Posts Tagged Canada

Skeptics with a K: The Inside Story

Interview with Marsh on The Skeptical Review

Interview with Marsh on The Skeptical Review

Never one for self-promotion (*cough cough cough cough*), I have to admit to being flattered when, last week, I got an interview request from charming podcaster-type Karl Mamer, of the Conspiracy Skeptic podcast. Karl, alongside being an experience podcaster and generally dapper individual, is also something called a ‘Canadian’.

Now, being from this sceptred, splendid, God’s-own isle I’d previously never spoken to a Canadian – let alone ever been to Canadia – but seeing as outreach is one the stated goals in the MSS constitution (it’s amendment #3 right after the rule stating everyone has to have bare right arms, and right before the allowance of members to search for people having seizures), so I figured I’d give it a whirl. Still, forewarned is forearmed, so I thought it worth finding out a little more about this ‘Canadia’ place, before I allowed myself to be thrown to the mooses.

  • The archaic name of the country originally started with a silent ‘o’, however the land is only ever referred to as ‘Ocanada’ during the singing of the national anthem
  • The country has a fine heritage of cultural exports, including puppet ‘Ed The Sock‘, health activist Jim Carrey, and long-established comedy duo Terrence and Philip – who are often likened to our very own venerable Morecambe and Wise
  • We used to frickin’ own it! When the global economy crashed in 1931, the mortgage payments got too high, and Britain officially pawned Canada to some local lumberjacks. To this very day, the Queen’s name remains on the deeds, forcing proud Canadians to accept her as their great and glorious leader
  • Uber-skeptic James Randi was once Canadian, until an incident involving Alice Cooper and some Mounties while touring. Sometimes what happens on tour, doesn’t stay on tour, I guess
  • Current Prime Minister of Canada is Steve Harper, who supplements his wage by also playing goalkeeper for Newcastle United FC
  • Canadians don’t understand football, and they call it soccer, or soccerball, or goalsphere
  • It is the law that everything in Canada is written in both English AND in French / C’est la loi que chaque phrase ecrit en Canada est ecrit en Anglaise ET en Francais

Thus is the fruits of my Googling, and armed thus I ‘met’ with said Mr Mamer to thrash out an interview. Stylishly attired in a lumberjack shirt and matching hockey blades, Karl and I chatted about all things Skeptics-with-a-K-sy, while enjoying lashings of maple syrup and partaking in some customary transatlantic stereotyping.

Should you so wish, you can read the interview in full on The Skeptical Review website.

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Climate Change In Canada

In its continued exploitation of the oilsands of Alberta, Canadia may have recently surpassed even the US in its ability to ignore climate change science in the name of making economic gains.  It was a pleasant surprise, therefore, to find an opinion piece published in the Globe and Mail, a Canadian national newspaper, supporting the work of scientists as “square-jawed heros” of current crises.

Effectively a firm rebuttal of the idea that just because of a few poorly-worded emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia the entire climate science paradigm (or even the broader scientific establishment) has collapsed, the author highlights the vital work of scientists and the robustness of the system within which they work.

In the Hollywood version of how science influences policy, the brilliant scientist has a eureka moment in the lab and calls the president, who promptly dispatches a square-jawed hero to save the day. In the real world, both science and politics are enormously more complicated.

It is in this real-world context that we must place the imbroglio surrounding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s research. Breathless media claims that the scientific consensus supporting the reality of climate change and its causes has collapsed are simply untrue.

At its heart, the debate centres on the role and process of science in creating a platform for human progress. If anything has been “revealed,” it is the challenge of communicating complex science to a media world that requires scientists to reduce their research to a sound bite.

I highly recommend reading the full article.

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A Word From Our Man In Ottawa…

Humanist Dave with beard and taped photo

Humanist Dave with beard and taped photo

Last month, MSS member Chris jetted off to a bright future and a new life in Canada. I think. I mean the brighter future bit, not the Canada bit – I know he’s in Canada. Or at least he said he is, I’ve no real hard evidence. Hmm. Anyway, in his first overseas missive, Chris introduces us to the Canada Humanist scene and their own Atheist Bus Campaign…

Greetings from Canada! Coincidentally, just as Ariane Sherine prepared to make her way to my old stomping-ground in Liverpool I attended my first meeting of the Humanist Association of Ottawa (HAO) at which the topic was the Atheist Bus Campaign. I thought it worth mentioning not only because of the fact that it was relevant to a Merseyside meeting, but also because it raises some issues that haven’t been so important in the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

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