September 22/2015 Critical Links
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.
On October 19, 2015, vote
- Anger after Saudi Arabia ‘chosen to head key UN human rights panel’ ;Wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi says move amounts to “a green light to flog him”
- U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies
The practice is called bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases
Donald Trump used the latest Republican debate as an opportunity to express wildly inaccurate anti-vaccine claims, embracing the thoroughly discredited position that vaccines cause autism. This claim has been exhaustively debunked, by countless scientific studies and by reports from the Institute of Medicine and the CDC. It started with a now-retracted 1998 study by one of the great villains in medicine, Andrew Wakefield, who continues to push his fraudulent views despite having lost his medical license.
- 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
- Oct.9th, 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. –
- Oct. 12th, 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.
- Oct 17th, 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
- October 23, 2015 7:30 pm; Richard Carrier, visits Toronto and will speak on a topic related to his books Sense & Goodness Without God and On The Historicity of Jesus. This event will take place at OISE’s Auditorium. Get your tickets now at our CFIC Events Page.
- October 4, 7:00 PM, Ottawa; James Street Pub, 390 Bank St. (corner Bank and James)
Maverick and secular humanist Logospilgrim, author of There’s a Hula Girl on my Dashboard: How I Left Faith Behind and Embraced Life, discusses the process that freed her from religious subordination and enabled her to acknowledge her own strength, celebrate her genderqueerness, and reclaim her human dignity.
- 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
- Muslims shouldn’t be president, Republican candidate Ben Carson says;Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said on Sunday that Muslims were unfit to be president of the United States, arguing their faith was inconsistent with American principles.
CFIC continues to monitor, document and condemn faith based violence and bigotry around the world.
Science, Medicine, and Ethics News
The drug, called Daraprim, was acquired in August by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up run by a former hedge fund manager. Turing immediately raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50, bringing the annual cost of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“this proposal appeals to “health care freedom” but goes beyond the issue of health care freedom. It calls for health care irresponsibility and asks for taxpayer dollars to be spent on unproven and pseudoscientific treatments. Our veterans (and our taxpayers) deserve better. This proposal is gravely misguided. It would hold medical care hostage to self-serving lobbyists and misinformed public opinion. Rather than putting veterans first, it would put science last”
Catholics around the world, meanwhile, largely support the use of birth control. A 2014 poll of 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries found that 78 percent supported contraception; in Spain, France, Colombia, Brazil and the pope’s native Argentina, more than 90 percent supported its use. In a2008 survey, 71 percent of Catholics in the Philippines supported the country’s reproductive health bill.
A first draft of the tree of life for all 2.3 million named species of animals, plants, fungi and microbes has been released. Thousands of smaller trees have been published over the years for select branches, but this is the first time those results have been combined into a single tree. The end result is a digital resource that is available online for anyone to use or edit, much like a ‘Wikipedia’ for evolutionary relationships.
- Who Joins Cults, And Why? Individual vulnerability factors matter much more than personality type when it comes to joining or staying in a cult or abusive relationship.
Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion
“The skeptics’ church has a serious intent, to fight religious discrimination against non-believers, to promote church-state separation, and to demand equal rights for everyone, regardless of faith”
- Married church minister ‘ran bottom spanking cult’; A church minister used the Bible to justify spanking vulnerable women on their bare bottoms to satisfy his own sexual desires
- The film Scientologists didn’t want you to see…
Six months, 160 lawyers, and a full-page ad in the New York Times later, Sky Atlantic are finally airing Alex Gibney’s controversial documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.
“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord comes.”
Catherine Dunphy’s talk at CFI Toronto
Critical Links is published every Tuesday And Friday
Please support the Centre For Inquiry Canada by joining as a member or donating today