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.

 

Kids For Inquiry Canada

IMG_0256Kids for Inquiry was founded in June 2012 by then 8 year old Ben Ryder who heard about all the interesting things that the Okanagan branch of CFI Canada was doing and he thought that kids should have a CFI group especially for them — and so KFI was born!

We at CFI Canada would like to see Kids for Inquiry eventually spread to all branches of CFI Canada. It’s an important way for us to fulfil our educational mission.

In the experience of the Okanagan branch, KFI attracts a broad range of families, in addition to the children of CFI supporters and members. Most significantly, KFI has attracted families who would otherwise be uninterested in CFI activities. For example, one family that frequently attends KFI Okanagan activities are devout Catholics. The parents are uninterested in CFI activities for themselves, but they do support their children’s interest in science. In another family, the parents own an alternative medicine clinic, and they are not interested in CFI activities for themselves — but, again, they support their children’s interest in science. In cases such as these, we hope that KFI is a positive contribution to these kids’ science education and critical thinking skills.

Kids for Inquiry focuses on science and skepticism. Importantly, we stay away from religious topics. This is for a number of reasons. We don’t want to alienate parents who might otherwise want to get their families involved. Religious parents simply wouldn’t bring their kids! We think it’s more important that we excite a child’s interest in science and contribute to their critical thinking skills, than that we make what is bound to be a vain attempt to challenge their family’s religious beliefs. We also don’t think we should be putting children in the uncomfortable position of having their family’s religious beliefs challenged by strangers, when children are not in a position to fully evaluate those religious beliefs. If, however, their critical thinking skills are transferable — from evaluating the evidence for the existence of Big Foot to evaluating the evidence for the existence of God — that would be a positive “side effect”. We do hope that, one day, we will be able to set up a Teens for Inquiry group, and we think that religious topics will be fair game for that age group.

We try to keep our KFI events as low cost as possible (usually free, with donations gratefully accepted) in order to make sure that kids from low income families are able to attend. Please help us to spread the word to engage families in your community!

Skeptics in the Park

Come hang out with fellow freethinkers and their families at the park!

Our next one is at 2pm on Sunday 14th July, at the waterpark in City Park, downtown Kelowna.

The next ones are on:

Saturday 17th August at West Kelowna spray park, May St, West Kelowna

Saturday 7th September at the Mission spray park, 347 Quilchena Drive, Kelowna

Everyone is welcome!

 

Kids for Inquiry

Kids for Inquiry is CFI Okanagan’s group for kids ages 7-12 who want to learn about cool science stuff! KFI is now using the fantastic DIY.org website.

 

Kids will learn cool science stuff and also engage in hands-on projects:

 

How accurate is a sundial that you make yourself? Why is it not more accurate?

How does a homemade battery work? How long can it light an LED?

What do owls eat? Can you find evidence in a regurgitated pellet?

Would you like to extract some of your own DNA cells?

What’s going on in your brain when you meditate?

Which household liquids are the most and least dense?

What chemical reactions are going on when you bake bread?

Can you power a model car by converting potential energy to kinetic energy?

 

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As kids learn skills and perform experiments, they can upload photos or videos to the website and show off their work! (And earn cool patches — from Astronomer to Zoologist — along the way.) To find out more about DIY, go here.

 

Science is all around us: It’s in the lab, it’s outside in nature, it’s in the kitchen, it’s in the playroom, it’s inside your body.

With KFI, kids can learn about science and kids can do science!

Upcoming Event: Space Travel: What’s Possible? What’s Not? April 18