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
“People cannot enjoy religious freedom unless they have both the right to express their beliefs freely and change their religion without facing persecution, violence, or discrimination. The threat and enforcement of blasphemy and apostasy laws during the year had a significant impact on the ability of individuals to exercise freedoms of expression and religion and resulted in deaths and imprisonment.”
A months-long Maclean’s investigation, which includes interviews with dozens of academics, scientists, statisticians, economists and librarians, has found that the federal government’s “austerity” program, which resulted in staff cuts and library closures (16 libraries since 2012)—as well as arbitrary changes to policy, when it comes to data—has led to a systematic erosion of government records far deeper than most realize, with the data and data-gathering capability we do have severely compromised as a result.
- Health Canada requires doctor to sign confidentiality agreement to see drug data, Destroy after reading, Health Canada tells doctor
“I’m trying to find out if the medication is safe and effective and Health Canada is the regulator. So they might actually want to facilitate this sort of research that I am doing. Instead, Health Canada has threatened me with legal action if I share the information.”
- Why Africa is lagging behind in child vaccination; the immunisation agenda in Africa remains unfinished. Large numbers of children are still not vaccinated and die from vaccine-preventable diseases. In 2013, more than three million children under the age of five suffered this fate.
- Scientists reduce belief in God by shutting down the brain’s medial frontal cortex; New research involving a psychologist from the University of York has revealed for the first time that both belief in God and prejudice towards immigrants can be reduced by directing magnetic energy into the brain.
- Cowboy voter at advance poll was protesting niqab at citizenship ceremony
“These judges just put a target on every Muslim in Canada that dares to wear a niqab when she goes shopping or whatever, because they said, ‘You’re special.'”
- Pastafarian who fought to wear pirate hat or colander in driver’s licence photo scolded by Quebec judge
“Too many people implicated in real litigation with consequences that could affect their lives or those of their children or enterprise are waiting their turn in court for us to be silent about the monopolization of these resources to determine if the plaintiff can be photographed wearing a colander or pirate hat”
- Self-driving cars will be tested on Canadian roads in 2016; Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation has approved autonomous vehicle testing in the province (the first in the country) starting on January 1st, 2016.
- Nov. 9th, 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.
- Nov.13th, 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 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 19,Toronto: CFIC T.O. SOS Secular Organization for Sobriety meeting. Meet other local people who suffer from alcoholism and other addiction problems (ex: gambling, drug addiction, etc). Gather for support, companionship, and advice
- 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 26th, 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 “Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible” by Jerry Coyne
- October 29 @ 7:30pm, Toronto. Wanda Morris Speaker Event, CFIC Office, 55 Eglinton Ave E, Suite 307; Wanda is the CEO of Dying With Dignity Canada and she will explain to our CFIC community why those in the Atheist/secular/humanist movement should be particularly concerned about this issue.
- 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.
- Manitoba October 17-18: Society of Edmonton Atheists is hosting a secular conference
- November 23, Halifax, Carl Sagan Day Dinner, 5pm, Darrell’s Restaurant
- November 25-27: Canadian Science Policy Centre Conference
Let us know if you have an activity you’d like to share!
Faith-Based Violence and Bigotry
- Palestinian territories – Timeline; A chronology of key events
CFIC continues to monitor, document and condemn faith based violence and bigotry around the world.
Science, Medicine, and Ethics News
- CIA torture survivors sue psychologists who designed infamous program; Survivors of CIA torture have sued the contractor psychologists who designed one of the most infamous programs of the post-9/11 era.
- Canadian inventor tests new prototype of record-setting hoverboard; This past May, Montreal inventor Catalin Alexandru Duru broke the world record for the longest hoverboard flight.
- 125-million-year-old mammal fossil reveals the early evolution of hair and spines; The discovery of a new 125-million-year-old fossil mammal in Spain has pushed back the earliest record of preserved mammalian hair structures and inner organs by more than 60 million years.
How Do You Know It’s Fraudulent?
Watch out for these claims:
One product does it all. Be suspicious of products that claim to cure a wide range of diseases.
Personal testimonials. Success stories such as “It cured my diabetes,” or “My tumors are gone,” are easy to make up and are not a substitution for scientific evidence.
Quick fixes. Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, even with legitimate products. Beware of language such as “lose 30 pounds in 30 days,” or “eliminates skin cancer in days.”
“All natural.” Some plants found in nature can kill if you eat them. Plus, FDA has found products promoted as “all natural” that contain hidden and dangerously high doses of prescription drug ingredients.
Miracle cure. Alarms should go off when you see this claim or others like it such as “new discovery” or “scientific breakthrough.” A real cure for a serious disease would be all over the media and prescribed by doctors—not buried in print ads, TV infomercials, or on Internet sites.
FDA-Approved. Domestic or imported dietary supplements are not approved by FDA.
Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion
“Having a predictive brain is very useful – it makes us efficient and adept at creating a coherent picture of an ambiguous and complex world. But it also means that we are not very far away from perceiving things that aren’t actually there, which is the definition of a hallucination.”
- Glimpses Inside Secretive Sect After Killing at Upstate New York Church; On Sunday evening two teenagers — brothers and the sons of two members of Word of Life — were called into a sanctuary and savagely beaten by at least a half-dozen people, including their parents and older half sister.
- Thailand bans film over depictions of Buddhist monks; Buddhist body says Arbat could destroy the religion with its intimate scenes and depiction of monk taking drugs.
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.
Critical Links is published every Tuesday And Friday
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