Critical Links Sept 1st/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.
We are delighted to announce the formation of CFI-Pakistan , a new international branch of the Center for Inquiry-Transnational. Its founder,Emanuel Enoch (a pseudonym) has already established an online presence, and will begin to carry the mission of CFI to his country. It is a courageous step, and we are delighted to have him in the CFI family.
While Canada is currently in the throes of an early election, in the province of Quebec there’s growing debate over the future of free speech. The Quebec Parliament is currently debating whether to pass Bill 59, a bill that would grant the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) the authority to investigate so-called “hate speech”, even without a complaint being filed.
“The logical result of atheism, a result we have seen right in front of our eyes in one of the world’s oldest and proudest nations, is severe moral decay.”-Sarah Palin
- Polygamy’s poster girl now plans to walk for its victims; A decade ago Cindy Blackmore was the Canadian poster girl for polygamy. Now 24, she wants to raise awareness about the “disgustingly prevalent” amount of sexual abuse of children in fundamentalist Mormon communities like Bountiful, B.C. that has led to “a cycle of generations of messed up people.”
- Calgary Driver Says He’ll Quit If Forced To Drive Pride Bus; A Calgary man says he will quit his job if he’s assigned to drive a bus wrapped in a rainbow flag.
“I’m a Christian so, as a Christian, there are things like homosexuality that I just can’t condone.”
- 3 women arrested in blessing scam to rid people of evil spirits; Vancouver Police say there may be more victims of a blessing scam or evil spirit scam that has robbed people of significant amounts of cash and jewellery.
- 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
- Sept 28th, 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 “Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story” by Jim Holt
- 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
“This is the most devastating act yet in my opinion. It truly demonstrates ISIS’s ability to act with impunity and the impotence of the international community to stop them”
- Indian sisters to be raped as ‘punishment’ for brother eloping; Two sisters in India – one aged only 15-years – are to be raped as “punishment” for their brother running away with a married woman from a higher caste
- The ‘Gone Girls’ of India
A few days before news of the Sheena Bora murder broke, on August 19, a brief news flash appeared of a girl’s grisly murder in a village in district Shahjahanpur in northwestern Uttar Pradesh. Two brothers dragged their 17-year-old sister, Phool Jahan, to the village square, decapitated her head and paraded it for about half an hour before disappearing.”This is a lesson to girls who have relationships. We do not allow our daughters or sisters to have affairs,” they are said to have shouted. But the story merited just a few sentences, and no more was heard of it.
CFIC continues to monitor, document and condemn faith based violence and bigotry around the world.
Science, Medicine, and Ethics News
- Why we’re smarter than chickens; University of Toronto researchers uncover protein part that controls neuron development
A single molecular event in our cells could hold the key to how we evolved to become the smartest animal on the planet, scientists report. They have uncovered how a small change in a protein called PTBP1 can spur the creation of neurons — cells that make the brain — that could have fuelled the evolution of mammalian brains to become the largest and most complex among vertebrates.
To native Hawaiians, Mauna Kea is the most sacred land in the entire Pacific. It is the point where the sky and earth meet. To scientists, the mountaintop is the best location in the world to observe the stars and study the origins of our universe.
Six willing humans — an astrobiologist, a physicist, a pilot, an architect, a journalist and a soil scientist — entered this lovely 36 by 20 foot dome, located near a barren volcano in Hawaii, at 3pm local time on Friday. They’ll remain in the dome for a year, eating powdered cheese, smelling each others’ BO, and slowly abandoning any sense of personal space. If we’re lucky, they’ll all emerge unscathed, perhaps even friends.
- Some Brands Are Labeling Products “GMO-free” Even if They Don’t Have Genes; More companies are paying to label their food as non-GMO, whether they need it or not. Sales of products labeled as non-GMO have grown 30 percent to $1.1 billion in the last year alone
Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion
Pareidolia explains the famous Virgin Mary on a cheese sandwich, which sold on eBay for $28,000, the cornflake shaped like the state of Illinois auctioned off for $1350, and even the much revered Shroud of Turin, which to many observers reflects the figure of a crucified Christ
“This man was a student of mind control. He understood it. It was obvious (afterward) that he totally got that. He understood the power of … ‘tell me about all your confessions so that God and I can forgive you,’ and then using those to intimidate other people around you. And that system – it is not (new); he didn’t invent it. He just proved to the entire world that it still works well.”
- U.K.-Psychics’ help finding missing people should not be ruled out, police officers told; The College of Policing has suggested officers check for past successes before heeding their advice.
- Seeing Freedom in Their Future, Psychics Reveal All: ‘It’s a Scam, Sir’; “The whole thing is a scam?” “Yes.”
- Message from Allah found on an egg; A Muslim couple were amazed to find an egg with the phrase “None to be worshipped except Allah” embossed on it
Critical Links is published every Tuesday And Friday
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