April 2018 Newsletter
Upcoming HAAM Events
Sunday, April 8th, King’s Head Pub, 120 King Street, 6 PM
Will you be attending Matt Dillahunty’s Magic and Skepticism show that evening? (details for that are on our ‘Community Events’ page).
If so, meet us for drinks first! Details here.
Monthly Meeting – What’s Wrong with Private Schools?
Saturday, April 14th, Canad Inns Polo Park, 5:30 – 8:30 PM
Guest speaker Steve Lecce, from the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the U of M, will address the issue of public funding for private schools in Manitoba.
HAAM and Eggs Brunch
Sunday, April 29th, Original Pancake House at the Forks, 1 Forks Market Road, 9:30 AM
Our monthly casual get-together. Details here.
Save the Dates
May 12th (Monthly Meeting) – Stealing Reason: Christianity’s Theft of Human Values
June 23rd – Summer Solstice Party
Mark your calendars now so you won’t miss anything!
Details for all upcoming HAAM events are on our Events page.
Upcoming Community (Non-HAAM) Events
Matt Dillahunty’s Magic and Skepticism World Tour 2018
Sunday, 8 April 2018, Burton Cummings Theatre, 364 Smith St
Event information and link to get tickets is here.
Debate: Morality – How Should We Live Our Lives?
Saturday, 21 April 2018, New Life Sanctuary Church, 618 Muriel Street
Dig Deep Fundraiser Gala for the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre
Saturday, 28 April 2018, Morden Manitoba
More information on these and more upcoming non-HAAM events is on our Community Events page.
Charity of the Month – Pathways to Education
Pathways to Education is an innovative program that partners with governments, communities, schools, and volunteers to help youth from low-income communities stay in school, graduate, and achieve their full potential.
In Winnipeg, Pathways to Education operates in the North Point Douglas, Lord Selkirk Park, and William Whyte neighbourhoods (see map), where people of Aboriginal descent make up over 70 per cent of high school families. All students in this catchment area are eligible to participate in the program from grades 9 through 12, regardless of their academic performance or economic circumstance. There is no cost to participants.
Many kids in this area have the potential to succeed but face barriers to education created by poverty. These include insufficient financial means, lack of positive role models in the community, absence of parental support, or integration into a new country and culture.
The Pathways program includes financial support (transit and meal vouchers, scholarships and internships); academic support (tutoring and assistance transitioning to post-secondary education); social support (group mentoring and career exploration); and personal support and advocacy.
An evaluation of the program by an independent consulting firm estimated that society’s return on Pathways is about $24 for every $1 invested, and a total benefit of about $600,000 for every graduate – in addition to the obvious personal and social benefits of breaking the cycle of poverty. So let’s help make this happen!
Donations for the Charity of the Month will be collected at the meeting. Tax receipts are available for donations over $10. If you would like to donate but cannot attend the meeting, you can do so via the ‘Donate’ button. Just include a note letting us know that the money is for the charity.
Understanding Evolution from Animal Limbs
On our recent visit to Grunthal to address students at Green Valley High, one of the young men stated (paraphrasing slightly) “you say we share like 99.8% of our DNA with monkeys. Well, I’m not a banana. We share 50% of our DNA with bananas. I’m not a banana”.
I’m glad to report that most of the other students found his statement thoroughly amusing. But really, I don’t truly know how much science these young people are learning in school. I don’t think I learned very much science from school. I know I did learn some from pop culture, because I really liked animals. I always watched Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and I never missed Joan Embery from the San Diego Zoo when she appeared on The Tonight Show.
I distinctly remember a diagram of the history of equine evolution, right from Eohippus (shown) to modern horses. I remember the toe patterns. It always made sense to me. I never questioned that life develops over time; it seemed so… obvious. And I’ve always appreciated the diagrams of arm/limb structure. The number and arrangement of bones is a pattern that runs through all tetrapods – animals with four limbs.
