October 2020 Newsletter
Upcoming HAAM events
October meeting – Meet the director of Kasese School
Saturday, October 17th, online via Zoom, 7 PM
Our next virtual meeting will feature an interview with Bwambale Robert Musubaho, founder of Kasese Humanist Primary School in Kasese, Uganda. Due to the difference in the time zone (Uganda is 8 hours ahead), our president, Pat Morrow, will be recording the interview in advance.
We have been supporting this school and sponsoring a child’s education there since 2015. (More info below under Charity of the Month).
If you have a question you’d like Pat to ask Robert, please send it to us before the Thanksgiving weekend.
Following the interview, we will talk about Humanism in Africa and around the world, its positive effects, and some of the pushback it receives.
Everyone is welcome! Please join us via Zoom.
To ‘attend’ (participate or just listen), EMAIL US (email@example.com) and we will send you the Zoom link before the meeting. You do NOT need to have your own Zoom account, just a computer, tablet, or phone to open the link.
Charity of the Month – Kasese Humanist Primary School
We suspended our Charity of the Month program in the spring when all in-person events had to be canceled. But it’s that time of year again! Every fall, we need to collect enough donations to keep our sponsored student, Bogere John, (in photo) in school for another year in Kasese, Uganda. HAAM has committed to paying John’s annual tuition until he graduates. If this is the first time you have heard of this project, you can learn more about John, and the school, on our Kasese page.
John’s tuition fees for the entire school year are about $300, so we are committed to sending at least that much. But most years, we are able to collect a bit extra and help the school as well. When asked recently what projects the donations were needed for, the school’s director, Bwambale Robert Musubaho, listed libraries, science labs and computer rooms, teachers’ salaries, and “decent toilet facilities”.
It’s been a difficult year financially for many of us, but we still want to make sure that little John can continue his education. Please support him, and the school, as generously as you are able.
To donate online, use the ‘Donate’ button on our website (in the right side bar if you’re using a computer, and at the bottom of the page if you’re using a phone). Include a note that the money is for Kasese.
If you are not comfortable or able to make an online donation, you can mail a cheque. Contact us for the mailing address by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the phone number below. Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $10 or more.
Future Events – We need your input!
This is a crazy and difficult year, and it doesn’t look like things are going to return to “normal” any time soon.
We want to continue to provide a supportive community for non-believers. That will likely mean holding our events and social gatherings online, or in small groups, for the foreseeable future.
What are your preferences for the winter season? Would you attend small in-person events? Would you participate in on-line presentations or discussions? Please complete our short survey (7 questions) so that we can plan accordingly.
Submit your opinions by Thanksgiving (Monday, October 12th) to be entered to win a copy of a brand new book – The Little Book of Humanism: Universal Lessons on Finding Purpose, Meaning and Joy, by Humanists UK president Alice Roberts and Humanists International president Andrew Copson. (You can also answer the survey anonymously if you don’t want to enter the prize draw.)
We can continue to interact, support each other, and maintain friendships online. If you are not a member of our private Facebook group, and would like to join it, contact us. It is open to anyone in Manitoba who identifies as a Humanist/atheist (i.e. you do not need to be a paid member of HAAM).
Check our Events calendar for the latest information on all upcoming HAAM events.
Like so many other organizations, HAAM’s activities have been dramatically disrupted by COVID-19. We will continue to rely on evidence-based information and follow the recommendations made by Shared Health Manitoba before deciding when to resume in-person meetings and events. We encourage you to visit our website (haam.ca), our Facebook page, or Meetup for information and updates.
Online Events of Interest
Flatten the curve of the ‘infodemic’
Are you starved for real information about the pandemic? Skeptical Inquirer Magazine is continuing their series of online (Zoom) lectures by experts in science, skepticism, medicine, media, activism, and advocacy, all devoted to the cause of advancing science over pseudoscience, media literacy over conspiracy theories, and critical thinking over magical thinking.
October 8th – Rituals for Non-believers – How do we as skeptics navigate life’s rites of passage?
November 5th – Persuasive Bullshitters and the Insidious Bullshit Hypothesis – Why are so many beliefs based on bullshit rather than on truth, facts, data, evidence, or established knowledge?
These lectures are free but require advance registration. Visit Skeptical Inquirer Presents, to learn more about these topics and to register.
Recordings of the previous lectures, about COVID conspiracy theories, vaccine development, cognitive dissonance, medical myths, and Intelligent Design, are also available on that site (scroll down below ‘upcoming events’).
Presentations from CFI Canada
The ‘Virtual Branch’ of CFI Canada holds regular online secular chats and support groups for people Living Without Religion. They also host occasional presentations on some varied and provocative topics.
October 10th – We can change climate change – CFI will host three speakers bringing crucial messages for this cause.
October 17th – Indoctrination – Maoism, Stalinism and other totalitarian “-isms” are often used as examples of atheistic societies in defence of religion. However, the difference between ideological dogma and religious dogma might be illusory.
October 24th — Female Genital Mutilation: Religion, Culture, and Human Rights (free for CFI and Humanist Canada members; $10 for non-members)
November 7th – Canada’s underground astronaut – Homo naledi team member Marina Elliott takes us along her incredible journey into the Dinaledi cave in the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa.
Visit CFI Canada’s Virtual branch MeetUp page for more information and to register for these events.
HAAM is proud to support Humanist Perspectives, published four times a year by the Canadian Humanist Publications Board. Humanist Perspectives is the only Humanist magazine published in Canada, covering both topical and timeless issues as well as providing a refreshing, rational analysis of modern events and culture.
Their summer issue includes articles about The power of “We” in the time of COVID, and Immortality: Could it be a dangerous illusion? The magazine is available online or in print.
Support Humanist viewpoints in Canada – check it out!
The Winnipeg chapter of Dying With Dignity is in search of a Volunteer Coordinator. This is someone who would assist with recruiting and arranging for the training of new volunteers, keeping a data base of volunteer information and skills, and scheduling volunteers for upcoming events. Most of the work involved could be done from home.
For more information and a complete job description, visit the Dying With Dignity Winnipeg chapter website.
Read a good book this fall
Our Book of the Month feature has been paused since the pandemic hit, because there have been no in-person meetings for sharing books. But our library still exists and is stored by members of our executive.
It’s going to be a long winter, and with a lot of events canceled, most of us will have time to read. So check out our HAAM library collection online. You can browse by author, subject, or title. Contact us if you’d like to borrow a book and we’ll find a way to get it to you (within the Winnipeg area).
Borrowing privileges are limited to paid HAAM members.
Book of the Month – The God Delusion
When former believers are asked to name a book that influenced their path out of religion, one book is consistently named more than any other – The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Dawkins has been an extremely influential figure in the atheist community worldwide for the last couple of decades.
Published in 2006, this book immediately became a controversial best-seller. It has since been translated into dozens of languages, including unauthorized and free editions in Arabic, Bengali, Urdu, and Farsi.
What’s in The God Delusion that makes it so popular and widely read? To summarize it very briefly, Dawkins makes the claim that there is no god, states his rationale for that claim, and then continues with the following four points:
1 atheists can be happy, moral people
2 science is superior to god belief in explaining the natural world
3 children should not be labeled by their parents’ religion, any more than they should be labeled by their parents’ political party
4 atheists should be proud and open about their lack of belief.
If you’ve heard of this book but never quite gotten around to reading it, then take the opportunity now (Winnipeg area – paid HAAM members only).