Critical Links August 25/2015
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.
Niloy Chakrabarti was only the latest atheist blogger to be hacked to death in the country this year. The government crackdown on ‘blasphemers’ has sent others into hiding. What is the future for the country’s liberal writers?
A schoolgirl “fully-radicalised” by Islamist propaganda must be removed from her family home, a High Court has ruled, comparing her parent’s treatment of her to child sex abuse.
- An Open Letter to Chipotle regarding their “Farewell to GMOs” campaign
You call into question the scientific consensus on GMOs, when in fact every major scientific and medical association in the world agrees GMOs are safe. You claim there haven’t been enough studies done by scientists who do not have an incentive to produce particular results, when in fact there have been over 1700 studies on GMO risks, and over half had zero industry funding. We’ve had 20 years of GMOs without a single documented negative health effect.We’re concerned that your fear-mongering and unnecessarily scaring consumers about a very safe and useful technology will work against us all in the end. There are very real problems like feeding a growing population in the face of climate change that biotechnology has the ability to help address.
- 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
- 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
Islamic State militants have razed a fifth-century Roman Catholic monastery and blown up one of the best-preserved first-century temples in Palmyra, the ancient Syrian city that is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. And that was just this past week — in one Syrian province.
CFIC continues to monitor, document and condemn faith based violence and bigotry around the world.
Science, Medicine, and Ethics News
- Australia; Scrapping religion classes from schools ‘the right thing to do’; Religious instruction will be scrapped from the curriculum of Victorian schools from next year and replaced with education about building respectful relationships, the government announced on Friday.
Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion
“But I don’t know how journalists can continue to call themselves journalists if they aren’t brave enough to ask a question. I mean, how big does the elephant in the room have to be before you ask about it?”
- Catholic Priest Claims 15 Year-Old Teen ‘Wanted’ Sexual Contact; He has acknowledged engaging in a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old boy, but he deflected blame for the incident by saying the teen “wanted” it and had “evil in his mind.”
- Argentina Exorcism: Teen Allegedly Gang-Raped, Has Eyes Gouged Out By Sister
After first being raped by a group of men, the teen was then reportedly pinned down while her eyes were removed. The older sister said the religious center provided her with a knife and instructed that she must be the one to remove her sister’s eyes to cure her.
- Pakistan; Police are hunting an “exorcist” over the death of a woman and her daughter who suffocated in a botched fire ritual to rid them of their demons
Faith healers are common across Pakistan, an overwhelmingly Muslim country, with the practice rooted in mystic Sufi lore. A cure-all to some and for others a scam that preys on people’s superstitions, black magicians continue to thrive despite the disapproval of some hardline schools of Islam.
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