Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Big Religion May Have Gotten Too Much Credit for the Evolution of Modern Society

    There’s a lot about this item that’s very cool. First, the headline finding that pro-social religion didn’t create civilization, but probably came later, is pretty huge. It has generally been thought that when humanity was moving from small villages to big cities and complex cultures, pro-social religion was necessary to create and maintain social order. “Pro-social religion” is (very basically) religion that says “God says be (socially) good (as in, don’t murder, rape, or steal from your neighbours) or you’ll be punished”, as opposed to religion that says “God really doesn’t care what you do so long as you provide the right sacrifices and offerings”. So the thinking went that it was the commandments to be (socially) good and the fear of divine punishment that allowed big, complex societies to be built. But now it appears that pro-social religion came after big, complex societies: religion didn’t cause big societies… it was invented by big societies, probably to maintain them and their growth. If that finding holds up, it will be a game-changer in our understanding of religion’s role in human history. That’s cool, but what might even be cooler about this new paper is that it is one of the first major results of the Seshat project – a huge, open, big-data anthropological venture that could potentially revolutionize the field, and set an example for other fields as well.

  • [] Pope Francis wants psychological testing to prevent problem priests. But can it really do that?

    What? The Catholic Church isn’t using evidence-based solutions? Inconceivable! [/sarcasm]

  • [] Social justice a strong motivator for local atheist groups

    Every time Canadian Atheist posts about a social justice story, idiots comment on it asking “what does this have to do with atheism”. This. This is your answer. This is what makes the atheist community move. This is what atheists actually care about, when the rubber hits the road. You don’t get involvement and action by just talking about why there are obviously no gods, or dumping on religion. You get people involved by focusing on social justice issues. This is what makes the atheist community get shit done, and this is what we need to spend more time focusing on; not whatever stupid shit Sam Harris is saying now, and not ranting about Muslims.

  • [] This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

    I don’t know if the title’s boast that this is the best map is true… but it’s certainly an interesting map, with a lot of information.

  • [] Why Vancouver’s funding cut to a women’s shelter is a win for trans rights

    Wow, I’m surprised at how this turned out. Not disappointed though. When VRR first got in bed with the far right, I thought was just an accident, and that the organization would self-correct when younger members educated the elders of the folly of their vintage attitudes about women and feminism. But nope, they doubled down, and went even further with other really regressive stances. Well, if Smith is right that there are plenty of non-regressive rape crisis centres in Vancouver willing to pick up the slack, then meh, VRR won’t be missed. I do have to call one shocking statistic Smith mentioned: the life expectancy of a trans woman in the Americas is 30–35 years. Holy. Fucking. Shit. The life expectancy for women in the Americas is like 80. 80% of trans women killed by violence are younger than 35. That only highlights how callous, ignorant, and backwards positions like VRR’s are.

  • [] EMSB announces it won’t implement religious symbols ban

    This is probably the first of a lot of push back Bill 21 is going to get, assuming it passes. The EMSB has been telegraphing their intention for weeks now. They probably have a hell of a rough time ahead, though. It’s at least until October 2022 until the CAQ faces the electorate again, so the EMSB will have to hold out against at least 3 1⁄2 years of government pressure. And there’s a lot of hate in Québec, so it won’t just be the government pressuring them.

  • [] The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College becomes a signatory to the International Clinical and Professional Chiropractic Education Position Statement

    Chiropractors have had a lot of negative press recently regarding their bullshit pseudomedical nonsense, and particularly the rampant anti-vaxx attitudes in their field. And in the midst of all that, comes this: Canada’s only chiropractic college (chiropractic is also taught at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, but their school is only a quarter of the size) has signed a statement not only affirming vaccination, but also dumping on the core chiropractic notion of “vertebral subluxations”. (Sort of. The statement dismisses the traditional, magical notions associated with “vertebral subluxations”, but still implies they’re real, implying they’re just some kind of dislocation or misalignment.) The timing is interesting, given recent headlines, though the College insists it’s coincidental. The College has a dodgy history when it comes to vaccination. They’ve never had an official anti-vaxx policy … but there’s been strong evidence that they’ve been a major source of anti-vaxx ideas.

  • [] Arbitrator sides with Ontario parent who refuses to immunize children, cites anti-vaccination ‘expert’

    Holy shit, this story is unbelievable. I mean, clearly the dude should have got a goddamn lawyer. I can’t wait to hear arbitrator Fogelman’s explanation of what the fuck happened there.

  • [] What’s in Quebec’s secularism bill: Religious symbols, uncovered faces and a charter workaround

    Welp, as promised, the CAQ dropped their religious accessories ban bill. And it’s pretty much as dumb and terrible as everyone predicted. To their credit, the CAQ at least removed the obvious loopholes for Christians. Also to their credit, at least in the bill itself, they’ve stopped pretending it’s about secularism. But then you read that they’re only going to move the giant crucifix from the National Assembly if the bill passes, so they’re clearly not above holding secularism hostage to get their way.

  • [] A constitutional cop‑out: Federal government passes the buck on conversion therapy

    Yet another disappointment courtesy of the Trudeau government. A lot of people shrugged, accepting the jurisdictional argument. Don’t buy it.

  • [] Will the Quebec government get away with brazenly defying basic human rights?

    Normally when a headline asks a question, the answer is “no”… but in this case…? With the CAQ holding a false majority, and thus absolute power, for the next 3 1⁄2 years, there’s not likely to be anything that will stop them from doing as they please. As Nerenberg observes, the only thing that could have stopped them is the Charter… but if course, they’re going to notwithstanding their way around that.

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