Weekly Update: to

by | February 2, 2019

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Screen capture of a scene with two cartoon characters sitting on chairs, one in a Reddit shirt on the left, and one in an 8chan shirt on the right. In the middle a third character is asking both: “what do you actually believe?”]
Screen capture from “The Card says ‘Moops’”.
  • [] “The Alt-Right Playbook: The Card Says Moops” (Video: 18:15)

    Ian Danskin of Innuendo Studios has been making video essays about discourse and the differing rhetorical tactics of the political right and left, and they are brilliant. But this one may be the most brilliant yet.

  • [] Steven Pinker’s fake enlightenment: His book is full of misleading claims and false assertions

    Pinker is one of those darlings of (certain segments of) the atheist community – and woe be unto they who dare criticize him. One of Pinker’s key arguments is the “argument from improvement”: basically, we’re much better off now than at any point in history, therefore it is foolish to complain about the status quo… and not just foolish; you’re actively an enemy of modern civilization if you don’t agree that it’s wonderful. Furthermore, Pinker’s “logic” goes, since our situation has improved over time, it’s always going to improve, so only fools or enemies of the status quo worry about negative futures. Yes, I’m aware how ridiculous that reasoning sounds. Several scholars have taken Pinker to task for his sloppy logic and crappy grasp of history, but now he’s being taken to task for not even properly representing his sources.

  • [] “Bread Alone” by Doug Bayne & Trudy Cooper (Oglaf)

    If you ignore that it involves a god who’s playing trumpet while tripping balls, this strip makes a cogent point. I doubt believers would be so keen on prayer if God actually talked back.

  • [] Quebec asking school boards how many employees wear religious symbols

    This is so weird. The Québec government called around to school boards asking how many of their employees wear religious accessories… as if that were something that school boards keep records of! Then Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette threw a huff when he found out that the boards had told journalists about the government’s weird and creepy behaviour… as they absolutely should in an open democracy. Especially when the requests were made in such a shady manner – by direct phone calls rather than official notices. After some vaguely threatening comments about how the school boards should “collaborate” and “not antagonize” the government, Jolin-Barrette finally said none of it even mattered anyhow, because the CAQ is going ahead with its stupid ban anyway, regardless of any facts. See? Weird.

  • [] The Far-Right Grassroots Movement Taking Over Canada

    I haven’t been following the Canadian Yellow Vests drama, because I was wary of the group right from the start. I wasn’t impressed by the fact that their symbol was “borrowed” from a French left-ish movement; it wouldn’t be the first time the far right has appropriated leftist ideas. The Canadian Yellow Vests struck me as too much of a populist thing… and that usually spells trouble. And sure enough, now we’re learning the group is being run by a dishonest, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, racist asshole, and every time the group actually shows up in public, it’s a shit show of violent, anti-immigrant rhetoric.

  • [] Two years after Québec mosque killings, Islamophobia continues to rise

    We really need to admit that we have a serious islamophobia problem, Canada. Deep in this article is an unnerving fact. On the Internet’s more notorious neo-Nazi hate website, which has denizens from both the US and Canada, as well as other countries, it turns out that the Canadians were the source of more islamophobia than the Americans. That jibes with my own experience, and with what I’ve written before: islamophobia is a distinctly Canadian flavour of hate.

  • [] Searching for answers, two years after the mosque massacre

    This last week marked the second anniversary of the Québec mosque shooting, and this piece by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network’s Amira Elghawaby considers what that anniversary means to Canada… if anything. Very little has been done toward preventing another attack… if anything. Buried deep in this story is yet another tragic fact about the aftermath of the mosque shooting: for the past two years, one of the victim’s widows has been fighting to get compensation from the province’s victim compensation board, and she was actually scheduled to go to court on the anniversary of her husband’s murder. Luckily someone in the bureaucracy noticed and realized how amazingly fucked up that was, so they hastily granted her compensation just days ago.

  • [] How to have productive disagreements about politics and religion

    This isn’t a bad article, but don’t be fooled by the deceptive title. There is some very good information in there about how beliefs and opinions are held, and why simply arguing the facts rarely works. But it doesn’t actually offer a real solution. It does offer interesting food for thought, though.

  • [] Response to Quebec mosque killings stands in stark contrast to arrest of teen in Kingston

    This is an absolutely damning piece. It compares the Québec mosque shooting case to the arrest last week of a 16 year-old wannabe terrorist, and makes several very good points about the wildly different ways the two cases were handled. I and many others called bullshit at the time when the government gave its silly justification for why Bissonnette wouldn’t be charged with terrorism; looks like we were right. Another article on the same site does a similar comparison, this time comparing the wannabe terrorist case to the case of the (non-Muslim) kids arrested in Milton a few weeks ago. Let me be absolutely clear about my position here: I do not oppose laying terrorism charges on extremist Muslims planning to carry out acts of violence intended to terrorize Canadians in the name of their ideology. I just insist that if non-Muslims plan to carry out acts of violence intended to terrorize Canadians in the name of their ideologies, then they should be called terrorists, too, and charged in the same way.

  • [] How journalists can rebut Trump’s ‘fake news’ claims

    This is an absolutely fascinating piece that proposes a re-imagining of the way we do journalism. It’s about using the “fourth frame” in “solutions journalism”, but in plain English, the idea is simply to put more focus on “what now?” in news stories. Today, news stories typically tell you what happened… but what should happen next is rarely ever mentioned. And the interesting observation is that reality-denying assholes crying “fake news” love to quibble over what happened, and rarely want to have a serious discussion about should happen next – they prefer vague hand-wavey “Mexico will pay for it” bullshit that won’t stand up to real scrutiny.

  • [] The Four Horsemen review – whatever happened to ‘New Atheism’?

    Yikes. Several recent retrospectives have analyzed the New Atheist phenomenon recently, and New Atheism hasn’t come out looking all that good in most of them. This one really makes the whole thing feel cringe-worthy and embarrassing.

  • [] Quebec Premier Francois Legault Says There Is No Islamophobia In Province

    When I first read this headline, I swear I thought it was from a Beaverton article. Even when I realized that it was a legit news source, I thought there had to be some context to justify it. There’s no way Legault could be so pants-crappingly stupid as to deny the existence of islamophobia in Québec on the 2nd anniversary of the mosque shooting – which, let me remind readers, happened after the mosque had already been targeted by multiple anti-Muslim hate crimes, and even after the attack, the imam’s car was torched, and bigots conspired to deny the grieving families the ability to even bury their loved ones in Canada. Hell, the day after Legault’s comments, an asshole was arrested for praising Bissonnette and expressing hate for Muslims in a Facebook video.

  • [] Toronto man pleads guilty to trying to join ISIS

    It’s been pointed out a number of times that it is extraordinarily hard to stick charges on someone who left Canada to fight with Daesh. With all the chaos in Daesh-controlled territory, getting solid evidence of anything is difficult. And it’s not like the local Daesh authorities are going to be any help. But it turns out that it is possible to actually got those charges to stick, because people who want to join Daesh are generally pretty fucking stupid to begin with. So sooner or later they’ll give you the evidence you need.

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