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Psychological & Religious Foundations of Population Growth

Posted by on 26February,2017 in Humanist Cafe | 0 comments


The Humanist Cafe

Wednesday, March 1, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
James Bay New Horizons
234 Menzies Street James Bay

The Psychological & Religious Foundations of Population Growth

Presenter: Alan Danesh

Moderator: John Pope

VSHA Secretary and Communications Officer, Alan Danesh, who is a Political Scientist and Sociologist originally trained as a Jurist in European legal system explains the psychological and religious foundations of population growth and how the uncontrolled growth of human population is leading humanity to the brink of extinction.

Suggested Readings:

Factors which effect the world population growth

Population Institute Canada: For a Sustainable Future

Watch the video of Dr. Suzuki speaking on overpopulation.

How Religion is Making Overpopulation Worse

World Population Trends Signal Dangers Ahead

World Population Clock


Questions for Discussion:

What is to be done?

  • Education for women in the Third World.
  • Challenge the Catholic Church in its dogmatic opposition to contraception and abortion.
  • Oppose the U.S. Government’s insane funding withdrawal from groups that provide contraception advice in the Third World.
  • Enhance the social safety net to support people as they age.






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Advance Care Planning

Posted by on 24February,2017 in Sunday Talks | 0 comments


Sunday, February 26, at 10:00 AM

Cedar Hill Rec Centre, Finlayson & Cedar Hill Road


Advance Care Planning

Presenters: Bob Hope & Harry Lewis, Hillside Seniors Health Centre

What kind of health and personal care would you want if you were unable to speak

for yourself? Do you have a Substitute Decision Maker? Have you written down

your wishes, and talked with healthcare providers and financial or legal professionals?

Everyone is welcome. Bring a friend.



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The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Posted by on 9February,2017 in Humanist Cafe | 0 comments

The Humanist Cafe

Wednesday, February 15, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
James Bay New Horizons
234 Menzies Street James Bay

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms:

How the U.S. Supreme Court is in error in its

reading of the U.S. Second Amendment

Presenter: Alan Danesh

Moderator: John Pope

The VSHA Secretary and Communications Officer, Alan Danesh, who is a Political Scientist and Sociologist originally trained as a Jurist in European legal system explains how the Conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court misread intentions of the authors of the U.S. Second Amendment with devastating consequences for the American Society and perhaps the world. In his article, published internationally by online publications, he recommends a just and fair method of removing weapons from the hands of American citizens in order to prevent in the future the mass shootings that we have frequently observed in the United States, and recently in Quebec.

Gun Control and the U.S. Second Amendment, online on Global Research:

Updated in light of more recent shootings in the U.S.

Gun Control and the U.S. Second Amendment, The Carnage Continues, online on CounterCurrents:

The same article online on News4Security:


Questions for Discussion:

What has been the impact of the misreading of the Second Amendment in the U.S., culturally and socially?

Is the American society a safer place with hundreds of millions of guns in the hand of citizens?

The “guns do not kill, but people do” argument

Has “gun worship” made the U.S. more aggressive internationally?

Has the wide-spread gun ownership led the American police to militarize?

Should the people of Canada be concerned about the impact of the U.S. “gun culture” on Canada in light of the recent tragedy in Quebec?


Everyone is Welcome to attend; bring a friend.

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Celebration of Darwin’s 208th Birthday

Posted by on 9February,2017 in Sunday Talks | 0 comments

Celebration of Charles Darwin’s 208th birthday


Robert Light/Barrie Webster, VSHA

Darwin’s voyage on the HMS Beagle at the age of 22-27 was an adventure that was second to none. In spite of hardship, he came of age, and developed his capacity for independent thinking based on scientific observation.

Sunday, February 12, 10:00 AM

Cedar Hill Rec Centre at Finlayson & Cedar Hill Road

 Everyone is welcome. Bring a friend.

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Humanist Cafe, February 1, 2017

Posted by on 29January,2017 in Humanist Cafe | 0 comments

The Humanist Cafe

Wednesday, February 1, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
James Bay New Horizons
234 Menzies Street James Bay

       Topic: Chimeras, Head Transplants, and the Ethics of Human Evolution

Moderator: John Pope

As Humanists, we believe in the fullest development of every Human being.  We also rely on the scientific method to lead us to truth.

