The Non-Conference is Ontario's largest annual conference that is specifically geared for non-believers, non-theists, the “nones”, atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, materialists, rationalists, secularists, pantheists, skeptics, empiricists, naturalists, friendly theists...well, you get the idea.
Join notable speakers from across Canada and the US for a day of discussion and debate on topics relevant to secularism, human rights, and freethought in Canada.
Speakers from The Non-Conference 2014, held in Toronto
Nate Phelps: Son of the late Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, speaks about his upbringing to groups across North America and currently resides in Calgary, Alberta. He is a vocal LGBT advocate and speaks out against the dangers of religion and child abuse. He is currently working on a book which covers his exceptional story, and is the subject of an upcoming documentary film.
Nate's talk, THE HARM OF RELIGION, will explore the various ways that religion has impacts the individual, the family, and society, and not always for the good.
Katie Gibbs: Executive Director of Evidence For Democracy (E4D), Katie holds a PhD in biology from the University of Ottawa. E4D, a national, non-partisan advocacy group grew out of a grassroots movement among academics, scientists and concerned citizens in response to the erosion of science- and evidence-based decision-making in public policy. Katie’s talk, SCIENCE & DEMOCRACY, will address why science is central to a functioning democracy.
Arthur Schafer: Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba. He specializes in bioethics and is frequently called upon by the media to comment on issues in moral, social and political philosophy. Arthur’s talk, HOW NOT TO DO ETHICS, will contrast a religious approach to ethical decision-making with a secular approach.
Doug Cowan: Professor of Religious Studies at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo. Doug’s talk, WHY ATHEISM MATTERS, challenges the canard that atheism is a "show about nothing". He makes a strong argument for atheism’s place in 2014, why it is relevant and why we should care.
Jack Pasht: Entrepreneur, lawyer, and Director of Dying With Dignity. Jack’s talk, REASON AND THE TERRIBLE DEATH, describes how for many Canadians who are facing terrible deaths, the concept of the sanctity of life and the nobility of suffering have trumped reason, self-determination, and compassion. This terrible injustice may be about to end.
Andrea Houston: Toronto-based journalist, social activist and Toronto Pride’s 2012 Honoured Dyke. Andrea broke the story on the obstinance of the Catholic School Board to allow the formation of Gay-Straight Alliance clubs. Andrea’s talk, LGBT RIGHTS & CATHOLIC PUBLIC SCHOOLS, discusses the journalism and activism that led to Bill 13 and the strange ethics that result from having religious schools funded by the province.
Faisal Al Mutar: Iraqi-born writer, social activist and founder of the Global Secular Humanist Movement.
Homeland Security is not ready to have Faisal leave the US so he will appear via Skype.
Ali A. Rizvi: Toronto based writer, physician and author of the upcoming book, “The Atheist Muslim”.
Born and raised in Pakistan. A photographer and socio-political analyst currently residing in Toronto.
Toronto based professor of bioethics and critical thinking was once Canadian Humanist of the Year. He literally wrote the book on critical thinking which he called “How To Be A Really Good Pain In The Ass” He will bring these skills as a moderator of the first conference panel with Nate, Arthur, Katie, Andrea, Jack, and Doug.
An active Secular Humanist since 2002. As President of The Society of Ontario Freethinkers, and of Secular Connexion Séculaire, he advocates consistently for Humanist rights and separation of church and state. In 2013, Doug was nominated for the J.S. Woodsworth Award for Human Rights and Equity. He is a published historical fiction novelist, and writes a blog called “Canadian Agnostic Humanist.” Doug will moderate the panel in the evening with Ali, Alishba, and Faisal.