Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
This article is all about American secular groups; to be honest, I haven’t really seen all that much activity in this direction by Canadian secular groups (with the exception of the BCHA). Perhaps I haven’t noticed it with all the COVID-19 news noise? If you’re a member of a Canadian secular, humanist, atheist, or freethought group, and your group is doing something to mitigate the current situation – whether by providing community services, or simply by helping people cope with self-isolation blues – then please contact us and let us know what you’re doing! It would be a great way to let other people know that your group is active, and may even help attract new members. (Plus, it would help people generally!)
I have a fascination with conspiracy theories and conspiracy theories – I find the mental gymnastics they perform to rationalize the incredible things they believe far more dazzling than anything you might have seen at Tokyo 2020. My prior readings about those who buy into conspiracy theories suggests that they tend to be special snowflakes with an inflated ego; they have a need to feel important, and more “knowledgeable” than other. This article, however, suggests an entirely different kind of conspiracy theorist… not one who feels “more special” than others, but contrarily one who feels helpless in the face of death. Could these be two entirely different groups – “true” conspiracy theorists (the ones who doggedly believe in insanely far-out shit, like flat Earth and lizard people), versus regular people who just happened to be suckered into believing some bullshit pseudoscientific claim? Or are they two sides of the same coin – perhaps just different points on a spectrum of “credulous idiot”? What do you think?
This may be the most devastating news for all of March 2020… at least for the cause of secularism. Yes, possibly even more devastating than the pandemic. The Theodore decision was the most exciting judicial development since the 2015 Saguenay ruling. A public school district won a lawsuit against a Catholic separate school district – and, by extension, the province – where the Judge Donald Layh ruled that while there may be a constitutional requirement to fund Catholic schools, that didn’t extend to funding non-Catholics who attend them. It would have severely hampered the ability of Catholic school districts to siphon students away from the secular public school districts, and ultimately force the question of whether a separate school system makes sense anymore. It was a very well-argued and powerful decision, which had at least two provinces quaking in their pews, and growling threats of overriding the Charter to enable the discrimination to continue. Alas, this week that all came to a sudden, grinding halt, as the Saskatchewan appellate court overturned Layh’s decision. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean the end – a similar thing happened in the Saguenay case, for example, where lower court decisions went our way, then the provincial appellate court went against us, but the federal Supreme Court eventually sided with secularism. It’s entirely possible that, if this decision is appealed, it could go to the Supreme Court, too, and we could win. But… that will be a challenge. I haven’t read the ruling in depth yet – it’s quite long – but the appellate court’s decision doesn’t leap out to me as unreasonable just yet. If we’re going to win this, we’re going to have to buckle down and rely on the best minds we have to apply the best logical and legal reasoning. If you have some free time – say, due to self-isolation – why not take a swing at it? Try reading the appellate court ruling, and seeing if you can spot and flaws in their logic. Share anything you come up with here, and hopefully it will help the Good Spirit School Division’s lawyers make an airtight case when appealing to the Supreme Court.
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