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.
Join us for a evening of fun, friends and magic as we celebrate a secular holiday season. We will be havingdinner at the Crimson Lounge (College Street @ Spadina in Toronto) followed by an amazing evening of magic and comedy with Magic Tonight. James Alan’s Magic Tonight (www.magictonight.ca) is a weekly show downtown which features a wide variety of special guests which proves magic really is for grownups. The show is highly interactive and very entertaining. Proceeds to to support CFI Canada and its projects.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
The Crimson Lounge
@The Cage 292
292 College (@ Spadina)
- Canada’s refugee program draws praise around the world; Only a small fraction of Canada’s expected Syrian refugees arrived last week, but the fanfare around their welcome prompted a slew of headlines – and policy comparisons – around the world.
- Myths and Facts about COP21, the Paris Climate Agreement; a number of resources that debunk common myths about the Paris climate agreement. For more like this, see Climate Nexus’ fact checking pieces on the top 10 climate science myths and myths about the Clean Power Plan.
- The Impossible Defense of an Accused ‘Atheist’ the Saudis Want to Behead; In Saudi Arabia the number of writers and bloggers facing the whip and the sword—and even crucifixion—is growing. Sound a bit like ISIS? Many think so.
- The New Center: Between the Right’s Bigotry and the Left’s Apologism
The Saudi government, claiming the Quran and Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad) as its constitution, also amputates the limbs of those charged with theft. Religious minorities are not allowed to practice their religion. The women in the country suffer some of the most egregious human rights abuses of any in the world. They are banned from driving. They require the permission of a male guardian simply to work or travel. Victims of rape are often charged with fornication or adultery and sentenced to flogging if unable to produce four male witnesses to “prove” the crime.
In the fourth anti-GMO terrorist event in Latin America this year, the Mexico-based organization Alianza Pro Transgenicos (Alliance for Transgenics) was the victim of two recent bombing attempts. One bomb exploded from a package delivered to one of the alliance’s offices, wounding the organization’s Vice President, engineer Mario Berlanga, and an associate. The other package bomb delivered a day later was not opened and handed over to Mexican authorities, which are investigating.
- Will Western activists block CRISPR solution to protecting millions of Africans against malaria? CRISPR technology can now wipe out a species of malaria-carrying mosquitoes in Africa–but will the anti-GMO movement prevent scientists from saving millions of lives each year?
- Who Is a Muslim?
‘the range of Muslim beliefs and behaviors is more or less indistinguishable from that of the rest of humanity. The word “Muslim,” without any further qualification, and the word “person,” are, for practical purposes, synonymous. One doesn’t actually tell you anything meaningful beyond what is already suggested by the other’
- Dec 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
- Dec 21st, Toronto; SOS Secular Organizations for Sobriety meeting; Also known as Save Our Selves, Secular Organizations for Sobriety is a program dedicated to providing a path to sobriety without depending upon supernatural or religious beliefs. We respect diversity, welcome healthy skepticism, and encourage rational thinking as well as the expression of feelings. Meet other local people who suffer from alcoholism and other addiction problems (ex: gambling, drug addiction, etc). Gather for support, companionship, and advice.
- Dec 28th, Toronto; CFIC T.O. – Science & Philosophy Book Club. THIS MONTH’S BOOK SELECTION : Enlightenment 2.0: Restoring sanity to our politics, our economy, and our lives by Joseph Heath
- Jan.8th, 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.
- Jan 11th, 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.
- CFI Ottawa UnSermon; Saturday afternoons, meet and share your ideas with Atheists, Freethinkers, and Humanists from the Ottawa area.
- CFI Calgary Skeptics in The Pub: This group meets on the first Tuesday of every month. Join us for drinks, discussion, and debate about all science and skeptical topics
- 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.
- 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
- ISIS ‘issues fatwa ordering suffocation of babies with Down’s syndrome’; The terrorists are claimed to have issued a fatwa – a religious decree – sanctioning the killing of children with Down’s syndrome and other disabilities. Dozens of babies aged between one week and three months have already been killed by suffocation or lethal injection, according to Iraqi activist group Mosul Eye.
- The countries where a majority of Muslims want to live under sharia law; In Afghanistan, 99 per cent said yes, with Iraq (91 per cent), the Palestinian Territories (89 per cent), Malaysia (86 per cent) and Niger (also 86 per cent) the countries next most in favour.
CFIC continues to monitor, document and condemn faith based violence and bigotry around the world.
Science, Medicine, and Ethics News
- On Dec. 25, Atheists celebrate a different birthday; Deck those halls with boughs of apples and top that tree with a finger puppet of Sir Isaac Newton.
- TIME Picks the Best Space Photos of 2015; From stunning galaxies to dwarf planets to catastrophic rocket launches, here are the best space images of the year.
Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion
- Scientology could be banned if members are found guilty of fraud; The religion’s future may depend on the outcome of a court trial, in which eleven members of the organisation and affiliates are accused of fraud, extortion, privacy violations and operating a criminal group. All parties deny the allegations. If found guilty the Belgian wing of the church could be outlawed after prosecutor Christophe Caliman requested it be dissolved previously.
- Why are we humans so prone to believing spooky nonsense?
Human beings are remarkably prone to supernatural beliefs and, in particular, to beliefs in invisible agents – beings that, like us, act on the basis of their beliefs and desires, but that, unlike us, aren’t usually visible to the naked eye. Belief in the existence of such person-like entities is ubiquitous. As Steven Pinker notes in ‘The Evolutionary Psychology of Religion’ (2004), in all human cultures people believe that illness and calamity ‘are caused and alleviated by a variety of invisible person-like entities: spirits, ghosts, saints, evils, demons, cherubim or Jesus, devils and gods’. In the United States, for example, a 2013 Harris Poll found that around 42 per cent believe in ghosts, 64 per cent in survival of the soul after death, 68 per cent in heaven, and 74 per cent in God.
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
Please support the Centre For Inquiry Canada by joining as a member or donating today