Critical Links August 28/2015
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.
- Offering homeopathy waters down University of Toronto’s reputation; Along with homeopathy, the university has also decided to add naturopathy, acupuncture and osteopathy to the treatments available on its staff health plan in 2015-16.
“Many health insurance plans cover this hocus-pocus and they should all be ashamed for doing so. But given recent embarrassments, Toronto should be setting a clear example, not legitimising bogus methods that can cause real harm through delay of effective therapy”
- Trinity Western says B.C. law society is violating graduates’ religious rights; An evangelical Christian university that forbids sexual intimacy outside heterosexual marriage is arguing the Law Society of British Columbia is violating the religious rights of graduates of its proposed law school. The case pits religious freedoms against same-sex equality rights, with each side arguing discrimination.
With a few notable exceptions, researchers and investigators usually don’t hear about or record examples where eyewitnesses were confident in their reports yet proven wrong. As a result, the unexplained or mysterious reports and sightings are selectively chosen, making them seem more common and significant than they really are.
- 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
- Press Release: Scientology Freedom Magazine Red Flagged by Facebook users
“Scientology spews hatred. While most churches want to show that kindness, love, helping and support that are vital for the community, Scientology Inc. is notorious for its vengeance and hate. It is a hate group that spews venom without blinking an eye… While it continues to protect pedophiles, molesters, rapists without ever turning them into Law Enforcement, it attacks critics like some out of control rattlesnake.”
A group of United Nations human rights experts expressed alarm after a female Sudanese student, Ferdous Al Toum, was sentenced to public flogging and a heavy fine for charges of ‘indecent dressing’. Another student, Rehab Omer, received a hefty fine for the same charges. “Public flogging of women is a continuing practice in the country, and the offence of modesty and the penalty of flogging are disproportionately used to punish women,” they noted.
CFIC continues to monitor, document and condemn faith based violence and bigotry around the world.
Science, Medicine, and Ethics News
Canadian paleontologists have discovered an important new species of lizard in Brazil that may lead to a better understanding of how lizards became distributed around the planet. The new species, named Gueragama sulamericana is about 80 million years old and provides a crucial link between two different types of lizards.
Despite thousands of studies, there isn’t a single indication for which real acupuncture has been shown to work to a high degree of confidence. Acupuncture should be abandoned as a scientific concept. It is a failed hypothesis that has added no real knowledge to our understanding of health and disease.
Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicts that the physical information about material gobbled up by a black hole is destroyed, but the laws of quantum mechanics stipulate that information is eternal. Therein lies the paradox. Hawking has come up with a possible solution: The quantum-mechanical information about infalling particles doesn’t actually make it inside the black hole.
Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion
Directly responsible for forcing faithful Christians into increased poverty by squeezing money from them to finance their own extravagant lifestyles, televangelists are in defiance of the very God they proclaim to serve.
The girl had been three months pregnant, and apparently fell unconscious when she heard a burst of gunfire near her home in La Entrada, western Honduras. When she began foaming at the mouth, her parents – who thought she was possessed by an evil spirit – called a local priest who attempted to perform an exorcism. She was rushed to hospital when she became lifeless and was soon pronounced dead by doctors three hours later. She was buried wearing her wedding dress. The husband was visiting his wife’s grave 24 hours after her funeral, when he says heard screaming coming from inside the tomb. By the time relatives and cemetery workers were able to break through the concrete and transport the bride, still in her coffin, to the hospital, it was too late. Medics again pronounced her dead.
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