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Nov 17th/2015

November 17, 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.

Paris, November 2015

On November 13, 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks  have resulted in the murder of at least 127 people and physically wounding 200 (CBC)  in Paris, France.  Bombs and Kalashnikov-style automatic weapons were used to kill people as they attempted to enjoy a typical night of sports, music and culture in one of Western society’s most celebrated centres.

This attack follows quickly after bombings in Ankara, Turkey which killed 85 people and wounded at least 250, and in a poor Shia neighbourhood of Beirut  (43 dead, 293 wounded). The Ankara bombings centred on a peace rally.  In Dhaka, Bangladesh, the violence has been targeted to writers and intellectuals and a Russian passenger jet was bombed killing 224 people.

In just these few recent attacks, sown across several of the world’s most culturally important cities, the number of innocent people murdered or physically injured by faith-based terrorism is tolled in the thousands.  Whether ISIS has claimed responsibility for the violence in every attack, and whether that single terrorist organization is in fact responsible for every death or injury, what must be understood from these events is that religious violence throughout the world today is a war on peace activists, tourists, poor people and people who want to enjoy the normal freedoms and activities of their day-to-day lives.

In the same year that Paris has attempted to recover from the attacks on Charlie Hebdo by faith-based terrorists and far too many faith-based murders have taken place in many countries around the world, Centre For Inquiry Canada again condemns and rejects all faith-based intolerance, bigotry, violence, and terrorism.

CFIC calls on our members, volunteers and the secular humanist community to remain committed to humanistic values of compassion and care for the families of the many people who have been murdered and for the people of France whose society has suffered such a shocking attack. Diane Bruce, CFIC’s Ottawa Branch Manager said, “I feel sadness, not anger.  Perhaps that is all I can express today.  As a humanist, sadness because of this senseless hurt.”

We also call on our community to renew individual and collective commitment to an accepting, culturally-diverse and secular society in Canada. Eric Adriaans, National Executive Director of CFIC said, “We must not submit to unreasoning anger and outrage in the face of these attacks.  Secular humanists, atheists, agnostics and all rational people abhor the religious ideology, doctrine or dogma of any faith or belief system which seeks to justify hatred and violence.  We feel our grief, sadness and anger but we will not abandon our values and our principles. We will continue to oppose the oppressive ignorance and fear caused by religion.  We must use our greatest tools – intelligence, reason, critical thinking, and a commitment to fundamental human rights and freedoms.”

Front Page

“It felt like being treated like a child, to be perfectly honest,” Dr. Miller said. “I found it quite irritating that I wasn’t trusted to communicate the messages from my own work, that the only person who could effectively communicate the messages from my work was a communications expert.”

Last week, in what turned out to be an incredibly disappointing statement, B.C Health Minister Terry Lake announced that he was refusing the recommendations of an all-party legislature committee that had examined the issue of physician-assisted suicide, and decided instead to delay legislative action until the Trudeau government has the chance to develop its own policies. By rejecting these recommendations, Lake has not only delayed the approaching decriminalization of physician-assisted dying in British Columbia – thus prolonging the suffering of many incurably ill Canadians – but in the process, has also missed out on an important opportunity to prepare the province for the inevitable changes ahead.

The move comes after the Good Thinking Society threatened to challenge the department’s refusal to add homeopathic products to the NHS’s “schedule 1” blacklist, which details the products NHS doctors cannot prescribe, effectively blocking taxpayer funds from being used for them. It includes more than 3,000 products, ranging from pharmaceutical drugs to Ribena. Simon Singh, the science writer and founder of the Good Thinking Society, said the decision came after almost a year of pressure on the government: “We’ve been arguing with the Department of Health, saying look, homeopathy by four of your own criteria should be on this list, and they have been going back and forth saying we are not updating the list. “After many, many months of to-ing and fro-ing they have now agreed to review whether homeopathy should be on the blacklist. They have said it privately, but they have now said it officially.”


Upcoming Events

  • 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. – 
  • Nov 21th, 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
  • Nov 23rd, Toronto: Meet other local people who suffer from alcoholism and other addiction problems (ex: gambling, drug addiction, etc). Gather for support, companionship, and advice at the CFIC T.O. SOS Secular Organizations for Sobriety meeting 
  • Nov 30th, 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; “This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession” by Daniel J. Levitin
  • 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.
  • Saturday, November 28 @ 7:30pm

Honor Diaries Movie Screening                       OISE Auditorium, Ground Floorp10363747_p_v8_aa

In male-dominated cultures, like Saudi Arabia, women and girls are treated like property, forced into marriage and suffer female genital mutilation.  Honor Diaries is the first film to break the silence on honor violence against women and girls.

AND!…we are privileged to have one of the cast members, Raheel Raza, in attendance to introduce the film and to answer questions after the screening.


  • CFI Calgary Skeptics in The PubThis group meets on the first Tuesday of every month. Join us for drinks, discussion, and debate about all science and skeptical topics
  • OkanaganSecular 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.
  • November 23, Halifax, Carl Sagan Day Dinner5pm, 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

  • What ISIS Really WantsThe Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

CFIC continues to monitor, document and condemn faith based violence and bigotry around the world.

Science, Medicine, and Ethics News

Several provinces and at least one territory are experiencing outbreaks of pertussis, better known as whooping cough, and public health officials are encouraging Canadians of all ages to make sure their vaccinations are up to date.

Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion

  • Religion Mistake Blamed for Patient’s Death A Tennessee man diagnosed with kidney failure died after hospital staff denied him medical treatment because they incorrectly thought he was a Jehovah’s Witness, his widow claims in court.


Calendar of upcoming scientific conferences




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.


Online Tools for Skeptical Fact Checking


Rethinking Doubt: The Value and Achievements of Skepticism | George Hrab

Critical Links is published every Tuesday And Friday

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