Don’t forget about this great event happening tomorrow evening at the University! Meet and Greet afterwards for current members of the SEA (if you didn’t get an email with the location please let us know)
Unfortunately, life has kept me ridiculously busy for the past month (kids home from school, family moving, renovations etc) and preparations for tonight’s counter-apolgetics aren’t up to scratch. I’ve been trying to catch up today but time has run away with me and I don’t feel it would be worth anyone’s time to come for the small amount I’ve managed to get prepared.
Tonight’s meeting is going to be postponed until after the summer, apologies to those of you who have to change plans.
I know that the Greater Edmonton Skeptics Society have a pub night this evening, perhaps drop by to say hello to them. You have to be part of their facebook group to see the event. https://www.facebook.com/events/132242654031660/
Sadly, a founding member of the SEA (member 001!), our friend, Michael Vester passed away on Sunday, June 18th. Michael was instrumental in starting the group, getting it incorporated as a non-profit, was the very first SEA President, and was the driving force behind our first few years marching and having a booth at the Edmonton Pride Parade. In 2010 he was voted in as the first lifetime member due to this involvement in creating the group and he was always a strong supporter of the group both financially and with his time.
If you were new to the group, when you met Michael you were sure to hear the story of how he was raised an atheist but was taken to Sunday School as a child (the nuns ensured he was thoroughly turned away from religion) and that he was a ”third generation atheist”.
Ibrahim is an atheist blogger and activist in Bangladesh who has received repeated death threats because wrote about atheism, LGBTQ freedoms & Islamization. He not only expressed his beliefs, but stands up courageously to uphold the principle of basic human rights. The penalty for doing so is death, often carried out by vigilante groups; the violence generally condoned by local governments.
Talking and writing about a humanist way of living is not tolerated in many parts of the world. Many of Ibrahim’s friends have been murdered by AL-Queda in Bangladesh, others have fled to escape brutal murder; he is one of those seeking safety for his family.
We won’t let them journey alone! Now you can help bring them to Canada.
Last night we had the pleasure of hearing Gail Miller, one of the directors of the Critical Thinking Project, speak to us about the project and what it’s goals are.
The focus is on developing nations, education quality and giving tools to deal with dogma, witchcraft and violence. The underlying foundation is one of fairness and tolerance, using critical thinking skills to become less discriminatory. Dr. Christopher DiCarlo started this as a sample program for high school students in Ontario and is now taking the project to developing nations.
This event was a few weeks ago now, however I wanted to wait for the video to be uploaded in case anyone wanted to watch it. This was an event sponsored by the Institute for Christian Studies and Society at the University of Concordia. Rabbi Daniel Friedman (Beth Israel Synagogue), Reverend Jim Gimbel (President, Concordia Lutheran Seminary), and Dr. Doris Kieser (St. Joseph’s College) were the guest speakers and the event was public and announced via facebook.
A friend invited me, so I decided to go.
Before the presentation even started a lady sitting in front of us was handing out some pamphlets from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. The pamphlet, Caring Not Killing, can be viewed on their website. With close to 60 people in attendance, I suddenly was very aware my friend and I would be alone in our views that PAD was a human right, should remain legal and was the compassionate way to allow people to end their lives if they so chose to.
Unfortunately, due to a forecast of rain and wind this weekend, we are postponing our highway cleanup originally scheduled May 13th and 14th. It’s not particularly safe to be out on the grass when it’s slippery and wet.
We will try again for next weekend, May 20th and 21st.
We do have a few people willing to do car pools from Century Park LRT, so if you are in need of a ride in order to help out with this event, drop us a message at email@example.com and we’ll let the drivers know who to look for.
If you are able to offer rides, please let us know as well.
Thanks, see you all next weekend!
With all the information floating around lately about Catholic schools, religion classes, and funding, we thought we’d just remind everyone about the Alberta Act and the Northwest Territories Ordinances of 1901 that govern our school boards. Here’s what they say:
Alberta School Act
Religious and patriotic instruction
50(1) A board may
(a) prescribe religious instruction to be offered to its students;
(b) prescribe religious exercises for its students;
(c) prescribe patriotic instruction to be offered to its students;
(d) prescribe patriotic exercises for its students;
(e) permit persons other than teachers to provide religious instruction to its students.
(2) Where a teacher or other person providing religious or patriotic instruction receives a written request signed by a parent of a student that the student be excluded from religious or patriotic instruction or exercises, or both, the teacher or other person shall permit the student
(a) to leave the classroom or place where the instruction or exercises are taking place for the duration of the instruction or exercises, or
(b) to remain in the classroom or place without taking part in the instruction or exercises.
Ordinances of Northwest Territories, 1901
137 No religious instruction except as hereinafter provided shall be permitted in the school of any district from the opening of such school until one half hour previous to its closing in the afternoon after which time any such instruction permitted or desired by the board may be given.
Time for the Lord’s prayer
(2) It shall however be permissible for the board of any district to direct that the school be opened by the recitation of the Lord’s prayer. C.O., c.75, s.110.
Attendance not compulsory during religious exercise
138 Any child shall have the privilege of leaving the school room at the time at which religious instruction is commenced as provided for in the next preceding
section or on remaining without taking part in any religious instruction that may be given if the parents or guardians do desire.
C.O., c.75, s.111.
With John Edwards (alleged psychic medium) in town today, we thought we ‘d remind everyone that it’s okay to question his abilities and wanted to give some tips on what things to look for to help you spot if he’s genuine or not. There is currently no concrete evidence that any psychic can truly speak to the dead. They are for entertainment value only. Don’t be afraid to question those that claim psychic mediumship.
We’ve also included a fun BINGO card you can print off if you are attending his event and take with you. Don’t forget to count the hits vs misses as well, it might surprise you!