Weekly Update: to

by | September 7, 2019

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[A cartoon depicting an abstract box-like object floating in the sky above a crowd of people. A caption reads: “One day, the God-Computer decided to make humans happy forever.” The box shouts: “Maximize happiness or be obliterated!”]
Humanity then maximized their happiness by completely ignoring the God Computer and finding freedom in forging their own destines. The God Computer vanished in a puff of logic.
  • [] Green Party deputy leader calls for federal intervention in Quebec’s religious symbols law

    I have accused the federal Green Party of having no principles. I have to take that back; it turns out they actually have many principles, and you can pick and choose the ones that you find most appealing, or most politically expedient for the party. With the election looming, all of the federal parties have been somewhat cautious about their take on Québec’s religious-accessory-banning Bill 21, but most have at least clearly said they don’t like it (though most waffle a bit on whether it’s okay for Québec to do it under their provincial jurisdiction). The Green Party is unique in that its official policy appears to be about playing both sides – the party has an official stance against Bill 21, but at the same time insists that individual members are free to believe as they please. Recent news has been about them taking on former NDP hacks booted from the caucus for supporting Bill 21. (There was, for example, that infamous picture of May welcoming Pierre Nantel – well-known for saying that government representatives shouldn’t wear religious symbols and criticizing Jagmeet Singh for wearing a turban… all while May sported a large and clearly visible crucifix. Nope, no racism there!) Well, now it appears that laissez-faire policy cuts both ways. My take? Eh, I don’t think Daniel Green’s proposal is either necessary or politically wise, at least at this point. For now, it’s probably best for the feds to keep their distance from the dumpster fire in Québec. It may become necessary to step in at some point, but not now.

  • [] Humanists call on BC MLAs to end prayers amid Legislature review

    The BC Humanist Association has been working on a project for a while now about prayer in the BC legislature. For background, the 2015 Mouvement laïque québécois v Saguenay (City) Supreme Court ruling held that government prayer violates the Charterhowever… legislatures have “parliamentary privilege” that insulates them from the ruling and allows them to continue praying, and all (so far as I know) do. The BC legislature has a system where they rotate the person who gives the prayer, which they claim makes the prayers more diverse – ie, not 100% Christian. A few months back, the BCHA called for volunteers to listen to all the BC legislature prayers from 2003 to the present day. They ended up getting 52 volunteers to transcribe 871 prayers in 6 weeks, which they then analyzed. They found some interesting stuff (see another item later in this week’s Update), and have been asked to submit a formal report to the legislature. However, at the same time, they’ve started a campaign to end the prayer completely. If you live in BC, the BCHA has set up a system that allows you to send a message to your MLA as part of this campaign. Just check this item’s link out.

  • [] Jagmeet Singh Proudly Highlights Turban In French Ad Courting Quebecers

    Okay, now I’m impressed. While most other parties are showing the expected cravenness leading up to an election, this is a ballsy move by Singh. It kinda makes sense, though; it should be obvious to everyone that Singh is never going to get the racist or xenophobe vote, and that’s the bloc that really backs Bill 21 (as a previous Weekly Update item exposed). So why not double down? By the way, this is exactly what I said would happen, even going all the way back to 2014 and the “Charter of Québec Values”: by trying to ban religious symbols, you’re only going to turn them into symbols of defiance against oppression and intolerance.

  • [] Canadians in every riding support climate action, new research shows

    It’s a myth that there is really any controversy about climate change in Canadian politics… that is, once you ignore the politicians and pundits. The people are pretty settled on the “debate”. Certain political parties have yet to catch up. They’ve been coasting so far because climate change hasn’t been a major election issue yet. Some experts are saying that it will be in this election; colour me skeptical. But the point is: if you want the true picture of Canada’s position on climate change, ignore the politicians. The people are way head of them.

  • [] Green Party Candidate Says Focusing On Racism is a ‘Distraction’ From Real Problems

    Canadian Atheist makes no pretense at being apolitical; frankly, the very idea of being apolitical in our context is nonsensical (not to mention self-defeating). However, while we are openly and proudly political, one thing we cannot be accused of is being partisan. Over the years we’ve exposed fools and bigots among both the Conservatives and Liberals many, many times over, since they’re both the big dogs in the yard. We took aim at the doofuses that rode in on the NDP’s orange wave. Recently we’ve been hammering away at the far-right and neo-Nazi connections within “Mad Max” Bernier’s People’s Party. But one party whose members have more or less escaped scrutiny over the years (other than Elizabeth May and her anti-atheist rhetoric) has been the Greens. To my surprise, it turns out there are plenty of racist and wackadoodle candidates among the Greens. The Green Party has never been the progressive ideal that many Canadian progressives think they are – they’ve supported some crazy pseudoscience, and of course their leader is infamous for her anti-atheist comments. They’ve really got by more on the idea of a science-embracing, progressive, environmentally-conscious party than on their reality. Perhaps it’s time to debunk their mythology and take a hard look at what they really stand for.

  • [] Seven prayers from MLAs that left us scratching our heads

    As mentioned in a previous item, the BCHA studied almost 900 prayers done by the BC legislature since 2003. Their full analysis hasn’t been released yet (I’m anxiously awaiting it!), but they have decided to share some peculiar examples. From these examples, it seems pretty clear that the prayer isn’t really as much the purely faith-based practice as proponents like to pretend it is. It sure looks a lot more like political performance art.

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

    A pretty amusing, very brief criticism of utilitarianism. (Of course, because this is SMBC, things go horrifically awry by the end.)

  • [] Extreme weather spurs demand for climate action

    The real story here is not in the title, it’s in the data. Canadian acknowledgement of human-caused climate change is so overwhelming that in their charts Abacus had to lump all the “unlikely”, “probably not”, and “certainly not” together just to make them show up in numbers significantly larger than the margin of error.

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