fallacies is a good way to find out where the weak points are in an argument.  

It is important to note that an argument can be supported by excellent logic, and still be proved to be wrong due to conflicting evidence!  

We also discuss the difference between Inductive and Deductive reasoning, and how they are used in arguments.  

The Rational Horizon Podcast was a short-lived podcast created by CVAAS in 2009. Only four episodes were made.  This is the last of those four episodes.


Rational Horizon 03 – Kathy Griffin! Also, is religious experience evidence of God?

KathyGriffinKathy Griffin was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program for her show, “My Life on the D-List”. This show is an autobiographical comedy of Griffin’s life as a stand-up comedienne and television bit player. During Griffin’s acceptance speech at the September 2007 Emmy awards show, Griffin said, “A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.” She went on to say, “Suck it, Jesus. This is my God now!” referring to the Emmy.  

In July 2009, Kathy Griffin was on tour, and made her way to California.  CVAAS member Justin saw her July 23rd show, and we discussed her July 25th appearance at the William Saroyan Theater in Fresno.  

We also discuss religious experience as evidence of God or the divine.  For example, scientist, geneticist, and leader of the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins, has described a religious experience involving a frozen waterfall that he accepted as evidence of God’s existence.  Should another person’s experience be considered good evidence for God?  What about your own experience of the divine, should THAT be considered as good evidence for God?  

This episode was our first test of using Skype for recording podcasts.  The audio quality suffers a little due to this.


Rational Horizon 02 – The problem with homeopathy. Also, pattern matching and pareidolia.

Snake oil Mark Boyd discusses a very brief visit to a disappointing homeopathic clinic in Fresno California. Apparently a homeopathic clinic also doubles as a real estate sales office!  

Also, images of the Virgin Mary and of Jesus have been identified as appearing on the sides of buildings and other various places. We discuss the image of Michael Jackson appearing soon after his death on a tree stump. What are the odds? Is Michael Jackson’s shade trying to tell us something?  

The Rational Horizon Podcast was a short-lived podcast created by CVAAS in 2009. Only four episodes were made. You can hear all those episodes now, in our podcast archive.