Archive for April, 2013

Skeptics In the Pub

Posted in Event, Saskatoon, science on April 21, 2013 by saskskeptic

The next skeptics in the pub is:

 Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 7:30 to 10:00 PM

Joey’s Only Seafood

2100 8th Street East

Unit 101, 8th & Preston
Saskatoon, SK (edit map)

There were two horrific events in the US last week. One got by far the majority of the media coverage. Is this just a artifact of the media being on site for the Boston marathon? Or does it reflect something more fundamental? Does media drive this selective attention or merely reflect a basic human characteristic?

Why do people focus on the rare event and underestimate the risks of the mundane? A driver may be afraid of bears or sharks. A smoker may be afraid of spiders.

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Saskatoon Darwin Day 2013 Lecture-The Animal Tree of Life

Posted in Skeptic with tags , , , , on April 21, 2013 by saskskeptic

The second Darwin Day talk by Professor Tracy Marchant from the University of Saskatchewan presents The Animal Tree of Life.

Planet S Takes Down Chip Coffey

Posted in Media, news, Saskatoon, science, Skeptic on April 20, 2013 by saskskeptic

Planet S has this wonderful take down of claimed psychic and TV personality Chip Coffey:

Which is too bad, because I was curious to find out if his psychic powers would have revealed that I’m a completely duplicitous bastard. Maybe his spirit guides would’ve warned him that I already had an interview in the can with Mark Edward, a professional mentalist and magician.

For the full article go here

CFI Saskatoon Meetup: Gender & Diversity in the Secular Movement

Posted in Atheist, Event, Saskatoon on April 20, 2013 by saskskeptic
The Next CFI Saskatoon meetup is Gender & Diversity in the Secular Movement
Sunday, April 21, 2013
11:30 AM
Venice House
906 Central Avenue
Saskatoon, SK S7N 2G8

We will discuss the issues around gender and diversity in secularism. This has recently been a frequent topic with a lot of strong, differing opinions. Let’s plan for a respectful discussion of the issues and their impact on the secular movement. The idea is not to re-hash specific past cases, but to look at how these issues affect our group locally and in the online community where we spend much of our time.

Questions: Should we be doing more to make women, racial minorities, LGBTQ+ and others more welcome (safe) in the secular community? If so, what are some good approaches? What does being an ally look like? What are we already doing?

 

See the recent Open Letter to the Secular Community that was signed by leaders of several US secular organizations, including CFI (US). Here’s a related excerpt:

The Debate over Sexism and Feminism
Before listing some specific recommendations regarding improvement of online communications, we have observations about one particular set of interrelated issues that has engaged much of the secular community in the past year, namely sexism within the secular movement, the appropriate way to interpret feminism, and the extent to which feminism, however interpreted, should influence the conduct, policies, and goals of movement organizations. This set of issues is worthy of careful consideration, but in a few areas our positions should be very clear.
The principle that women and men should have equal rights flows from our core values as a movement. Historically, there has been a close connection between traditional religion and suppression of women, with dogma and superstition providing the rationale for depriving women of fundamental rights. In promoting science and secularism, we are at the same time seeking to secure the dignity of all individuals. We seek not only civil equality for everyone, regardless of sex, but an end to discriminatory social structures and conventions – again often the legacy of our religious heritage—that limit opportunities for both women and men.
Unfortunately, the discussion of these issues has suffered from the same problems that plague online discussion in general—although arguably to a greater extent.  Some blogs and comments actually exhibit hatred, including rape threats and insults denigrating women. Hatred has no place in our movement. We unequivocally and unreservedly condemn those who resort to communicating in such a vile and despicable manner.”

 

And here are some responses to the above letter:

Secular Woman: “it gives equal voice to the sexist ideas and beliefs that have been perpetuated as differing “interpretations” of feminism… As a secular feminist organization committed to understanding and exposing societal constructs that contribute to the inequality of women and other oppressed groups, we have no desire to listen to, respect, or continuously debunk overtly sexist viewpoints. Just as most scientists are not interested in debating the beliefs of creationists, we are not interested in debating gender-biased, racist, homophobic, or trans*phobic beliefs.”

 

Secular Census: In offering a one-size-fits-all formula of listening more, being more compassionate, and so on, the Open Letter fails to distinguish between spirited debate where such strategies may be helpful and more serious situations where they won’t be — and might even be dangerous.

 

And some advice to atheist men that was recommended by a member.

 

Should be interesting!

CFI Regina Darwin Day Lecture

Posted in lecture, Regina, science with tags , on April 19, 2013 by saskskeptic

Talk by Dr. Kerri Finlay for Darwin Day 2013 at the University of Regina

Saskatoon Darwin Day 2013 Lecture-Darwin Day 2013-The Evolving Landscapes of Cypress Hills

Posted in lecture, news, Saskatoon, science with tags , , , , on April 19, 2013 by saskskeptic

The first Darwin Day talk by Frank McDougall on the Evolving Landscapes of the Cypress Hills Uplands of South-West Saskatchewan and their effect on the flora and fauna of the area.