A resurrection this week because of real-life work commitments. The irony meter first appeared in December 2008, and enjoyed a short period of popularity before fading into oblivion. They were poorly made.
This strip was based on a true story.
The unofficial anthem of Ontario is “A Place to Stand”:
Give us a place to stand
And a place to grow
And call this land Ontario.
A place to stand, a place to grow
However, Ontario students are encouraged to stand in different places and grow in different directions.This is because Ontario has
four school systems, which is costly and inefficient. Publicly funding a province wide parallel Catholic school system in addition to the public school system is not fair or equitable.
The Green Party of Ontario is the only political party to take a stand against publicly funded Catholic schools in Ontario:
Ontario could save more than a billion dollars by merging the Catholic and public school boards. The Green Party of Ontario wants to have a conversation about a fair, efficient school system.
The Green Party of Ontario’s petition to the Ontario Ministry of Education is one part of the conversation. Its “Smarter Schools” Twitter account @OneONOneSchool provides links to facts and figures to support its drive for “One Ontario. One School System.”
Elimination of school board and governance grants for discontinued Catholic school boards with total potential savings of $164.9 million.
French language education savings of $38 million by reducing under-utilization.
Savings in student transportation grants of $169 million.
Savings in capital program costs of $239 million.
Economies of scale savings of between $488 million and $813 million.
The total estimated annual savings due to merging have been calculated at between $1.269 billion and $1.594.
Is this the Ontario you want, an Ontario that privileges one religion over all others, an Ontario that does not separate church and state? If not, please join the conversation and sign the petition today.
Today’s the Google Doodle celebrates Franz Kafka’s 130th birthday and the Toronto Star has provided a video plot summary of Kafka’s 1915 novella The Metamorphosis:
As you may have heard, CFI Canada/Ontario lost their directors. They have found someone to step in for a little while until they find someone permanent. What kind of qualities do we want in our CFI directors?
I think he should be strikingly handsome. He should be well educated. He should be patient. He should be drama free. In fact, drama should confuse him as it is an inefficient time sink. He should love science! He should love science fiction! He should be a great educator and think education is really important. He should enjoy long walks on the beach as well as long pedantic talks about philosophy. He should have experience debating people in a calm and polite manner. He should have a solid philosophy about what he believes in. He should dress well, but not too hip…it might scare away the old traditional white dudes.
Oh but most of all… He should have a wife/partner who is wonderful, pretty and outspoken. :D
I think they found the perfect guy in….*drum roll* John Xu!!
(Who I also happen to be marrying in … 25 days. Shit!)
Today CFI announced that John will be taking the wheel for a little while until they find a permanent person for the job. I think John will do wonderfully at this job. Because he is so wonderful. Here is the official press release:
CFI Appoints John Xu as Acting Toronto Director at our National Office
The Board of Directors of CFI Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of John Xu as Acting Director of CFI Canada’s Toronto Branch.
John has been involved with CFI since 2007, and brings a great deal of experience in the freethought movement to the position. We are grateful to John for stepping in to this important role. (See below for an introductory message from John).
We would also like to thank former Toronto Branch Director Jaimy Warner, who has graciously offered to help to reacquaint John with the position, and to participate in the search for a permanent Toronto Executive Director.
Board of Directors
Centre for Inquiry, Canada
A Message from John Xu
My name is John Xu, and I am honoured and excited to be offered the position of Acting Director at the Centre for Inquiry Toronto. I have had a long history here at the Centre, first getting involved in 2007 as a volunteer. That was the first time I discovered people who not only shared my worldview, but are also enthusiastic about creating a community of reason. CFI Canada is where I met some of my best and most interesting friends, and It has always felt like home to me.
CFI inspired me to co-found a freethinker student group at York University, which is still alive and well today. Through the help of CFI Canada donors, I was able to attend a Secularism conference in New York.
Since I first came to the Centre, I have occupied the positions of volunteer, intern and assistant director. I have also been involved in other related initiatives such as the Freethought Association of Canada and the Canadian Secular Alliance.
