August long weekend is coming soon. But what, exactly, is August long weekend? It is a civic holiday but what civic holiday? Is it Regatta Day, Terry Fox Day, Saskatchewan Day, British Columbia Day, Natal Day, Simcoe Day, New Brunswick Day, Colonel By Day, Heritage Day, Joseph Brant Day, or Benjamin Vaughan Day? The correct answer is all of the above, depending on where, in Canada, you are living. In Alberta, of course, it is Heritage Day. And what better to do on Heritage Day than take a train ride around Heritage Park, Calgary’s living history museum? Heritage Park was first opened on Canada Day in 1964. Since then, it has grown into one of Calgary’s major tourist attractions.
Have you ever gotten into a conversation that became tense and you could feel the frustration rising because your interlocutor simply didn’t understand what you were trying to say? Have you ever been in a conversation that turned into a yelling match? Is it possible to have a congenial conversation on a controversial subject? This will be the topic of the WeCanReason Webinar this month. True to our decision to have only local people lead our webinars for the summer, this month, Gavin and Lois will start the event by having a “Conversation about Congenial Conversations” and then open the discussion to everyone. Join us and help us develop techniques and methods to “keep our cool” and maintain logic and reason throughout conversations we might have with people who do not agree with us. At 7:00 pm on Wednesday, August 23, click on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81693179094.
This is just a “heads-up” for possible changes that might happen with Skeptics in the Pub. Bottlescrew Bill’s has been a great venue for the monthly event. However, some remodelling they have done and changes they have made, have resulted in it no longer being as ideal as it was. So, keep your eyes open for more information about a possible change in venue in the future.
This month, the Book Club is reading The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, so I thought it only appropriate the choose the podcast, The Skeptics Guide to the Universe for my pick of the month. Steven Novella, the author of the book, is also the host of the podcast. He is joined by his brothers, Bob and Ray, as well as Cara Santa Maria and Evan Bernstein. The podcast focuses on scientific skepticism and includes topics on pseudoscience, alternative medicine, conspiracy theories, health fraud, the paranormal, and consumer protection. When I started reading about Steven Novella, I began to wonder how many Steven Novellas there were because no one person could do all of the things that I read about him. In addition to writing The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, he has recently written The Skeptics Guide to the Future. He is the president and co-founder of The New England Skeptical Society, a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), writes blogs for the webpage for Skeptics Guide to the Universe and for Science-Based Medicine, writes a regular column for the Skeptical Inquirer, is the author of NeuroLogicaBlog, and more. Oh, and, by the way, he is a clinical neurologist and associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine.
Note: Some events might not appear on this list because they are not yet confirmed. Check the Meetup page to find any new events that might be planned during the month.
Tuesday, August 1
Skeptics in the Pub
First Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p
Skeptics in the Pub provides a great opportunity to meet and have in-depth conversations with like-minded people, in a friendly atmosphere. The highlight of the evening is always Jeff’s presentation of video clips about some interesting topic on skepticism or religion, that generates more discussions. This month, the meeting will be at Bottlescrew Bill’s, 140 10th Ave SW. But keep your eyes open for a possible change of venue in the future because you wouldn’t want to miss a single event.
Thursday, August 3
Life Without Religion
First Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
Society has become so polarized in recent years that it is difficult to know what the various (groups) really believe. Travis Brown is a young cinematographer who lives in Portland, OR. He was raised in a very fundamentalist religious home and left religion when he was about 15 years old. Portland is the center of the extreme far-left thinking. As Travis saw it growing in popularity, he began to see how much these extreme ideas resembled the religion he was raised in. Learning about Travis made me wonder if the polarization and woke ideas make life more difficult for those of us who left religion and now base our thinking on reason and the scientific method. Life Without Religion is a peer support group for people to discuss with others who have had a similar experience, those things that have a negative impact on our lives. If you are not yet a member but feel that you would benefit from the support of those who have had a similar journey as you, contact Lois at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, August 10
RMA Book Club – ONLINE
Second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
The title of the book for this month’s Book Club meeting is The Skeptics Guide to the Universe by Steven Novella. The book first describes many fallacies and biases. Then it applies these concepts to examples that show you how to think through similar situations when you encounter them. It is certainly a guide to better logical thinking. Come to the meeting to find out what other readers have learned from the book. You can join the discussion by clicking on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84136093236.
Thursday, August 10
RMA Book Club – In Person
Second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
The title of the book for this month’s Book Club meeting is The Skeptics Guide to the Universe by Steven Novella, as described above. If you prefer in-person discussions to Zoom meetings, this is for you. We read the same book and meet at the same time, but we meet in person. Go to the Meetup page to find out where the meeting will be. By the way, if you haven’t read the book, you are still welcome. After hearing the discussion, you will probably be inspired to read the book.
Monday, August 14
RMA Coffee Chat
Second Monday of every month at 1:00 pm
Coffee Chat “is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” No topics are planned, they just happen. If someone just had some crazy experience, that’s what we talk about. If someone is frustrated, they can let it all out. And you never know where the discussion will lead. That’s what makes it so entertaining. As well, we usually learn from each other’s fields of expertise. Join the fun by clicking on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89322416671.
Tuesday, August 15
Life Without Religion
Third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm
Did you spend many years immersed in a fundamentalist religion that took over your entire life? Did you eventually begin to question everything that you had been taught? Did you reach the point where you simply couldn’t continue to believe and had to leave that religion? As a result, did you lose everything about the life that you had known? Are you lonely, feeling like you are the only one who has ever been down that road? Let me assure you, you are not alone and the Life Without Religion peer support group was created just for you. The group meets twice a month and discusses ways to rebuild your life to become better than it ever had been. If you are not yet a member but are interested in joining, contact Lois at email@example.com.
Sunday, August 20
RMA Monthly Board Meeting
Third Sunday of every month at 1:00 pm
It might appear that the machinery of RMA simply rolls along effortlessly. But the smoother any organization or event moves along; the more work went on behind the scenes. For RMA, that work takes place at the monthly Board Meetings where decisions are made. Only board members vote but anyone can attend the meetings to learn how the tasks are managed and to share new ideas. Currently, the meetings are being held at the Keynote Sunterra Market. For more details, go to the Meetup page.
Wednesday, August 23
WeCanReason Webinar Fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:00 pm The topic of this month’s WeCanReason Webinar is a Conversation about Congenial Conversations. In some segments of society today, it seems almost impossible to have congenial conversations. Gavin and Lois are going to start the webinar by having a conversation about possible techniques for building the skills needed to have productive, congenial conversations. Then the everyone will be invited to join the discussion and offer their ideas about improving our conversation skills. Join us by clicking on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81693179094.
Monday, August 28
Movie Night - Online
Fourth Monday of every month at 7:00 pm
The movie for this month is Unknown: Cave of Bones. It is a documentary about the discovery of a treasure trove of bones of an, at the time, unknown hominin species, in the Rising Star Cave System in South Africa. The documentary features the paleoanthropologist, Lee Berger, who discovered the bones and interpreted the findings. His conclusions are quite astonishing and, if true, change a lot of what has been accepted about pre-human species. Needless to say, it has caused a lot of controversy in the paleoanthropology community. Our favorite paleoanthropologist, Gutsick Gibbon, has already released two videos discussing the papers by Lee Berger. You don’t want to miss the startling conclusions. Join us by clicking on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87000175502.