Feb 12: 2013 Darwin Day Celebration!

2 Feb

February 12th is the birthday of Charles Darwin, and “Darwin Day” is a global celebration of science and reason. This will be the 5th celebration in Saskatoon and the 3rd year that the Saskatchewan Minister of Education has recognised February 12 as Darwin Day in Saskatchewan!

The University of Saskatchewan Freethought Alliance, Saskatoon Skeptics and Centre for Inquiry Saskatchewan are proud to host the annual Darwin Day celebration in Saskatoon on February 12 from 7-10 pm.

Come and help us celebrate Darwin’s 205th birthday with 2 presentations followed by discussions. Speakers this year are paleontologist Frank McDougall and biologist Tracy Marchant. Tracy Marchant’s talk, “The Animal Tree of Life”, will focus on the changes in our understanding of evolution, particularly of vertebrates, since Darwin’s time.  Frank McDougall will speak on how the geography of the Cypress Hills Uplands area affected the flora and fauna in that area.

Birthday cake and coffee will be available and the Museum of Natural Sciences is nearby for touring and working on a scavenger hunt.

Schedule of Events (subject to change):

6:30 pm Doors open

7:00 pm Introduction & 1st Presentation

8:15 pm Birthday Cake & Coffee; Museum Touring

8:45 pm 2nd Presentation

10:00 pm Pub Discussion (anyone interested can join us for further discussion & cheer – at nearby Alexander’s Restaurant)

You are welcome to attend all or any part of the event.

Donations are welcome and appreciated. Suggested donation: $10 (not required). Charitable donations to the Centre for Inquiry Saskatchewan are eligible for a tax receipt if contact information is provided.

Come out for an evening celebrating science!


If you are not familiar with campus, please have a look at this map.
Here are some parking suggestions that are near the biology building. Most should have a maximum of $4.00 to park there in the evening.

  • Lot 5 beneath Agriculture Building
  • Lot 1 across from Place Riel
  • Lot 8 by Physics
  • F lot beside the education building
  • G lot behind Thorvalson
  • Meters will cost $1/hr with a 4 hour maximum

We are looking for volunteers to help with the following tasks:

1) Putting up posters – ASAP

2) Event set-up – 6:15pm Feb 12
3) Event assistance (e.g. door greeter, sales table, display table, speaker contact at event) – during event Feb 12
4) Event clean-up – 9:45-10:15pm Feb 12 (some may be done during the last lecture, so that we can get out and to the pub discussion promptly;)

Please email Kendra if you are able to help out in any way.

Sep 29: Light the Night Walk for Blood Cancers

5 Aug

The Centre for Inquiry is participating in the Light the Night Walk for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. We are part of a collaboration in which pro-science and secular groups like CFI are uniting to raise $1,000,000 to fight cancer. The purpose is to help make a difference in the lives of those affected by blood cancers.  We’d love for you to join the fun, walk with us and help raise funds for life-saving cancer research. It’s free to participate and you will raise funds online. Everyone who raises $100 or more will get a T-shirt.

Click here or use the link below to sign up, and join our team, Centre for Inquiry Saskatoon – FBB:

http://my.e2rm.com/TeamPage.aspx?TSID=365108&langPref=en-CA

If you can’t join us at the walk, you can sponsor one of our team members to help us reach our goal.  Thank you for choosing to make a difference!

More Information:

Each fall, in communities all across the US and Canada, thousands of participants raise funds for vital, lifesaving research and patient services and, on these special nights, they carry illuminated balloons to show the support of a caring community.

Light the Night walkers raise funds and walk as individuals or on a team with friends, family and co-workers.

This year, for the first time ever, freethought, atheist, skeptic, and secular humanist groups are coming together as one unified team to pool our efforts and become the first team in LLS history to raise $1,000,000 in its first year.

Our team is Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB) and we need you to help this worthwhile cause by joining the walk or donating.

How will we ever raise $1,000,000?!?!?!

A million dollars is a LOT of money, but we have a not-so-secret weapon: the Stiefel Freethought Foundation has pledged to match every dollar we raise up to $500,000! As an extra incentive, the top fundraising teams will have the opportunity to direct up to $5,000 in SFF grants, with half going to a local qualifying freethought nonprofit and the rest to qualifying FBB Allies of their choice, such as CFI. (More information about the incentive program can be found here.)

This is a great opportunity to rally behind something big that reflects our shared values: the healing power of scientific research, education, and compassionate patient care. Please sign up and join all of us in the fight against cancer.

Sep 16: Higher Power and Our Addictions

5 Aug

Venice House, September 16, 11:30AM – 2:00PM

Side room

Michele Ketzmerick, director, Saskatchewan Impaired Driver Treatment Centre, will be discussing the importance of providing inclusive support for people with problems related to substance use, as well as reasons why non-faith-based options are critical.