I have always been very grateful to CFI and what it has done for me, and I would like to give back to the community. CFI Toronto has been in transition, and I will be seeking to return the branch to its accustomed productivity.
Working with the truly excellent volunteers here at the Centre, I will uphold the values CFI Canada represents and carry the torch until a permanent director for CFI Toronto is found.
The Royal Canadian Mint is promoting four new coins:
In the insect world, things are not always what they seem.
That’s because over millions of years, insects—both predators and prey—have perfected survival mechanisms including mimicry, camouflage and disguise.
Here are some fascinating strategies employed by three of Canada’s most recognizable insects. Prepare to be bug-eyed with amazement!
Eastern tailed blue butterfly
The eastern tailed blue looks deep blue when its wings are opened; but its light blue-gray on the undersides of its wings show when closed. These colors switch back-and-forth in flight—making it hard for predators to track the eastern tailed blue, let alone recognize it.
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail
The Canadian tiger swallowtail uses a similar disguise technique to the eastern tailed blue. However, it also has a feature unique only to itself.
In its larvae stage, the Canadian tiger swallowtail may look like bird droppings. If that isn’t enough to detract predators like birds, the caterpillar can still defend itself while inside the larvae: a forked organ behind its head will emit a foul odour if disturbed, repelling predators that come near.
Twelve-Spotted Skimmer dragonfly
The glorious dragonfly is enjoyed by nature lovers and backyard watchers from early summer to late August. Large (5-6 cm long) in its adult phase, and strikingly coloured, the Twelve-Spotted Skimmer is found near waterways across southern Canada, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia.
The Twelve-Spotted Skimmer is well known for its spotted gossamer wings and powder-blue body.
The praying mantis has a flat, triangular shape and coloring just like the leaves it sits on, making it extremely hard to detect. Some may look like parts of trees, and even flowers. Their colors vary from green to pinks, with many being pea-green to brown, depending on the environment they are in. The praying mantis will sit motionless for hours, using its 180-degree vision to scan its surroundings as it waits—and eventually jumps on—its prey.
His name is Yaaka Yaaka, and he is an Inuit Atheist. I know what you’re thinking – “His first and last names are the same. Must be a traditional Inuit practice.” Nope. The white Canadian government employees who came to register the Inuit up north had trouble spelling his first name – Markusi – so instead they just made his first name the same as his last. Genius. But in truth nowhere near the worst thing our government has done to the Inuit or Natives of our country.
Yaaka is a self-made businessman who owns and runs his own successful company- Yaaka Yaaka Manufacturing – where they make traditional tools, art, and more. He also promotes conservation to try and slow the wasteful ways so many people use our planet. His company has single handedly repopulated a lake near his village with delicious arctic char. He is a respected leader in every way in his home village.
Before Christmas I sat down with Yaaka and his family to share a meal and talk about his beliefs. I recorded the conversation on my computer with the intention of transcribing it word for word and posting it here. However, with about half of the conversation transcribed my computer had an accident (read: I dropped it) and the hard drive appears to be finished and thus the recording and transcription are gone.
Despite this bump in the road I still wanted to write about our conversation and share much of what Yaaka had to say. I have not included any quotes obviously but I did share this with him before posting to make sure he felt he was represented properly and my memory did not skew anything.
Yesterday, the Board of Directors of CFI Canada sent out a general announcement:
After serious consideration, the Board of Directors of CFI Canada made the decision early last week to relieve National Director Michael Payton of his duties. A management team is in place and the search for a new National Director is under way. If you have specific questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael played an integral role in the transition of CFI Canada over the past year. We appreciate his dedication to the principles of CFI Canada and wish him well in his future endeavours.
CFI Canada will be launching its new website shortly and its Vancouver ad campaign this summer. Look for the opening of new and revitalized branches during the coming year.
Board of Directors
Centre for Inquiry, Canada
Before and after the announcement, people weighed in with comments for and against the Board’s decision. The Centre for Inquiry Canada promotes and advances reason, science, secularism and freedom of inquiry in all areas of human endeavour. So let’s be sceptical; let’s exercise our right as freethinkers and our freedom of inquiry to examine this issue.
