Weekly Update: to

by | March 17, 2018

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] The covenant and the courts: Inside a Christian university’s law school crusade

    This piece is fantastic… as in complete fantasy. It is one of the most beautiful examples of a mind completely lost to apologetics that I’ve seen in a long time. What we have here is a piece trying to make the case that there’s nothing wrong with Trinity Western University’s discriminatory “community covenant”. The kettle logic is glorious: A religious institution totally has the right to enforce religious behavioural codes on students!… But the codes aren’t really being enforced!… But sometimes they are and that’s no big deal!… Look, there are LGBTQ and Muslim students!… Okay, but never mind that they’re technically in violation of the school’s rules!… We’re not all monsters, we just have a monstrous set of rules we are all forced to agree to follow, but hey, there’s totally nothing we can do to fix that, right?!

  • [] Psychiatrist who treated patients for their homosexuality had sex with male patients in his office

    It’s hard not to see a parallel between this and the cases involving abuse by priests.

  • [] The leaders of the American Women’s March have spoken: Jews are unwelcome on the feminist left

    There is an amusing scene near the end of Blazing Saddles (1974), where the townsperson, apparently having finally learned the lesson of tolerance, reluctantly agrees to share the town with the black people and the Chinese people (referring to both by slurs, naturally)… but then it becomes apparent that he doesn’t really get tolerance after all when he finishes off with: “But we don’t want the Irish!” The power of great comedy lies in how well it illustrates the absurdity and hypocrisy in the real world, and that line could have very easily been written with the people this article is about in mind. If you’re going to stand up for intersectionalism, you don’t get to pick and choose which groups you intersect with.

  • [] Behind the religious controversy and unfilmable status of A Wrinkle in Time

    I have neither read the book nor seen any of the film adaptations (though I certainly will, if I find the time), so I am curious to hear what those who have think about this idea: Is the Christian religiosity so central to A Wrinkle in Time that any attempt to retell the story without it will fail? Does it add that much to it?

  • [] B.C. judge rejects challenge in polygamy case by two men with 29 wives between them

    It’s been a long and circuitous journey, with prosecutors shirking their duty, defence attorneys bungling paperwork, and activists nervously looking on to see if the polygamy law will survive a Charter challenge, but now it all seems to be coming to a conclusion.

  • [] Everything we think about the political correctness debate is wrong

    In last week’s Update, there were a couple of items debunking the popular perceptions that “political correctness has run amok” and “universities are suppressing (right-wing) speech”. As good as those items were, I may have jumped the gun a bit, because this piece is equal to the sum of all those pieces and more. It is full of references and data to show that the bullshit claims being made primarily by right-wing pundits are just that: bullshit. The reality is that speech is freer now than it’s ever been, and if it doesn’t feel like it, it’s just because whatever you’re saying is being drummed out by the “free market of ideas”.

  • [] Time to eliminate publicly funded Catholic schooling in Ontario

    Ontario is in a strange place with regards to public Catholic school funding. On the one hand, support for ending the practice – which has always been in the ~70% range anyway – is higher than ever before. On the other hand, the chaos on the PC side, including most recently the hijacking of the party by the deplorable contingent, personified by Doug Ford, changes the calculus completely. Prevailing wisdom is that ending the separate school system isn’t something that supporters care enough about to switch their vote for… but opponents do. In other words, if you were leaning toward Party A, and then Party B announced a promise to end the separate school system, that probably wouldn’t be enough to make you change your vote… but ardent Catholics would change their vote away from a party that made that promise. It may only mean a vote change of ~5%… but in a race as close as this is expected to be, throwing away even that much is suicidal. So even though support for ending separate schools in Ontario is higher than ever, I don’t see it being an issue in the upcoming election.

  • [] PC Leader Doug Ford promises to scrap the Liberals sex-ed curriculum

    And the race to the bottom begins.

  • [] PC Panel 13 (Part 1) – Lawrence Krauss: Allegations & Responses”(Audio: 1:20:48)

    This is a remarkable discussion which should be required curriculum for anyone who wants to seriously consider themselves a skeptic. The topic is ostensibly Lawrence Krauss and the accusations against him, but the focus of the discussion is on the believably of the claims, and the behaviour of prominent so-called skeptics in response to the accusations: spoiler alert, a lot of them don’t conduct themselves all that well.

