Is Atheism a religion? | | CBC Radio

Is Atheism a religion? | Day 6 with Brent Bambury | CBC Radio
Do Atheists deserve religious protection? The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal says yes, declaring Atheism is a creed that deserves the same religious protections as other recognized faiths. Last year a secular church opened in Calgary. There's a push to have atheist chaplains in the Canadian and American military. Next month is 'Super Secular September' in Manitoba. To discuss whether Atheism is becoming an organized religion of its own, Day 6 is joined by René Choinard. He brought the case to the Human Rights Tribunal. Catherine Dunphy is a former Roman Catholic Chaplin and the executive director of The Clergy Project, and Margaret Somerville is the director of the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law.

(note:  Cathy Dunphy, head of the ClergyProject, is an Ontario Humanist Society officiant, and spoke to the Secular Student Association at University of Toronto on Darwin Day last year).  She was a chaplain - not a fish (chaplin) of course...


ANNE GOODMAN Obituary, memorial

anneIt is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Anne Goodman passed away in Toronto on August 1, 2013 at the age of 62 after a brief but incredibly courageous battle with cancer. She leaves her devoted and loving family: her husband, Michael, her mother, Sonia, her brother, David, and daughters Sandy (Richard), Susie (Nathan) and Vicki (Mauricio), and grandson, Hudson, along with family and many, many treasured colleagues and friends around the world.
Anne was born on November 29, 1950 in Johannesburg, South Africa. She received her first degree in occupational therapy. She moved to Toronto in 1978. Anne has committed her life both personally and professionally to social justice and building a culture of peace around the world, through fostering dialogue and community healing. She taught at OISE in the department of Adult Education and Community Development, directed a graduate certificate in Community Healing and Peacebuilding and was the Co-Director of the Transformative Learning Centre at OISE. Anne was the president and co-founder of InterChange: International Institute for Community-Based Peacebuilding.
As a humanist officiant, Anne created beautiful and personal ceremonies for people sharing life’s biggest moments. Anne was someone who truly made the world a better place, every single day, in ways big and small, and will continue to do so through her enduring and powerful legacy. Everything she did was done with purpose, passion, empathy, authenticity, insight, grace, and love. Teacher, learner, communicator, facilitator, writer, nurturer, peacebuilder, nature lover, thinker, reader, baker, cyclist, dreamer, gardener, spiritual healer, global citizen, neighbour, community member, friend, beautiful spirit – Anne was so many wonderful things to so many people across the globe – she will be deeply missed and in our hearts forever.
A private family funeral will take place in accordance with a natural burial approach, as she wanted. A public celebration of Anne’s life will take place on Monday August 12, from 2-5 p.m. in the Floral Hall at the Toronto Botanical Gardens (777 Lawrence Avenue East). Donations to the peacebuilding organization that she co-founded, InterChange (, can be made through the website or In addition, contributions can be made to the Anne Goodman Tree Fund by sending an e-transfer to to help us plant trees throughout Toronto parks in her memory.

Toronto Science Festival, Sept 27-29

The University of Toronto has recently announced the inaugural Toronto Science Festival (TSF), taking place September 27th to 29th, 2013.  The Festival is a three-day, public celebration of science – with keynote speakers, panel discussions, as well as a variety of performances, film screenings, exhibitions and events, all on the downtown campus of the University of Toronto.
In 2013, the Festival explores the theme of "Life in the Universe". How did life on Earth begin? How does it evolve? How does it survive in extreme environments? Is there intelligent life beyond Earth?
Festival highlights:
  • Keynote speakers: Julie Payette (Canadian astronaut), Sean B. Carroll (evolutionary biologist) and Jim Bell (planetary scientist)
  • Lively panel discussions on: The Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth, Life in Extreme Environments, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
  • We’re very excited to have astronomer Jill Tarter participate at TSF. Tarter is a pioneer in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and former director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute.  But Tarter is probably just as well known as the inspiration for the character Ellie Arroway, played by Jodie Foster, in the movie version of Carl Sagan’s novel, Contact. During TSF, we’ll have a screening of the movie Contact, with Tarter as a special guest.
  • If you miss the film or panel, you’ll still have a chance to see Tarter—and many other scientists—at the Café Scientifique “Brunch-with-a-scientist” event.
  • A Star Trek (tv show) half-marathon
  • "Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence" contest: If you had the chance, what would you say to intelligent extraterrestrial beings? How would you describe humanity to them? Would you ask them a question? What would you say? We are giving you an opportunity to send your message (by text or by video) into space in an attempt to contact an intelligent civilization beyond Earth.
Full program details and tickets for the various TSF events are available on our website –  You’ll need tickets for all events, including the FREE events such as the panel discussions, Star Trek half-marathon, and sky observing & telescope clinic.

For the most up-to-date TSF news, be sure to follow us on Twitter @tosciencefest.

See you at the Toronto Science Festival!