But we also affirm the dignity of Humanity.  This means the ethical implications of the technical application of what science has taught us can be a concern.

Are these new scientific and technological developments a part of natural Human evolution?

Scientists have grown human cells inside pig embryos, a very early step toward the goal of growing livers and other human organs in animals to transplant into people:
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is preparing to lift a ban on funding for controversial medical research that incorporates human stem cells into animal embryos:

Scientists have successfully cultivated a range of human body structures, that have been successfully tested in animals, and small-scale human organs known as “organoids,” which are used to study human organ function and structure at a level of detail that was previously impossible:


But this article questions the need for manufacturing human organs when they are now becoming more available:

Here’s a fascinating example of the extent of science and technology advancing Human evolution:  Will brain transplants be next?

Regarding ethics:  “A particular area of concern is the creation of chimeras with human brain cells. These organisms may be capable of self-awareness to the extent that they understand their identity and circumstances, which would produce unbearable suffering. Will we know when the subjective experience of such a being has crossed the generally accepted line of decency and morality?”

You can come up with the questions – let’s talk!

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Humanist Cafe

Posted by on 17January,2017 in General | 0 comments

The Humanist Cafe

Wednesday, January 18, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
James Bay New Horizons
234 Menzies Street James Bay

Topic: The End Of The World? – Part 1: Stopping Global Warming Is Impossible. Our species is in serious jeopardy.

Moderator: John Pope

In case you missed it – planet Earth is dying.  Our Earth is dying even faster than scientists had predicted it would.

Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) is accelerating.  Environmental feedback loops are causing major disruptions in eons-old weather patterns causing catastrophic weather affecting the disruption of food production, the availability of potable water, species extinctions, sea level rise, major storms, droughts, floods, El Ninos, and also causing massive human (and animal) migrations, and economic chaos.

The news couldn’t be much worse.

Of course there is always hope…  But that will have to wait for “Part 2 – The Good News” at a later Cafe.

Remember, we Humanists have affirmed that we Human beings are completely part of nature, and that our survival is dependent upon a healthy planet which provides us with a life supporting environment (VSHA Principle xii).

If we know this to be true, then for us, serious long-term environmental issues are far more important than short-term economic considerations.


Below are just a few of the more recent articles which should scare everyone on the planet (and maybe scare them off the planet too!).
Shrinking Arctic Ice: and

Methane emissions:

The year 2016 has been the hottest year on record globally:

Scientists have discovered the world’s largest tropical peatland in the remote Congo swamps, estimated to store the equivalent of three year’s worth of the world’s total fossil fuel emissions: (This was presented as exciting news in economic and financial circles.)

A new independently produced study confirms that the planet and the sea surfaces is indeed warming.  There are serious consequences for the planet:

Scholarly articles on the effects of climate change on forests, mountain glaciers, global food production, marine life, endangered species, human health, etc. (Google selected):

Environmental protection as a policy issue remains less certain than many environmentalists (and Humanists) would hope:


Is there any reason to doubt what the vast majority of the world’s scientists are saying about our environment and our future?

What will our planet’s ecosystems look like in 2100?

How will future generations view today’s climate change deniers?

Why do some people find it difficult to empathize with the environmental health of future generations?

Will technology save us from the devastation brought by climate change?

Will the Trump Administration make things worse?

Where is the good news?  (I hope someone comes forward to present Part 2 – “The Good News”, at a later Cafe!)

See you there.

FYI:  World Environment Day in Canada – June 5, 2017:  The UN General Assembly designated June 5 as World Environment Day in 1972, marking the first day of the landmark Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment.



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Water Sustainability

Posted by on 11January,2017 in Sunday Talks | 0 comments


Thinking Like a Watershed:

the Future of Water Law and Policy in BC


Dr. Oliver Brandes, POLIS, UVic

Legislation for water sustainability is one thing.

Viewing a watershed as an integrated whole, including its inhabitants, gives a whole new perspective.

Sunday, January 15, 10:00 AM

Cedar Hill Rec Centre at Finlayson & Cedar Hill Road


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Humanist Cafe, January 4, 2016

Posted by on 4January,2017 in General | 0 comments

                    The Humanist Cafe
   Wednesday, January 4, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
     James Bay New Horizons
     234 Menzies Street James Bay

 Presenter: Dr. Barrie Webster

Topic: UN Resolution 2334 on the legitimacy of the Israeli Settlement Policy in the Occupied West Bank:

the US Response, a Canadian voice, and Analysis

The US abstained from vetoing the UN Resolution 2334 and it therefore passed in the Security Council by 14-0-1.

