Weekly Update: to

by | September 9, 2017

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Photo of a fake news story about a mosque in Texas denying aid to non-Muslims, featuring a photo of Mississauga imam Ibrahim Hindy, with a Canadian Global News logo in the corner.]

The alleged Texas imam… apparently being interviewed on Canada’s Global News.

  • [] Abolish the oath: moral prejudice against atheists may bias courtroom decisions

    Canadians have always been allowed to make a secular affirmation – rather than swearing an oath (to God) – at major legal events like court cases. But while an affirmation has the same legal weight as an oath,when you ask to make an affirmation instead of an oath, you “out” yourself as a nonbeliever. Because of the existence of widespread antipathy toward nonbelievers, “outing” yourself as a nonbeliever could prejudice the jury or judge against you. There is actually evidence that showing religiosity can result in more leniency. The solution to eliminate this risk of bias is simply: ditch the religious oath, and make a secular affirmation the only option.

  • [] Linguistic data analysis of 3 billion Reddit comments shows the alt-right is getting stronger

    One of the unique features of the alt-right movement that has been an enormous boon to science is that it has all happened online, in public viewable forums, with their history archived. That means we can actually see how an extremist wackaloon fringe became a major movement, and more importantly, how people get radicalized into it.

  • [] Women in small Muslim sect say they have had FGM in Canada

    A few weeks back, Canadian Border Services issued an alert to its officers about female genital mutilation practitioners entering Canada to do FGMwithin Canada (as opposed to the standard practice of trying to sneak young girls out of Canada to get the procedure). At the time there was a lot of skepticism about whether this was actually a problem, but now groups are coming out to confirm that it really is happening.

  • [] CMA poll finds rising support for medically assisted death

    This is uplifting news! There is fast-growing support for more liberal assisted dying laws from doctors themselves, with 83% supporting advance directives, 67% supporting allowing mature minors access to MAiD, and 51% supporting allowing MAiD for those suffering from mental illnesses only. To put that in perspective, in 2013, only 34% of doctors supported MAiDat all. It’s further evidence that when you remove laws based on ignorance and bigotry, the ignorance and bigotry fades from the general public quickly after.

  • [] The day the alt-right came to London

    London has a serious racism problem, but they seemed determined to make it worse. Banning racists from being able to protest will not make racism go away.

  • [] “Decrypting the Alt-Right: How to Recognize a F@scist | ContraPoints” (Video: 23:33)

    The hardest part of dealing with the alt-right is identifying them and their talking points, because they have mastered the slippery art of camouflaging their bigotry from “normies”.

  • [] UPDATE: Quebec agrees Greg Abbott appointee didn’t spurn hurricane aid

    Last week a story went around – even mentioned in last week’s Weekly Update – that Texas’s secretary of state turned down hurricane relief supplies from Québec, instead asking for prayers. There was a lot of skepticism, including in the WU item, about whether the supplies were actually turned down, or simply referred to another agency. Now the Texas government has released its position, doing damage control, confirming that is indeed what happened. But it doesn’t change the real problem, pointed out in the WU item, that they actually asked for prayers.

  • [] Believing widely doubted conspiracy theories satisfies some people’s need to feel special

    Figuring out why people believe ludicrous conspiracy theories is important enough in its own right – we want to know why people actually buy into flat Earth theory so we can teach the science in ways that will prevent that. But it becomes even more important when you realize that believing conspiracy theories is the first step in radicalization toward extremism.

  • [] What to do about hate crimes in Quebec City?

    Québec City is starting to get a reputation for the amount of hate crime there, and unfortunately, it’s one they deserve. This story contrasts the pathetic response of the authorities in Québec City to the numerous hate crimes over the last year with the stellar response to a single incident in California… which may have even prevented a future violent incident. Consider this: We don’t know if the shooting was Alexandre Bissonnette’s first hate crime. It’s very possible and even likely that he did some more low-level shit before the massacre. If the authorities had been taking hate crimes seriously, it might even have been possible to prevent the killings. But thus far, the authorities in Québec City aren’t showing any signs that they are taking hate seriously.

