Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
The BCHA has been very active fighting the good fight to get secular addition treatment options accepted in BC and Canada in general. Alcoholics Anonymous has been the primary, and often only addition treatment offered, but AA is not only faith-based, it has never had any scientific justification for its methods (or even provided any real evidence that it works). How did we end up in that situation? This article provides an explanation.
If you ignore the problematic author and take the time to work through the terrible opening, there’s a lot in this article that’s interesting. It tries to make the case that religion was neither a necessary developmental step toward human civilization, nor was it an accident caused by the misfiring of stuff that was otherwise adaptive. Instead, religion is a pretty obvious byproduct of our evolutionary adaptations of play and mimicry. This is only the first part, and the second part isn’t out yet, so it’s too early say if any of this will go anywhere, but it’s worth a read if you have the time.
I’m not the only person who’s noted the alarming rise in racism and anti-immigrant hate in the years since the rise of Trump and the alt-right. Even in Canada, the numbers are undeniable. But there’s a lot more going on here, and as complicated as things are, Canada is doing a lot better than most places. This article takes a deep dive into the issue.
Québec normally gets the focus for being the heartland of Canadian extremism, and it’s well deserved. But Alberta may be even more problematic, maybe even worse than we think. Just a few weeks back we saw a video of a white supremacist leading neo-Nazi chants in Sir Winston Churchill Square in Edmonton. Now that Kenney and the UCP are in charge, we might have to keep a close eye on developments there.
It’s really depressing how often items like this come up.
This is an interesting idea that has been floated several places around the world, and if Toronto can actually make it work within the Canadian legal system, that would be huge. This comes at the end of a week that saw catastrophic flooding in Ontario, Québec, Manitoba, and New Brunswick, including over a dozen state-of-emergency declarations in Ontario and Québec.
 “Newfoundland man finds ‘praying hands of Jesus’ in rock”(Audio: 6:15)
This is hilarious, so much so that I saw several people insisting that it was satire. And you know what? I’m not even 100% sure it isn’t! Everything about this interview is pitch perfect. There’s Craig’s repeated insistence that he’s
not a staunch Christian or anything like that, there’s him talking about how others have said the rocks look like
Pillsbury Doughboy hands and sock puppets, and his mercenary commercialism in the way he’s clearly trying to talk up the rock to get a better price offered, dumping on competitors (he mocks the infamous grilled cheese Jesus as
probably going to rot over time) and admitting to turning down offers
in the lower five digitsand even hinting at a goal of
millions. And if all that weren’t enough, host Carol Off even asks at one point how he knows the praying hands belong to Jesus:
maybe they could be there praying hands of the Prophet Mohammed.
Weinersmith is obviously just being silly here, but there’s an interesting point underlying the joke. Why don’t we see more fiction written using silly ideas like flat-Eartherism, or indeed religious myths? Historically, mocking religious beliefs was fraught… but that’s not true anymore, especially since we’ve now repealed the blasphemy law. Absurd beliefs and religious symbolism could be fertile ground for interesting entertainment, whether silly – like the example in the article – or just fucked up and weird (for example, here’s a bizarre film based on Islamic eschatology… from the 1980s!).
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