November 23rd, 2015 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: [email protected]

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

DISCLAIMER: The opinions which appear in this roundup are not necessarily shared by all or even most of the members and board of the BC Humanist Association.

This past Sunday, November 22, 2015, 32 of us enjoyed a very interesting conversation with Nick Taylor of Basic Income Vancouver on the increasingly important issue of a Basic Income for all Canadians and ultimately for all humans.

Upcoming Events

On Sunday, November 29, 2015, we will hear from Obi Canuel, an ordained minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Obi will be speaking about his Church and his struggle to get a BC driver's license while wearing the religious headgear (a spaghetti colander) mandated by his faith. 

On Sunday, December 6, 2015, we will have a presentation from John Ince, author and activist, on The Political Significance of Sexuality.

On Sunday, December 13, 2015, we will have a presentation from Paul Clark of the Metro Vancouver Alliance, on mobilizing progressive groups around common issues of concern.

On Sunday, December 20, 2015, we will hear from Tee Barnett of Charity Science on Effective Altruism.

See all upcoming events.

BCHA Book Club

The December book club selection is Waking Up by Sam Harris. The meeting will be on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 7pm at Goldis and Kirsten's home. At the beginning of that meeting, we may decide to change the selection for the February 2, 2016 meeting or we may stick with the choice of Believing Bullshit by Stephen Law as decided at the November book club meeting.

The January book club selection is A Fair Country by John Ralston.  The meeting will be on Tuesday, January 5, 2015 at Goldis and Kirsten's home.  At the beginning of the meeting we will decide on the March 1, 2016 book club selection.

The February book club selection is Believing Bullshit by Stephen Law unless we decide otherwise at the December 1, 2015 meeting.  The February meeting will be on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at Goldis and Kirsten's home. At the beginning of the meeting, we will decide on the April 5, 2016 book club selection.


Doors open for our Vancouver meetings at the Oakridge Seniors Centre at 10:00 am for BYO coffee, tea, and socializing. Please help us welcome all attendees by introducing yourself and asking about themselves (if you are comfortable doing that). We want all attendees (and especially first-timers) to feel welcome and part of our Humanist community. At 10:30 am we start our presentation. The meetings take place at the Oakridge Seniors' Centre at the West side of the Oakridge Mall at 41st and Cambie. There is a Canada Line station which exits right into the mall.

Check the BCHA Vancouver Meetup page for more details on the meetings mentioned above and for what we have lined up into November and beyond. Also, please RSVP there, so that Meetup members have an idea of how many people usually attend these meetings. Please be aware that while we do our best to ensure that the scheduled programs go ahead as scheduled here, there are no guarantees and last minute changes may be necessary due to circumstances beyond our control.

Humanist Action: Coat Drive

Ian's trunk is already overflowing with the coats and winter clothes you've donated in the past couple weeks. Thank you!

If you haven't had a chance yet, you have one more week to get your donations in - either to our next Vancouver Sunday Meeting at Oakridge Seniors' Centre or drop it off with Sue. To get in touch with Sue call or email: 604-671-4805 / [email protected]More details.

Humanist Action: Izzy Doll project

Knitters are wanted for the Izzy Doll project. The dolls will be given to Syrian children who are waiting to come to Canada. These little dolls have been a comfort to children in war torn and disrupted societies over the last 20 years. For more information see here.

Fall BCHA Socials

On Wednesday, December 9 David Granirer, Al Hassam and J B Bell (from Stand Up For Mental Health) will be hosting Comic Disbelief, a night of comedy and skepticism at La Fontana Caffe at Hastings and Boundary. This event is free. Details here.

Finally, make sure to get your tickets for our annual Winter Solstice dinner. Tickets are selling fast. 

More News

The Good


There will be a world-wide global series of demonstrations for climate justice on November 29, 2015 including one in Paris at the Climate Talks. Global warming may be the most important issue ever to face humanity.  Click the link to find the demonstration nearest you. Global Climate March Vancouver will begin at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Hornby and Nelson) on Sunday, November 29, 1:00 pm

This incredibly moving video by a French man whose wife was murdered in the Bataclan Theatre massacre in Paris should shame all those who would deny entry to those refugees (Muslims, Christians and non-believers) fleeing from the madness which leads to atrocities like this.


The Japanese Red Cross ran an experiment to test kids' sense of right and wrong by having adults drop their wallet in front of them to see what the kids would do.


From Big Think, an article which suggests that a reliable artificial intelligence-based lie detector system may be available sooner than anyone thought.


While US politicians (some Democrats as well as virtually all Republicans) are falling all over themselves to demand all or at least all non-Christian Syrian refugees be denied entry to the USA, French President Hollande says France will continue with his plans to admit 30,000 Syrian refugees. 

Kenan Malik presents his thoughtful take on the issues around multiculturalism and diversity.


From Scientific American, comes an article on the surprising benefits of sarcasm. It promotes creativity in its victims.


Here is an interesting article in suggesting a fractal view of the Universe where protons are actually black holes - with gravity providing what is traditionally thought of as the strong nuclear force. This could provide the long sought-after Theory of Everything. The theory is quite controversial, but very intriguing.

Working with the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana. - See more at:
Working with the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana. - See more at:
Working with the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana. - See more at:

The Bad October 2015 global temperature departures from average (NASA)

The above map shows the temperature distribution around the world for October 2015. It shows historically high average temperatures almost everywhere and makes it clear that 2015 is on track to being the hottest year on record. This new data highlights the increasing urgency of the forthcoming Paris Climate talks efforts to produce drastic world-wide reductions in the production of greenhouse gases.


From The Dogwood Initiative comes a petition to ask the Trudeau federal government to impose a permanent ban on tankers in Canada's west coast waters with an actual law to back it up. Please consider signing it.


Vancouver, BC – The year-end Insights West “BC Government Report Card” conducted in partnership with Business in Vancouver shows that the public’s perception of the government’s push for the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has become more negative since 2013. There is also considerable concern about the government's lack of transparency.


Have you ever wondered about the origins of the Religious Right? Wonder no more. As this article from Politico shows, it all began with the fight to end racial segregation in the US. The huge focus on abortion was an after-thought because the evangelicals knew that pushing against civil rights for blacks was always going to be a less popular issue than abortion.


From Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, an ex-Muslim activist, comes a hilarious but sad satire portraying a Jihadist who is annoyed that many don't believe he is motivated by his "holy scripture" to commit the atrocities for which he is infamous.


Andrew Seidel, attorney for The Freedom From Religion Foundation explains that the answer to Islamic terror is not "Christian Truth". Religion is inherently divisive. We need less of it, not more. 

 The Ugly


Saudi Arabia, the studious ally of the United States, has just beheaded its 100th person since January 1st of this year. That number is on pace to crush the record for modern day Saudi executions, according to Amnesty International.


Despite the supposed controversy over Starbucks' solid red cups, there seems to a relative shortage of outrage over this ad from Bloomingdale that seems to be promoting date rape.


A blog post from Annie Laurie Gaylor, president of The Freedom From Religion Foundation points out the idiocy and hypocrisy of Ted Cruz's assertion that Muslim refugees from Islamist terror should be excluded in favor of accepting only Christian refugees because "there is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror".


 The Promotions


Anyone interested in taking part in Philosophy Dinners must sign up and pay the small fee ($5) in advance via Meetup since there a limited number of physical seats (and their format involves no more than 6 people to a table in order to keep the groups small). Glen is also coordinator of psychology dinners, and Calopia, your one-stop shopping site for worthwhile causes.

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