  • [] When Progressives Start Abandoning Free Speech

    This is a remarkable piece, that goes far beyond the immediate concerns its addressing to discuss broader concerns about attempts to stifle offensive speech and expression. Its primary concern is the current discussion of expanding existing hate speech legislation to cover things like racism or “promotion of terrorism”. But it could apply just as well to those who want to criminalize the wearing of the niqab. I think this piece should be a must-read, and I imagine I am going to be referring people to it in future.

  • [] Photo of Mississauga imam used in fake story about Hurricane Harvey

    A fake news story was created by a conservative site to stir up anger and hatred toward Muslims, claiming that a mosque was refusing to help victims of Hurricane Harvey if they weren’t Muslim. (More likely than not, this story was probably created to distract attention from the real story of Christian evangelical superstar Joel Osteen closing his church’s doors to all victims.) The whole story seems to have been completely fake – notably, the mosque’s name is just Arabic-sounding gibberish. But the hate it stirred up is real. The Canadian connection is that the photo of the mosque’s alleged imam was actually the real imam of the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga, Ibrahim Hindy. (Amusingly, though the story is supposed to be about a Texas mosque, the image of Hindy actually has the Global News logo in the bottom-right corner.) Hindy was part of the story of the Peel District School Board prayer accommodation kerfuffle earlier this year, for which he received death threats.

  • [] This Is How White Supremacy Can Take Over the Minds of Young White Males

    A look at the neuroscience behind radicalization; the primary inspiration may be racism, but the science here could apply to any kind of radicalization.

  • [] Muslim Association says New Mosque Rejected on Technicality

    You don’t usually see Christian privilege in such stark relief, but here’s a story of a mosque that was denied in St. John’s even though the zoning bylaw allows for, construction for a church, synagogue and multi-cultural centre among other types of gathering places. The bylaw didn’t mention a mosque specifically, so it was rejected. Yup, no bigotry going on there! [/sarcasm]

  • [] “James Perfectly Responds To Caller Who Cites “Political Correctness” During Debate” (Video: 6:23)

    This is beautiful. James O’Brien is one of the presenters on LBC radio in London (England), and when one of the callers on his show pulled a Jordan Peterson and tried to blame “political correctness” for stores removing gendered children clothing sections, O’Brien was having none of it. He demands the caller explains exactly what he means by “political correctness”, and refuses to let him weasel his way out of it. The caller goes in circles trying to justify it, but O’Brien’s final word on it is awesome.

  • [] Canada Sets International Example in LGBT Rights

    Canada gets a well-deserved cheer from Human Rights Watch for its actions in helping LGBT people escape the purge in Chechnya.

  • [] White Evangelicals Are on the Decline (and They Completely Deserve It)

    This is American data, but it’s too amusing to pass up. The kicker is that evangelicals once asserted that watering down their faith would be the death of them, but the opposite has turned out to be true; the more evangelicals double down on their hateful and ignorant beliefs, the more people they drive away.

  • [] The Rising Political Influence of the Catholic Right

    As outsiders, it’s hard to appreciate that within Roman Catholicism there are numerous factions, all struggling for dominance. But that appears to be the case, and there is a faction of hard-right, ultra-Orthodox Roman Catholics that are becoming cause for concern within the religion. They do not hold power within Roman Catholicism – more moderate factions do – but the radical factions have been an annoyance outside of the church. The have been aligning themselves with right-wing politics, and stirring up social conservatives. Michael Coren seems to be burning the last of his bridges with Canadian Catholics by calling them out for their hard right extremism.

  • [] Why Quebec’s Bill 62 is wrong: An alternative view on the niqab debate

    The NDP leadership candidates are tying themselves in knots trying to find a way to balance their obvious distaste for Québec’s proposed bigoted religious symbols ban, and the “Sherbrook Declaration” – a promise by the NDP that it will respect Québec’s unique culture and identity. But long-time NDP-er Chris Watson says that’s looking at the problem all wrong. None of this is about Quebec’s unique identity and culture, no matter how much the proponents want to pretend it is to stave off as much criticism as possible. It’s a simple matter of basic human rights.

  • [] Doctors denying ‘tubals’ to women under 30 opting out of motherhood

    When we think about the medical establishment trying to control women’s bodies, we usually think of abortion access. But it turns out that women face obstacles on many fronts.

