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CFI Critical Links Aug 7/2015

August 7, 2015
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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.

News and Updates

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Upcoming Events

  • 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
  • Sept 6th, Toronto: Come one, come all, to the CFIC T.O. Atheists and Friends meetupthis and every first Sunday of the month.

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  • 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

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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.

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          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.

“Only by uniting, as a civil society, behind human rights values and against the social ill of Islamist extremism, can we truly defeat it.”

The usual lineup of viciously bigoted Christian right groups — Alliance Defending Freedom, American Center for Law and Justice, National Organization for Marriage, etc. — are working with predominately Muslim governments to prevent the UN from recognizing families headed by gay people.

“The term ‘genocide’ should be used sparingly, applied only when overwhelming evidence proves systematic persecution targeting religious and ethnic minorities. The world now has such evidence. The time has come for the U.N. and the U.S. to label the actions of ISIS ‘genocide.’ Declaring ISIS guilty of genocide raises the stakes for a world community where many actors, especially in the Middle East, have failed to do what will be required to defeat ISIS. If ISIS is committing genocide — and clearly it is — then all nations have a moral obligation to act immediately to stop these crimes against humanity.”

Science, Medicine, and Ethics News

Show people images of kids battling measles, mumps and rubella and force them to read first-hand accounts from parents of these sick children, and you may persuade skeptical parents into thinking twice before refusing vaccines for their kids, according to new research out of the University of Illinois.

“There is no good evidence to support the idea that we should get IV vitamins.  In fact, there is no evidence to support the idea of mega-doses of supplements of any kind.  It will not boost your energy and your immune system. And there may risks, including infection from the needle. “

The Mormon church’s push toward transparency about its roots and beliefs took another step forward Tuesday with the first published pictures of a small sacred stone it believes founder Joseph Smith used to help translate a story that became the basis of the religion.

Since 1990, when cell phones started to be used, brain tumor incidence has been flat, possibly even declining slightly. This trend continues to the present day. We therefore have about 25 years of data showing that a dramatic increase in cell phone use over that time has not resulted in an increase in brain tumors overall. This is a powerful argument against any causal connection between cell phone use and brain tumors.

A common thread to many of the calls are related to Narconon patients wanting to leave the cult drug rehab centers, but the staff refused to give the ‘subject’ their personal belongings and personal ID so they could leave.

 

Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion

Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery…

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Critical Links is published every Tuesday And Friday

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If you have a contribution to the Critical Links E-Newsletter please send us your tip ned@centreforinquiry.ca

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