Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] “Study: Conservatives are Terrified (and That’s Why They’re Conservative)” (Video: 9:11)

    I’m not a fan of the left/right view of the political spectrum; I think the left/right characterization has some use in political theory, but not as a practical way to talk about someone’s politics, because most people have sympathies with some traditionally “left” positions and some traditionally “right” positions. I very much prefer a spectrum with “conservative” (or, in its more extreme form, “regressive”) on one end, and “progressive” on the other, with humanism used to determine whether something is progressive or not. There is significant research evidence that what drives people toward one end of the spectrum, rather than other, is… fear. Basically, the more scared you are, the more conservative you are. In this video, Rebecca Watson applies that research – and more recent findings – to the current sociopolitical situation, and to some of the claims made about how we got into it, and what we should do about it. And even though the video is less than 10 minutes, it’s surprisingly broad and deep, even ending on a practical suggestion of how we could apply what we’ve learned to change minds.

  • [] Deluded, with reason

    While religious belief is not (necessarily) a delusion in the clinical sense, strong belief in some religious claims is “delusional”, at least qualitatively. But what is delusion, exactly? Well, it turns out… we don’t really know. And as this article points out, what you may think you know about delusion may be completely wrong. It may seem “obvious” that delusional people are demonstrating some failure to reason logically – that is, some kind of deductive failure – because how could you believe that you’re literally dead but still walking around and chatting with people (the Cotard delusion) if your reasoning faculties were functioning well? But it turns out that people with delusional psychosis are actually better at logical reasoning that the average person. Does that blow your mind? This article really gets deep into the science – which is not even close to settled – but it is a fascinating read.

  • [] West End dance party disrupts visit from anti-gay preacher

    The item itself is amusing – I just love counter-demonstrations that take the piss out of the solemnity of religious demonstrations. Whether it’s dancing to drown out homophobic preachers or reading the gloriously lewd lyrics of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” in the faces of anti-abortion protestors, activities that use the priggishness of religious bigots against them are always a massive PR win. But there is another story hiding under this story, and it’s just bonkers. You may remember the story in last week’s Update about Justin Morissette, the Vancouver man who, fed up with hate preachers blasting their bullshit way above legal noise levels – with no action taken by Vancouver police – stepped up to tell them to move on… and got his leg broken for his trouble. These aren’t the same preachers… HOWEVER…. The preacher who assaulted Morissette was Dorre Love. Love is a former (?) member of David Lynn’s church, and used to (?) enjoy significant support – Lynn might have provided Love with the equipment Love was using. You may have noticed the question marks in the previous sentence. Well, when Love got in trouble for assaulting Morissette, he publicly asked Lynn for support. Lynn, however, is publicly washing his hands of Love, going so far as to release multiple statements disavowing any connection between his own ministry and Love’s, and literally everything Love does and says, and how he goes about it. And yet… in those very same disavowals, Lynn expresses support for Love (in between strenuous denials of any actual affiliation). There’s no honour among scumbags, it seems.

  • [] “What the Satanic Panic can tell us about the dangers of the QAnon conspiracy theory” (Video: 24:30)

    This is a really interesting interview for a number of reasons. The QAnon thing is of major importance right now, especially with the US election looming. And the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, while merely historical, is nonetheless an absolutely fascinating phenomenon in its own right… and few people know about its Canadian roots. I’m not sure I fully buy Jen Gerson’s thesis – I think the superficial similarities are just that (superficial), and the two phenomenon are so different that it strains credulity to think we can practically use the lessons of the one (the Satanic Panic) to deal with the other (QAnon). But see what you think.

  • [] Canada’s failed plot to end conversion therapy

    As we mentioned a couple weeks back, the prorogation of Parliament killed the bill that would have banned conversion therapy. Bummer, but… maybe not? This article first outlines the situation, and makes concrete suggestions on how to proceed even if the Liberal government continues to be completely useless. But that’s just the first fifth of the article or so, because it then goes on to tell a survivor’s story… but not just for the sake of telling the story (though that would be more than interesting enough – seriously, you should read Peter Gajdics’ story; it’s startling in so many ways). Instead, Gajdics is making the case for not simply reviving the dead bill… and instead drafting a new bill that goes even further. The old bill banned conversion therapy for minors, but allowed it to be done to adults, under the rationale that, unlike minors, adults can consent, and should have the “freedom” to choose bullshit “therapies” if they so choose. I supported that logic… but Gajdics has changed my mind. Try reading his argument, and see where you end up.

  • [] QAnon: How an anonymous 4chan poster lead to a U.S. domestic terrorist threat which spread to Canada

    So you’ve probably heard of QAnon but… you probably have no bleeding idea what it’s all about. That’s normal; QAnon is so freakin’ weird, expansive, and in constant flux, that no-one really understands it in its entirety – I mean, you literally can’t, because it’s not one thing, and many of the flavours are contradictory, both with each other and with reality. Yellow Vests Canada Exposed takes a gargantuan swing at explaining it all in this huge post. They don’t really bother going into too much detail about what QAnon devotees actually “believe”… but it makes sense why when you read the details about how QAnon grew, spread, and evolved over time. And, bonus, huge chunks of YVCE’s info is specifically Canadian, because it turns out that – despite supposedly being a Trump/Clinton/Democrat-based conspiracy theory – QAnon has deeply entangled itself with real, “serious” Canadian politics. And it’s stocked with supporting links if you want to do further research. It’s all you’re going to need to understand what this QAnon thing is all about… and why it’s so important that we don’t just pooh-pooh it as harmless foolishness, because it’s really having an actual impact, both in politics, and, unfortunately, because of its body count.

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