  • [] Letter to the Editor: Refusal to Treat Patients Does Not Work in Any Country—Even If Misleadingly Labelled “Conscientious Objection”

    Christian Fiala and Joyce H. Arthur have been cited on Weekly Update before for their stance against the use of “conscientious objection” as a valid excuse for opting out of providing medical treatments. Here they respond to a study purporting to show that “conscientious objection” “works”.

  • [] Female Circumcision in Islam

    This article is odious. It purports to put a pretty spin on female genital mutilation (and male genital mutilation as an aside, though the article’s focus is FGM) by drawing a strict line between what it defines a FGM, and “Islamic female circumcision”. What’s the difference, you ask? Really just the amount of slicing that’s done. The article tries desperately to justify the procedure as scientifically legit by quoting dodgy science, and deflect criticisms like that it is intended to curb female sexuality. But it never addresses the real problems – doing it in children – and it really undermines itself when it complains about Jewish controlled media. It’s so bad the site had to publish a “clarification”.… which is really nothing more than an attempt to shirk blame for publishing such a disgusting article.

  • [] 5 Strange Problems You Face When You’re A Liberal Ex-Muslim

    This Cracked listicle actually comes mostly from Eiynah of Nice Mangos. It turns out being a liberal ex-Muslim critic of Islam is a weirder job than you’d think. If you try to speak to the left, you’ll be ignored. If you try to speak to the right, you’ll be celebrated as a hero, but you’ll be used to justify bigotry and intolerance.

Upcoming items

  • [] Is God a Figment of our Imagination?

    CFI Canada will be hosting a debate between Michael Shermer and Alister McGrath at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall.

Canadian Atheist’s Weekly Update depends on the submissions of readers like you. If you see anything on the Internet that you think might be of interest to CA readers, please take a minute to make a submission.

8 thoughts on “Weekly Update: to

  1. Randy

    “At the time there was a lot of skepticism about whether this was actually a problem, but now groups are coming out to confirm that it really is happening”

    Of course, nobody needs to sneak if they want to cut boys.

  2. Randy

    “How to Recognize a F@scist”

    Start by looking for those who censor and demonize others. It doesn’t matter if the others “deserve it”. This is where fascism starts.

  3. Randy

    “But it could apply just as well to those who want to criminalize the wearing of the niqab”

    I don’t remember anyone calling for criminalizing the niqab, but rather banning it (in a less-than-criminal offence) in certain contexts.

    But based on your comments, I assume you’d be OK with a government official showing up to work in a white KKK hood then? It’s just like a niqab, but white, with a point on top. It’s their religious right, and their free speech right.

    I wouldn’t. Because that is not the place for THEIR speech. They are speaking on behalf of the government, which can have no religion, and which ought not hate its own citizenry.

  4. Randy

    “This is American data, but it’s too amusing to pass up”

    Uh oh. Your racism and religious bigotry are showing.

  5. Randy

    “It’s a simple matter of basic human rights”

    There can be no right to substitute one’s own speech for one’s government’s speech (or indeed one’s employer’s speech even if it’s not the government). Yes, they really do get to decide on a dress code, and they really do get to ban (or require) various headgear and trinkets.

    To the extent our laws are not in line with this, they require updating.

    The main problem Quebec seems to get hung up in is treating Christianity differently, when it is the same category of nonsense as all the rest.

  6. Randy

    “It turns out being a liberal ex-Muslim critic of Islam is a weirder job than you’d think. If you try to speak to the left, you’ll be ignored.”

    No, you’ll be defamed by the corrupt SPLC as an extremist. In fact, they’ll do that EVEN IF you’re still a Muslim (witness Maajid Nawaz).

  7. Tim Underwood

    “Trump is every mistake evangelicals have made over the past couple of decades, all rolled into one.”

    This is so funny. It is true. Evangelicals, who are motivated to study their beliefs, are prone to fall away from tribal identities. Religious studies lead to more secular understandings. Religious practice leads to continued isolation. The same goes for political tribalism.

    Helping religious people learn about the formation of their particular faith is very useful for them. There is a recent publication of a book showing how the borrowing of the ‘Adventures of Marco Polo’ was used to provide the outline of the ‘Book of Mormon’. This study will provide a path to rationality for many members of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter day Saints, in the near future.


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