CFI Canada's mission is to provide education and training to the public in the application of skeptical, secular, rational and humanistic inquiry through conferences, symposia, lectures, published works and the maintenance of a library.
Secular Chat is an informal weekly discussion group for atheists, agnostics, humanists, skeptics, and other free-thinkers in the National Capital Region.
Hosted by the Centre for Inquiry (CFI), Secular Chat meets every Sunday from 2:00 to 3:00 pm in the upstairs back room at the Fox & Feather Pub on Elgin at MacLaren. Similar to CFI’s former “Sunday Unsermon” group, enlightening conversation and fun debate topics can vary from week to week
based on the interests of participants that day: current events, ethics, skepticism, science, philosophy, history, counter-apologetics, comparative interpretation of religious scriptures, and any other subjects related to atheism and science-based thought. CFI volunteers lightly moderate the
meeting to help ensure everyone has a chance to talk. You can* RSVP through Meetup.com* Meetup . If you would also like to come earlier at 12:00 to offer or receive emotional support on leading a secular lifestyle, please RSVP to Living Without Religion.
Living without Religion (LWR) is a weekly peer support group for believers and non-believers who have left their religion, are considering leaving their religion, and/or are encountering challenges with friends, family, classmates or co-workers due to religious differences. If you’re already
comfortable leading a secular lifestyle, you can also come to offer emotional support or advice, or just to enjoy a sense of social community that religions often offer.
Moderated by volunteers from the Centre for Inquiry (CFI), LWR meets every Sunday from 12:00 to 1:45 pm in the upstairs back room at the Fox & Feather Pub on Elgin at MacLaren. Seating is limited. Please arrive on time so we can make sure everyone has a comfortable place at one of the tables. If
you’re going through emotional difficulties and there’s a waiting list, please show up early and speak to a moderator so we can find space for you. If you don’t feel comfortable sending an RSVP via Meetup and would like to let us know about your presence in a confidential manner, feel free to
email directly to email@example.com. If you can no longer make it, be sure to cancel your RSVP so others can attend.
When we are faced with the irrational and conspiratorial claims of the alternative medicine community the science minded community often responds with anger, incredulity and frustration. Sometimes these messages are not from the easy targets of the fringe but from our own family and friends. But how often has our argumentative response been effective? It is worth taking a look at not only our goals and our tactics, but our audience as well. We know that psychological phenomena like the backfire effect combine with ideological anti-corporate attitudes to work against any rational arguments, we have seen it happen time and again. This was the state of frustration we were in when we started Bad Science Watch. We made a decision to think about our audience and set goals focused on making real change. This talk will focus on the role that empathy plays in picking targets and setting goals and the success we have had in creating a message that has resonated with our audience and supporters.
About Bad Science Watch:
Bad Science Watch is an independent non-profit consumer protection watchdog and science advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by countering bad science. We are driven by a vision of a safer, healthier, and more prosperous Canada where critical thinking and sound science are paramount in the making of important societal decisions.
About the University of Toronto Secular Alliance (UTSA):
The University of Toronto Secular Alliance (UTSA) is an organization dedicated to building a community at U of T for those adhering to non-religious worldviews including atheists, agnostics, Secular Humanists, and Freethinkers. Through our weekly meetings and events, we provide a forum where all ideas and beliefs can be examined, critiqued, and challenged through discourse that is civil, intellectual, and insightful. Find us on Facebook: @uoftsecular
On January 30, 2017 the federal government tabled a response to an electronic Parliamentary petition (E-382) calling for the repeal of Canada’s blasphemous libel law (Criminal Code Section 296).
Despite the generally accepted view that Canada’s blasphemy law is an outdated and dead law that would never be successful if used today, this is still an historic situation. The federal government has reviewed archaic legislation and repealed obsolete law before, but this is the first time that the blasphemy law has been clearly identified for attention (that we are aware of).
The government’s response to e-382 may be found on the Parliament of Canada website and states:
The government is committed to maintaining a fair, relevant, and accessible justice system for all Canadians.
In her mandate letter, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada has been asked to conduct a broad review of our criminal justice system. The Minister’s overarching goal is to ensure our legislation meets the highest standards of equity, fairness, and respect for the rule of law as well as the Constitution of Canada.
The crime of blasphemous libel, although included in the original Criminal Code of 1892, has not been the subject of a reported legal case since 1935. In 1979, a charge of blasphemous libel was laid in Ontario in a case involving the showing of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but the charge was stayed.
Blasphemous libel, along with numerous other provisions of the Criminal Code, are presently under review by the Minister and her officials. The Minister looks forward to addressing these provisions in the course of her mandate.
This is an encouraging situation. Canadian secular humanists, and indeed any Canadian concerned to reduce faith-based tension and victimization in Canada and around the world must encourage our Parliamentarians to finally repeal this bill. Whether the repeal is part of an omnibus bill or a dedicated legislative action – the blasphemy law must go!
Blasphemy laws are an attempt to protect faith-based concepts and ideas from criticism. But this approach underlies much of the tension, victimization and violence throughout the world. When rational discussion of ideas is considered a criminal act, the results often include alienation, isolation, frustration and a desire to strike back.
We must also remember that Canada’s position on human rights issues around the world is greatly respected. When Canada opposes blasphemy laws here in Canada and around the world, an important message of inclusion, stability and good governance is sent.
It seems that the Canadian government, on this issue, is open to taking steps to advance an open Canadian society. CFIC members are encouraged to educate their local Members of Parliament about the importance of this step. Consider using the CFIC website for further information regarding this bad law. Simply type “blasphemy, Canada” into your search engine!
CFIC began our strategies to oppose Canada’s blasphemous libel law in 2014! Change – even on an issue as self-evident as opposition to blasphemy laws is a long term commitment. Please support CFIC with a donation today. We are Canada’s leading secular humanist organization.