Weekly Update: to

by | February 23, 2019

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Logo of Humanists International]
Spiffy new look and name for the IHEU!
  • [] The all too ugly truth: Climate change is generational genocide

    The term “generational genocide” sounds a little extreme at first, because climate change denial isn’t about the active intent to wipe out future generations. Thing is, genocide doesn’t require everyone actively support it; it’s enough for a small group of assholes to proactively carry it out (and it’s a fact that religiously motivated conservatives are deliberately letting it happen to provoke the End Times), while the majority shrugs and lets it happen. With that understanding… the argument that we’re the perpetrators of a “generational genocide” makes terrifying sense.

  • [] What’s the Matter with Secularism?

    The article pretty much answers its title’s question, but doesn’t state it explicitly: It’s the “leadership”. That’s the problem. The people who are widely considered to be the “leadership” of atheism are virtually all uniformly terrible. Most atheists are, as the article notes, quite progressive, and don’t put up with any white nationalist or alt-right crap. It’s the “leaders”, and their relatively small pack of very loud supporters who are into that shit; they’re the problem.

  • [] Humanists International is our new name

    The “we” here is the International Humanist and Ethical Union, who now have a spiffy new name and website.

  • [] The magical thinking of guys who love logic

    This is one of a couple articles this week taking aim at the self-congratulatory bullshit too many atheists bury themselves in. I run into this all the time: people who insist that they’re “rationalists” and talk down to me like I’m a fool even on topics I have extensive expertise on. They’ve usually memorized a list of fallacies, and the moment you do anything that even remotely superficially resembles one of them, they’ll say the name like it’s a magical incantation, and declare themselves “the winner”… even though, quite often, the fallacy wasn’t even actually committed. Trying to engage with those people is an exercise in frustration and futility.

  • [] Canadian captured in Syria admits to role in gruesome ISIS execution videos

    We’ve suspected for a long time that the voice of that infamous grave-digging video was Canadian. There were lots of rumours too. But now it appears to be confirmed. Now comes the really hard question: Can the case against him be made in court?

  • [] Study blames YouTube for rise in number of Flat Earthers

    I mean… everyone assumed this. But the numbers reported are still surprising: of 30 subjects, 29 pointed directly to YouTube… and the 30th was “converted” by his kids… who were converted by YouTube. So it’s YouTube all the way down.

  • [] Father at centre of measles outbreak didn’t vaccinate children due to autism fears

    This is a tragic story, and one that’s been widely misunderstood. The father has been the target of wildly over-the-top rage under the assumption that he’s an anti-vaxxer… but he’s not. What happened is more complicated, and more tragic. Over a decade ago, at the height of the controversy about Andrew Wakefield and his infamous paper – before Wakefield’s manipulation of the data was revealed and he lost his licence – an ordinary father was frightened by the then-still-not-debunked link between vaccines and autism, and decided not to vaccinate his kids. Years later, the facts were in, Wakefield’s fraud was uncovered, and the vaccine–autism link was debunked, and the father – as one would expect – changed his beliefs. Unfortunately he never got around to belatedly vaccinating his kids. Which is perfectly understandable – it’s not something you usually think of until there’s a crisis. Then he and his kids were to go on a trip abroad earlier this year, so he did the obvious and sensible thing… took his kids to get vaccinated. Unfortunately for him, the vaccinations they got didn’t include the MMR vaccine… and again, it’s perfectly understandable that it never occurred to him that that was a problem: he was getting the recommended vaccinations for where he was going, so, good, right? After the trip, when the kids started showing symptoms, he was just as baffled as the doctors about what was going on. He even told the doctors he wasn’t sure if they’d been vaccinated against measles, but the doctors brushed his concern off. Yes, mistakes were made. But when you look at the whole story… these were innocent, understandable mistakes. The only monster here would be Andrew Wakefield. Way back, a decade or more ago, it wasn’t exactly ridiculous to think he might have been on to something – it took years and multiple investigations by multiple reporters and scientific bodies to figure out his scam. This father does not deserve to be burned at the stake for being fooled by a highly-motivated, credentialed, fraudster who had the stamp of authority of peer review, or for not thinking about vaccination after-the-fact… because who does? He’s as much a victim in all this as everyone else infected.

  • [] 2 men found guilty in Via Rail terror plot asking for new trial, argue jury improperly selected

    This case has been a goddamn mess. It wouldn’t surprise me if the judge fucked up – everyone else has in this case. But this may just be a desperation tactic. We’ll have to wait and see.

  • [] ‘That is so sick’: Sex charges in Canada against fugitive French priest stayed

    It’s hard not to be outraged at this story. But at the same time, it’s really not Ottawa’s fault, it’s France’s. Sure, maybe Ottawa deserves criticism for stringing the victims along for so long when they knew all along there was no hope of extradition. But there’s really nothing they could do.

  • [] Tools for thinking: Isaiah Berlin’s two concepts of freedom

    I’ve known of Isaiah Berlin’s two concepts of freedom for a long time, but I’d never actually read the essay. This really nice introduction by Maria Kasmirli has inspired me to set aside time to actually read it sometime. It looks like a far more complex idea than I’d thought.

  • [] B.C. pastor, son fined for $450K fraud over real estate investments

    Yet another set of crooks using religiosity to get their marks to trust them.

  • [] “To tackle sexual abuse, Catholic Church must match words with concrete action: survivor”(Audio: 25:37)

    Pretty decent interview with a survivor of priestly child abuse, and a priest, both talking critically about the actions – or lack thereof – that the Church is taking about the child abuse problem, and the document released last year discussing how they could do better.

  • [] Vast majority of Canadians say vaccines should be mandatory for school aged kids

    Damn these are some numbers to be proud of. 92% say vaccines are effective – 59% say very effective. Almost 2⁄3 don’t worry about side-effects. 70% are cool with mandatory vaccination, and 75% say people who don’t vaccinate are irresponsible. There’s a lot more good stuff in the results, too.

  • [] The Woman Who Plotted a Valentine’s Mass Murder Shares How the Internet Radicalized Her

    I’d forgotten about this story; it’s from a while ago. I’m not going to add any commentary to this story… it’s so insane, you really have to read the article all the way through. I’ll probably get the usual “but what does this have to do with atheism?” crap about it, but that’s answered in the article, too.

  • [] Governments should ban auto ads and put warning labels on cars

    I thought this was an amusingly cheeky and provocative suggestion. What do you think? I can’t imagine warning labels on cars will have much effect… but I wouldn’t mind seeing less car commercials: there are ridonkulously too many car ads for the frequency that people actually buy cars, and if auto makers didn’t have to spam ads, maybe the cars would be a little cheaper.

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