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.
Even more alarming is the prevalence of violence against blasphemers perpetrated not by vigilantes, but by governments. A 2012 study found that almost a quarter of the world’s countries maintain blasphemy laws. These laws—often deployed to silence critics of government as well as religion—are dangerous even when they’re not enforced. Their very existence inspires self-censorship from people who rightly fear violent consequences for expressing themselves freely. Unfortunately, such laws have been used to do much more than simply chill speech.
- Sharia Court Sentences Imam, Eight Others To Death For Blasphemy; An Upper Sharia Court, in Kano State has sentenced a woman and eight others to death for blasphemy
- The Journey Out: Women Who Escaped a Polygamist Mormon Cult Share Their Story; Although its leader Warren Jeffs is spending life in jail for raping his child brides, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) remains under his increasingly harsh control. Those who escape are ostracized by their family and friends—but this year, former members of the Church held the community’s first Christmas celebration.
- Waiting to die: the Iranian child inmates facing execution – in pictures; In Iran, girls are held criminally accountable by law from the age of nine, and can be sentenced to death by hanging for crimes such as murder, drug trafficking and armed robbery.
- 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.
- Jan 16th, Toronto: 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
- Jan 25th, Toronto, CFIC T.O. – Science & Philosophy Book Club. THIS MONTH’S BOOK SELECTION: What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses by Daniel Chamovitz
- CFI Ottawa UnSermon; Saturday afternoons (12:30 pm), 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.
Did you know the best place to find out about CFI Calgary events is on Meetup.com? It’s free to join and you will never miss hearing about a local Calgary event. Join over 1000 Calgarians who use Meetup to hear about, RSVP and comment on our events.
Let us know if you have an activity you’d like to share!
Faith-Based Violence and Bigotry
The image of round-faced 4 year old Isa Dare wearing mini army fatigues and looking confidently into the camera as he pledges to kill all non-Muslims is perhaps the most chilling part of the latest Islamic State execution video. The full footage, shows 5 men accused of being British spies in Syria being horrifically murdered, and features the boy so prominently that he has been recognized as the son of a London mother who left for Syria with her son to become a ‘Jihadi’ Bride with hopes of being the first woman to behead a hostage.
- Kids hung from ceiling, beaten for not reciting Bible in Noida shelter homes; At least 30 children were rescued by police during raids conducted in two shelter homes in Greater Noida and Meerut last month. The children belonging to poor families alleged that they were forcibly converted to Christianity by their caretakers.
CFIC continues to monitor, document and condemn faith based violence and bigotry around the world.
Science, Medicine, and Ethics News
- Lumosity to Pay $2 Million to Settle FTC Deceptive Advertising Charges for Its “Brain Training” Program; The creators and marketers of the Lumosity “brain training” program have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges alleging that they deceived consumers with unfounded claims that Lumosity games can help users perform better at work and in school, and reduce or delay cognitive impairment associated with age and other serious health conditions.
Wishful Thinking and Superstition/Religion
- Bayes’s Theorem: What’s the Big Deal? Bayes’s theorem, touted as a powerful method for generating knowledge, can also be used to promote superstition and pseudoscience
The plausibility of your belief depends on the degree to which your belief–and only your belief–explains the evidence for it. The more alternative explanations there are for the evidence, the less plausible your belief is. … [But] If you aren’t scrupulous in seeking alternative explanations for your evidence, the evidence will just confirm what you already believe.
- Scientists Discover Meteorite ‘Older Than Earth Itself’ in Australian Outback; A team of Australian geologists have unearthed a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite that appears to have traveled from farther away than Mars, retrieving it just hours before heavy rainfall would have washed it away.
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.
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