In this Edition of Critical Links:

September Dates of Interest

  • When Doubting Means Death
  • Confessions of a Former Fox News Christian
  • Marina Elliott: Canada’s Underground Astronaut
  • Countdown
  • Watch: Stab Everyone You Love
  • Donation to BAND
  • In Memoriam: Ed Brayton (1967-2020)

Science Check

Secular Check

Think Check

Click any item in the table of contents to be taken to the website version of the article.

September Dates of Interest
September 4 is National Food Bank Day, observed each year on the first Friday of the month. Food banks across the country are bracing for a second wave of increased demand as CERB comes to an end. Due to pandemic restrictions, physical donations are down for most food banks, but in any case it's far more effective to donate money than to drop a few cans of beans in the collection bin at your grocery store.
September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. The pandemic is presenting many mental health challenges. Help is available.
September 22 is the (fall in the northern hemisphere, spring in the southern) equinox: At 13:31 UT, the Sun crosses the celestial equator, heading southward. (Or, more accurately, the Sun appears to do this, since it’s actually the earth that's moving.) Yes, you can balance an egg on its large end on the day of the equinox (and also on any other day of the year).
September 28 is World Rabies Day. Vaccinate your pet, and be aware of infection in wild and stray animals. And, though this should go without saying: Don't try to treat your child's aggressive behaviour by using homeopathic preparations made from the saliva of a rabid dog.
September 30 is International Blasphemy Rights Day. Canada has abolished its blasphemy law. However, many people in other parts of the world still contend with both legal and societal sanctions for criticizing religious ideas and practices, or in some cases even incorrectly mentioning or depicting religious figures.
If you celebrate any of these, or have suggestions for upcoming celebrations or observances, please drop us a line or send a picture to

CFIC News & Events


What is it like to live in hiding, knowing that people want to kill you for not accepting their religious faith? Join us on Thursday, September 10, at 8:00pm EST, as author and podcaster Ali Rizvi* interviews "Omer," a refugee being supported by CFIC.

Asking questions is one of the most noble things that humans do. The two simple words in the question “What if?” have propelled humans from a near-extinct hominid to the dominant species on the planet. Asking questions led Omer away from blind faith. A bright, sensitive young man, he became an atheist.

But for Omer, these questions got him tortured and pursued. He is a non-believer from the religious nation of Pakistan. When his family heard of this, they immediately threw him out and disowned him. He was then sexually assaulted and tortured. He is scared and running for his life. Many want him dead.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has officially recognized Omer as a refugee. Now he is on track with the asylum process to begin a new life in Canada. But that process has been delayed by the pandemic and it could be over a year before any progress is made in getting him here.

CFIC is helping Omer pay for food and shelter while he remains in hiding. He is isolated, alone, and still fears for his life. One hundred percent of the proceeds from this event will be used to support Omer while he waits to come to Canada.

Go here to sign up for this fundraising event (minimum donation $10).

Can't attend? You can still donate here.

Read more about Omer's story here.

* Ali Rizvi is author of The Atheist Muslim: A Journey From Religion to Reason and co-host of the podcast Secular Jihadists for a Muslim Enlightenment.
Confessions of a Former Fox News Christian
Seth Andrews takes a deep dive into how the U.S. became so divided, and how Fox News in particular contributed. Seth is a former far-right Christian evangelical radio host. He breaks down his personal transformative journey from drinking the Fox News Kool-Aid to becoming an atheist speaker and podcaster. He currently hosts one of the most popular atheist podcasts on the planet, The Thinking Atheist.
This talk will be hosted by CFIC, and held via Zoom on Sunday, September 20, at 7pm EST (4pm PST). Find the Zoom link here, the Meetup link here, and the Facebook link here.
Marina Elliott: Canada’s Underground Astronaut

Join caver, biological anthropologist, archaeologist, and Homo naledi team member, Marina Elliott, as she takes us along her incredible journey into the Dinaledi cave in the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa.

How did a Calgarian end up in a deep, dark South African cave to help discover one of the most important paleoanthropological finds in history? How did she fit through the 18cm crevice to get to the chamber with the bones, 30 meters underground? What bones did they find? What do the bones teach us? 
CFIC is excited to bring this amazing story from an equally amazing Canadian to our members. Stay tuned for further details.

