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Atheists can be playful too

Are physicists more playful because they’re more religious?

Vancouver Sun spirituality reporter Douglas Todd seems to argue for this connection in his latest blog. His post was motivated by a quote from anthropologist David Graeber saying that “physicists are more playful than biologists.” Todd suggests this is echoed by opinion surveys that show “physicists are more likely than biologists to believe in some form of transcendent reality, which some might call God.”

Except Todd doesn’t reference any surveys that show that.

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The HELLO Project

Everyday we see people walking around alone, looking a little downcast. But what we cannot see and cannot know is how isolated they are really. If they are one of the approximately 25 percent Metro Vancouverites seriously isolated then their isolation could be FOUR TIMES as damaging health-wise as obesity.

I find that statistic stunning and incredibly revealing. I am almost tempted not to believe it. But it comes from a man who is arguably the single best expert on this subject in the world, a man who has been head of the top organizations for psychiatric researchers in the USA. Professor John Cacioppo cites the damning number at the end of a clip I found on YouTube, a clip I have shown very widely since and which is intriguing to almost everybody who watches it. It is just ten minutes long, so I advise you to watch it too dear readers.

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Physicians support referrals for assisted dying requests

Most Canadian doctors support requiring physicians to refer patients who with to hasten their death to a colleague, independent third party, or medical administrator, even while most doctors would personally refuse to assist a terminally ill patient's death, according to a survey by the Canadian Medical Association of its members.

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August 25th newsletter roundup

Through our weekly newsletter, we like to let you know about our upcoming events as well as a number of issues and campaigns that we think might be of interest to you. Let me know if you have any suggestions to include in future roundups. Email:

And for the latest news items, be sure to like the BC Humanists on Facebook and follow @BCHumanist on Twitter.

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BC Supreme Court begins hearings on Christian law school

The BC Supreme Court begins hearing today into whether Trinity Western University, an evangelical private university, should be able to accredit lawyers. TWU requires all students to sign a community covenant which prohibits sex outside a heterosexual marriage, thereby excluding gay and lesbian students as well as non-Christians.

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Low HPV vaccination rates in Fraser Health region highlight danger of religious influence on BC schools

Several Christian schools have the lowest HPV vaccination rates among their Grade 9 students in the Fraser Health region, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun. The Sun obtained vaccination records for schools in the region which covers Burnaby to Hope. Just 61% of Grade 9 girls received the vaccine in 2013-2014. Six of the nine schools reporting Grade 9 HPV vaccination rates below 25% were Christian.

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British Columbians join bloggers, free speech campaigners, humanist associations, religious and ex-Muslim groups to protest Bangladeshi blogger murders

Following a string of brutal “machete” murders of Bangladeshi writers, all of whom had blogged about humanism, secularism, and atheist critiques of religion, a ground-breaking open letter today calls on the Bangladeshi government to stop “victim-blaming” the bloggers, and instead focus on catching the extremists who are murdering them.

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British National Arrested for Planning Bangladeshi Humanists' Murders

A British Islamist has been arrested in Bangladesh for the organizing the recent spate of murders of Humanists there.

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August 17th newsletter roundup

Through our weekly newsletter, we let our members and supporters know about our upcoming events as well as a number of issues and campaigns that we think might be of interest to them. However it’s recently grown in length and has been difficult to read.

So we’re trying something new. From now on, each week we’ll be posting our news items of interest on our blog and linking to these posts from the newsletter. Then, those who want to explore more can do so while our newsletter is kept to a more manageable level.

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Provinces launch independent panel on assisted dying

All of the provinces and territories (except Quebec) have come together to launch a panel on assisted dying. This is good news, as the Ontario-led panel is already more credible than the one announced by the federal government earlier this year.

Read more on Dying With Dignity’s website.

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