Is God a Figment of our Imagination?

Religion and Society Debate: Dr. Michael Shermer and Dr. Alister McGrath

“Is God a Figment of Our Imagination?”

Is religious belief a vestige of a past age, destined for extinction,
and are the many religious adherents of the world, merely ignorant and
misguided?  Or is there within the theistic framework a resonance with
reality that presses the notion of God beyond the mere subjective
musings of those that claim it to be so?

Join CFI Canada and Wycliffe College for a dialogue between two
leading thinkers who have thoughtfully wrestled with this question,
each not only having embarked on a personal pilgrimage, but each
bringing a lifetime of erudition, experience, and insights to bear on
this theme. Dr. Alister McGrath, the atheist who would become a
theist, and Dr. Michael Shermer, the theist who would become an
atheist. Join us at Convocation Hall, University of Toronto for an
engaging two hours of thoughtful dialogue on one of histories greatest
questions.

For a quarter century, Dr. Shermer has been a leader in the promotion
of Science, Reason, and Secular Values. He is the Publisher of Skeptic
magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a
Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism
101. He is the author of Why People Believe Weird Things, Why Darwin
Matters, The Science of Good and Evil, and The Moral Arc. His next
book is Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife,
Immortality & Utopia.

Dr McGrath holds the Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and
Religion at the University of Oxford. As a former atheist, McGrath is
respectful yet critical of the movement. In recent years, he has been
especially interested in the emergence of “scientific atheism”, and
has researched the distinctive approach to atheist apologetics found
in the writings of the Oxford zoologist and scientific populariser
Richard Dawkins. He regularly engages in debate and dialogue with
leading atheists, and is presently researching the iconic role played
by Charles Darwin in atheist apologetics.

The debate will be at 7:30 p.m., Friday 15 September, at University of
Toronto’s Convocation hall. Details and tickets available at:
https://www.wycliffecollege.ca/religionandsociety

Exclusive CFI members luncheon with Dr Michael Shermer

CFI Toronto is pleased to offer members the opportunity to attend an
intimate luncheon with Skeptics Society founder Dr. Michael Shermer.
The luncheon will be held at 12:00 noon, Friday 15 September, at the
Duke of York (39 Prince Arthur Avenue).

Dr. Shermer will be available for an exclusive lunch with CFI Canada
members ahead of his evening debate with Dr. McGrath.  Dr. Shermer
will be making brief remarks at noon, so it is recommended that you
arrive early. Funds raisied by this event will go toward CFI Canada’s
mission to promote science, reason, and secular values.

This event is only open to CFI Canada members in good standing.
Tickets are $75 per person. As part of the admission price, attendees
will be sent a $50 tax receipt (note that your full name and postal
address must be provided to receive your tax receipt).

Advance tickets available at:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/cfi-canada-member-luncheon-with-michael-shermer-tickets-37489084862

To become a member of CFI Canada, or to renew your membership online,
visit http://centreforinquiry.ca/support/)

Removing Christian prayers from SK public schools

Christianity, the predominant religion in Canada, is undoubtedly woven into the fabric of Canadian society. The presence of religion is not limited to places of worship; it can be found in many
schools, social services, charitable organizations, and even our government. We observe religious holidays throughout the year and many family traditions and celebrations are rooted in religion.
Religion is part of our social environment and generally goes without notice in day-to- day life. This acceptance makes it difficult for individuals to notice and object to practices of religious worship that
infringe on human rights in Canada. It is especially difficult to object to religious practices with long-standing traditions. The omnipresence of religion and acceptance of religious tradition makes effecting positive change seem like an insurmountable challenge. With perseverance, respectful discussion, and thoughtful action, it can be possible to bring about change that upholds the rights of all. One woman’s effort to replace a religion-specific prayer with a moment of silence in a Saskatchewan public elementary school is one such example.

Dusti Hennenfent is a grain farmer just outside Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where she lives with her family. Hennenfent and her husband have two school-aged children who attend Lindale Elementary School in Moose Jaw. One morning in the fall of 2015, Hennenfent arrived at the school during Lindale’s daily broadcast over the school public address system. It was at this moment that she realized prayer
was part of the morning routine at Lindale School.

click to read more

 

Unfriending the Future: Motivated Empathy in Science and Political Advocacy

Kruse

Speaker: Michael Kruse: Executive Director of Bad Science Watch

Hosted by: University of Toronto Secular Alliance

Date: March 7th 2017, 7 to 9 pm

Location:

Hart House, Debates Room
7 Hart House Circle
Toronto

 

Admission Information:

 

About the Event:

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.

http://www.badsciencewatch.ca/

 

 

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

Jerry Coyne talks about his new book “Faith vs. Fact” in Ottawa (February 26, 2016)

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Audience for Jerry Coyne in Ottawa talk “Faith vs. Fact”

 

Over 170 people crowded into Centrepointe Friday night to hear Jerry Coyne talk about his new book “Faith vs. Fact”.

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Jerry Coyne lectures in Ottawa discussing his new book Faith vs Fact.

Jerry Coyne talks very well and drew some great questions after his talk.

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Jerry Coyne being asked a question

Discussion continued at the reception afterwards.

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Audience members at reception after Jerry Coyne’s talk “Faith vs. Fact”

 

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Merchandise table was kept busy

All in all a very successful evening!

Ontario Pre-Budget Consultations

The Ontario provincial government is holding public budget consultations until the end of the month.  This provides an opportunity for Ontario secularists to voice our concerns about the waste of public funds used to support the Catholic school system, and the violation of human rights that privileges members of one particular religion over those of other religions or no religion.

At this writing, there are 65 budget ideas under the category of Catholic schools.   You can vote online (login required).  Of course, the Catholic schools have mobilized their side to downvote the proposals to remove their privilege, so let’s see if we can get the “nones” out to defend the principal of equality under secularism.