Global problems require global solutions — and climate change is one of the largest challenges our world has ever faced. 

On October 10, communities from all around the world are coming together to establish a global action plan of climate solutions. CFIC is proud to present a vision of this action plan through a TEDx virtual discussion called Countdown, a worldwide call for scientists, activists, entrepreneurs, executives, investors, artists, authors, and government officials to present the solutions they have to address climate change.

We will host three speakers bringing crucial messages for this cause. Marc Schaus, author of Our Livable World: Creating the Clean Earth of Tomorrow, will speak about the vast new scientific and technological advancements occurring around the world furthering state-of-the-art clean energy options. David R. Boyd, author of The Rights of Nature and UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, will speak from an experience of international legal initiatives focusing on environmental action at the highest levels. And finally, CFIC’s keynote speaker will be MIT-trained physicist and Harvard professor David Keith, founder and chief scientist at Carbon Engineering here in Canada — a now world famous company specializing in the direct air capture of CO2.

Together, they present an account of the latest scientific, technological, and legal achievements necessary in our fight to stop global warming and re-balance our changing climate. For more information, click here.

CFIC is looking for volunteers to help with this event. If you are interested, please email us.
Watch: Stab Everyone You Love
Vaccinations are one of humanity’s greatest medical innovations, saving over ten million lives since 2010 alone. Given their decades-long track record of preventing illness, why are so many skeptical about their safety and efficacy?
Stab Everyone You Love is a talk by CFIC’s own Leslie Rosenblood that tackles the anti-vaccination movement, while distinguishing the denialists from the vaccine-hesitant, providing some dos and don’ts on how to engage anti-vaxxers, as well as examining cognitive biases and how to distinguish between objective information vs. propaganda.
Check out the talk via YouTube.
Donation to BAND
Thanks to everyone who attended and donated to Anti-Black Racism in Canada. CFIC was pleased to donate $1544 to BAND (Black Artists Network in Dialogue). For those who missed this event, or would like to watch it again, a recording is available on YouTube.
CFIC is committed to asking difficult questions, which can include talks on controversial subjects. Hosting a speaker does not imply agreement with their views.
In Memoriam: Ed Brayton (1967-2020)
Steve Watson

I discovered Ed's blog, Dispatches From the Culture Wars, around 2006 when it first came to ScienceBlogs. Ed was a passionate defender of civil liberties (particularly free speech) and secularism, and a fierce opponent of religious privilege. He took frequent joy in skewering the “wingnuts” of the religious right, exposing their bigotry, hypocrisy, and the theocratic impulses that motivate them.

Ed's ire was not only directed at religious encroachments on freedom; he was equally concerned about the growth of the surveillance state and the unchecked powers of the police in the years following 9/11. He was also one of the founders of the Panda's Thumb, a website devoted to defending evolution against creationism and intelligent design.

While an atheist himself, Ed was tolerant of religion in general, recognizing that Western secularism represents an experiment in learning to live together without having to resolve the theological debates that had raged for centuries. His accommodationism often put him at odds with the more militant atheism of his ScienceBlogs colleague P.Z. Myers. Nonetheless, they respected one another enough to bury the hatchet, and in 2011 co-founded the Freethought Blogs network, where they continued their campaign against unreason and tyranny.

I enjoyed Ed's wit, as well as the spirited discussions that took place in his comments section, and learned a lot from that experience. His health had been declining for the past few years, and earlier this month he announced that he was entering hospice care. He died a few days later.

Ed's death is a tremendous loss to the humanist community.

Science Check
COVID-19 by the Numbers
Seanna Watson

Current COVID-19 disease and death rate, as a proportion of population:
  • Globally: 1 in 312 has contracted COVID-19; 1 in 9260 has died
  • Canada: 1 in 296 has contracted COVID-19; 1 in 4147 has died
  • US: 1 in 55 has contracted COVID-19; 1 in 1812 has died

As of August 30, the total number of recorded cases worldwide has exceeded 25,000,000 with over 840,000 deaths. Put in perspective, the global case rate is 0.3% (1 in 112 humans has contracted COVID-19), and the death rate is about 3.3% (1 in 30 of those who contract the disease have died). Worldwide, the daily death rate has been as high as 10,500 (in mid-April), and for the past few months has averaged about 5000. By comparison, the worldwide daily death rate from all causes is about 150,000. (Also worth noting that the global numbers likely underestimate the case rate, and over-estimate the death rate, since mild cases are less likely to be reported in areas with limited public infrastructure.)

