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.
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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.
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HAT EVENTS | GTA EVENTS | GTA NEWS | HUMANIST NEWS | HAT NEWSLETTER | ETHICAL ACTIONS | UNIV of TORONTO EVENTS

HAT Forum: Are we in Canada as classless as we think we are?

HAT Forum
Saturday 9th May 2015, 11:00-12:30
(N.B. 12:30 finish to allow Forum participants to attend the
HAT SPEAKER SERIES EVENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE
 at OISE Rm 3-311 1:30 - 3:30)
519 Church St., Meeting Room #304
Topic: Are we in Canada as classless as we think we are?
Proposed by: Dick Combeer

- What are the typical visible distinctions between social classes?
- What are the typical determinants of social class?
- Can class distinctions ever be useful and important?
- How do individuals and groups move to a different social class?
- Are there steps that can be taken to collapse and otherwise mitigate the effects of social class?



We Must Act Now on Climate Change – For Our Grandchildren

Humanist Association of Toronto Monthly Speaker Event
Saturday, May 9, 2015
1:30 – 3:00 pm
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room 3-311
Speaker: Peter Jones, lawyer (retired), chairperson For Our Grandchildren
Topic: We Must Act Now on Climate Change – For Our Grandchildren

“I don’t want my grandchildren to see the earth die.” These poignant words introduce the video on the home page of For Our Grandchildren (4RG), a web-based organization whose vision is to connect and empower grandparents and prospective grandparents who are concerned about the potentially disastrous effects of climate change, and to enable them to join a movement to counter and prepare for these effects on behalf of all our children and grandchildren.

4RG offers opportunities for grandparents to learn, comment and to come together with others to discuss initiatives such as contacting their decision-makers with their concerns. The website www.forourgrandchildren.ca features an extensive blog with insightful posts on all aspects of climate change, videos, a monthly newsletter, tips on writing letters to the editor, and posters and other documents for use at events. 4RG is endorsed by honorary members Stephen Lewis, David Suzuki and Bishop Desmond Tutu. If you are concerned about the impending effects of climate change and want to help ensure that there is a world for our grandchildren to inherit, join us for this inspiring and informative presentation and discussion.

HAT Forum: Diplomacy and International Relations

HAT Forum
Saturday 2nd May 2015, 11:00-1:00
519 Church St., Meeting Room #304
Topic: Public Shaming
Proposed by: Bill Kennedy

Is Diplomacy in International relations a meaningless panacea?
Can Diplomacy make substantial contributions in International Relations?

HAT Forum: Public Shaming in the Internet Age

HAT Forum
Saturday 25 April 2015, 11:00-1:00
519 Church St., Meeting Room #304
Topic: Public Shaming
Proposed by: Moses Klein

Lately there has been much discussion in the media about the phenomenon of public shaming. How do we react to this? How has new media changed the nature of reputation? When, if ever, is public shaming fair? Do the targets have any responsibilty for their own fate?

For the purposes of this discussion, public shaming refers to the phenomenon discussed by Jon Ronson in the book So You've Been Publicly Shamed.

Some reading to consider:

Show your support for open science communication

From evidencefordemocracy.ca:

Over the past several years, Canadian scientists working in the federal government have experienced a substantial shift in the way they can communicate their research to the public and the media. Reports of widespread muzzling and delayed access to Canadian government scientists have been covered in prominent national and international media. Extensive coverage and concern prompted the Information Commissioner of Canada to pursue an investigation, currently ongoing, into the alleged muzzling of scientists.

More information and an online peitition in support of open science communication at
https://evidencefordemocracy.ca/canscientistsspeak/takeaction

Forum: Character in Education

HAT Forum
Saturday 11 April 2015, 11:00-1:00
519 Church St., Meeting Room 304
Topic: Should Character Matter?
Proposed by: Dick Combeer

Should Character Matter?

1. What role should formal education have in the development of character?
2. Are Ontario public schools obliged to remove all discussion of values out of fear of offending or not catering to all groups?
3. How does this compare to the situation in the Catholic School system in Ontario, where they have the benefit of one unifying set of values?
4. In the dialectic between the cult of personality and the cult of character, could we define what values should compose "character" and could they be fundamental enough for most of our society to agree upon?
5. In the world of business, adults dealing with adults, how does character measure up against performance?

