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March 2024 Newsletter


Yea, it’s almost Spring. Well, you might not think so if you look out the window. So, instead, look at your calendar. It’s only 19 days until the vernal equinox. That’s the day with equal hours of daylight and darkness, the first day of Spring.

When you think of March, do you also think about the Ides of March? A major historical event that happened on March 15, 44 B.C.E.; Julius Caesar (top) was assassinated.

March isn’t all bad, however. A lot of good things are happening in RMA and many of them are discussed below. By the way, have you purchased your ticket to the WeCanReason Conference happening on May 4th? Early Bird tickets are still available. To check it out, go to https://wecanreason.com/.

The speaker for this month’s WeCanReason Webinar is Rob Palmer, a rocket scientist. But, don’t worry, he isn’t going to talk about rocket science. He will be speaking on Mass Psychogenic Illness. If you don’t know what such an illness is, you might recall an incident that happened in upstate New Your about ten years ago. Twelve teenage girls and one boy in one school, suddenly started showing strange symptoms somewhat like Tourette’s Syndrome. They would also shake and jerk their necks uncontrollably. The community was afraid that a toxin had gotten into the water. Erin Brockovich even brought a team to the community to search for a toxin. Eventually, however, the doctors concluded that it was a psychogenic illness. That is, there was no toxin; it was psychological. Rob will discuss how this can happen.

 

Lois’s Pick


My pick for March is MythVision, hosted by Derek Lambert. Derek’s personal story is quite interesting. He became a Christian at age 12 and studied intensely. As he accumulated knowledge, he also accumulated questions, and began studying other beliefs. As a result, he has a deep knowledge of many religions. However, in his twenties, Derek became addicted to heroin. He eventually rid himself of religion and drug addition and became a clean, upstanding atheist. On his podcast, he dispels many myths. He has some fascinating guests with whom he can get very deep into the complex details of several belief systems. Check out his podcast at https://www.youtube.com/@MythVisionPodcast/featured.


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, March 5





Skeptics in the Pub

First Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm

Skeptics in the Pub is a great experience. You start out having a casual conversation with like-minded people. You might make a new friend or two. Then Jeff will give a short presentation. This month, his topic will be A Year of Living Biblically; he will explore the experience of A. J. Jacobs who spent a year following the rules of the Bible! It wasn’t easy! This will certainly stimulate some fascinating conversations.

The event is free to the attendees but RMA has to pay room rent and there is a minimum order. So, consider having dinner along with your socializing. You might even want to make a small donation. You can find us in the private Barrell room at the Trolley 5 Brewpub, 728 17th Ave. SW.

Thursday, March 7


Life Without Religion - Online

First Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm

Life Without Religion (LWR) is a peer support group. In meetings, we discuss personal problems that were caused by our immersion into religion in the past. Sometimes, there are side effects that we struggle with that we didn’t realize came from our religious teachings. After all, we were told what to believe, how to behave, what to think, and who we are. We don’t have a chance to develop our own agency. It takes time to unravel the misinformation that we were fed. Finding others who have made a similar journey is a relief. It is even better when you have a chance to discuss ways of reclaiming our personhood and other problems that we face. If you have left a fundamentalist religion and are still experiencing stress as a result and you are not a member of LWR but are interested in joining, contact Lois at loislwr@gmail.com.

Monday, March 11


RMA Coffee Chat

Second Monday of every month at 1:00 pm

Do you enjoy relaxed, unstructured conversations with a friendly group? Anyone can bring up a subject and anyone can change the subject. It might be humorous for a while, serious for a while, or even technical. Maybe you have a “soapbox” issue that is annoying you and you want to get it off your chest. Then come to Coffee Chat. Because it is on line, you have to supply your own coffee, of course. Join us by clicking on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84239654725.

Tuesday, March 12


Music Jam Night

As announced at 7:00 pm

The Heathens are at it again. They are jamming at Bottlescrew Bills. Bring your harmonica, your ukelele, or even your spoons and join in. If you can’t play an instrument, come and sing. If you can’t sing, just come and enjoy the comradery. Bottlescrew Bills is located at 140 10 Ave SW. For more details, go to the Meetup page.

Thursday, March 14


RMA Book Club – ONLINE

Second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm

I know, I know, you haven’t finished the book. So? Neither have I but I’m going to the meeting anyway to listen to the discussion. At the RMA Book Club, everyone has an opportunity to talk about their impression of the book of the month. If you haven’t finished reading it, you will probably want to after you hear the discussion. The book for March is A Grain of Salt, The Science and Pseudoscience of what we eat, by Joe Schwarcz. If there is any subject about which there is a greater abundance of pseudoscience than the food we eat, I don’t know what it is. But Joe Schwarcz will straighten it out. Join us by clicking on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89385810850.

Tuesday, March 19


Life Without Religion

Third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm

“You were never really a Christian!” “Oh, you’re just going through a phase. You will come back to God.” “I’m praying for you to come back to Jesus.” Ex-believers hear these and many similar statements over and over. In our peer support group, Life Without Religion, we discuss how best to respond to such statements. More importantly, we discuss how to deal with our own, internal reactions to such statements. People who leave any religion face similar situations but we can help each other get through the tough times and reclaim our lives. If you are trying to cope with difficulties caused by religion and are not yet a member of LWR but are interested in joining, contact Lois at loislwr@gmail.com.

Monday, March 24


Movie Night - Online

Fourth Monday of every month at 7:00 pm

The movie for March is the documentary, The Coddling of the American Mind, based on the book of the same name. In the documentary, several university students discuss their experiences when they first went to a university.

Authors, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt discuss how they became aware of the steep increase in anxiety and suicide rates in university students around 2014, and how they analyzed the problems. Come to Movie Night to watch the documentary and discuss it with the group. Join us by clicking on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88481295638.

Wednesday, March 27

WeCanReason Webinar

Fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:00 pm

We are fortunate to, once again, have Rob Palmer speak at our WeCanReason Webinar. He will be explaining social panics and mass psychogenic illness. Yes, some conditions that, at first, appear to be entirely physiological are actually caused by psychological effects. When one person exhibits symptoms such as certain involuntary movements, cramping, nausea, or other conditions, mass hysteria can cause other people in the area to begin to show the same symptoms. Rob will help us understand this phenomenon. Join us online by clicking on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81253047655.

Wednesday, March 28



RMA Monthly Board Meeting

Fourth Thursday of the month at 6:00 pm

There has been one final change in the schedule for RMA Monthly Board Meetings; they will be on the fourth Thursday of each month. We will be meeting, and having a scrumptious dinner (if you so choose) in a private room at the 4th Spot Kitchen and Bar at 2620 4th St. NW. The board meetings are open to all but only members vote on motions. Please feel welcome to join us.

 

Calgary Secular Assembly Events

To find the location or Zoom link, go to the Meetup page.

Sunday, March 10

Birth of Quantum Physics - Can we learn from this?

Evergreen Spaces at 1:00 pm

Tuesday, March 12

Café Social – Conversations over Coffee or Beer

Weeds Cafe, Calgary, AB, 1:00 pm

Sunday, March 24

Philosophy in 20 - Philosophy of Science Online at 11:00 am



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