CFI Critical Links August 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.
- Bangladesh police said on Thursday they had arrested two members of a banned Islamist group for alleged involvement in the killing of a blogger Niloy Chatterjee , the latest attack on critics of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority nation.
- Skeptic Auction Fundraiser to Help Persecuted Africans with Albinism
A one-week fundraiser auction to benefit Under the Same Sun, a Canadian charity devoted to helping Africans with albinism who have been persecuted and even killed for magical beliefs. With nearly 50 items for auction and raffle including autographed books, art, skeptic-related merchandise, and other collectibles, there’s something for just about everyone. Ken Frazier, Eric at CFI-Canada, and others have kindly donated items for the auction. 100% of proceeds go directly to the charity.
Canada’s election in October has become yet another event shaping the seven-year saga of the Keystone XL pipeline, one that may lead the Obama administration to delay announcing a decision to approve or reject the $8-billion project.
- Canada’s medical research community is reacting with shock and disappointment to the cancellation of a 30-year program to train doctors who see patients and work as scientists searching for new treatments.
“The reaction has been horror, to be honest. My colleagues across the country have been mystified as to how this decision would be taken when they were not specifically consulted.”
- Questions for Federal Candidates; updated list of questions to ask the federal candidates in your riding
- I Asked Atheists How They Find Meaning In A Purposeless Universe; If there’s no afterlife or reason for the universe, how do you make your life matter?
- How you and the world have changed since you were born. Find out how, since the date of your birth, your life has progressed; including how many times your heart has beaten, and how far you have travelled through space. Investigate how the world around you has changed since you’ve been alive; from the amount the sea has risen, and the tectonic plates have moved, to the number of earthquakes and volcanoes that have erupted. Grasp the impact we’ve had on the planet in your lifetime; from how much fuel and food we’ve used to the species we’ve discovered and endangered. This is your story, the story of your life on earth.
- Sept 6th, Toronto: Come one, come all, to the CFIC T.O. Atheists and Friends meetup, this and every first Sunday of the month.
- Sept 11th, 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 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.
- 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
QADIYA, Iraq — In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.
- How Islamic State systematically turns girls into sex slaves; The Islamic State militants have imposed a brutal, ritualistic sex slave trade on thousands of women and girls who belong to the Yazidi sect, a persecuted religious minority.
CFIC continues to monitor, document and condemn faith based violence and bigotry around the world.
Science, Medicine, and Ethics News
- Africa Marks Polio-free Year; Afghanistan and Pakistan remain the only two countries in the world that have active cases of the disease.
- Leading international scientific body reviews thirteen oft-repeated claims on cannabis use and regulation, finds that none are strongly supported by scientific evidence; the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP), a global network of scientists working on drug policy issues, recently released two groundbreaking reports evaluating the strength of commonly heard cannabis claims.
- Severe decline of Arctic sea ice revealed by National Geographic map; Since modern satellite data was first recorded, around 40 per cent of the Arctic sea ice cover has vanished
- Scientists discovered the last lake on Mars, which might be preserving ancient life
“Having a later stage of water on Mars is probably a good thing for the potential for life on that planet because it gave life more time to be conceived. There was life on Earth when this lake was active so by that analogy, we can say there’s potential that Mars had microbial life and this was a great place where it could have resided.”
Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion
- How Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Changing Medicine; first in a three-part series, “Medicine Without Blood,” about the ways that Jehovah’s Witnesses have changed how doctors think about blood transfusion.
- The Sexy UFO Religion Behind Go Topless Day
Raëlians believe that we were created not by evolution or a single God, but by a species of aliens called Elohim. Elohim is a Hebrew word for “God” or “gods,” but Raëlians don’t believe in gods, necessarily, as Elohim made humans using science. Elohim also created the Earth in the same way—not through magic but with science, using methods such as terraforming and genetic engineering.
- 92-year-old woman kicked out of church for not tithing; A 92-year-old woman is no longer allowed to worship at the church where she was a member for more than 50 years because she was not tithing.
- London art dealer arrested in Italy for suspicion of murdering her mother with rosary beads; accused of murdering her 93-year-old mother by stuffing a rosary down her throat in an attempt to “cleanse” her of evil spirits.
- Can you guess which social interventions work? Descrption of ten major US social interventions, and you’ll have to guess whether they had a positive effect, no effect or negative effect.
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