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Critical Links 2015/7/14

July 14, 2015


CFI Canada’s mission is to provide education and training to the public in the application of skeptical, secular, rational and humanistic inquiry through conferences, symposia, lectures, published works and the maintenance of a library.

News and Updates
  • More than half of Canadians polled support a ban on prayer in public life, such as council meetings and legislative sessions. Same poll found only 7% of respondents want to see the lyrics to   O Canada changed so that reference to God is removed.

  • CFI Canada sponsors a discussion with Eugenie Scott, outspoken proponent of church/state separation and one of the strongest voices against creationism and so-called ‘intelligent design’ in schools                                          

For a company to receive a religious exemption from providing coverage for the methods of birth control outlined in last year’s Hobby Lobby case — that is, any form of birth control that prevents implantation, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the emergency morning-after pill — the new standard will be that it must be a for-profit company that’s not publicly traded, with 50 percent ownership by five or fewer individuals, and with members of a nuclear family all counting as one individual. Additionally, the company must produce a formal corporate statement that expresses its religious beliefs.

  • Christopher DiCarlo is a long-time member, advisor and friend of CFI. Here he is debating the topic ‘Has Science Made God Irrelevant’ with outspoken Christian apologist John Lennox. (From the Veritas Forum at the University of Toronto, 2015)

Upcoming Events

  • July 27th, Toronto: Every last Monday of the month, everyone is welcome to attend the Science & Philosophy Book Club, where we provide a friendly, free-thinking environment to discuss books that inspire rewarding conversation on subjects related to science and philosophy. Next up for cordial confabulation is Bertrand Russell’s The Conquest of Happiness.  
  • July 18th, Toronto: (Every third Saturday of the month) Come one, come all to CFI Ontario’s Cafe Skeptique, a fun and fascinating discussion group that focuses on a range of topics within the realm of skepticism such as pseudo-science, alternative medicine, conspiracy theories, etc. It’s open to the public and everyone is welcome to join in! See you all at Free Times Cafe, 320 College St. just west of Spadina Ave
  • July 20th: Okanagan Branch hosts How Does The Creative Process Work? How do we come up with new ideas? Dr. Liane Gabora will introduce a theory of creativity which need not involve multiple distinct candidate ideas or selection. At Okanagan Jewish Community Centre, 102 Snowsell St., Kelowna
  • July 27th, OkanaganSecular Social. Now every second and fourth Monday of the month! Come to the pub and hang out with other skeptics and freethinkers. Mission Tap House and Grill, 3110 Lakeshore Rd., Kelowna. If you don’t recognize anyone, look for the table with the CFI sign.
  • August 2-4: CFI Canada has begun plans to greet colleagues from CFI China!
  • September 19 & 20: River City Reasonfest in Manitoba October 17-18: Society of Edmonton Atheists is hosting  a secular conference 
  • November 25-27: Canadian Science Policy Centre Conference

          Let us know if you have an activity you’d like to share!

Faith-Based Violence and Bigotry

CFIC continues to monitor, document and condemn faith based violence and bigotry around the world.

Science, Medicine, and Ethics News

In his new book, The Gluten Lie, (author) Levinovitz points out that it is not the first time that a treatment for coeliac disease has become hip. American doctors in the 1920s, ignorant of the role of gluten, put coeliacs on a diet of bananas and milk, supplemented with broth, gelatine and a little meat. They thought the bananas contained special enzymes that helped the patients – in fact, the diet worked merely because it excluded any gluten-containing foodstuffs. However, by the 1930s, the “bananas and skimmed milk” diet had become a weight-loss craze in the US.


Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion

When 21-year-old nurse Carol Felstead went to her doctor complaining of repeated headaches, she wasn’t just prescribed painkillers. Instead, she was referred for psychotherapy that would ultimately involve hypnosis to “recover” so-called repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse. Carol subsequently came to believe that her parents were the leaders of a Satanic cult and that her mother murdered another of her children, sat Carol on top of the body and then set fire to the family home.

Critical Links is published every Tuesday And Friday


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