Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] LGBTQ people and ‘the harm being done by the Christian religion’

    Why do Christians care so much about homosexuality? That’s not an idle question; the Bible says basically nothing about homosexuality, and there are certainly far more important things Christians could be using as a proxy or litmus test for dedication to the faith. Michael Coren interviews Charles Fensham, a Presbyterian minister, academic theologian, and gay man, who has written a book about the subject. Fensham’s take is based on the idea of “charitable hatred”, and the argument that conservative Christianity picked up homophobia socially, and then force-read it into their theology. What do you think? Does the hate come from the religion, or is the religion being used by the hate?

  • [] Secular Rescue: Help us Help Omer

    Secular Rescue is a new initiative by the Centre for Inquiry Canada, which aims to provide emergency assistance to writers, bloggers, publishers, and activists who face threats due to their beliefs or expressions regarding religion. Their first case is “Omer”, a Pakistani atheist who has escaped Pakistan and been recognized as a refugee by the UN.

  • [] Outspoken activist against polygamy dies

    I wasn’t familiar with Debbie Palmer – her activism mostly took place while I was still in school. But I have seen the fruits of what she sowed; I wrote about the convictions and sentencing of Winston Blackmore and James Oler for polygamy, and perhaps even more importantly, those of Oler and Brandon and Gail Blackmore for trafficking of minors for forced marriages. Debbie Palmer was where it all started. I never knew her story (I honestly thought the whole Bountiful thing started to come to light with Jane Blackmore). Reading it now, I am in awe. I wish I’d known more about her, and had the chance to meet her. This woman is a goddamn, bonafide Canadian hero.

  • [] Views of Canadians on Moral Issues Vary Greatly by Gender

    ResearchCo is a neat follow if you’re interested in data about Canadians’ opinions. They publish short and simple surveys regularly, on a variety of topics. This one’s a neat, brief overview on issues that are considered “moral issues”: stuff like abortion, medical assistance in dying, and cloning, as well as stuff like pornography, prostitution, and gambling.

  • [] Closer than ever: It is 100 seconds to midnight

    Wow, I thought it was bad when the Clock went to two minutes til midnight back in 2018, the closest it had been since 1953. Now it’s set to the closest ever. What’s really interesting is that the reason for the rising threat is not just the traditional warmongering between nations (though that element is there, of course), but also climate change and [c]ontinued corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision making depend.

  • [] Social Values in Canada: Consensus on assisted dying & LGBTQ2 rights, division over abortion rights, diversity

    This is a bit of an omnibus of survey results on Canadians’ opinions on issues ranging from LGBTQ rights, to multiculturalism, to the free market. Along they way, they also bring up the role of religion in public life. Perhaps the most interesting thing to note overall is the amazing political divide that exists in Canada. On most issues, there are basically two Canadas, one Conservative, the other Liberal/NDP.

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2 thoughts on “Weekly Update: to

  1. I may be missing something but isn’t the survey results on Canadian opinions over weighted with conservatives. Also how can they measure Quebec without the Bloc’s numbers?

    • I’m not sure which survey you mean – there are two mentioned in the update, one by Research Co and the other by Angus Reid. I assume you mean the Research Co one, but that’s just a guess.

      In either case, I’m doubtful there would be an over-representation of conservatives. Both companies are highly respected polling organizations (well, Research Co is somewhat new, but its president worked for Angus Reid for many years before forming it). I don’t know how Research Co works exactly (it’s new, after all), but I do know how Angus Reid works. Basically, they have a huge panel of volunteers whom they’ve signed up by various means (like offering cash and gift cards), then when they want to do a survey, they randomly select a bunch and send them the survey. Once the survey is done, they weigh the results to match the demographic of the general population. That weighing is why they can’t have an over-representation of conservatives. (Or, I mean, I guess they could – it’s not mathematically impossible… but they’d be pretty darned incompetent if they actually let it happen, and these aren’t amateurs or fly-by-night operations.)

      For the same reasons, your question about Bloc voters is a non-sequitur. They can “measure” Québec simply by counting the number of respondents who said they’re in Québec and/or weighing them appropriately – if they do that (and assuming their panel really is fairly random) then they’ll automatically get the proportion of Bloc voters roughly correct. (And if the proportion isn’t correct, I assume they’d just reweigh it somehow. These pollsters have all kinds of tricks to make their results as representative as possible – and the ones that become as successful as Angus Reid or Mario Canseco have “tricks” that have been proven to work.)

      As for the reason Research Co didn’t bother to include the Bloc… I suspect it’s because their numbers are too small to matter. The Research Co poll isn’t that large – it’s 1,000 people, which gives an error range of roughly ±3% 19 times out of 20. (You can see this for yourself with this online calculator. Use the second calculator, “Calculate sample size margin of error”. Population size is 35,000,000–40,000,000 (at this scale, precision doesn’t really matter). Number of respondents is 1,000. Confidence is 95% (“19 times out of 20” is 19÷20=0.95).) An error range of ±3% means a total error range of 6%… which is roughly the entire Bloc vote. In other words, the Bloc just disappears in the noise; they’re not worth counting. (Same for the Green Party, incidentally.)

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