The Board has a duty to do what is best for CFI even if it means making unpopular decisions; however, the Board of Directors fired Michael Payton “without cause,” which allowed Michael to leave with severance, references, and in good terms. The announcement shows that the board feels no animosity toward Michael Payton.
Some people are panicking, but there is no reason to panic. CFI is not rudderless.
The members CFI Board of Directors were elected by acclimation by CFI associate members at the CFI Annual General Meeting on June 15.
CFI has branches all over Canada dedicated to skeptical, secular, rational, and humanistic enquiry through conferences, symposia, lectures, and published works and to creating communities where like-minded individuals can meet and share their experiences.
CFI Ottawa put on a fun and informative conference at the end of November, 2012 entitled Eschaton: Celebrating Reason at the End of the World. The world did not end, but people made new friens, revitalized old friendships, heard great lectures and ate great food. Details can be found on Canadian Atheist using the search term Eschaton.
In May, CFI celebrated the Victoria Day long weekend in Kamloops at Imagine No Religion 3, hosted by the Kamloops Centre for Inquiry. Details can be found on Canadian Atheist using the search term INR3.
As you can see, CFI has dedicated branches, branch leaders, volunteers and supporters. So let’s be reasonable and rational; let’s look back at CFI’s success and look forward to the great things to come.
Watch for the launch of CFI’s new website and its Vancouver ad campaign. Support CFI with a new or renewed membership, a donation, and your volunteer hours.
This post is in repsonse to Jean Delisle’s very strong and persuasive arguments from Atheist Freethinkers Blog #31: Dare to Criticize religion. Delisle asks tough questions and sums up a collection of points and arguments which I will now use as a cheat sheet the next time I find myself in an epistemological discussion.
For now I want to explore a more “buddy up” approach to the discussion of religion as it is concerned with right and wrong:
People who are not 100% fundamanetally religious have made SOME kind of compromise with holy scripture. Either in the generations before them or in their own lives, these people have negotiated with supposedly non-negotiable text. Anyone who is even vaguely moderate has decided to trust in their own knowledge of what is right and wrong and reject the parts of religious texts and folklore that don’t agree. When speaking to someone about this, it is a positive and encouraging fact that one can disagree with religion and be rewarded with personal benefits. For example, if a woman commits adultery, her husband may opt for couples therapy instead of throwing rocks at her head until she dies. There are less dramatic examples such as enjoying some pemeal bacon with breakfast but the point remains the same.
There are many definitions of moderate religiosity and they are motivated by many variables but if a moderate person can see that they have made good decisions for their own lives , in spite of religion, they might notice the light of reason that is already in their minds.
What is this movement trying to accomplish? Did the civil rights movement “know” where it was headed?
There are so many ways to make social and political change and countless issues to address. When looking at our history books, it seems obvious why things came to be the way they are, but retrospect is tricky. It tells a story from end to beginning. It is a narrative that leaves out all the possibilities for change that could have been; for example, a campaign that didn’t get a lot of publicity or a speech not televised or posted online might not have gained enough support for its cause. Retrospect also misses some of the peripheral events that might have made a significant impact whether directly or by butterfly effect.
Thinking about how history is written and read can give us insight into how to reach our goals of social and political change.
This article was incredibly smug, should we be surprised the Globe and Mail published it?
In response to Andrew Ryan on the atheist hotline article from the Globe and Mail June 6 2013:
Recovering From Religion is planning to provide a safe and non-judgemental place for people to call when they are experiencing distress. Hotlines like this are invaluable for the support of people who are isolated and in physical, psychological or social danger. For example, a person might lose their spouse or community ties, experience anxiety and depression, or be subject to violence from family members. When someone is questioning their faith they are addressing what was once a fundamental place of peace and safety.
These people, who are brave enough to admit their personal truth and go against virtually every learned way of understanding their lives, deserve all the support that RR is providing and more.
There are countless real world examples of how someone recovering from losing their faith are challenged. From women who are owned by their husbands under Sharia law to recovering addicts who can’t find acceptance among AA groups because of the constant pressure to refer to a god they have lost faith in.
Phone lines are life lines.