Weekly Update: to

by | April 13, 2019

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Cartoon of a man praying, asking: “God, does P=NP?” God answers: “Hell no.”]
Turns out that praying doesn’t just win you the Templeton Prize. You can win the Millenium Prize too!
  • [] Here are the jobs subject to Quebec’s proposed religious symbols ban (the list is longer than you’d think)

    What is the rhyme or reason behind this particular selection of jobs? I mean, I know the real answer; I want to hear the spin offered by ban supporters.

  • [] Quebec unsure how to enforce ban on wearing religious symbols at work

    Oh, good grief. I’ve been mocked and insulted by ban supporters for weeks now for saying that there is no coherent and sensible plan put forward for a religious accessories ban even by proponents. Yet, here it is, right out of the horse’s mouth. Even they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. They’re just trying to ram this through quickly to avoid more scrutiny of how completely clueless they are.

  • [] Quebec City, Sherbrooke won’t remove crucifixes from city hall chambers

    Interesting how I keep hearing how darn much Québécois care about secularism, but only when it involves “secularizing” Muslims specifically.

  • [] Randomized controlled trial of homeopathic nosodes finds, not surprisingly, that they are useless

    The headline pretty much says it all! Still, this article is well worth a read. It’s not long, and there’s some neat information in there, including discussion about a debate over whether this study should have been done in the first place.

  • [] Quebec’s new bill on religious symbols poses a new threat to Canada’s unity

    There are a ton of opinion pieces out there about Québec’s Bill 21, so I need good reasons for choosing whether to highlight any given one. In this case, first, it’s written by Amira Elghawaby – she’s an expert on these issues, so that immediately gives her credibility most don’t have. But in this piece, there’s also something else interesting going on. Elghawaby is considering a historical perspective, and highlights how multiculturalism has not only been Canadian policy from day one, but how it may also be the reason we managed to put this country together in the first place.

  • [] Quebec’s religious symbols ban is striking not for its novelty, but for its unfortunate familiarity

    This is another opinion piece about Bill 21, and another with a focus on history. This one is chock full of information about how the law has often been used as a tool of racism and intolerance.

  • [] How Far-Right Extremists In Canada And Abroad Have Adopted Trump’s Symbols As Their Own

    Many have noted how the MAGA hat has become a symbol of racism, xenophobia, and islamophobia not just in the US, but across the world.

  • [] In Québec, Christian liberalism becomes the religious authority

    This piece makes a point that I have made myself in the currently-publishing series on religious accessories bans, but in an instalment that hasn’t been published yet. There is no possible way that any sensible person could imagine a “secular” society, and end up with something that looks like modern-day Québec. That’s simply ridiculous. Québec society is so obviously Christian, and specifically Catholic, it’s absurd to claim otherwise. What that means is that any attempt to bring “other” religions in line with the norms of Québec society is not “secularizing” them… it’s Christianizing them.

  • [] Facebook Bans Faith Goldy, Other Canadian Far-Right Groups and Figures

    A lot of people, myself included, were wondering if this would actually happen. It’s long overdue, and I’m not optimistic that it will do anything to help the shitty nature of Facebook. As a side note, even as Facebook was finally moving its ass to ban Goudreau, the Peterborough police were demonstrating their continuing uselessness in dealing with the problem of far right extremism. The Canadian Anti-Hate Network had their complaint about Goudreau dismissed because the lazy-ass, incompetent, doughnut-sucking fucks at the Peterborough police didn’t think they could make hate speech charges stick. The problem? The CAN didn’t ask for hate speech charges… they asked for charges on uttering death threats and counselling murder after Goudreau named them and other anti-racist groups as targets for “lone wolf” attacks, and even suggested to “double tap both hemispheres of the brain” because people can survive a single bullet to the brain.

  • [] “Waking Up to Sam Harris Not Making Sense” (Video: 32:34)

    Steve Shives decides to take a kick at the hornet’s nest, and challenges the church of Sam Harris. But he’s a former Harris fan, as so many of Harris’s critics are, and he conducts a damning critique of Harris… relying on Harris’s own words to do so.

