Critical Links August 18/2014
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.
- Interview (part two) with Eric Adriaans. National Executive Director of the Center for Inquiry Canada (CFI Canada), and charitable sector leader, legislative drafting student, and writer.
He discusses: work history up to the present with insights from the diverse and extensive experiences throughout professional work and leadership, and commentary on charitable sector work for those without religious affiliation; current earned position of national executive director of Center for Inquiry Canada, CFI Canada’s Statement of Values and its representation and general activities; duties and responsibilities which come from influence upon the public mind with an emphasis on the simultaneous holding of an important position in the educational charity sector; and the probable near and far future of CFI Canada.
An 11-year-old girl denied an abortion after allegedly being raped by her stepfather has given birth to a healthy baby girl in Asunción, Paraguay, where a fierce debate is brewing over a law banning most abortions.
“Bill 59 assigns new powers to the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) to combat hate speech, as well as a variety of other provisions meant to protect against extremism, by censoring speech that promotes ‘fear of the other.’ Ominously, the bill would allow the QHRC to pursue websites that in its estimation describe and denounce Islamism….Jacques Frémont, the commission’s president, explained that he planned to use the requested powers to sue those critical of certain ideas, ‘people who would write against … the Islamic religion … on a website or on a Facebook page.’”
- Bangladesh’s elite security force on Tuesday arrested three suspected Islamist militants, including a British citizen who police said was the “main planner” of the murders of two prominent atheist bloggers.
- 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 14th, 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.
- Sept 11th, 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. –
- Sept 19th, 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 23rd, Ottawa; March with CFI in Ottawa Pride. CFI-Canada has been a long-time supporter of LGBT rights, and a participant in pride parades across the nation. In Ottawa, CFI has walked in the Capital Pride parade since 2009.
- 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
- Humanist and secular organizations, as well as civil liberties and human rights groups around the world, have responded with outrage to the news that a new law in Saudi Arabia equates “atheism” with “terrorism”.
Article 1 of the “terrorism” law prohibits “Calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.” The law was introduced by royal decree without judicial oversight.
- A lot has been said about militant Islam and extreme Christian, traditional religious practices in Nigeria. There has been much focus on violent attacks by the jihadist group, Boko Haram, on the abuses perpetrated by sharia policing agencies and the nefarious activities of homophobic pentecostal churches and witch hunting pastors in the country. Unfortunately not much attention has been paid to the efforts of humanists, atheists, skeptics and agnostics in the country to address these problems. Not many Nigerians know about the campaigns by humanists against witch hunting, blasphemy law and harmful traditional practices.
CFIC continues to monitor, document and condemn faith based violence and bigotry around the world.
Science, Medicine, and Ethics News
- TORONTO — Canadian director Paul Haggis says he hopes the recent HBO documentary “Going Clear” is bringing light to the “truth” about the Church of Scientology.
“I hope it makes a difference. I hope people see it and open their eyes faster than I did. It took a long time for me to see the truth. Shame on me. But when I finally did, I felt you can’t just see something and not say something. Certainly, I felt like I had to speak out. I didn’t have the option to disappear like so many others had.”
- Turkish atheism association delivers free soup in Istanbul; The Atheism Association, the first of its kind in any Muslim-majority country, was officially founded in Istanbul’s Asian-side district of Kadıköy in April 2014.
- Cases when doctors recommend supplements often the exception rather than the rule
In the last three years, study after peer-reviewed study have shown next to no measurable health benefits from common store-bought vitamins or multivitamins for otherwise healthy people.
It’s sadly unsurprising that, of course, people make prank edits or post misinformation on Wikipedia all the time, but it’s more significant that these bad editors are targeting science topics at the center of public policy discussions, which are still polarizing issues for the general public.
“Kind. Caring. Generous. Gentle eyes, soft skin. Polite and demure, with impeccable manners. One hundred shivering arms. Clean-cut. Great with kids.”- Richard Dawkins
Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion
“As part of criminal action a search was made in the premises occupied by the religious association. The search revealed special technical devices, used for surreptitious obtaining of information, being installed in the personal interview rooms”
- Asian arrested in camel urine scam; According to media reports the man was arrested because the urine in the bottles was his own
- An Alabama congregation has turned the “small ‘Grand Canyon'” behind their church into an unusual ministry: a gun range.
“We wanted to come up with some different ideas to help our church grow, and we thought this would be a unique ministry to offer to the community.”
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