Weekly Update: to

by | March 18, 2017

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[A still from Ruslan Sokolovsky's video, showing him playing Pokémon Go in a Russian church.]

Ruslan Sokolovsky playing Pokémon Go in a Russian church.

  • [] Monkeys and dogs judge humans by how they treat others

    There are people who believe that ethics are a complete fiction, created out of whole cloth by human cultures. This despite all the scientific evidence that there really is something physical to ethics, both in terms of what ethics are and where they come from, and their impact. That’s not to say that you can determine what is “right” from science alone – there must be some higher level judgment of values involved – but clearly ethics are “real” in some physical sense, in that there is an observable and measurable difference when the only variable being changed is an ethical one. In other words, it sure seems that we can literally make a “better” world just by being more ethical, and even dogs and monkeys know it.

  • [] Searching Sharia: Anti-Muslim Propaganda Ranks High in Google Search

    Factual information is being drowned out by bigoted nonsense on Google.

  • [] On , Islamophobes rallied across Canada. Here’s who met them in the streets

    For all the nothing that M-103 should have accomplished, it has turned out to be an incredible tool for identifying who the bigots are. rabble.ca has been doing a brilliant job of keeping track of the far-right, anti-immigrant, racist, and fascist groups that have scurried out of the shadows to protest M-103, and the groups who have challenged them in protest. And there’s a lot of uplifting news in their findings. Almost everywhere in Canada, except for Québec, supporters of tolerance and progressivism absolutely dwarfed the islamophobic protesters – in many places the number of islamophobic protesters that showed up could be counted on one hand, and in several none even showed up at all. Only in Québec may the number of fascist protesters may have been larger in some cities, due to the efforts of several hate groups coming out of secrecy to organize.

  • [] “David Silverman – Fighting God”(Audio: 1:08:48)

    I must have listened to David Silverman’s “firebrand atheism” talk four times now, and I still love it. This time he’s giving the presentation to the British Columbia Humanist Association, and he makes some particular points about self-identification that I don’t recall hearing before – so even if you’re familiar with the talk, I recommend giving it a fresh listen. The downside is that because it’s audio, you can’t see the slides – not a problem if you’ve already seen the talk, but if you haven’t here’s a video so you can see the slides.

  • [] Leadership debate showcases NDP unity and a feisty spirit

    Standing in stark contrast to the race-to-the-bottom clown show that is the Conservative leadership race, the NDP leadership race has kicked off with a collegial spirit, and a decent collection of candidates.

  • [] Situation grave for freethinker scientist imprisoned in Iran

    Ahmadreza Djalali is a physician and scientist specializing in disaster medicine, who had travelled to Iran from Sweden – where he lives and teaches – for a conference. He was arrested after arriving in Iran, while driving to his family’s home. He has not been tried, and was forced to sign a confession for spying, for which he may be executed.

  • [] Atheist blogger on trial in Russia for playing Pokémon Go in church

    Ruslan Sokolovsky made a video of himself (in Russian) playing Pokémon Go in a church because he apparently didn’t believe Russian authorities would actually enforce a law against it. He’s been held in pre-trial detention since .

  • [] No, the European Court of Justice has not banned headscarves in the workplace

    There is a lot of misinformation going around claiming that the European Court of Justice made a ruling that banning the wearing of religious accessories isn’t discrimination. That’s false. What actually happened is more subtle. When people push these stupid bans, they usually go to great pains to word them in a way that doesn’t make it look like they’re targeting specific religions. And because of that, you can’t claim that that’s what the bans are doing. That doesn’t mean they’re not discriminatory… it just means they’re not specifically targeting certain religions. They can still be discriminatory, but just incidentally, or indirectly… which is still wrong, but different from direct targeting.

    h/t International Humanist and Ethical Union

  • [] Dr. David Amies: Quebec tragedy highlights need for advance requests for assisted dying

    Dr. David Amies writes about the Montréal case where a man has been charged with murder for assisting in the death of his wife, who had been denied medical assistance in dying, and discusses the shortcomings of our current legislation. As an aside, this is also Dr. Amies’s last regular post for the Dying With Dignity Canada blog. He will stepping aside to make room for new voices, and while I understand and agree with that decision, I’ll definitely miss his regular contributions.