With the publicaton of her book this summer, “I Married an Atheist…Thank God,”  which includes a chapter entitled “Higher Power and Our Addictions,” she will also touch on some unexpected consequences that she experienced as a result of finally thinking critically about religion.

Michele is from Prince Albert and has worked in corrections and the substance abuse field for the past 17 years, currently as the Director of the Saskatchewan Impaired Driver Treatment Centre.  She also teaches classes in the Correctional Studies Program at SIAST, including the Addictions class that she developed 7 years ago.

Michele’s Addiction Treatment background was in facilitation, training, and program development with the Correctional Service of Canada. She has a Bachelor of Human Justice from the U of R. Michele recently published a book called “I Married an Atheist…Thank God,” outlining her transition from faith to reason.

June 24: Ailsa Watkinson

8 Jun

Sunday, June 24, 2012, 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM

Venice House, 906 Central Avenue, Saskatoon, SK, side room

Ailsa Watkinson is a social work professor at University of Regina (Saskatoon Campus).  She has been protesting the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast since before CFI Saskatoon existed:

Prayer Breakfast not Path to Unity (PDF download)

Amongst her current research interests is included this item:

  • Faith Based Services and Human Rights Commitments Researching the type and extent of public service delivery provided by faith based organizations in Western Canada to determine if pubic services, delivered by faith-based organizations, are provided consistent with parameters set by Supreme Court rulings concerning religious freedom and equality rights.

She will be speaking to us at our monthly Meet-up about topics in her research.

More details to follow.

June 14: Nate Phelps: The Uncomfortable Grayness of Life

20 Apr

Thursday, June 14, 2012, 7:00 PM

311 – 23rd St. E., Saskatoon, SK

Downstairs in the Theatre

CFI Saskatoon is excited to announce that we’re bringing Nate Phelps to the city for Pride 2012. This is an official Pride Festival event in collaboration with the Saskatoon Diversity Network.

Nate Phelps, the estranged son of “God Hates Fags” church leader Fred Phelps, tells his story of enduring physical, emotional and psychological abuse as a child raised in the hate-filled theology of the Westboro Baptist Church. He recounts his escape from his father’s home at age 18 and his journey from dogma and hate to reason and acceptance, as an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community.

Without your support, the Centre for Inquiry cannot put on major events such as this. We encourage you to donate or become a Friend of the Centre today (more information below).


Nate was recently published in The Huffinton Post: “Life After the Westboro Baptist Church“. Nate describes his upbringing in the notoriously homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, and his journey of enlightenment that turned him into a pro-gay rights advocate.  You can also watch a 2010 2-part interview with Nate by (interim) National Executive Director Michael Payton on CFI’s Think Again! TV.


The Westbro Baptist Church (WBC) is an Independent Baptist church known for its extreme stance against homosexuality and its protest activities, which include picketing funerals of American servicemen and desecrating the American flag.

The group bases its work around the belief expressed by its best known slogan and the address of its primary Web site, God Hates Fags, asserting that every tragedy in the world is linked to homosexuality — specifically society’s increasing tolerance and acceptance of the so-called homosexual agenda. The group maintains that God hates gays above all other kinds of “sinners” and that homosexuality should be a capital crime.

They were the subject of a 2007 BBC documentary film titled “The Most Hated Family in America“.


Agenda
6:30 pm Doors open
7:00 pm Welcome and Presentation
9:00 pm Social
9:30 pm Pub Discussion (Location TBD)

Admission (at the door)
General Admission: $10
CFI Friends of the Centre and Students: $5
NEW CFI Friends of the Centre (after April 14, 2012): FREE

Note that your RSVP here does not guarantee you admission. It is first come, first served at the door.


Without your support, the Centre for Inquiry cannot put on major events such as this. We encourage you to donate or join as a Friend of the Centre. Admission for this event is free for new CFI Friends, so join today! CFI is a nationally registered educational charity and all donations over $10 are eligible for a tax receipt.

When donating online, you can add a comment that you would like the funds to remain in Saskatchewan, if you wish. You can also join or donate in person at one of our events and you can send cheques to
Centre for Inquiry Saskatchewan
Box 31043 RPO Broadway & Taylor
Saskatoon, SK, S7H 5S8

May 3: Debate: Should Assisted Suicide be Legalized in Canada?

13 Apr

Thursday, May 3, 2012, 7:00 PM

311 – 23rd St. E., Saskatoon, SK

Downstairs in the Theatre

The Centre for Inquiry Canada is presenting a series of debates across the country on the issue of assisted suicide. With strong arguments on both sides, this is a complex and emotionally-charged issue.

Motion: “Should assisted suicide be legalized in Canada?”

Proposition Debater: Wanda Morris, Executive Director of Dying with Dignity

Opposition Debater: Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Moderator: University of Saskatchewan Debate Society Member

This promises to be a stimulating debate about a very topical issue in Canada. Hope to see you there!