  • [] Sask. priest plans to fight extradition to Scotland for alleged sexual, physical abuse

    Normally when we read stories like this, it’s about Canada trying to extradite some rapist priest from some other country, and often running into roadblocks. Here we have a reversed case, where Scotland is trying to extradite a rapist priest from here.

  • [] CSIS dealing with right-wing extremism ‘more and more,’ says spy chief

    Well, it’s only been two years since Québec mosque shooting and a year since the Toronto van attack, plus dozens of stories of far right groups stockpiling weapons and doing training camps and even “investigating” (read that as: threatening and harassing) mosques, but finallyCSIS is… “troubled”… by the rise of right-wing extremism. Yet even now, look at what Vigneault actually says. He makes a point of specifying ultra right-wing extremists… as if “regular” right-wing extremists are no big deal. He’s also completely befuddled by the fact that what these right-wing extremists are doing looks a lot like terrorism… as if it’s totally unthinkable that right-wingers could be terrorists. It’s good that CSIS is finally “concerned” about right-wing extremism, but clearly they still have a lot of waking up to do.

  • [] The supposed benefits of Québec secularism bill don’t outweigh the costs

    This is one of those articles that irritates me by accepting that what the Coalition Avenir Québec is spinning is actually secularism, or at least their own, equally legitimate “approach” to secularism. Despite that, it makes some very good points, and includes quite a bit of information.

  • [] Rip up current system and start over, recommends review of B.C.’s professional health colleges

    Holy shit. Honest admission here: I did not see how big this story was going to get. And it keeps growing and growing! Okay, the background: As Lindsay mentions in the article, over the past year or two, there have been a number of very embarrassing scandals involving professional medical regulatory bodies. One of them was the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C., yes, but what Lindsay is too coy to mention clearly in the article is that most of the colleges under fire have been those involved with pseudoscience: naturopathy, homeopathy, and chiropractic. These colleges have been falling over themselves to clean up their act… but now one wonders if their motivation for doing so has been the rumours of this report. Cayton has been damning in his criticism of the system, and has gone on the record saying that “some” health-care professions should lose their status. I think we should keep an eye on this – it could be the beginning of the end for government recognition of medical pseudoscience in British Columbia.

  • [] Lawsuit alleges Manitoba physicians college broke agreement to ‘refrain from criticisms’ of chiropractors

    What the fuck even happened here? If I’m reading this right, a doctor – a real doctor – in Manitoba wrote a confidential letter to the province’s health regulator in 2016, raising concerns about a dangerous chiropractic “treatment”. The main thrust of the letter appears to be insisting that the chiropractic college should do proper science to show that the “treatment” is safe before offering it to patients… which, seems pretty reasonable. Somehow that letter got leaked, and now the chiropractic college is suing. But the insane thing is why they’re suing. Apparently the college of real doctors made a devil’s deal with the chiropractic college, in which the real doctors are forbidden from criticizing the chiropractors! Can someone familiar with the situation in Manitoba please explain to me how the fuck this happened?

  • [] Struggle for religious freedom dominates Conservative worldview

    This is a fascinating and insightful opinion piece about conservativism in Canada, and the intersection of ideas about “freedom” and religiosity – and specifically Christian religiosity – in their ideology. It very nicely spells out several vague notions I’ve been toying with about why rhetoric about freedom is so popular in conservative talking points now… despite the obvious contradictions.

  • [] “P” by Zach Weinersmith (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal)

    This may be the geekiest SMBC comic I’ve ever featured in an Update. I offer no apologies.

  • [] Damage from Bill 21 will reach well beyond Quebec

    It’s uncanny how similar this article is to parts of an article I wrote that will be published Monday (but that has been in the publication buffer since last week). I shouldn’t be surprised by that, though, because I don’t think either Lotayef or myself are making any particularly brilliant observations – we’re both just pointing out the blindingly obvious. Lotayef does go off in directions that I don’t, but directions well worth pursuing.

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