Critical Links July 28/2015
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.
This is the sort of thing that happens because we give too much respect to religion. We cede the moral high ground to faith, even though it’s completely undeserved, and then act surprised when we realized they’ve been trying to hide their criminal actions for years.
- U.K.’s youngest terrorist plotted police beheading after he took part in government’s anti-extremism program
Thursday, the boy, now aged 15, became the country’s youngest convicted terrorist after admitting inciting terrorism overseas.
Traditionally, in order to be considered kosher under Jewish law or halal under Islamic law, animals must be conscious when killed. The new rule, which follows similar regulations in other European countries, requires animals be stunned before slaughter.
“The reality is, biotechnology has time and time again proved safe. We should not raise prices on consumers based on the wishes of a handful of activists.”
- LDS Church ‘re-evaluating’ Scouting program after Boy Scouts of America policy change; the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board have ended the organization’s blanket ban on gay adult leaders on Monday, although the change in policy would still allow church-sponsored BSA units to disallow openly gay leaders for religious reasons. The LDS Church isn’t happy about that.
- Nearly 100 submit resignation letters to LDS church
Participants in the mass-resignation event said women’s inequality and LGBT discrimination were just a few of the reasons behind why they officially resigned from the church.
A Muslim boarding school has been rated “good” by education watchdog, despite threatening to expel students if they mix with other children, as well as being banned from watching TV, listening to the radio or reading newspapers
- A “strong and passionate” belief in God does real harm — look no further than the GOP or the Supreme Court
A “strong and passionate belief” in a (nonexistent) God does our world immeasurable harm: look no further than ISIS or al-Qaida. In fact, look no further than the damage religion causes to progressive causes of every sort (and thus to our psychological well-being) in the United States, from women’s reproductive rights to same-sex marriage to teaching science in schools to depriving federal coffers of $82.5 billion a year (in tax exemptions). Consider the enrichment of all sorts of faith-charlatans who thrive off the gullibility of millions of Americans. Recall the sick “purity movements”that allow meddlesome parents to ruin the lives of their daughters.
- Render unto Caesar – Unless You’re the Greek Orthodox Church; Greek debt is so large now that every man, woman and child in Greece owes the equivalent of $35,116.
‘the Greek Orthodox Church which, despite being the largest land owner in Greece, pays laughably low amounts of tax. It is also a very significant employer, the salaries of which are met by the public purse, because there is no separation of church and state in Greece. But rather than look to helping the country out of its financial mire, the Orthodox Church has stoutly defended its many tax relief privileges and the lack of transparency of its records that help keep from view the extent of its tax-free wealth. Its spiritual work justifies its privileges, the Church claims.’
- CFIC T.O. Atheists and Friends meetup (Every month on the first Sunday until December 6, 2015) at Scallywag’s in Toronto
- Okanagan – Secular Social (Every month on the second Monday) at Mission Tap House and Grill in Kelowna, British Columbia
- 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.
Iraqi Kurdish singer Helly Luv sings in support of Kurdish fighters, called the peshmerga, who are battling the Islamic State. Her songs are popular among Kurds in northern Iraq, though some critics say her outfits and dancing are un-Islamic.
“They will be regulars in the synagogue. They will gain the trust of everybody. And once they have everything they will get enough guns and ammo to go ahead with their mission.”
“I am jealous of the houris who call out to you/ Every time you go into battle. I am jealous of them because they/ Might meet you sooner. They will meet you — you will forget everything/Blood still flowing from your chest.”
Science, Medicine, and Ethics News
- New Christian Anti-Gay Movie Stars Pro-LGBT Equality Actors; a new movie with an anti-gay plot, starring people who support LGBT equality in real life
- Snake Ancestor Had Four Feet; new study finds the oldest snake fossil on record looks almost like a modern snake, except it has four feet, each with five digits
- Yuri Milner: Alien-hunting Russian billionaire behind $135m push to find extraterrestrial life; The man financing Stephen Hawking’s push to find alien life is a two-time college dropout named after the first human being to travel into space.
- Artificially Selected Organisms; 80% of Americans support mandatory labels on food containing DNA
What is clear is that anti-GMO activists have decided, for whatever reason, that GMOs are evil. They take this as an article of faith, and then backfill their objections to GMO. They use mutually conflicting arguments, inconsistent arguments, cherry-picked data and justifications that are ultimately based on emotion and not science.
“It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc. Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group.”
- James Hansen and 16 leading climate experts have written a must-read discussion paper on what humanity risks if it can’t keep total global warming below 2°C (3.6°F). The greatest risk they identify is “that multi-meter sea level rise would become practically unavoidable.”
“The economic and social cost of losing functionality of all coastal cities is practically incalculable.”
Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion
Imagine not knowing that the sun is a star, or that there’s a solar system. Imagine not knowing what a human cell is, or what menstruation is, or, until you’re 18 and three weeks away from your arranged marriage, what sex is and how it works. Imagine never asking for a puppy growing up, because dogs bark, and that means they are beasts and demons. Imagine you have been told for your entire life that in the secular world, people mainly rape, pillage and murder, that it’s all a lawless meaningless free-for-all, and you are safe only in your little enclave, where these things do not happen.
- Palm-reader indicted; claimed ability to see future, talk to spirits (don’t they all?)
A Charlottesville woman who claimed she had a “gift from God” and could see the past and future has been indicted on multiple federal charges she defrauded multiple clients, one of whom sent her more than $1.4 million.
‘Scientologists talk of “enturbulation”, “alter-isness” and “randomity”, almost as if their religion were dreamed up by a pulp sci-fi author pulling everyone’s leg’
The group says a giant “chakra” – or energy centre – exists in Loch Ness and can be used to help mankind in times of crisis. They also think that Jesus was an extraterrestial and the Star of Bethlehem was a spaceship.
The 19- year-old is said to have suffered from psychiatric disorders, which led his family to seek the healers, a man and a woman, who according to police sources; allegedly beat the man violently to exorcise the “spirits.”
The boy was taken to a temple on the outskirts of the village, where they performed a religious ritual. He was then taken to a field nearby, where three people held him down as another slit his throat. When police found him, the boy’s head was almost severed from his body.
- Pastor Commands Congregation to Eat Live Snake That Allegedly Turns Into Chocolate; Gets Arrested for Animal Cruelty
“Demonstration of God’s Power, Romans 14. Those with small faith eats (sic) only vegetables but the ones with a great faith eats (sic) everything. During service Man of God commanded a snake to change into a chocolate and it obeyed. People ate it and enjoyed it. To God Be The Glory!”
Ms Nand tells him a false story of wanting to reunite with her husband after 17 years. She’s told 15 prayers will cost her $420. Ms Nand says she was given a small container and told to take it to the bank and put the money in it. “He said all the black magic will get trapped into this and then I give back to him with the money.” Six days later at her next visit, the healer tells her the black magic has grown so strong she’s told he must pray another nine times – but he will need more cash.
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