Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Photo of Jen Gunter.]

It takes a hell of a scientist to write a study parody that’s still more scientifically rigorous than its subject.

  • [] Lobbyists Are Trying To Rob A Generation Of Their Right To Sex-Ed

    This piece points out several things about the sex ed dust-up in Ontario that are worth highlighting. The first is that there is real and abundant evidence that good sex ed – such as the 2015 curriculum – actually saves kids from real harms… which means that what the Ford government is doing is putting kids in harm for claims that are easily shown to be bullshit. The second is that not only are the government’s claims that this is something that people wanted false, they are massively false. Basically no one except a tiny group of regressive social conservatives and transphobic assholes wants the 2015 curriculum scrapped.

  • [] Catholic schools and human rights: A deep contradiction

    I mean, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who reads CA. But I don’t think it’s something that’s said often enough or loud enough. I’ll grant that arguing for abolishing the Catholic system on cost grounds is working out well, but I can’t help but wonder how much more effective our campaigns would be if we made a point of highlighting the human rights issues.

  • [] I reviewed all 161 of GOOP’s wellness products for pseudoscience. Here’s what I found.

    This is so awesome; I’ve been waiting all week to put this item in the Update. I mean, it’s such an obvious thing to do, in hindsight, but Dr. Gunter deserves some kind of award for not just thinking it up, but actually do it. And the results manage to be both surprising and not at all surprising, and hilarious. And Gunter’s write-up is glorious. “Quackatorium”. Heh.

  • [] Canadian Charities Balk At Proposed Liberal Tax Changes

    Called it. But then, who didn’t know beforehand that the Liberals were going to screw this up?

  • [] Tories would not challenge proposed Quebec ban on religious symbols in the workplace, MP says

    I’m not the least bit surprised at either the Conservative Party’s lack of interest in defending Canadians’ rights, or in their transparent ploy to court the racist/xenophobe vote. I am, however, mildly surprised to learn that even Harper wasn’t as smarmy as Scheer on this issue.

  • [] Chiropractor crackdown: College gives ultimatum on misleading health claims

    Okay, on the one hand, I mean, it’s good that they’re actually cracking down on some of the bullshit chiropractors are claiming they can cure. It’s obviously a case of some of them realizing that their colleagues are going to ruin a good scam by going too far with their claims – the article even notes that most of the complaints came from other chiropractors – but still, good of them to try to rein in some of the worst of their profession. But I was going to make an observation, and I’m amused to see that the professor they quoted at the end beat me to it: [I]f the college truly cracks down on unsupported claims about the benefits of subluxation treatment, what they will be left with is a profession that practices a form of spinal physiotherapy… .

  • [] “Grievance Studies with HJ Hornbeck”(Audio: 1:05:30)

    I thought I was pretty well-informed about the Sokal hoax – I’d even read the infamous paper – and I’d assumed from the media coverage that the Boghossian hoaxes were essentially the same thing… just carried out much more ineptly, and it was that ineptness that was the problem with them. It turns out that there was so much more going on here. This is not a story of ineptitude (though there is plenty of that). This is a story of deceit, and of a far right political agenda. This podcast is amazing; I’d never heard of HJ Hornbeck before this, but Cory Johnston is always an entertaining interview host, and this chat just crackles. And it’s packed with insight and evidence. If you can spare the time, I highly recommend giving it a listen.

  • [] Evangelicals deeply confused about core Christian beliefs

    US data, but my own experience suggests the same patterns are generally true in Canada. I can’t help but be amused at the piece’s pearl-clutching conclusion: The evangelical world is in great danger of slipping into irrelevance when it casually forgets the Bible’s doctrine. I mean, it’s like, dude, have you seen who evangelicals put in the White House and continue to overwhelmingly support? The horse has left the barn, dude.

  • [] Liberals move to end solitary confinement of federal prisoners

    This has been a long time coming, and it’s good to see the government finally taking some action on this problem. But the question is… what action, exactly, have they taken? Are these new “structured intervention units” just solitary by another name? As of writing this, it’s not yet clear – rights groups haven’t yet had enough time to properly study the bill or question the government about it. That’s easy to understand, given the Liberals’s track record of bungling “easy” legislation. But for now, the mood is: “cautiously optimistic”.

  • [] A helmet exemption is not a religious accommodation

    Sigh, where to even begin. This piece is representative of the attitudes of a lot of atheists, and I’m frankly baffled as to why. First of all, just focusing on this article, it’s wrong. Like, all wrong. Right from the title. I mean, that’s self-evident. But then it goes on to make it all about Doug Ford, as if he is off on some weird stroll out in la-la land because no one who’s not a shit-ball like he is would ever think of doing something like this. Except… of course… several other jurisdictions already have. And none of them have Doug Ford. Then it goes on to make the mind-numbingly stupid argument that everyone getting upset about all this inevitably gets to: Why not apply the exemption to all motorcyclists and not just those wearing turbans? I mean… I don’t even know how to respond to something that stupid – I want to make a snarky remark, but I feel so sorry for the person who takes that argument seriously that it feels too much like punching down, and I can’t bring myself to do it.

  • [] Charles Taylor slams CAQ plan to ban religious symbols for some civil servants

    Well I kinda knew this was coming the moment Legault tried to justify his idiotic ban with the Bouchard–Taylor report. But there’s actually quite a bit of interesting stuff in the article I wasn’t expecting. Such as: Taylor saying Bouchard peer-pressured him into signing off on some of the dumber parts of the report, and Taylor’s observations about the future of this “debate” – particularly his last comment.

  • [] Quebec’s ban on religious symbols based on an outdated ideal

    This piece infuriates me, and not only because of the piece itself. I mean, a fair of chunk of my ire is certainly aimed squarely at the piece, because the writer doesn’t have a fucking clue what she’s writing about. Not only does she conflate secularism and laïcité as if they’re the same thing, she doesn’t even get the history of either correct. She says: the policy itself does not originate from racism or xenophobia. Completely false. Laïcité was explicitly formulated in terms of French nationalism and a rejection of multiculturalism (which they referred to at the time as “cosmopolitanism”). But I can’t hold her completely responsible for her ignorance, because this is exactly what the racists and xenophobes are trying to do: conflate secularism and laïcité so they can use secularism’s respectability and reasonableness to sneak laïcité’s intolerance and incoherence into the conversation.

  • [] Oblate religious order ready to settle out of court with Quebec victims of priests’ sexual abuse

    Once again, both the sheer numbers and the appalling callousness boggle the mind. Once again, this wasn’t just “a few bad apples”; this was a systemic problem, with abusers and enablers. But I can’t help but doubt that it’s really “solved” as “amicably” as the article suggests. Because a lot of the victims were coerced into silence not just by the church representatives, but also by their community and elders. Has there really been healing? Or just a new flavour of pressure to be silent about the suffering?

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