  • [] The social conservatives have taken back the PC party. Now they’re coming for Ontario

    It’s an open “secret” that Doug Ford couldn’t have taken the PC leadership without the support of social conservatives and the far right. And it’s just as widely known that Ontario conservatives whose heads are not up their asses are terrified: they’ve seen where this kind of thing leads. The parallels to Donald Trump are already being made. And Doug Ford may have a real chance, not because he’s all that popular, but rather because our broken voting system may give him the prize solely because the sensible vote is split between the Liberals and the NDP and other options. For the time being, progressives worry that all the gains made under the last few years of Liberal rule – however slight – may be endangered.

  • [] What’s the relationship between democracy and populism? It’s complicated.

    I’ve been wary of using the term “populism” to describe the phenomenon we’ve observed in the last few years of the far-right growing in power and boldness: while it is not incorrect the technical sense, it isn’t quite what we’re trying to describe. The phenomenon does include a populist aspect, but it is really less about a rejection of an elite and more about a rejection of the ideas we have based modern, secular society on: such as tolerance and diversity. The elites being rejected are just a strawman proxy for the real agenda. Getting a clear understanding of the terms we’re using, and using them precisely, is important.

  • [] Canada ranks seventh in World Happiness Report, Finland first

    Canada has always ranked between 4th and 7th in the report, since its inception. (The top 10 countries are so close that there is a lot of jumping around from year to year.) The real news here is that, for the first time, a separate ranking was done for immigrants specifically. And in that ranking, Canada scored 4th. So what’s that the xenophobes keep saying that multiculturalism is a failed experiment because immigrants don’t integrate?

  • [] The Intellectual We Deserve

    There have been a number of pieces critical of professional crank Jordan Peterson, and most are dismissed by his worshippers for not giving fair representation to Peterson’s own views. Usually that’s fair, but it won’t work for this piece. This piece quotes Peterson extensively, from both of his books, multiple videos, and more. It goes into meticulous depth to provide the full context for all quotes, and works hard to give the most charitable interpretations to Peterson’s words. And with all that evidence, the conclusion is inescapable: it’s all either nonsense or cliché.

  • [] La Phalange: The rise of a fascist fight club in Canada

    Can you imagine what would happen if a Muslim organization that openly advocated violence started running martial training camps in Canada? The mere thought of that idea just made Ezra Levant’s balls burst in excitement and terror. But there are multiple far-right and islamophobic organizations doing such training in Canada, from the III%ers actually doing military-style drills with guns in Alberta, to this: a far-right Fight Club.

  • [] Sikh Perspective Too Often Missing From Canadian Coverage Of Sikhs

    Weekly Update has featured several articles pointing out the anti-Muslim bias in Canadian media – often with data – and of course Canadian media bias against atheism is well-known and well-documented on this site. But before now I admit that I never noted the bias against Sikhs. This week has provided some damning evidence of the trend.

  • [] The number of ex-Muslims in America is rising

    Determining the number of adherents of different religions is always a tricky task, and it is widely believed that the number of believers is extremely over-estimated; or in other words: there are probably a lot more atheists than we think. The number one religion skewing the numbers has to be Islam. I have hope that in the next few decades there will be some sort of trigger that will spark a massive cultural shift, where closeted Muslims will suddenly feel emboldened to step out into the light.

  • [] The truth behind the story engulfing Canada’s Sikh politicians

    I am going to have to date myself here, but I have an admission to make: when the “scandal” about Jagmeet Singh “refusing to denounce terrorism” during Terry Milewski’s bizarrely aggressive profile interview of Singh, I was frankly baffled. I have known several Sikhs very well – turns out there are a lot of them in engineering – and I have never even got a whiff of any support for terrorism or violent extremism in their community. The Air India bombing happened before my time, so my entire life experience has been in an era where the bombing and the genocide and the violence was all ancient history. Digging up that history seemed gratuitous. And now that ancient history is all over the news in a massive international scandal. What gives?! Where is all this coming from? Aaaaand… now the answer is clear: Narenda Modi, the Indian Donald Trump, is digging up this ancient history to create divisiveness, that his Hindu fundamentalist faction can capitalize on. Don’t be suckered into taking sides in this spat, atheists.

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