The Humanist Association of Toronto provides a focus of activities and discussion for Humanists in the Toronto area. Please note: HAT events are open to the public, and views expressed do not necessarily represent the official views of the Humanist Association of Toronto. For all public statements, educational events, media enquiries, please contact the webeditor, who will forward your enquiry to our Spokesperson.
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm
The Monthly Meeting the 2nd or 3rd Saturday at 1:30pm (TBD)
The Steering Committee meets 1st Wednesday, 7pm
The Book Group meets monthly.

Happy Darwinaversary! Origin of Species is 150

Today is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, the scientific landmark that reshaped the way we see the natural world. Don't forget to raise your glass tonight to wish Origin a very happy birthday.

While a lot of Canadian creationism happens via homeschooling (particularly in Saskatchewan), here is a picture of the little Creationism Museum in Alberta

However, the Lethbridge Herald comes to the rescue with a nice little piece on new fossil discoveries and evolution, as did the Morden Times in Manitoba.

But who knew "fossil rustling" was such an increasing problem? Professor Philip Currie of the University of Alberta, an eminent Canadian scientist who is chairman of the ethics committee of the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology, said: "This is a huge international problem that affects most of us who do research in the field. I do a lot of work in China and Mongolia, where highly significant fossils, including new species of animals, feathered dinosaurs and birds, are regularly smuggled out illegally and sold at big international fossil shows and over the web."

The US civil rights watchdog People for the American Way has an interesting Creationism Timeline about the spread of Creationism and attempts to keep Darwin out of the public schools in the US. Here is another article on the rise of Creationism in Turkey, funded by creationism organizations in Seattle and Texas.

There is always work to be done - let's keep the fires of science burning bright, and celebrate Darwin's publication anniversary. Here is the Beagle Blog - a daily text from Darwin's Journal - for your final reading enjoyment today:

We wish you a happy Darwinaversary, and of course look forward to seeing you at our forums, events, and our next monthly meeting, on Saturday, Dec 12, 1:30-3pm, OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, in room 2-295, to hear Speaker Rick Phillips talk about the Symphonies of Beethoven.

ARTICLE: NASA disproving 2012 conspiracies

AFP: The world is not coming to an end on December 21, 2012, the US space agency insisted Monday in a rare campaign to dispel widespread rumors fueled by the Internet and a new Hollywood movie.

Sony Pictures's latest big screen offering "2012" arrives in theaters on Friday, with a 200-million-dollar production about the end of the world supposedly based on myths backed by the Mayan calendar.

The doomsday scenario revolves claims that the end of time will come as an obscure Planet X -- or Nibiru -- heads toward or collides into Earth.The mysterious planet was supposedly discovered by the Sumerians, according to claims by pseudo-scientists, paranormal activity enthusiasts and Internet theorists.

Some websites accuse NASA of concealing the truth on the wayward planet's existence, but the US space agency denounced such stories as an "Internet hoax." "There is no factual basis for these claims," NASA said in a question-and-answer posting on its website.

If such a collision were real "astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye," it added. "Obviously, it does not exist." "Credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012," NASA insisted.

Initial theories set the disaster for May 2003, but when nothing happened the date was moved forward to the winter solstice in 2012 to coincide with the end of a cycle of the ancient Mayan calendar.

But NASA insisted the Mayan calendar in fact does not end on December 21, 2012, as another period begins immediately afterward. And it said there are no planetary alignments o

EVENT: Watts Lecture on Evolution, Nov 19

Watts Lecture featuring Professor Evelyn Fox Keller
Nov 19, 2009 7:00pm
Location: AC223, ARC Lecture Theatre, University of Toronto Scarborough, 1265 Military Trail

"In this 150th year since the publication of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" the debate continues...

One of the most striking features of the nature-nature debate is the frequency with which in invites two apparently contradictory claims: first, that it has finally been resolved, and second, that it refuses to die. What is it about this topic that causes so much trouble? What is it that so stubbornly resists resolution?

In this talk, Professor Fox Keller will explore the many ways in which we become enmeshed by the tangle of meanings that make up the nature-nuture debate.

Professor Evelyn Fox Keller received her PhD. in theoretical physics at Harvard University, and worked for several years at the interface of physics and biology before turning to the history and philosophy of science. Professor Emerita of History and Philosophy of Science in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at MIT, Fox Keller is the author of more than 10 books (e.g., The Century of the Gene; and Making Sense of Life), and the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees. Her latest book, The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture, is forthcoming.}

Past Watts Lecturers

Rt. Hon. Lester B. Pearson~Lord Annan~ Gerhard Herzberg~Raymond Moriyama~Hon. David Lewis~Rt. Hon. John G. Diefenbaker~Mordecai Richler~ J.M.S. Careless~Hon. Flora MacDonald ~ Alfonso Garcia Robles~ Hans Kung ~ David Suzuki ~ Hon. Stephen Lewis ~ Bob White ~ Hon. Thomas R. Berger ~ Edwin Mirvish ~ Georges Erasmus ~ Judy Rebick ~ Major-General Lewis MacKenzie ~ Itzak Shelef and Abdullah Abdullah ~ Dr. Roberta Bondard ~ David Phillips ~ Roberta Jamieson ~ Mark Tewksbury ~ Bob Rae ~ Preston Manning ~ Joe Schlesinger ~ James Orbinski ~ Dr. Sheela Basrur ~ Dr. Vandana Shiva ~ Professor Jean Clottes ~ Hon. Louise Arbour
HAT meetings are free and open to members and the public. Call (416) 966-1361 for location information. ___________________________________________________
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm.
The Monthly Meeting, is usually the second Saturday at 1:30pm; specifics should be found on this blog.
The Steering Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month, at 7pm.
The Book Group usually meets on the first Saturday afternoon of the month.