Jun 222017
 

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”.

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 Posted by at 4:33 PM
Jun 012017
 

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.

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 Posted by at 1:31 PM
May 262017
 

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.

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 Posted by at 11:06 AM
Jan 252017
 

It’s that time of year again, membership renewals are due.    If you bought your membership in the last few months of last year (carries over into 2017) or if you have an automatic 3 year renewal via paypal you will be listed as a current member with us, otherwise your membership needs to be renewed.

2017 membership card

Purchasing or renewing a membership is easy.  You can update your membership at any event with one of our board members.   Or you can purchase/renew your membership online.

Memberships are $30 for the entire year, and allow you access to VIP members only events, give you discounts to events like the AB Secular Conference, access to our book library and shows your support for our organization.   We have just received our new membership cards this week and will be handing them out at events (or mailing them if you can’t regularly attend)  so you can be a ”card carrying atheist”!

If you purchase or renew your membership by February 22nd (so that’s four weeks from today) you’ll be entered to win a copy of ‘Flim Flam’  signed by James Randi himself!   Any current 2017 members (purchased since the end of 2016/lifetime members/automatically renewing on paypal) will be automatically entered into this draw.  If you are unsure if you are up to date with your membership drop us a line at info@edmontonatheists.ca and we’ll check for you.

Thanks for your continued support of the Society of Edmonton Atheists!

Flim Flam book

 Posted by at 12:44 PM
Jan 252017
 

As many of you remember we were very concerned when we found out that Deepak Chopra would be a keynote speaker at the Children’s Autism Conference being held in Edmonton today.   In spite of media attention calling them out for this poor choice, as well as petitions and letters sent to their director they did not remove him from the scheduling, but instead offered a small justification that he was coming to talk about ”wellness”, which affects everyone.
Deepak
Regularly we are found demonstrating at these types of pseudoscience events to promote critical thinking.    We have information leaflets at the ready for those interested in learning more about our position and it is always peaceful and non-confrontational.  We have had many interesting conversations as a result.   We have demonstrated in front of events for the Long Island Medium, James Van Praagh and David Avocado Wolfe.   At the end of April we intend on demonstrating at the Jon Edwards event in the same way.

Unfortunately, as this particular event is being held at the River Cree Casino, we are unable to demonstrate in front of the building as they also own the parking lot area, which is a large lot.   The nearest street is a busy road connecting people to the casino but also to Costco.   It has no sidewalk.    For these reasons we feel it is unsafe for our members to be demonstrating this event, especially since the possibility of conversation and handing out information is also removed as there will be no one walking into the event from this route.

Instead, we encourage you to send your concerns to the conference organizers, in the hopes that they will not consider inviting any speakers who offer only pseudoscience, and only invite those who offer evidence based information at any of their future events.   Their email address is info@childrensautism.ca

 Posted by at 12:09 PM
Sep 092016
 

Dying With Dignity Edmonton are hosting an event of interest to many of our members, with discussions surrounding the new legislation and how there is still work to be done.  Join us there!
Dying With Dignity
Medical Assistance in Dying: An Alberta Perspective
An informative discussion on the implementation, challenges and future implications of Canada’s new assisted dying law.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Presentation and Q & A: 7 p.m. to 9 pm.

**Strathcona Community Centre, 401 Festival Lane, Sherwood Park**
RSVP (preferred) to Val at valwhitehead@shaw.ca 780-458-9208. Suggested donation of $10 at the door.

Speakers will include:

Dr. Michael Caffaro,  Assistant Registrar (Professional Conduct),
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta

Shanaaz Gokool, CEO, Dying With Diginity Canada

Dr. Own Heisler Vice President (Medicine), Covenant Health

The Hon. Brandy Payne, Alberta’s Associate Minister of Health

Lisa Peters-Schmidt Edmonton Chapter Member, Dying With Dignity Canada

Dr. James Silvius,   Medical Director of Community, Seniors, Addictions and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services

Moderator: Rev. Brian Kiely

 Posted by at 9:32 AM
May 262016
 

Society of Edmonton Atheists: ‘We’re interested in having a booth at your expo. We feel it’s a fun atmosphere where sci-fi fans (which for some reason have a crossover with atheism) can find out about our group, therefore we’re applying under your non-profit section’

