Weekly Update: to

by | August 1, 2020

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Chart of racial resentment by religious tradition and political ideology. The chart shows a racial resentment score by political ideology – “very liberal”, “liberal”, “moderate”, “conservative”, “very conservative”. Each ideology is further broken up into “agnostics”, “atheists”, “Catholics”, “evangelicals”, and, “nothing in particular”. The racial resentment score of all religious groups increases with political ideology, from liberal to conservative. However, the more conservative, the less difference there is between the religious groups, until at “very conservative”, their error bars almost completely overlap. On the other end, there are marked differences between the religious groups. At “very liberal”, the racial resentment scores of evangelicals and Catholics are virtually identical, and around seven or eight times the score of atheists, “nothing in particular” is around five times, and even agnostics score around twice as high as atheists.]
Also keep in mind that there are far more left-leaning atheists than conservative atheists… like almost two orders of magnitude more. This is why atheists are still considered to be far less racist in general; there just aren’t that many conservative atheists dragging our numbers down.
  • [] Therapist’s 3 ‘possibly fraudulent’ degrees lead to questions about B.C.’s failure to regulate

    Bethany Lindsay’s focus in this piece is on BC, but this is a cross-Canada problem. It is absolutely astonishing, and alarming, how little regulation there is of some medical disciplines, and how easy it is escape any regulation or scrutiny simply by a careful choice of title. For example: “Dietitian”? Legit professional, required to provide medically-sound, evidence-based advice. “Nutritionist”? A complete craps shoot – they’re regulated in Alberta, Québec, and Nova Scotia, but nowhere else. What about “dietician” (note the spelling)? Good question! The “therapist” in the article apparently went to a couple of Bible colleges and got degrees that were completely unrelated to psychology (okay, maybe the second degree might have been relevant? but it came from a school that was later shut down by Idaho for giving out bullshit degrees, sooo…), bought a psychology degree from a Dominican diploma mill, then set up shop as a “doctor of psychology”. All kosher in BC apparently. She was only called out when a real psychologist noticed that she was actually giving dangerous advice. And it’s not clear that she could ever face any consequences.

  • [] Ryan Burge 📊 on Twitter

    I don’t normally like to link to Twitter posts, but this item is really about a topic that’s really been generating discussion recently, rather than a specific incident or story. What’s going on is Robert P. Jones – founder and CEO of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) – has just published a new book – White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity – and to promote the book, he’s doing a bunch of interviews and publishing a bunch of articles all over the place. For example, here’s a decent piece published by NBC: “Racism among white Christians is higher than among the nonreligious. That’s no coincidence.”. You can find plenty more just by googling his name and/or the keywords. Naturally, all this has sparked plenty of interest in the intersection of racism and religion. However, what I’ve chosen to link to is not any of Jones’s stuff. As interesting as that is, it’s mostly about racism and evangelical Christianity. Instead, I thought it would be much more interesting to feature something about the intersection of racism and atheism. Professor Ryan Burge – who’s always an excellent source of data and who’s been featured on CA multiple times (including just yesterday) – inspired by Jones’s NBC article (linked earlier) and challenged by a reader, looked into what happens when you break down religious belief, political orientation, and “racial resentment” (using US data, of course). Turns out, there’s really no difference between conservative religious people and conservative atheists… they’re all pretty racist; it’s all overlapping error bars on that end. But on the left, things are very different; atheists are significantly less “racially resentful” than Catholics or evangelicals… and as you go further left, also significantly less than Nones and even agnostics!

  • [] Nonbelievers still minimized by Census 2021

    Yeah, this is a problem we tried to fix in time for the 2021 census, and failed, which is tragic. 2021 would have been the perfect time to fix it, because the religion question is only asked every 10 years, and last time was 2011, when there was no long form census… just the broken and ineffectual National Housing Survey. So we already have a 20 year break in the data… instead of picking it up again after that with a terrible question, why not take the opportunity to start fresh with a good question? Eh, well, we’re stuck with it, so we might as well try to make the best of it. So what answer should we give? Well, I’ll probably diverge from Bushfield here, and suggest… “atheist”, not “humanist”. My reasoning is that while neither atheism nor humanism are religions [or] religious groups/denominations, “atheism” is closer to a direct answer to “what is your religion” than “humanism” is. Probably the best you can do, given that the question is terrible to start with. I also really don’t like the idea of thinking of humanism as a religion, or making it valid to say “my religion is humanism”. That just seems to cheapen the idea of humanism to me, and possibly even to betray it. But I could be convinced to change my position on this.

