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.

HAT Forum
Sat Oct 1st 2016
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
519 Church Street Room tba or 304
Topic: Sustainability and Humanistic Visions for the Future
Proposer: Jon Aldridge


-What kinds of sustainability are there and how are they linked?
--Economic, biological, environmental?

-Is sustainability important?
--What kind of world do we want to leave for others?

-Do we live in an unsustainable society?
--If the problem is societal, what can individuals do?

-Which resources are sustainable and which are not?
--Should we place a higher value on commodities that we are using up?

-Can renewable energy be part of the solution?
--Can it replace the massive amounts of energy generated by other means?
--Just because we can produce energy in a sustainable manner, should we use it indiscriminately?

-Do our sustainability issues relate to (over)population?
--Does quality of life depend on how many people are living?
--Is life with so many humans sustainable at all?

HAT Forum
Sat Sep 24th 2016
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
519 Church Street Room tba or 304
Topic: Moral Relativism
Proposer: Richard Dowsett

Morals are the personal or societal standards concerning the acceptability of thoughts held and actions taken. Moral Relativism is the idea that these standards are formed in a crucible of experience, history and culture. As such, they vary greatly across individuals, across nations, across time and between societies.
1.      Accepting this diversity, do we then go a step further and say that there is no way to judge morals across cultures? Does this then require us to tolerate all morals and their ensuing behaviours on the basis of this diversity?
2.      How does a multi-cultural society like Canada determine a course for its laws and a set of values for its governance and institutions with a multiplicity of moral frameworks that are, at once, equally valid and often contradictory?
3.      Theistic societies have used the “word of god” as revealed through holy texts, as being the objective basis for many differing sets of morals. Is there any other available objective standard to judge between moral systems?
4.      Are there moral universals?
5.      Does/should Moral Relativistic tolerance extend back through history?
6.      In your own life, how do you wrestle with the question of Moral Relativism?

Bill C-14: What Went Wrong?”
by Gary Bauslaugh
Saturday, September 17, 2016
1:30 - 3:00 pm
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west
Room 4-414

The Supreme Court of Canada’s historic ruling in February, 2015 declared the law prohibiting assisted death unconstitutional and provided guidelines for new legislation that would be in tune with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Then it went to the politicians to pass actual legislation.

The results, however, were tragically inadequate.

A highly flawed law was passed in June - a betrayal of the efforts of many Canadians to protect the right of grievously ill and suffering Canadians to have a dignified and peaceful death.

Gary Bauslaugh discusses how and why this happened and looks at where we go from here.

Gary Bauslaugh is the author of three books related to assisted death in Canada; his most recent (The Right to Die, April 2016) tells the stories of the courageous Canadians whose often heroic actions helped create a climate of acceptance for legalizing assisted death in Canada. He is also the author of:
"Robert Latimer, a Story of Justice and Mercy and The Secret Power of Juries."

HAT Forum
Sat Sep 17th 2016
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
519 Church Street Room tba or 304
Topic: Humanist Approaches to Grieving
Proposer: Moses Klein

Think about situations in which you have had to cope with the death (or
impending death) of someone important to you. How did you deal with it?
What worked for you, or did not work? If religious mourning rituals were
involved, how did you feel about them? Are humanist responses to death
different from religious responses in any way?

Note: this week's Forum will be shortened so we can all go to Gary
Bauslaugh's guest talk

HAT Forum
Sat Sep 10th 2016
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
519 Church Street Room tba or 304
Topic: Loneliness
Proposer: Jon Aldridge

-Is loneliness always a negative?
--Contrast being lonely with being alone.

-What kinds of loneliness are there?

-How have you experienced loneliness?
--What does it feel like to be lonely?
--What have you done to avoid loneliness?

-How does age (1) or physical impairment affect loneliness?

-The National Health Service in the UK has begun treating loneliness as a public health issue. To what extent do you agree or disagree with that position?
--Actual and perceived social isolation can increase the risk of mortality by ~30% (2)(3).

-What are some possible opposite states of mind to loneliness?
--Some may be positive, some negative.

-Is there an unspoken stigma of loneliness?
--People tend to be reluctant to say they are lonely(1)(3).

-What kind of support services should/could be/are available for lonely people?

-Are humanists more prone to feeling lonely than individuals with supernatural or religious beliefs(4)?

(1) age-related UK helpline, with emphasis on loneliness

(2) abstract of research paper on social isolation

(3) Globe and Mail article

(4) brief Sydney Morning Herald (AUS) article
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.