Centre for Inquiry Canada

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Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFIC)
CFI Canada logo.png
Founded 2007
Type Not-for-Profit Educational Organization
Focus Public understanding of science, secular ethics, skepticism
Location
Method Research, education, outreach, and advocacy
Key people Current: Eric Adriaans, Kevin Smith, Justin Trottier
Former: Michael Payton, Pam Walls, Derek Pert, John Xu, Katie Kish
Website www.cficanada.ca

The Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFIC) is a not-for-profit educational organization with headquarters in Toronto, Canada whose primary mission is to promote and advance the causes of reason, science, secularism and freedom of inquiry in Canadian society.[1] It is the Canadian affiliate of CFI Transnational.

History[edit]

CFI Canada was originally established as a branch of CFI Transnational in Toronto, Canada in 2007.[2] Initially supported in part by CFI Transnational, CFIC has become an independent Canadian national organization with branches in several provinces. Justin Trottier served as first national director from 2007 to 2011, [3] followed by Michael Payton until June 2013, [4][5] and by Eric Adriaans from March 2014.[citation needed]

Structure[edit]

CFI Canada is governed by a Board of Directors to whom the National Executive Director reports. The ancillary Council of CFI Canada is a quasi-governance body responsible for the election of the Board and for approval of changes to CFIC by-laws. Branch directors (leaders) report to the National Executive Director. [6]

Branches[edit]

CFI Canada has branches in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon, Calgary, Sudbury, Kelowna, and Vancouver.

Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS)[edit]

The Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) is a science-focused working group of CFI Canada, acting as a national Canadian science advisory group that encourages evidence-based inquiry into scientific, medical, technological and paranormal claims using scientific scepticism.[7] CASS conducts research,[citation needed] provides educational programs in schools,[citation needed] and publishes papers on a variety of scientific topics in a proactive approach to public outreach,[citation needed] and also acts reactively to non-evidence based scientific, medical, and paranormal claims in public discourse.[citation needed]

CASS was formed in 2010 to act as point of contact for science outreach for the organization. The committee is a volunteer driven panel of experts and enthusiasts. CASS is run by two co-chairs, with one chair currently held by Iain Martel, a University of Toronto contract lecturer with a background in the metaphysics of physics, and one chair currently vacant after the departure of Michael Kruse, a contributor to Skeptic North with a background in health, in late 2011.

Campaigns and outreach activities[edit]

CFI Canada branches host a public education series across the country featuring leading academics, scientists, authors, performers and artists. National campaigns on relevant themes are also a key focus for the organization's activities.

Extraordinary Claims[edit]

The Extraordinary Claims Campaign is a series of advertisements developed in 2010 based on the Carl Sagan quote "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".[8][9] It is designed to be a follow-up to the Freethought Association of Canada's Atheist Bus Campaign in 2009. The ads feature a list of "extraordinary claims" on topics of pseudoscience, religion, and alternative medicine, including Allah, Christ, Bigfoot, Chiropractic, and many more.[10] The campaign also focuses on public education, running a series of events and publishing articles throughout the campaign that explored each extraordinary claim in more detail. The campaign received coverage in The National Post,[11] The Toronto Star.[12]

10:23[edit]

CASS takes part in the annual 10:23 campaign, an international campaign aimed at raising awareness about what homeopathy is with the slogan: "There's nothing in it."[13] In cities around the world, individuals get together to take an 'overdose' of homeopathic pills to highlight their dilution and ineffectuality. In 2011, members of CASS in Vancouver were featured taking their overdose on a CBC Marketplace episode dedicated to homeopathy called: "Cure or Con?"[14]

In March 2011, CASS sent an official complaint to Ontario Health Minister Deb Mathews (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care), to express concern over a move in the province of Ontario to create a college of homeopaths as a regulated health profession. Key demands have been to ensure that the term "doctor" remain and be enforced as a protected term and to ensure public health safety with particular reference to the promotion of homeopathic vaccines.[citation needed]

Public education and events[edit]

During the Canadian federal election of 2011, CASS sent questionnaires asking candidates their position on public health as it relates to homeopaths and alternative medicine practitioners, scientific integrity and political influence, climate change, and critical thinking education. Responses received were posted publicly.

In the summer of 2011, CASS sent a team of four members to speak on a variety of skeptical science topics at Polaris 25 in Toronto.[15] The panel was the first of its kind at a Canadian science fiction conference and was modelled after Skeptrack at DragonCon in Atlanta.

Affiliate organizations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About". Center for Inquiry. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  2. ^ "Ditching God". www.nationalpost.com. 2007-07-23. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  3. ^ "Letter from the Board" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  4. ^ "CFI National Director Announced". canadianatheist.com. 
  5. ^ "CFI: Looking Forward". canadianatheist.com. 
  6. ^ CFIC website: cficanada.ca
  7. ^ "Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism | Centre for Inquiry". Cficanada.ca. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  8. ^ "Skeptics plan to bring controversial atheist ads to Calgary buses". Globaltvcalgary.com. 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  9. ^ "Encyclopaedia Galactica". Carl Sagan (writer/host).Cosmos. PBS. December 14, 1980. No. 12. 01:24 minutes in.
  10. ^ "Extraordinary Claims". Extraordinary Claims. 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  11. ^ "Kelly McParland: Atheists’ only faith is in not having faith | Full Comment | National Post". Fullcomment.nationalpost.com. 2010-12-03. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  12. ^ "New bus ads to take on Bigfoot, Christ". The Star (Toronto). 2010-12-07. 
  13. ^ "Homeopathy: there's nothing in it | The 10:23 Campaign | #ten23". 1023.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  14. ^ "Cure or Con?". CBC News. 
  15. ^ IFRS Learning says: (2011-06-25). "Skeptical Track at Polaris 25 « Critical Thinking « Skeptic North". Skepticnorth.com. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 

External links[edit]