Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Let’s not turn back the clock on sex education

    It’s supported by science, widely popular, and carefully crafted to not only take the best educational standards into account, but even to consider the concerns of parents. So naturally, that idiot Doug Ford wants to scrap it to score cheap political points with his fundamentalist base.

  • [] Many Canadians say science isn’t so important in their daily lives, poll finds

    This is a terrible, almost comically provocative headline, heading a terrible, almost comically provocative story. This article should be used in a class as teaching material on how author motivations can horrifically slant a story. For example, Mortillaro’s core thesis is that 46% of Canadians think science is only “somewhat important” and 5% think it is “not important at all” – making a point of saying Canada’s numbers in this regard “jump up” from the global average (which is only half true: the “somewhat important” numbers tick up from 41%, but the “not important at all” numbers go down from 7%) – and thus we’re falling behind in science education and encouragement. What Mortillaro fails to mention is that 44% of Canadians think science is “very important”… which means that in actually, 90% of Canadians think science is “somewhat” or “very” important… which is above the global average of 87%. The rest of the survey data bears this out: Canadians love science, are very enthusiastic about it, and want to learn more. But I guess misery sells more papers than hope.

  • [] The Free Speech Grifters

    This article created quite a stir this week for introducing the term “free speech grifter” to describe the people who make a lot of fuss about how important free speech and how much it’s being threatened … yet only selectively so, defending certain political viewpoints while actively calling for the suppression of others. The reason I love it so much is for it’s very blunt assessment of the bullshit claimed by the “free speech warriors”/“status quo warriors”/eponymous “grifters”. (Another reason I love it so much is that I used the same term myself – “grift” – to describe the racket last year. Great minds think alike!)

  • [] What does a scientist look like? Children are drawing women more than ever before

    This is a neat corollary to the story about interest in science. Basically, kids were just asked to “draw a scientist”… and nothing else. Over five decades, what they drew changed in a delightful way. (Personally, I love the mad scientist-style character in the article!)

  • [] The case for keeping Faith Goldy, and others, out of our universities

    Sometimes the answers to complex, thorny problems are jaw-droppingly simple: all you need to do is look at the problem from a different angle. Right-wing agitators have been arguing that campuses that won’t let them speak are censorious (and getting rich off of it)… but hang on a sec. Rather than asking why a university wouldn’t allow someone like Faith Goldy (or Milo Yiannopoulos, etc.) speak… let’s instead as why they would.

  • [] Hate speech leads to violence. Why would liberals defend it?

    I am astounded by the number of so-called freethinkers who rail against hate speech laws. The calculus is so obvious on this: Only the most rabid extremists believe there should be no restrictions on public speech (we can’t allow the proverbial shouting of “fire” in a crowded theatre, for example). Hate speech is literally defined in law is speech likely to cause harm (in fact, in Canadian law it is literally defined as advocat[ing] or promot[ing] fucking genocide (emphasis and expletives added by me). What sane, rational argument against banning that could there possibly be? The only “logic” I’ve heard argued against it is that because the actual harm is not done by the promoter of hate, and those carrying it out are choosing of their own accord to do it without being forced by the promoter, the promoter is not actually guilty of the harm themselves. But how stupid do you have to be to actually buy that argument? By that same “logic”, anyone who hires a hitman to murder someone else isn’t guilty of a crime either… because the hitman has the freedom to actually carry out the murder requested by the solicitor or not. “Hey man, I just encouraged (or paid for) the harming of this person or group. I didn’t actually do it, and no matter how much I encouraged (or paid for) it, the perpetrators are the ones who actually made the choice to do it. My hands are clean!”

  • [] News Release – SCC Cases (Lexum)

    This is pretty awesome. Starting this week, the Supreme Court is releasing plain-language “Case in Brief” summaries of its reasons for judgment. Sucks that that they’re using sites like Twitter and Facebook to do it (especially the latter, given this week’s “#DeleteFacebook” uprising), but the intention is still good. This comes just in time for the upcoming TWU decision!

  • [] Patti Bacchus: Will we ever stop funding private schools?

    The argument made in this article is thorough, damning, and hard to dispute. But like the author, I despair of change happening any time soon.

  • [] It’s official — the Harper government muzzled scientists. Some say it’s still happening

    This is just confirmation of what we already knew, but it’s damning. The most frustrating part is that – as has been mentioned in WU before – it hasn’t really ended yet.

  • [] Youthquake? Public attitudes to youth civic engagement in Canada

    Right now there’s a big kerfuffle in the States involving underage students rising up against the corrupt government over guns. The folks at Abacus Data thought that made for a good excuse to ask about youth engagement in politics in Canada. I’m curious what the freethinker stand on this is, and whether it’s any different from the general Canadian position.

  • [] Free speech isn’t fair. So what?

    I don’t like the idea of only presenting one side of an argument, so this article serves as a rebuttal to the Uyehara “grifters” piece. But with respect to Gerson, I think she completely missed the point. I don’t believe Uyehara (or anyone) is saying free speech is a grift; they’re saying certain people are using free speech as a grift. All cons involve the promise of something that is good and desirable, and in many cases the thing actually exists… but what the con-person is selling is not the thing itself, but rather an inferior or fraudulent version (or, quite often, nothing at all!). The “free speech” the grifters are pushing is not really free speech, but a warped version of it.

  • [] 31 Questions For Atheists

    This is a bit of a blast from the past for me – I actually remember this survey from years ago (though I never took it, and won’t bother now). Godless Mom has dredged up these (somewhat silly) questions and reconsidered them, and I thought that was a great idea. I think I’ll be doing that on my own blog and sharing my answers with her. You should give it a shot, too! Periodically reexamining the fundamentals of your (non-)belief is a good exercise.

  • [] “The Last Episode”(Audio: 20:08)

    This is going to be very hard to listen to, but I think everyone should. Folks, we have a serious problem in our movement, and in our community, and we need to get serious ourselves about addressing it. Every Wendy Marsman that gets run out of the movement for daring to challenge the elites and their fanbase pulls us further away from the lofty ideals the movement is supposed to be about. Denying there’s a problem does not stand rational muster anymore. Shrugging it off as “not that big a deal” makes you part of the problem, in much the same way as ignoring the flames by saying “it’s just a small issue” or “it’ll sort itself out” makes you as much at fault for a house burning down as the arsonists themselves. We still need a movement that is open-minded, rational, and inclusive of everyone willing to work towards a better world built on reason and evidence. If that’s not this movement, then fine, I’ll leave it too. But I hold out hope that despite the rot in our midst, we can become better.

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2 thoughts on “Weekly Update: to

  1. It says the SCC briefings will be listed on ther website the day of release. That’s where I’ll go. Facebook and Twitter is just to reach a wider and younger audience. This is overdue. People are always railing about the liberal justice system in comment sections. Now at least they can easily find out what they are talking about.

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