Reply: NO – you violate our policy of promoting religious doctrine
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Society of Edmonton Atheists: ‘We’re interested in joining the displays at City Hall that are aimed at celebrating the diversity of faith groups in our city and making everyone feel like they belong’

Reply: You might not qualify under the guidelines as you aren’t considered religious
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 Posted by at 12:20 PM
May 042016
 

If you don’t drive, but have items you want to donate, please email Karen, our current SEA president, and she’ll arrange to pick them up. Email Karen at president@edmontonatheists.ca

Items that the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services are asking for are as follows:

– diapers
– baby wipes
– feminine hygiene products
– soap
– shampoo
– NEW towels
– NEW Underwear and socks
– NEW pillows
– toothbrushes and toothpaste

While not listed, unopened cat and dog food have been mentioned online as items they would accept, so if you want you can also donate those.

We took cash donations during the Aron Ra event on Tuesday evening and have donated $300 to the Red Cross on behalf of the Society of Edmonton Atheists.


donation

 Posted by at 1:56 PM
Mar 042016
 

Many of our members have followed the Dying with Dignity movement for awhile now, and all seemed victorious when last year the Supreme Court gave a 1 year notice of Physician Assisted Dying becoming legal.   The legislation was meant to commence on February 6th this year, but our last federal government didn’t do enough to gather information from various groups in order to enact it in time, so when the new Liberal government took over they requested an extension.  It was granted and the time frame extended to June 6th, 2016.   As of June 6th, PAD will become legal, regardless of what legislation is in place.

In Alberta we have a slight problem though.  The vast majority of people who request PAD are already in palliative care, at the end of their lives.  The majority of palliative care beds in Alberta are owned and run by the publicly funded Catholic Covenant Health group.   The church has stated that Physician Assisted Dying is against their Catholic teachings and will not be provided at their hospital.    Here’s the issue though…you don’t get to pick which bed you are given so you can’t request a non-catholic bed, you are just assigned.

The Catholic Bishops of Alberta released this statement:

We want to be clear that, from a Catholic perspective, the intentional, willful act of killing oneself or another human being is morally wrong. Therefore, no Catholic may advocate for, or participate in any way, whether by act or omission, in the intentional killing of another human being either by assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Just this past week a Calgary woman was granted an exemption to the June 6th date but she had to travel to Vancouver to finally end her life.  This raises the issue of access to the right to die with dignity in Alberta.  
Dying With Dignity
So what can we do to help?  
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta currently have two campaigns where you can leave your feedback and views on PAD.    Help shape these policies!   Informed Consent and Conscientious Objection are available to be filled out until March 7th.   Dying with Dignity Canada have some recommendations in their toolkit to help you fill out these forms.

Alberta Health is also looking for your feedback, you can fill out their form until March 31st.

You can also write to your MLA and lend your support to the movement.

 Posted by at 2:32 PM
Jan 092016
 

We were very excited to hear that the Edmonton Public Library are hosting Sir Salman Rushdie for an event in Edmonton on February 25th.   The information from the epl website is as follows:

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”To celebrate Freedom to Read Week, EPL will welcome Sir Salman Rushdie as part of the  Forward Thinking Speaker Series on Thursday, February 25th. Sir Salman Rushdie is one of the most celebrated authors of our time. A brilliant provocateur, he’s penned a handful of classic novels, influenced a generation of writers and received a Queen’s Knighthood for his service to literature.

In line with EPL’s new approach to ticketing, seats will go on sale at 10am on Wednesday, January 20th for $10 with all proceeds going to support the Stanley A. Milner Library revitalization project. VIP tickets will also be available for $150 and will include a premium seat and a private hors d’oeuvres reception with Sir Salman Rushdie following his presentation.

WHEN: Thursday, February 25, 2016 – 7pm (Doors open at 6pm)
WHERE: Chateau Lacombe Hotel
TICKETS: $10 for general admission and $150 for VIP ticket which includes a premium seat and a private reception with Sir Salman Rushdie following his presentation. Tickets go on sale  on Wednesday, January 20 at 10am.”

We will be headed to The Hat on Jasper ave afterwards, we do have a small reservation so please reply on the event listing and let us know if you are planning on attending so we can increase the reservation numbers.

 Posted by at 4:03 PM