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Monthly Archive: September 2010

Sep 30 2010

Belgium identifies 500 abuse victims

I must confess to have taken some perverse pleasure in watching the Catholic Church crumble under the weight of its own evil. Any organization that has this much power, abuses its influence this egregiously, and then gets caught fills me with both an appreciation for hubris and a feeling of schadenfreude. This has definitely stopped …

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Sep 29 2010

Censorship: the first step toward tyranny

I said recently that there isn’t much point in having any rights if you don’t have free speech. Free speech is the one that allows you to fight for all of the other ones. What good is the right to free association, or the right not to be arbitrarily detained, if the government can punish …

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Sep 28 2010

Interesting experiment in China

I’ve spent a decent number of words decrying the state of free speech in China. Any criticism of the government may be met with complete indifference or being imprisoned, beaten and executed by agents of the state. Anyone who has studied the psychological concept of operant conditioning knows that intermittent reward or punishment leads to …

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Sep 27 2010

Accommodation vs. Confrontation

I suppose I have been remiss in formally commenting on one of the major debates currently going on in the atheist/agnostic/secular movement. There is a camp of people that thinks that the pathway to achieving the goals of a secular world is to work hand-in-hand with religious groups, and avoid offending the sensibilities of the …

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Sep 24 2010

Movie Friday: Neil DeGrasse Tyson on UFOs

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is probably my favourite public figure in the sciences. No disrespect to Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Bill Nye, Lawrence Krauss, or any of the other multitude of famous scientists out there fighting the good fight for public education in science and skepticism, but I will always carry a torch for Neil. He’s …

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Sep 23 2010

Tennis: 15-looooooove

I honestly couldn’t think of anything more clever than this for a title. I’ve failed you. Back in June, I speculated on a potential side-benefit of the World Cup in South Africa. Because of its low-tech nature, it has achieved worldwide popularity (there’s no way it’s because it’s a fast-paced and exciting game. I fell …

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Sep 23 2010

Manitoba proves me right! Thanks guys!

One of the most daunting things about blogging like this is that I don’t consider myself an expert in very many topics. A couple of weeks ago I was invited to speak for 40 minutes at a conference on a skeptical topic of my choosing. I was immediately paralyzed by indecision – I’m not an …

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Sep 22 2010

New Westminster still doing it right

Back in July, I applauded the city of New Westminster for taking positive, tangible steps to correct a history of racism against Chinese immigrants. I thought that it would stop there, but apparently they’re keeping the train of being smart people one step further: New Westminster will be the first municipal government in Canada to …

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Sep 22 2010

Sowing the seeds of tyranny

We take for granted that we live in a free society. The phrase “it’s a free country” has been repeated so often that it’s become a bottled phrase – a combination of words that are always put together in the same order without being examined on their own. Many could argue, validly, that our society …

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Sep 21 2010

Gaddafi warns of a “black Europe”. Wow… just wow

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is a lunatic, and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. However, it’s refreshing to know that he’s a racist asshole too: Speaking on a visit to Italy, Col Gaddafi said Europe “could turn into Africa” as “there are millions of Africans who want to come in”. Okay, sure. It’s …

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