Here is UN Resolution 2334 (2016-12-23):

Views expressed by the Security Council members:

Kerry’s speech (US) 2016-12-28

Commentary on Netanyahu’s reaction (Israel)

Commentary on a Sample of Palestinian reaction

More Commentary and political analysis

Canada’s Heinbecker – op-ed 2016-12-30 (former Canadian ambassador to the UN)

A view from one American activist who has followed the controversy for the past ten years:

“I disagree with many friends because I do not accept some of Kerry’s premises. I think Palestinians should be given more recognition as the preZionist inhabitants of Palestine, who lived peacefully with Jewish neighbors before the UN proposal of 2 separate states. Secondly, I cannot accept the assumption that “separate but equal” is any more in tune with American values in the Middle East than it is in North America. Thirdly, Kerry’s reference to 2 equal states living under the same laws makes no sense to me considering that the assumption is always that Israel will have military forces to defend itself and that Palestine will be unarmed. Fourthly, I have been of the opinion that US made a serious mistake at the time of the acclaimed free and  supervised elections in Gaza and the West Bank by not recognizing the legitimacy of Hamas as the government of the Gaza. To me it seems legitimate to acknowledge the elected government and to give it the opportunity to shift from terrorism to rule according to international law. Fifthly, I am convinced that Israelis and Palestinians would both benefit by integrating completely in a democratic union, with equal laws and equal rights, with a single democratic government.

“You may say, “Dream on,” but I hold firm in my idealism that only such a state should be defended and supported by US. No racist “solution” such as the one Kerry suggests, is acceptable nor would it be successful in my eyes.”    -Mary Allen




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The U.S. Election – Part 3: Trump Wins – What Now?

Posted by on 4December,2016 in Humanist Cafe | 0 comments

The Humanist Cafe

   Wednesday, December 7, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
     James Bay New Horizons
     234 Menzies Street James Bay

  Topic:  The US Election – Part 3: Trump Wins – What Now?

Business tycoon Donald J. Trump is now President-elect of the most powerful nation on earth. He has the support of a majority of Republicans in the House and Senate, and he will be personally appointing 3 Supreme Court Justices. He is also Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces. That means, if the House and Senate support him, he will have the power to fulfill all of his bold and controversial campaign promises.

A quick review of our two previous Cafes on the US election gives us a backdrop for our discussion:

*The February 17 Cafe compared the two candidates who were leading their Parties at the time: Bernie Sanders for the Democrats, and Donald Trump for the Republicans. The Cafe discussed the possibilities of a Sanders or a Trump US Presidency.

*The Oct 5 Cafe compared Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton.  By a show of hands that evening, 3 of the 18 people at the Cafe thought Trump was going to win the election, most believed Clinton would win, and there were a few abstentions.

The Cafe, in Part 3, will discuss the US election, and what it means to the US, to Canada, and to the World.


Here are some points to ponder:

Most of the polls were wrong.

Because of the antiquated electoral system in the US, the candidate with the most votes did not win.

Thousands across the country protested the result – some violently.

There is a recount going on in three US states with only a faint hope of overturning the results.

President Trump is surrounding himself with people whose views are even more extreme than his own.

Trump has already reneged on several campaign promises.

Wall Street has viewed the Trump election favourably.

Both the mainstream and the alt-news sites have benefited tremendously from the Trump spectacle.



Will the world survive Donald Trump’s Presidency?

Which campaign promises will Trump keep?

How does Trump’s election affect Canadians?

Is Donald Trump fascist?


See you there! Bring a buddy.





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Modern History of Iraq – A Secular Nation

Posted by on 25November,2016 in Sunday Talks | 0 comments


Sunday, November 27, at 10:00 AM

Cedar Hill Rec Centre, Finlayson & Cedar Hill Road


Modern History of Iraq, a secular nation – East and West  

Speaker: Falah Jassim, MA

Canadian/Iraqi Writer and Translator and English Scholar, Sirte Oil Co. Libya; Al-Fateh University, Tripoli, Libya; Al-Turath University College, Baghdad, Iraq; and Sur College of Applied Sciences, Sur, Oman.


All are welcome. Bring a friend or two.


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