Without your support, the Centre for Inquiry cannot put on major events such as this. We encourage you to donate or become a Friend of the Centre today (more information below).


CFI thanks both Dying with Dignity and Euthanasia Prevention Coalition for helping to sponsor this event.

More about the Debaters:

Wanda Morris is the Executive Director of Dying with Dignity, a charitable organization established in 1982 to educate the public about end of life options and the importance of advance care planning; to provide information and resources to the public and lawmakers about the choice in dying movement and the reasons why appropriately regulated assisted dying should be legalized in Canada; and to provide support for individuals at the end of their lives including support at the bedside for those who wish to determine the nature and timing of their dying. Wanda has been actively involved in the 2011 “Right to Die” charter challenge brought before the supreme court of British Columbia, and is an advisor to The Right to Die Society.

Alex Schadenberg is the Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

About the “Right to Die” Charter Challenge:
Gloria Taylor is a 63 year old woman who suffers with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Last year, she petitioned the Supreme Court of British Columbia to give her the legal right to end her life before the progressive disease makes living intolerable. A decision by the Court is expected soon.


Agenda
6:30 pm Doors open
7:00 pm Welcome and Debate

Admission (at the door)
General Admission: $10
CFI Friends of the Centre and Students: $5
NEW CFI Friends of the Centre (after April 12, 2012): FREE

Note that your RSVP here does not guarantee you admission. It is first come, first served at the door.


Without your support, the Centre for Inquiry cannot put on major events such as this. We encourage you to donate or join as a Friend of the Centre. Admission for this event is free for new CFI Friends, so join today! CFI is a nationally registered educational charity and all donations over $10 are eligible for a tax receipt.

When donating online, you can add a comment that you would like the funds to remain in Saskatchewan, if you wish. You can also join or donate in person at one of our events and you can send cheques to
Centre for Inquiry Saskatchewan
Box 31043 RPO Broadway & Taylor
Saskatoon, SK, S7H 5S8

March 25: AIDS in Africa

6 Mar

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 11:30 AM

906 Central Avenue, Saskatoon, SK

We are welcoming a guest speaker for this meetup, Jenny Neal.  Jenny is part of Grandmothers for Grandmothers, a non-denominational organization dedicated to alleviating the plight of grandmothers in Africa as they care for children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. They aim to increase awareness and motivate others to donate to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which in turn provides support to African grandmothers and widows enabling them to develop income-generating activities to support themselves and provide the basic necessities for the many orphaned children in their care. If you don’t know much about Stephen Lewis, read more here. Jenny is especially involved with the Grandmothers Advocacy Network working on issues such as reform of the CAMR legislation by the Canadian government so that generic medicines can be sent to Africa.

We encourage everyone to make a donation to the Stephen Lewis Foundation (a secular, registered Canadian charity). If you’re able, they have a campaign to “Give a Day” – donate one day’s pay. Feel free to leave a comment on this event if you’ve made a donation (of any amount).

Jenny will outline the devastating impact HIV/AIDS has had on Sub-Saharan Africa and discuss some of the factors that have contributed to these high levels of infection. She will also talk about some of the positive developments that have recently taken place and the fact that it would be possible to live in an AIDS free world if only there were political will. Up to date statistical information is available at UN AIDS.

It seems that some solutions are working in some places and not in others – Africa is not homogenous. There is a history of economics (e.g. access to drugs), politics (e.g. AIDS denialism), religion (e.g. condom use) and myths (e.g. sex with a virgin will cure AIDS) interferring with the battle against HIV and AIDS in Africa.  Interestingly, WHO/UNAIDS recommend that male circumcision be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence.

Jenny recommends that everyone read 28 stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolan. It combines personal stories of 28 very diverse people living in different countries in Africa and the impact AIDS has had on them.  Every story also includes information on the situation in that country so the reader can learn a tremendous amount about all aspects of the disease.

Jenny’s Bio:

I am a mother of three and a grandmother of four beautiful children.  I spent most of my working life teaching Biology at the University of Saskatchewan.  Since retirement I have become very involved with the Grandmothers 4 Grandmothers group here in Saskatoon. This group supports the work of the Stephen Lewis foundation (SLF) which funds over 300 projects in Sub – Saharan Africa.  These projects support grandmothers and others living with HIV/AIDS and the orphans in their care.  I have spent 4 separate years in Africa, in Kenya and Zimbabwe (when my children were young) and more recently 2 years in South Africa.  Two years ago I was lucky enough to be chosen to go to South Africa and Swaziland with the SLF and 42 other grandmothers from all across Canada.  We visited projects supported by the  SLF and took part in a historic conference and March involving grandmothers from 15 different sub-Saharan African countries.

FYI: Dick Neal, who has spoken twice at our Darwin Day events is Jenny’s husband.