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CFI Critical Links July 31/2015

July 31, 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

It is essential that all Canadians, whether they participate in a faith-community or if they are part of the growing non-religious (secular) world, recognize and defend the essential fundamental right to freedom of thought and freedom of speech.   Recently, CFI Canada National Executive Director, Eric Adriaans and many CFI Canada members travelled to Amherst, New York to participate in the Reason For Change conference and participated in dialogue on such commonplace subjects as scientific skepticism and how to advance social justice through humanism.

As an educational charity, CFI Canada’s primary mission is to educate Canadians about the importance of evidence-based approaches of secularism and science.   When secularism and science – when fanaticism is allowed to push reason aside, human right violations and violence seem to be inevitable.  CFIC provides examples from several of the world’s trouble spots as an educational tool for the public to inquire about the importance of a secular society.

From time to time, people in the community – whether driven by fear, competitive business models, or other factors – make health claims or statements that do not have scientific evidence backing them.  CFI Canada and the scientific skeptic community has an important role to play in questioning not only the claims themselves but also the processes which encourage further incursion of pseudoscience into the healthcare system.


The Center for Inquiry welcomed the introduction this week of a resolution in the U.S House of Representatives calling on Bangladesh to protect human rights and curb violence caused by religious extremists.

Upcoming Events

  • August 2nd, Toronto: Come one, come all, to the CFIC T.O. Atheists and Friends meetupthis and every first Sunday of the month.
  • August 10th, Toronto: Every second Monday, CFIC T.O. – Living Without Religion– The group discusses past and present religious issues and looks at a positive life free of guilt, fear and shame. While the group is still dedicated to dealing with problems and issues revolving around religion, it is also a place for those interested in exploring larger issues in a non-judgmental welcoming atmosphere.
  • August 14th, Toronto: (second Friday of each month), CFIC T.O. : Board Games Night! Join us for an evening of relaxing and thinking fun as we mostly play classic and strategy board games, and partake in trivia. Sometimes even charades, jai alai, Octopush – whatever strikes our fancy.  Feel free to bring your own games to share. You could even just come and hang out on the comfy-chairs with like-minded folks for a little more conversation and a little less action. – 
  • August 15th, 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
  • August 31st, 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. This month we discuss  The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty by Dr. Baron-Cohen


  • August 10th and 24th, 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


Karla’s Atheist Breast Cancer Support Facebook group is now available. It’s private so you have to ask to join. Say you are an atheist with breast cancer and Karla will approve your request.


          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

“We know quite a bit (about the risk) actually and it seems extremely unlikely that there is an effect. We are down to the range that there is no risk or a risk that is almost too small to detect”

Ms Wynn is hoping to beat the deadly disease with a diet which includes 2kgs of juiced carrots a day as well as taking Vitamin C and regularly wearing an oxygen mask

“I won’t be detoured from taking on the tough issues that are important to people in my district simply because there are some that use anti-science rhetoric to ignite division and fear”

Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion

In a country teeming with IT graduates and higher-education institutes, such attacks are sadly and strangely common. Ninety people in Assam, a majority of them of them women, lost their lives in the last six years because they were branded as witches. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 2,097 murders between 2000 and 2012 were committed when the victims were accused of practicing witchcraft.

“…the Catholic Church was more concerned about its name, its organisation, its brand, than it was about the very reason for it being — and that was the protection of the most vulnerable that were under its guidance”

“It won’t be easy to end a 400-year-old custom… but we have four years to convince people that they don’t need to sacrifice animals to please the goddess”

The people I met during my trip were mostly devout Christians, but who had imported traditional beliefs to shape the way they explain disability…for many people, disability was considered not a physical or mental impairment, but in fact a spiritual sickness or curse that could either be healed by prayer or by confinement, and in some cases by physical violence.

“They will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

Apologists…will often go to unreasonable lengths to protect inhuman ideas at the expense of real-life human beings. They will also label criticisms of ideas, books, and beliefs “bigotry” or “racism” in the absence of any substantive counter-argument.


Critical Links is published every Tuesday And Friday

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