  • [] “SHORT CUTS: Rebel Media’s Nazi Problem”(Audio: 43:47)

    Often just hearing the word “Nazi” when used to describe contemporary people or commentary will trigger an eye-roll, and tuning out whatever the speaker was saying. But the ideological fundamentals of Nazism are still alive and well, and voices promoting them are growing bolder and louder. Right wing media has been using these voices, taking advantage of the controversy they stoke to derail sensible debate on key issues, and to simply rake in the cash and influence they generate by virtue of monopolizing attention. But it’s backfiring: the rise of Trump and the alt-right has all but swallowed up the sane voices of the American right, and the same is happening in Canada. It’s hard to feel sorry for Ezra Levant, who seems to be reaping what he has sown in giving these bigots a platform.

  • [] Canada needs a national day of remembrance against Islamophobia

    The massacre at École Polytechnique 27 years ago shares many similarities with the massacre at the Québec City mosque, not least of which are the gymnastics being undertaken to spin the event as an isolated incident unconnected to a wider culture of bigotry and intolerance. Here’s a proposal toward putting a stop to that.

  • [] Man a traitor to Zognath for dating woman from secular-Groznar family

    The Beaverton strikes again, with this pitch-perfect parody not-so-subtly mocking the way religious relatives feel they have an obligation to interfere in family members’ relationships. I don’t want to spoil it, but the parody in “Linda”’s final comment is sublime.

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7 thoughts on “Weekly Update: to

  1. Randy

    “there must be some higher level judgment of values involved”

    Except that to call it “higher level” is obtuse. This judgment can only come from within our brains, which are deterministic, and entirely describable by science (give it time).

    Despite Sam Harris’s attempt, science cannot derive an “ought” from an “is”. Philosophers can’t even tell us if existence is good. If that’s where the brightest thinkers are stuck, there’s not much hope for defining an “ought” at all.

    Rather, we’re left with politics. Oh joy.

  2. Randy

    “Factual information is being drowned out by bigoted nonsense on Google”

    Let’s not pretend this is one-sided.

  3. Randy

    Bigoteering again. Nice.

    Have you considered that, just maybe, people are unwilling to so openly protest their government because that government is authoritarian, has demonstrated a brazen willingness to discriminate on protected grounds (protected everywhere EXCEPT in parliament…), and has fawning support in the media because Justy has the good hair?

    In contrast, it’s a simple thing to declare your hate for Canada, to side with the government of the day, and to play the victim while bullying others to silence with doxxing, shunning, shaming, and blaming.

  4. Randy

    If Silverman’s video is from 2013, why are you claiming the sound is from 2017?

    I don’t remember which year, but I do remember Silverman calling someone “the shit” (not in the good way) and then we stopped hearing from him at all for a long time after that.

    Could be his firebrand approach was a failure. Or he was a just a cunt. Hard to tell. Both, maybe.

  5. Randy

    “They can still be discriminatory, but just incidentally, or indirectly… which is still wrong, but different from direct targeting.”

    So, you’re a supporter of federal and state RFRA laws then.

    As recently as the 1990s, the US Supreme Court noted that even the First Amendment does not protect against so-called indirect targeting. The generally-applicable laws must apply to everyone, no exemptions. That’s why the Clinton Democrats gifted us with RFRA, the permanent elevation of religion, above all else. You see how well that’s working out, in health care, and in bakeries.

  6. Randy

    “The massacre at École Polytechnique 27 years ago shares many similarities with the massacre at the Québec City mosque”

    Indeed. These are two highly unusual events, which are being madly spun into frequent occurrences, which need to be commemorated into not happening any more. Even though they don’t, already.

  7. Randy

    “but the parody in Linda’s final comment is sublime”

    Hey guess what! In Detroit they found someone doing the same thing! No, silly, not to boys. That’s perfectly OK, and not at all harmful or degrading. No, she did it to girls! You start messing with people who actually matter in our society, and you’re going to prison.


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