In Canada, the total number of recorded cases is 127,673 (1 in 296, or 0.3% of the population has contracted COVID-19), with 9,113 deaths (death rate of ~7%, or 1 in 14).

Looking at our neighbour to the south, the U.S. has a total number of recorded cases of 5,963,235 — 1 in 55, or 1.8% of the population, with 182,786 deaths (death rate of ~3%, or 1 in 33). So it’s clearly a good idea for us to keep the borders closed for the time being.

Some questions arise from these numbers — arguably, Canada is doing a reasonable job getting a handle on the pandemic, and flattening the curve. But we have a world-class universal healthcare system, so why is our death rate high? One contributing factor is that, particularly in Ontario and Quebec, the virus found its way into long-term care homes (which has helped to highlight serious deficiencies in the system, some of which are now being addressed).

But another contributing factor appears to be that our medical system has prolonged the life of people with various chronic diseases — and this population is particularly susceptible to serious illness and death resulting from contracting COVID-19. (These people are, of course, also more likely to die from influenza, pneumonia, etc., but under normal circumstances, the risks are mitigated by vaccines and herd immunity.)

For those interested in tracking stats, there are countless resources available with tables, graphs, and charts. Here are a few that might be useful — reader suggestions for more are welcome; please post in the comments on our webpage, or email us here.

Daily updates from Health Canada are available here. On Twitter, biostatistician Ryan Imgrund provides comprehensive charts with daily updates, including details of case counts and transmission rates, broken down by age group and public health unit. Further, heres a chart that shows the risk of encountering a contagious person, according to the size and location of the group.

Stay safe, everyone!

Secular Check
Are We Breaking the Culture Barrier?
John Varghese

“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. Ill meet you there.”
— Jalaluddin Rumi

I feel I have been an atheist my entire life even when I was a practicing Christian. Oxymoronic though this statement sounds, it seems a perfectly natural state of being to me!

Growing up at the National Defense Academy (NDA) in Pune, India, I happened to be that child that the village raised. Actually, the whole lot of us “village” kids were! We spent more hours in our friendshouses than we did in our own. After school, I would rush through my homework just so I could spend the rest of the afternoon on the beat with my buddies; mostly running through the nearby woods, climbing peepal trees, stealing guavas from orchards or chucking stones at beehives.

Some evenings, though, Id be sitting in on a kirtan at Mohan Deshpandes; or Id be accompanying Delnaz Jamshed to the market to bring yogurt so Mrs. Jamshed could make mithoo dahi; at other times Id be helping out serving at the langar with Jagvir Singh or gulping down the amazing seviyan served hot from Anwar Khans kitchen for Eid. Because we were the rare Christian family around, my mom would have to rearrange furniture in our small house to accommodate the heap of buddies who drop in for the traditional sadhya every Easter Sunday.

Only now looking back do I realize my friends made up a demographic of about seven or eight religions — more than 25 Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Zoroastrian (Parsi), Christian, Buddhist, and Jain denominations and not once did we consider our faiths as an aspect of our friendship. The plurality of our religions was never a diminishing or differentiating factor in how we related to each other. Rather, in some way, it actually bonded us through the commonality of the grumbling we did in observing tedious rituals of our respective religions.

I do consider us lucky. The NDA was a training wing of the Indian Armed Forces and the army had this way of syncretizing a population. In the '80s, this was a good thing. Nationalism beat communalism, sectarianism, or “religionism” hands down! It was like supervillains battling it out in the end game — the isms vying for the spoils of a fledgling democracy. India was coming into its own as a nation, one the British left behind in the chaos of divisive communalism. While the echoes of atrocities that Hindu and Muslim mobs committed on each other during the partitioning of India and Pakistan continued to ring softly within segregated towns deep in the hinterlands of India, the cosmopolitanism of cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Pune was fueling the economy, helping a secular India charge into the future.

