Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[The classic “Batman slaps Robin in the face” meme, with Robin saying “Atheism is a religio―” before being cut off by Batman’s slap. Batman gives a dictionary definition of religion, complete with pronunciation guide, that describes it as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods”.]

This is not actually the comic where Batman comes out as atheist, but wouldn’t it be awesome?

  • [] Flat-Earth faithful flock to Edmonton for international conference

    CBC doesn’t always do a good job of science reporting, but there were a couple points in this piece that I actually laughed out loud. My favourite was when they’re quoting the “professional flat-Earther”: She said the round-Earth “lie” is a money-making operation — though how it makes agencies like NASA more money than a flat Earth would is unclear. “I believe that we are the centre of everything, and we live in a protected, enclosed, most likely, system,” said Steere, who made sure to mention the fact that she isn’t crazy.

  • [] Douglas Todd: B.C. economist in grim battle against deceptive scholarship

    For all that’s been written about the threat of “predatory journals” in academia, I haven’t seen much about the likely reality that the problem isn’t the journals, but rather the academics who exploit them. There may entire faculties out there just packed with academics whose only professional work has been in pay-to-play journals.

  • [] Final push to repeal Canada’s blasphemy law

    The Senate is going into its summer recess, so now is a good time to make sure that when they get back to work, they’re flooded with pressure to get off their asses and pass C-51 – the bill that will repeal the blasphemy law (among other bad laws). The BCHA is leading the charge.

  • [] No, Canada is not alone in facing Saudi Arabia

    The most infuriating thing about the diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia has to have been the complete lack of international support. Where are all of our allies? Where are all the allegedly bold defenders of human rights? Well, the claim here is that our allies haven’t really left us out in the cold… they’ve only appeared to leave us out in the cold while the apply diplomatic pressure on the down low. I call bullshit. This was as easy a diplomatic “challenge” as you’ll get: one side calls for the release of a political prisoner in relatively mild language, the other side goes fucknut-crazy and begins a process of destabilizing trade and diplomatic ties… gee, wonder which side to support? The deflections that Canada isn’t perfect on the human rights front or that it’s actually selling weapons to the offenders are just bullshit whataboutery. If our international community is supposed to be in support of basic human rights, this should have been an easy choice. That they didn’t stand openly when they were most needed is to their great shame.

  • [] A year after the trans-rights bill, fear and loathing run rampant

    Arshy Mann reports on the same talk where Barbara Kay claimed to be quoting Voltaire but was actually quoting a neo-Nazi. Lindsay Shepherd appeared, too, but had nothing of substance to say.

  • [] Saudi Arabia is using Canada to test a wobbling international order

    There is a lot in this piece that is probably spot on. Bin Salman probably was emboldened to try this stunt because he sensed weakness in the West due to the rise of populism and the erosion of concern about fundamental rights and freedoms that comes with it. There’s really no way to assess its outcome other than as yet another blunder among bin Salman’s growing tally. But even while he may have made a complete ass of himself and only made Saudi Arabia’s international position that much weaker, he may yet have still managed to show that the fracturing of the West is well underway.

  • [] Union to ‘vigorously’ defend any teacher who defies province by teaching current sex-ed curriculum

    The Conservatives’ decision to scrap the sex ed curriculum is idiotic, on every level – that’s really not up for debate at this point: even the majority of their supporters didn’t want it; it was entirely about appeasing a very small hard-line base. What is most surprising, though, is the line of opposition that has been growing against the move. It’s not just experts in education anymore… pretty much everyone with a stake in the decision is banding together to oppose the government. At this point, Ford and his cronies have to be desperately seeking a face-saving out, because there’s simply no way they can seriously believe they can win this fight.

  • [] Heat: the next big inequality issue

    Over the past week there were quite a few pieces (example) pointing out that climate change is not only happening (I mean, duh, right?), but it may be worse than scientists feared. But this issue may be overlapping with income inequality to become yet another social justice issue… one that we can expect the usual denialism about sooner or later.

  • [] TWU abandons mandatory covenant

    Is there anyone who is surprised by this? As Bushfield alludes to in his comments, this move pretty much puts a flashing spotlight on the bullshit in TWU’s arguments all through the case. Turns out they really can run an evangelical school without requiring every student to abide by a restricted evangelical behavioural code. Turns out they really weren’t going to give up on their law school if they couldn’t force the students to stay in the closet.

  • [] Conservative Convention 2018: Abortion, Supply Management Up For Debate

    From what I’ve heard, the “pre-born” resolution has Brad Trost’s fingerprints all over it – it’s not explicitly attributed to him, but it apparently came from his jurisdiction (well, former jurisdiction – he lost the primary there). But there is more than one anti-abortion resolution, and apparently they’re pretty high up on the agenda, making them almost certain to be discussed.

  • [] DC Comics Confirms Batman Is An Atheist

    I’ve never been a big Batman fan, but he’s pretty popular among atheists. Apparently Batman’s religion has always been a question among fans, who have rabidly studied every panel of the comics to try to suss out his beliefs, as comic book fans are wont to do. The consensus seemed to be that Batman was a lapsed Episcopalian or Catholic – probably inheriting the former from his father and the latter from his mother. Turns out there are very few atheist superheroes. I count only a dozen or so, and I only recognize Wolverine (though he’s only a “sometimes atheist”), Colossus (though he’s marked as “former”), Booster Gold (who I mostly know as the only Esperanto-speaking superhero), Ant-Man (not Scott Lang from the film, but rather Hank Pym, who is played by Michael Douglas in the film), Wasp (Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer in the film), not Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly)), Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards (from the Fantastic Four, though apparently his atheism varies from author to author), and Savage Dragon. Atheist comic book characters are so rare that even the hero named “The Atheist” (whose superpower is “voracious and uncompromising logic that lets him cut through any problem like a scalpel”) is not an atheist.

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