CFI Critical Links Aug 4/2015
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.
The Centre for Inquiry Canada has been instrumental in establishing the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws (ICABL) and the End Blasphemy Laws website. Click here to join our Action List and keep in touch with the CFIC’s End Blasphemy Laws Campaign.
- The Centre For Inquiry Canada has long been concerned with the incursion of pseudoscience into post-secondary education. Most recently, we have been very troubled to observe a trend toward endorsement of pseudo-science at the University of Toronto – Scarborough. On February of 2015, CFIC issued a letter to the University President, Dr. Meric Gertler. As expected, we did not receive a reply to our expression of concern, though we did note an increase in media and public outrage over pseudo-science at UofT Scarborough.
- It is ironic and unfortunate that HESA – a committee established to report and inform health policy matters – has issued a report (Report 13) entitled Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation and the Health of Canadians. This is, however, what has occurred effective June, 2015. CFIC is concerned with the contents of the report and the process which supports the generation of this report. We are particularly concerned that a report of this nature may influence Canadian health policy – a potentially problematic move away from proven science-based medicine that Canadians need.
- In a shameful recent advertising supplement in Science, fully sponsored by two Chinese universities, Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO, calls once again for integrating traditional medicine (TM) with scientific medicine
- 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, Okanagan – Secular 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.
- Research has found that sensationalist media coverage of acts of terrorism results in more such acts being committed.
“What this article is suggesting is that we may need to rethink the sensationalist coverage of terrorism and stop providing terrorists a free media platform”
- Scotland Yard is investigating the alleged female genital mutilation of a baby from London. Her parents took her abroad; “If anybody thinks it might be legal overseas and they can go there to get it done and they will not be prosecuted here, they are wrong.”
Science, Medicine, and Ethics News
- Consciousness has less control than believed, according to new theory; ‘The Passive Frame Theory‘
Consciousness, per Morsella’s theory, is more reflexive and less purposeful than conventional wisdom would dictate. Because the human mind experiences its own consciousness as sifting through urges, thoughts, feelings and physical actions, people understand their consciousness to be in control of these myriad impulses. But in reality, Morsella argues, consciousness does the same simple task over and over, giving the impression that it is doing more than it actually is.
“One of the great tragedies of modern society is that we have politicians cherry-picking science in the interests of their own social, cultural, political and religious belief systems, and that’s the beginning of the end of an informed democracy.”
- Homeopathic products promoted to parents will need to be clear they are not vaccines or alternatives to vaccines, Health Canada says. It will also no longer allow companies to make specific health claims on homeopathic products for cough, cold, and flu for children 12 and under, unless those claims are supported by scientific evidence
- acupuncturist’s ‘bee sting therapy’ investigated
American Apitherapy Society Inc., which has more than 1,600 members, according to its website, believes the medicinal use of honeybee products such as bee venom, honey and royal jelly could treat immune system, neurologic, musculoskeletal and infectious problems, including hay fever, ALS, shingles, scar pain, tendonitis and spinal pain. These practitioners also use apitherapy to treat wounds, sprains, fractures and tumors, according to the group’s website.
- Hunting trophies: Delta, United and American ban transport; The airlines have announced that they would no longer transport lion, rhinoceros, leopard, elephant or buffalo remains.
Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion
- Stepping away from a faith isn’t just a belief sea change. It’s also a large loss – of culture, and sometimes family
Beyond giving up loved abstract doctrines, it seemed more like a family member had died. And like any death of a loved one, there is a grieving period.
- Police drive against witchcraft killings; India, police are setting up ‘awareness camps’, where people are educated about the ill-effects of witchcraft.
- There’s a new social network focused on complaining about religion and politics.
While you can talk about politics, religion, and socially important news on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, they aren’t always the best places to do so.
Guy Goes Undercover To Prove Psychics Aren’t Psychic
- A Jehovah’s Witness official has told the child sex abuse royal commission they will go to jail rather than break God’s law.
- Witnesses say three people performed an exorcism at a public park in Texas last Thursday. Police were called to the scene but since it is not illegal to perform an exorcism in a public place, they did not take action.
- The Catholic church opened its Office of Exorcism in 2006 to address a growing number of cases, but it’s not as easy as you think. Just one session of prayers for a possessed individual can last four hours, and it could take several sessions to exorcise the demons…it’s very tiring. Then, when it’s all done, the evil spirits retaliate against the priests. True story.
- Paleontologists brought to tears, laughter by Creation Museum
“It’s sort of a monument to scientific illiteracy, isn’t it?”
- Thousands of people in Mali’s capital, Bamako, are flocking to a local toilet to see what is believed to a religious sign on the plaster of the outside wall. ”We believe it is a vision of our prophet,” said a man.
- Once upon a time Daniel Alamsjah, a 67-year-old man, received a “message from God.” In that divine message, he was told to build a prayer house in the form of a dove. Since it was God asking, he set about to build what has become known as the Chicken Church
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