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This Week in Humanism 2018–06–03


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/06/03

Ian Bushfield, M.Sc., is the Executive Director of the British Columbia Humanist Association (BCHA). The BCHA has been working to have humanist marriages on the same plane as other marriages in the province. Here we talk about recent updates from the view of the BCHA.

Bushfield and I talked several months ago, but I had not caught up with him. So, I decided to follow up with him on the updates from the non-religious, and the humanist more particularly, the landscape in Canada, especially in British Columbia.

Bushfield directed attention to the Government of British Columbia needing to tackle the ongoing housing crisis. This means a committed and concerted effort to work with non-profits, faith groups, and others, to develop more affordable housing united.

He noted the developments — the housing crisis kind — have put vulnerable groups at risk of religious coercion. “While we understand the urgency of getting units built, this shouldn’t come at the cost of violating the human rights of the nonreligious, religious minorities or the LGBTQ+ community,” Bushfield opines.”


“Shawn Meagley came to secular humanism by way of a traditional religious upbringing that, in her words, “just wasn’t working for me.”

“The thing that I missed most — probably the only thing that I missed about anything to do with any kind of religious life — was having the camaraderie, the group gatherings, someplace to share as a family,” said Ms. Meagley of Toledo.

It’s part of the reason that she’s co-organizing a group of individuals, who, like her, believe that leading a life shaped by ethics, morals, empathy, and compassion need not depend on religious dogma.

Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie are “good without God,” she said, drawing on a description that she didn’t coin but thinks is as good as any she’s heard to describe their views.

“It just kind of sums everything up,” she said.”


“From space colonization to resurrection of dinosaurs to machine intelligence, the most awe-inspiring visions of humanity’s future are typically born from science fiction.

But among an abundance of time travel, superheroes, space adventures, and so forth, biotech remains underrepresented in the genre.

This selection highlights some outstanding works (new and not so new) to fill the sci-fi gap for biotech aficionados.

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

VanderMeer’s work blends the technology backdrop of science fiction with fantasy creatures in delightfully weird ways and wraps them all into a fast-paced story with elements of mystery, action, and surrealism. The novel’s world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland over which the now-defunct biotech conglomerate simply called “The Company” presides. The Company uses genetic engineering to create creatures like savage feral children, a magician, and proxies of the ferocious ruler and simultaneous victim, a giant flying bear named Mord.

We follow the protagonist Rachel, a scavenger, who plucks a mysterious organism (a GMO to put all GMOs to shame, really) from the fur of sleeping Mord and names it Borne.

Rachel becomes Borne’s mother, but his endearing childhood phase rapidly tightens around the explosive triangle of Rachel’s jealous companion Wick and the deepening mysteries about Borne.

I loved the scene where Rachel and Borne run into a pack of ruthless Mord proxies on a scavenging mission, because what Borne chooses to do is fascinating (no spoilers!). The detail-rich story is a tour de force of imagination nestled between science fiction and science fantasy, the realm where everything is possible.”


“GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (KTRK) —

The Center for Inquiry is a national organization that advocates for a secular society with an office in metro Grand Rapids.

“We have and organized system of beliefs that’s called ‘secular humanism,’” said Jennifer Beahan, the Center for Inquiry Executive Director.

The group is suing the Kent County Clerk’s Office on behalf of all of Michigan saying its trained members should be allowed to officiate weddings.

“You know how important weddings are to people and to families. It’s a major life event and secular individuals should be able to celebrate that in a way that they want that’s most memorable and meaningful to them,” Beahan said.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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