On September 10, friends of Omer from around the globe gathered to hear author of The Atheist Muslim and podcaster, Ali Rizvi, interview Omer about his experience as an atheist escaping from persecution in Pakistan. The interview was informative as Ali provided compelling statistics showing that young people, growing up in Muslim countries, are increasingly doubting their religion.

The interview was poignant. Omer described the torture, ostracization, isolation, and fear he experienced while living in Pakistan, as well as his hope and appreciation for our support, as he waits patiently in Nepal for the opportunity to come to Canada. Omer hopes that secularist and humanist groups collaborate to make it easier for atheist refugees to get to the safe haven that Canada offers. He vows that when he gets to Canada he will devote himself to the cause of helping others.

If you are able to spare a few dollars, or a few dollars each month, you can help CFIC support Omer while he waits out the pandemic in Nepal. Every dollar you give goes directly to Omer, and is eligible for a charitable tax receipt.

If you missed the interview, we will have it available soon on our YouTube channel.


Global problems require global solutions — and climate change is one of the largest challenges our world has ever faced.

On October 10, communities from around the world are coming together to establish a global action plan of climate solutions. CFIC is proud to present a vision of this action plan through a TEDx virtual discussion called Countdown, a worldwide call for scientists, activists, entrepreneurs, executives, investors, artists, authors, and government officials to present the solutions they have to address climate change.

We will host three speakers bringing crucial messages for this cause. Marc Schaus, author of Our Livable World: Creating the Clean Earth of Tomorrow, will speak about the vast new scientific and technological advancements occurring around the world furthering state-of-the-art clean energy options. David R. Boyd, author of The Rights of Nature, and UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, will speak from an experience of international legal initiatives focusing on environmental action at the highest levels. And finally, CFIC’s keynote speaker will be MIT-trained physicist and Harvard professor David Keith, founder and chief scientist at Carbon Engineering here in Canada — a now world famous company specializing in the direct air capture of CO2.

Together, they present an account of the latest scientific, technological, and legal achievements necessary in our fight to stop global warming and re-balance our changing climate. There will be a live text chat, and the talks will be followed by an opportunity for audience Q&A. To participate in this virtual event, check out our Meetup page.

CFIC is looking for volunteers to help with this event. If you are interested, please email us.


October 24 — The State of Secularism

Join CFIC Treasurer and Secularism Chair, Leslie Rosenblood, at 11 AM (ET) on October 24, as he gives a presentation on the current state of secularism in Canada to our friends at the Humanist Association of Toronto (HAT).

Sign up at HAT’s Meetup page.


October 24 — Female Genital Mutilation: Religion, Culture, and Human Rights

According to the World Health Organization, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM) has no health benefits, and harms girls and women in many ways. FGM involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, which interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies.

At this event, Scott Fraser (president of Dundurn Press) will interview author Farzana Doctor about her exploration of this topic in her new book Seven. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session with the the author.

General admission is free for CFIC and Humanist Canada members and $10 for non-members. If you would like to purchase a CFIC membership you may do so here. Members will receive a discount code by email. Contact us if you are a member but did not receive a code.

Tickets can be purchased here.


November 7 — Marina Elliott: Canada’s Underground Astronaut

Join caver, biological anthropologist, archaeologist, and Homo naledi team member, Marina Elliott, as she takes us along her incredible journey into the Dinaledi cave in the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa.

How did a Calgarian end up in a deep, dark South African cave to help discover one of the most important paleoanthropological finds in history? How did she fit through the 18cm crevice to get to the chamber with the bones, 30 meters underground? What bones did they find? What do the bones teach us?

CFIC is excited to bring this amazing story from an equally amazing Canadian to our members. Stay tuned for further details.


Retraction

Last month we published an article without sufficient research, and we heard about it. Thank you to everyone who politely and constructively responded.

We do appreciate our readers’ involvement and concern with the accuracy of our reporting. Often, we receive unsolicited articles for submission. This is a happy occurrence for us. We want those articles. However, it is also our job to do the background research on these articles prior to printing them.

One of the reasons we were so quick to publish this article is that the author is a high school student, and an excellent writer. We are delighted to be a part of mentoring our future leaders. This may have caused us to look less closely at some of the evidence that she was using to justify her position.

Our commitment to our readership is that in the future we will continue to encourage these submissions. However, we will spend more time with our writers, especially young ones, encouraging them to check the sources of their information and amend the document if required.

We published the following on our website and in social media:

CFIC recently posted an article about violent video games in our Critical Links newsletter, and on Facebook. We did not sufficiently investigate some of the claims that were made. CFIC is retracting this article.

Here is a portion of the most recent statement (issued March 2020) from the American Psychological Association (APA) on the subject:

APA’s governing Council of Representatives seated a task force to review its August 2015 resolution in light of many occasions in which members of the media or policymakers have cited that resolution as evidence that violent video games are the cause of violent behavior, including mass shootings.

“Violence is a complex social problem that likely stems from many factors that warrant attention from researchers, policymakers and the public,” said APA President Sandra L. Shullman, PhD. “Attributing violence to video gaming is not scientifically sound and draws attention away from other factors, such as a history of violence, which we know from the research is a major predictor of future violence.”

For more information see here.

Thank you for your ongoing confidence in CFIC to bring you the scientific, secular, and critical thinking news that you are interested in.


Missed an Event? Check Online!

CFIC has been adding recordings of our events from the past several months to our YouTube channel. The most popular ones are:

There are more. Use this link to check them out, or better yet, subscribe to be informed when new videos are added.


CFIC is committed to asking difficult questions, which can include talks on controversial subjects. Hosting a speaker does not imply agreement with their views.