Weekly Update: to

by | July 27, 2019

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[A cartoon of a boy with a crazed expression, saying: “If you master a difficult scientific topic, people will believe your half-formed ideas on literally any topic!”]
Also true if you write a blog!
  • [] How a misleading YouTube video is stoking fears about Shariah law before the federal election

    This is exactly what we expected to happen leading up to the election in October. Whether it’s Russian bots or idiots like Sandra Solomon peddling this shit, we knew that we’d be facing a flood of lies and disinformation, and a lot of it would use islamophobia to rile people up. Don’t fall for it.

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

    Sadly true, and even more sadly, too many atheists fall for it.

  • [] How a proposed conversion therapy ban and LGBTQ2 issues are mobilizing Canada’s Christian right

    While I’m glad that a mainstream media outlet is reporting on this, at the same time I’m rolling my eyes so hard I might tear something. Nothing about any of this is “new” or shocking. This “mobilization” has been ongoing at least as long as I’ve been writing about atheism and religion in Canada. We wrote about the West Coast Christian Accord… what, like a year ago now… and before that it was the summer jobs attestation thing that was “mobilizing” the religious right… and before that it was Bill C-16 (the bill that added gender identity to the list of protected grounds in the Human Rights Act)… and before that it was something else, and on and on. Hell, I remember this shit all the way back to the same-sex marriage debate, and before that Preston Manning and the Reform Party, and there are others that can probably remember even earlier. This isn’t some new thing the religious right is doing… this is how they are, and always have been. That doesn’t mean we should ignore them, though. Ignored, they can get their shit together and get regressive assholes elected into power [cough]Doug Ford[cough].

  • [] What Americans Know About Religion

    This is American data; I would love to see something like this done on a large, comprehensive scale in Canada. The results are not the least bit surprising; they echo earlier results almost exactly. I took the test myself (except I don’t think I got the whole thing, because I had only 15 questions, and there were supposed to be 32?), and aced it. One interesting new thing about this report is that it’s the first time Pew’s done this that they’ve separated self-labelled atheists from agnostics and general “Nones”. And, unsurprisingly, atheists did better than agnostics, and both beat the pants off of “Nones”, who scored worse than every other group except one. The only group which scored better than atheists were Jews, which makes sense given that there were 4 questions about Judaism specifically and 5 more about “the Bible” that came from the Tanakh or Old Testament, yet only 2 about non-belief.

  • [] Guest Article: The Canadian Far-Right an Eco’s Hallmarks of Fascism

    This article is cool on two levels. First, it outlines Umberto Eco’s 14 hallmarks of fascism in basically point form. That would be interesting enough on its own, but what it does next is actually apply those hallmarks to the current Canadian context. And it runs the gamut of Canadian hate, covering everything from homophobia, to islamophobia, to transphobia, to religious nuttery – from antisemitic to xenophobic with all racist and bigoted stops in between. I can’t help but wonder what supporters of Québec’s religious accessories ban would have to say in response to [e]nlightenment values like democracy, egalitarianism, and pluralism are on the chopping block, without falling back on Orwellian double-speak about how treating certain religious groups differently is “egalitarian”.

  • [] Far-Right Group Tries to Run for Office, Discovers That Means Outing Themselves

    Last week I told the story of the neo-Nazi Canadian Nationalist Party and their spectacular and hilarious blunder that publicly outed over 200 Canadian neo-Nazis. Well, there’s a little twist to the story that I didn’t get in the earlier recounting. First, the backstory: the Canadian Nationalist Party is (trying to be) Canada’s newest officially-recognized federal political party. Official recognition would grant them various perks, not least being access to public money. To get official recognition, the Party needed to supply Elections Canada with a list of 250 eligible voters who would be willing to vouch for the party – that is, to say “as far as I know, this is a legitimate party, not a joke or a scam, and what it represents is of interest to me”. Party leader Travis Patron had apparently reassured those who signed that they would be anonymous, because Elections Canada is stringently protective about voter lists. Catch is… that list of 250 people? That’s not a voter list. That’s a list of people who were vouching for the party, not voting for it. Those people’s endorsement is the evidence that the party is legit, and thus… it’s all in the public record. So basically, every neo-Nazi who vouched for Patron and his Canadian Nationalist Party… they all doxxed themselves as neo-Nazis. That was the story as I understood it last week… but I’ve now learned I missed a key detail. The Party hadn’t actually got all 250 signatures just yet. It only had 214. They still 36 more people. So they’re not actually an officially recognized party… yet. They assumed that would be no problem; they already had 214 backers, finding 36 more should be no big deal. But… I think it’s safe to say that’s not so safe an assumption anymore.

  • [] First Nations chiefs declare climate emergency on Day 1 of AFN annual assembly

    Nicely done, AFN, and way to tighten the screws on the federal government – either the Liberals or whoever wins in October. It’s really looking like climate change may be the key issue in this election, and possibly even more of a voting motivator than right-wing populism. We’ll see!

  • [] My Ministry Promoted Conversion Therapy. Now, I’m Trying To Own The Damage Done.

    As the previous item from Global News noted, conversion therapy has become somewhat of a key issue recently. Even the feds – who originally dodged responsibility to do anything about it following a petition – have changed their tune, and are now seriously discussing banning it. A bill from the Senate is now working its way through the Houses. This is a personal story from a former conversion therapy ministry who is now working to spread the word among Christian groups about the harms it causes.

  • [] With religious fervour

    In the last couple of years, New Atheism has taken a critical drubbing. Deservedly, too, for its simplistic, arrogant, anti-intellectual views on religion and religious people, and its latent colonialism and scientism. This review is of a book that goes back to the original, now-infamous round-table discussion by what came to be known as “the Four Horsemen”… and it hasn’t aged well (not that it was all that insightful or intelligent at the time). But if that were all it did, it would just be yet-another retrospective dismantling of what was really a rather plodding discussion in the first place. This review, however, comes from New Humanist, and it goes beyond merely pointing out the emptiness of the putative “intellectual” endeavour that was New Atheism: it also explores where New Atheism led us, and where we can go from here.

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