Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
 Kanye West’s Bastardization of “Free Thinkers”
Kanye West is only the latest celebrity to spout off bonkers ideas about politics, history, or science, and claim the right to do so under the label of being a “free thinker”. Jeet Heer calls bullshit on this appropriation of the term. The freedom in “free thought” is being free from oppression and coercion… not free from any solid connection to reality.
 Are A.I. churches and ‘tech faith’ cults the future of religion?
Anyone who’s studied religion knows that it’s a chameleon. It condemns, eschews, or disdains whatever it doesn’t need to survive, and embraces and claims ownership of anything it does. So it’s inevitable that religion will embrace technology, but it can be jarring because of our preconceptions that tech-savvy people are “smart”, and thus smart enough to be above religion. They’re not, as plenty of evidence shows.
 Parent considers class-action lawsuit against Catholic school board for collecting commission from McCarthy’s uniform company
Along with all the other controversies Catholic school boards across Ontario are dealing with, now they’re taking kickbacks for overpriced uniforms.
 “Dear God” by Zach Weinersmith (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)
The best blasphemies are the subtlest.
 Secular Humanism: A Movement in Canada? I Wish.
President of Secular Connexion Séculière Doug Thomas considers the challenges of building an effective, unified secular humanist movement in Canada. While he makes some decent points about the lack of a functional network of Canadian secular, humanist, atheist, or freethought groups, I don’t agree with his assessment that more inclusiveness is necessarily the answer.
 EXCLUSIVE: Canada’s plan for managing the return of ISIS fighters revealed in documents
The big news from Ottawa this week was the Conservatives freaking out over the way Canada handles returnees from Daesh. The unsatisfactory reality is there’s just not much authorities can do. Even if they are certain beyond all reasonable doubt that the returnee joined Daesh (or some similar group), there’s almost never any way to prove that they did anything for Daesh – let alone anything violent. It’s not illegal to join a terrorist group; it’s only illegal to provide material support to a terrorist group. With all the chaos and lack of information of what goes on in Daesh-controlled territories, it’s not easy to prove what someone did there.
 ‘Lost’ asteroid to fly between moon and Earth
Cool science story, and one can’t help but wonder if there’s any chance of a rendezvous with an asteroid that passes so close sometime in the not-too-distant future.
 Learning from Bertrand Russell in today’s tumultuous world
I checked out the Russell archive myself when I was at McMaster; Russell has always been a hero of mine.
 How the Religious Right is Shrinking Itself: Overzealous Christianity is Driving People Away
This is primarily about the US, but presumably it applies here too. It also strikes me as a “no, duh” observation, but I’ve read enough from religious writers to know that they still don’t get it: it’s not atheists or the lack of prayer in schools or fluoride in the water that’s driving people out of the churches, it’s the behaviour of the churches themselves. The most interesting thing in this article is the observation that while what they’re doing is making them spectacularly powerful now, it’s effectively ruining any chances they’ll have of being in power ever again.
 Supreme Court orders new trial for Alberta parents convicted in meningitis death of toddler
This is frustrating. This is the couple that let their kid die of meningitis while they tried an ineffective alt-med “treatment”… then went on a speaking tour promoting “natural health” products after their conviction. To be clear, the couple hasn’t been cleared of any charges. They’ll just have to go through the trial all over again. Consensus from everyone I’ve talked to is that they’ll just be convicted all over again. Still, what a bummer.
 Confessions from pedophile priest could help Quebec sex abuse lawsuit
It’s rare that one of these assholes shows any real conscience or decency, so that deserves acknowledgement. Then you read about how not just the Church, but also the cops were complicit in his crimes. Wow.
 Why every Canadian should attend a citizenship ceremony
Neat article with an interesting idea. I’ve actually been involved in the naturalization of a few people, but none who could be called “immigrants” (for example, I’m currently assisting someone who was a Canadian citizen until his father let his own citizenship lapse while he (the person I’m assisting) was still a minor… so he’s not “getting” a citizenship, he’s “getting it back”). I think actually seeing what people have to go through to get citizenship could be very educational for most natural-born Canadians.
 Alt-right in Montreal: Anti-fascists ramp up fight against neo-Nazis
This is an awesome piece that goes into exquisite detail about the hunt for neo-Nazi Gabriel Sohier Chaput. It also has a lot of commentary from the anti-fascists about the state of politics in Québec that’s worth reading.
 Polyamorous people worry precedent on Bountiful polygamy case will impact them
While most decent Canadians cheered the convictions of Winston Blackmore and James Oler, many were concerned that one of things they were charged for was polygamy. Granted, the patriarchical form of polygamy practised by Blackmore (and most religions in general) is demonstrably harmful… but there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with having multiple spouses. This article suggests that people in polyamorous relationships need not be concerned… but does advise caution.
 Queer activists disappointed by gay conviction expungement law
It’s like the Liberals can’t do anything decent without watering it down to disappoint.
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