There are obviously variations, but the same pattern is visible in diverse animal species, including humans (top left), whales (top right), lizards (bottom left), and birds (bottom right). Learn more about these limbs here.
But nowhere did I see that demonstrated more clearly to me than a recent Facebook post with a simple image of a cross-section of an elephant’s foot. I was shocked at how that looked exactly like a human foot, on tiptoe, encased in a “boot” of flesh. To me, the links between living things are patently obvious. I don’t know about you, but I’m quite happy knowing that I share 50% of my DNA with a banana. – Donna Harris
Sending Our Get Well Wishes
One of our founding members has been in hospital recently. Olga Nahirniak has been a HAAM member ‘from the beginning’ (in the mid-1990’s). At that time, the group was named just HAM (Humanist Association of Manitoba).
Now in her 90’s, Olga continues to receive and read our newsletter every month, although she has not been able to make it out to an event for the last couple of years.
Helen and John Friesen went to visit her in hospital in early March. Olga was very appreciative of their visit and thanked them several times for coming. They passed on greetings from all our members, and Olga asked them to return the greetings saying she thought about all of us often. She’s such a sweet lady and a remarkable person!
Olga is back home now. Members who attended the March meeting signed a get-well card to let her know we’re thinking about her.
Olga is in this photo, taken at the 2013 Summer Solstice party (it’s also in the slide show on the home page with the caption ‘Humanism is Inclusive’). She’s in the front row, at right, seated on her walker, wearing dark pants and a red jacket. We miss you Olga!
Understanding and Completing an Advance Care Plan
The Winnipeg chapter of Dying with Dignity has a 2-hour workshop on how to fill out your ACP (aka a health care directive or living will). An effective ACP indicates your wishes about your care should something bad happen and you can’t speak for yourself. Many people arrive at hospitals with either no instructions in writing, or with a paragraph written in language too vague for doctors to act upon. Don’t assume that just because your spouse knows your wishes that that’s what will happen in an emergency. Dying With Dignity Canada has many years of experience in helping people express their wishes clearly in an Advance Care Plan.
The complete DWD Advance Care Plan kit and information booklet is available to anyone to download free. However, based on past presentations and reports from patients, families, and health care professionals, there are lots of questions and many issues that need further elaboration and interpretation – hence the need for this workshop. Topics addressed in the presentation include:
- Legal issues around ACP’s, including the difference between an ACP and a Power of Attorney
- Patient rights including right to refuse treatment
- How to choose a proxy decision maker
- How to ensure that your wishes are carried out
- Comparing a Living Will prepared by a lawyer to a standard hospital form, and the Manitoba government form
- Discussing common but imprecise phrases such as “heroic measures” and “artificial means”
- Walking through the ACP kit and the Health Care Directive form in detail
- How to complete the form / how to make copies
- What to do (and what NOT to do) with your HCD after it’s completed
- Resources for those who want further information or guidance
The next class will be offered once there is sufficient interest expressed. Please RSVP to the Winnipeg Chapter of Dying With Dignity to indicate your interest. You will be contacted later to arrange a suitable date and time.
Book of the Month – Not the Impossible Faith
Historian Richard Carrier offers a point-by-point rebuttal of the frequent assertions by apologists that Christianity could not have taken hold in the ancient world unless its claims were true, and that theirs is not just another man-made religion.
Carrier examines the sociology of the ancient world and demonstrates that Christianity did not require miracles to succeed. The book explains that Christianity’s early converts were the poor and outcast, but that its adaptability allowed it to grow and eventually reach the upper classes.
Each chapter addresses a different question, such as: who would believe in a crucified god, who would join an intolerant cult, and who would follow an executed criminal?
This is a fascinating book for those interested in the origins of Christianity.
All our library books and DVD’s are free to borrow for paid HAAM members.
Visit our library page if you would like to borrow this book.
Stephen Hawking 1942-2018
Farewell to a “brilliant and extraordinary mind”. (Theresa May)
“Have fun out there among the stars.” (Barack Obama)