HAT Forum: Humanitarian Aid / Military Action in Syria

HAT Forum
Saturday 4 April, 11:00-1:00
519 Church St., Meeting Room #304
Topic: Humanitarian Aid
Proposed by: Isabel Foot

The government has described the bombing or invasion of Syria as humanitarian aid. Have they convinced us? If not, what is the real agenda?

Spring 2015 newsletter

HAT's Spring 2015 newsletter is out. You can download the electronic version (pdf) at this link.

Annual General Meeting: April 18

The Humanist Association of Toronto will have its 
Annual General Meeting 
on Saturday, April 18th, 11:00-1:00
OISE (252 Bloor St. W.) Room 5-170

All HAT members are encouraged to attend. If you cannot attend, you can designate a proxy to represent you with this form. The Steering Committee for 2016-16 will be elected at the meeting.

Note that there will be no Forum that day.

The Swerve (HAT book discussion)

The HAT Book reading group will be discussing the following book on Saturday April 25 2015 at 2:30 at our regular location:

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

Year/Format: 2011, Book, 356 p., [8] p. of plates
14 holds / 41 copies
Summary/Review:
In this work, the author has crafted both a work of history and a story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it. Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius, a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions. The copying and translation of this ancient book, fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.

If you wish to join us please contact Jodi at 416-925-3395 or HATcoord@gmail.com.

HAT Forum: The Inevitability of War?

HAT Forum, Saturday 28 March 2015
11:00-1:00, 519 Church St., Meeting Room # 304
Topic: The Inevitability of Military Wars
Proposed by: Bill Kennedy

If, at some point in the future, war is regarded as useless, unproductive, and silly, what might have happened between now and then?

HAT Forum: educational opting out

HAT Forum
Saturday 21 March, 11:00-1:00
519 Church St.
Topic: opting out of mandatory education

Should parents have the right to withdraw students from study of topics of which they disapprove, if those subjects are compulsory? Examples could include sex education and evolution; any other potential issues? On what grounds might we as a society justify allowing it, and with what limitations? What about non-curricular issues, such as vaccination?

HAT Forum: Tolerance

HAT Forum
Saturday 14 March 2015, 11:00-12:30 (note shortened time)
519 Church St., Meeting Room 304
Topic: Tolerance
Proposed by: Richard Dowsett
  1. What does tolerance look like to you?
  2. Is Canada too tolerant for its own good?
  3. Should we tolerate intolerant people? 
  4. Is it possible that in Canada, in order to honour somebody else's tradition, one has to (even partly) dishonour one's own?
  5. At what point does tolerance become dysfuntional? How far can we tolerate tolerance?
  6. Why bother talking about tolerance?
These questions were discussed by a panel of three Canadians on the CBC Radio program Ideas. You can listen to the original program online.

This meeting will be shortened so that participants can get to OISE by 1:30, with a short lunch break, in time for Catherine Dunphy's talk about the Clergy Project.

HAT Forum: Responsibility of Institutions in a Pluralistic Society

HAT Forum
Saturday 7 March 2015, 11:00-1:00
519 Church St., Meeting Room #304
Topic: Responsibility of Institutions in a Pluralistic Society
Proposed by: Richard Dowsett

1. In a pluralistic society, what approach should institutions (judicial, education, health) take with regard to communicating values and knowledge that may be controversial for some?
2. Do these institutions have a mandate or possibly a duty to promote certain values and knowledge in the name of socialization and education?
3. Should institutions "teach the controversy" and openly discuss minority viewpoints in the name of pluralism?
4. Should institutions remain "neutral" to values and only present facts?
5. Discuss these questions in terms of the current debate of the sex education curriculum and the ongoing questions of teaching creationism and religious education.
6. Do the answers change when the venue changes from the Public system to the Separate Schools to private schools?


Panel discussion: Limitations on Freedom of Speech

The group Why Should I Care is holding a discussion titled "Limitations on Freedom of Speech"
When: Wednesday, March 4th, 7:30-9:00. (Doors open at 7:00)
Where: The Rose and Crown, 2335 Yonge St.
Toronto Star’s Public Editor Kathy English, and Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy, will discuss the challenges of protecting free speech, when it’s best to stay silent, and some of the free speech-related conflicts happening in the world today.
Admission is free but organizers request RSVP: see their website here.

This is not an HAT event, and is listed for informational purposes.
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.