Weekly Update: to

by | October 17, 2020

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[A cartoon showing a man praying, asking God: “Dear God, did the Flood kill any babies?” God enthusiastically answers: “Ho yeah!”]
I mean, from God’s point of view, that was part of the fun of it!
  • [] Yukon MLAs vote to ban conversion therapy, helping students’ campaign get closer to law

    A lot of people sent me this story, assuming I’d missed it last week, with some comment to the effect that “Yukon has banned conversion therapy!” Weeeelllll, not quite. It sure looks like they will, but right now Bill 9 – the conversion therapy ban – has only passed its second reading. It still has to go through committee, then the third reading, then it needs assent. And the committee stage can often be the toughest stage, though that seems unlikely to be the case for this bill, given the unanimous approval at the second reading stage. So… yeah, it sure looks like Yukon is on track to eventually institute a conversion therapy ban, which is cool. It’s also very cool that this whole thing was started by students; longtime readers will have heard me say this many times, but the kids really are alright. If there’s anyone here that doesn’t deserve much praise, it would be the Yukon Liberals, and the Yukon legislature more generally. Rather than showing any kind of leadership or ethical backbone, they did everything they could to offload the responsibility for passing the bill on to anyone and everyone else, going so far as to call a public consultation on the topic (in which 90% of respondents supported a ban – not bad, Yukoners!). Yeah, sure, Yukon MLAseventually did the right thing, but… meh, I’m not impressed by politicians who can’t take an ethical stance without polling support.

  • [] Toronto mosque remains closed after it receives violent threats, police investigating

    Here at Canadian Atheist, we often criticize Islam and Muslims, and that’s never going to change. But it’s very important that we understand the broader societal context that we’re working in. To belabour an old analogy, you would criticize Judaism very differently in 1930s Germany than you would in 2020s Israel. Yes, you would criticize the religion either way; it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of how. We don’t want to give bigots ammunition, or even to embolden them, with our criticisms… and we certainly don’t want to allow bigots to exist and operate from within our communities. That’s why it’s important for us to be keenly aware of just what the reality of being a Muslim in Canada is. We live in a society where Muslims are randomly murdered with distressing regularity, and even when blood isn’t being spilled, they are being harassed, intimidated, and threatened. That’s just the truth; we can’t deny that (though you’ll certainly see some try). So when we criticize Muslims and what the believe, we need to keep that truth in mind.

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

    I love Zach Weinersmith’s takes on religion. They’re not always philosophically deep, but they’re always amusing. And sometimes they are philosophically deep! (Not in this case, unfortunately, though it is still amusing.)

  • [] Saskatchewan Party Candidate Promoted Messages From an Anti-Gay Preacher and a Doomsday Prophet

    The headline really kinda buries the lede here. I mean, it would be bad enough if Ottenbreit were merely sharing or liking hate preachers’ crap. But that’s not even close to the whole story. Ottenbreit has apparently been quite chummy with the hate preachers in question, even meeting them in person. He’s even participated in prayer events with scumbags as nasty as John Hagee, infamous antisemite and nutty end times prophet. (And of course McVety was involved, because when Canadian Christian scumbags gather, he’s never far away.) All this would be bad enough if Ottenbreit were some wacky backbencher that nobody really cares about… but Ottenbreit is a member of the province’s Cabinet.

  • [] To the Woman Who Prayed for My Wife: An Atheist’s Reflection

    This article on Friendly Atheist is an anecdote from researcher Phil Zuckerman about a random person who offered to pray for his wife on the street. I think it’s a fascinating story, not just for what actually happened (which was bizarre), but for Zuckerman’s thoughts after the fact. I’ve never had an experience quite like this – perhaps this kind of Christian just doesn’t exist in my corner of Canuckistan.

  • [] The science of wisdom

    I’m often amazed at just how much of science – and of psychology in particular – is still stuck in the dark ages of pseudo-religious thought. Modern theories of consciousness, for example, are still riddled with silly notions of a soul, or more trendy bullshit involving mysterious quantum processes. The idea of “wisdom” has been around since the dawn of history, but to my surprise there doesn’t appear to be a serious scientific endeavour to define or understand wisdom until just the last year or so. So what is wisdom? How do we achieve it? Does it come naturally to everyone with time? All fascinating questions that the Toronto Wisdom Task Force has looked into.

  • [] B.C. Liberal Candidate Laurie Throness Resigns After Comparing Contraception To Eugenics

    So it finally took comparing offering free contraception to eugenics for the BC Liberals to kick Laurie Throness to the curb. Wasn’t his transphobia, his homophobia, his support of conversion therapy, his opposition to anti-bullying initiatives like SOGI 123, all of which were so bad he is arguably solely responsible for getting the BC Liberals banned from Vancouver Pride. Nope, it was playing the eugenics card. Who’d’a thunk that would be the one straw too many for the BC Liberals… but I guess something had to be too offensive for them at some point. Let’s be clear, none of this is due to any imagined moral leadership or ethical integrity on the part of BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson. No, in fact it was mostly racialized and women BC Liberals (not to mention frustrated supporters) who finally flipped the fuck out, defied Wilkinson, and went public, saying they couldn’t stand for Throness and his shit anymore.

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