  • [] Appeal court holds Catholic church liable for abuse suffered at Mount Cashel

    Wow, this came out of nowhere, but what a pleasant surprise! So, a couple years back, survivors of abuse at a St. John’s orphanage sued the Catholic Diocese… and lost. The reasoning was that the orphanage was technically not owned or operated by the Diocese itself; it was owned and operated by the Christian Brothers. Never mind that the Christian Brothers was a Catholic order under the umbrella of the Diocese, or that the Diocese provided plenty of material and general support and quite literally dictated how the place was run; on paper there was no direct connection, therefore the Diocese got off scot free. Not anymore, though. The appellate court called bullshit, and said that even though the Diocese wasn’t the operator on paper, they absolutely were in charge of the orphanage, actively created the environment that enabled the abuse, and, knowing about it, assisted in covering it up and allowing it to continue. While this ruling is technically only a Newfoundland and Labrador ruling, it might set an interesting precedent. There were a lot of places – orphanages, schools, halfway houses, etc. – that weren’t technically owned by the Catholic Church directly… but were nevertheless completely run by them as a matter fact. This ruling would imply that the Church could still be held responsible for abuse in those places.

  • [] Mike Ward’s Freedom Of Expression Case Going To Supreme Court Of Canada

    This is a really, really ugly case. The backstory is that Jeremy Gabriel is a Québécois singer with Treacher Collins syndrome, who came to fame as a child – most notably for singing for Pope Benedict at age 10. Mike Ward is a comedian, one of the “edgy” types who trades in being shocking for the sake of being shocking. Ward started making fun of Gabriel when the latter was 12, mostly mocking his disability and appearance, joking about wanting to kill him because he’s “ugly”. He also made a series of videos about Gabriel for his website. Ward’s bits on Gabriel were a huge hit in Québec, and fans turned Gabriel’s life into a living hell. He was bullied at school to the point where even contemplated suicide. Eventually, Gabriel took Ward to court over the bits, and while Ward predictably tried a freedom of expression defence, he ultimately lost, because the Human Rights Tribunal decided there was a balance of rights between Ward’s right of expression and Gabriel’s right to, you know, not be turned into a human punchline simply due to his disability. The balance tipped in Gabriel’s favour because there was really no public interest served by mere nastiness for the sake of making a buck. Or in other words, Gabriel’s right to happiness trumps Ward’s right to say whatever sick shit he feels like because people will laugh at it. (Of course, the balance would change if Ward’s nastiness had an actual purpose that was in the public interest, like criticizing celebrity culture or even something about Gabriel as a public figure.) This is a very deep and potentially massively impactful case about the limits on artistic expression in a free society. I always suspected it was going to find its way to the Supreme Court, and now it’s happening.

  • [] Authors Demand Removal from Anthology After Right-Wing Atheist’s Insane Foreword

    Ugh, there are some really garbage atheists out there. Robert M. Price is a bigshot at the Center for Inquiry (no, I didn’t misspell “Centre”; this is the US branch, not the Canadian one), who’s most famous in atheist circles for being a mythicist – that is, someone who believes that Jesus Christ never existed at all; not just that he wasn’t a god (I mean, obviously), but that the stories aren’t even based on a real person, but rather a complete myth. But now he’s in the news for a completely bonkers rant he went on in the introduction to an anthology of sword-and-sorcery fantasy stories. For reasons we can only guess at without seeing the whole introduction, he railed against false rape accusations, feminists, and the idea of being transgender. What does that have to do with sword-and-sorcery fantasy? 🤷🏼 Unsurprisingly, the authors in the anthology were caught flat-footed by the wacko introduction, and several of them demanded to be removed from it, and now the entire anthology has apparently been pulled. All really good optics for atheists in general, eh? Maybe we should be more careful about who we let use our platforms, hm? Lookin’ at you, CFIC. Lookin’ at you right now.

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