My religious indoctrination happened more as a cultural immersion than scriptural training. Among friends, we accepted each others backgrounds as we would our different clothes, skin colors, and cuisines. Nothing to do with “You are different so boo on you!” but more like “Hey Im coming to your house for that religious feast.” We didnt bother considering the wrongness or rightness within our personal religion much less the rightness or wrongness of other religions and cultures. We were too busy having fun to care for the theology.

Mind you, we understood it and marveled at the irrational dichotomy a plurality of almighties presented but it was never articulated. We thought it to be beyond our understanding and there must be some kind of reconciliation that might be happening at some higher social or spiritual level that someday we might eventually grasp. Did any of my religious interactions promote divisiveness, intolerance, selfishness, violence, or unkindness to any other? No! The whole zeitgeist was one of social cohesiveness through an inclusive secularity. All we kids cared about was being together, having fun, and the goodies we got for religious festivals!

We werent foreign to the idea that religion caused incredible violence. Every so often, we heard on radio broadcasts or read in newspapers, the strange news of people rioting and attacking public property and each other as a response to some religious slight somewhere. More often than not, we recognized this to be an expression of insecurity at the basic level of human needs — food, jobs, land, or opportunity rather than outright religious divide. It took vote-gathering political vultures a lot of work to incite enough hatred to cause such tensions. But it did make us notice how susceptible to divisive violence religion causes its adherents to be.

Among the kids, however, we couldnt see such aberrance as part of our world of comradeship and respect toward our elders. I personally never took to the rites and rituals built around my religion seriously. My friends didnt either. We saw religion something akin to wearing clothes — originally designed to protect us from the elements but which graduated to being a measure of our identity in a diverse society. As the global village drew out the secular human within each one of us, we realized that working together under new social contracts of mutual respect works for everybody.

But we were children of our culture. We couldnt see past the joys that came with religious celebration that wove itself into the fabric of society. When Hindu kids meet elders, they bend and touch their feet as an act of seeking blessings. We Christians didnt do it as part of our culture but it felt right to me. I invariably performed this genuflection without thinking when meeting Hindu elders. I was the loudest to yell out Ganpati bappa…” and the crowds responded with “…morya”) into the microphone as I sat atop a tractor hauling a large clay sculpture of the elephant god Ganesh for its annual dunking in the river. My parents castigated me for my precarious position on the wheelbase of the tractor rather than for participating in idol worship.

Science fascinated me. Rational open-mindedness thrilled me. It was this drive that led me to study and eventually discard superstition, ergo religion, from my life. And here I pause. I hesitate. As I peel away the detritus of religiosity — some harmless like gratitude, charity, humility; some more pernicious like the concept of hell, misogyny, resignation to fate — I find myself tearing away pieces of what made me me.

I dont know anything but to say Ram Ram to Mr. Shinde, my gym teacher, as I greet him today; does this make me a hypocrite? I cannot stay away from the joy of meeting and blessing my nominal sisters(girls in the neighborhood) who have tied raakhi on my wrist; am I stuck in religious lunacy? Mrs. Desai lovingly feeds me sweet prasad every time I visit her; am I indulging a superstition? Old Mr. Syed wishes me Eid Mubarak and I melt in the warmth of that hug; am I perpetuating a close-minded religious belief system to my kids?

It is difficult to toe the line of North American atheists in their journey toward freedom from religion. I recognize similarities when they have to feel the burn of family disappointment or being the cause of a spiritlessChristmas meal. But I believe the immersion of cultural motifs within the context of religion has me, an Indian Christian émigré, at a greater disadvantage as I try to shake myself out of irrationality. It is not easy to break the cultural barrier!

Many of my friends with whom I have grown up have had varying epistemological trajectories in formation of their worldviews. Some are devoutly religious, some nominal, some atheists, and some just dont care. We are still pals and we continue to connect over prasad, seviyan, teas, or issues. So, what gives? Of course, I clearly dont care for archaic stone-age ideologies masquerading as holy, unchangeable writ, but I do care about tender relationships with people who have known nothing better all their lives and who believe in the goodness that I share with them but which religion has commandeered or hijacked for itself.

Id still like to light divali lamps for my neighbours who are too old to do it themselves but who, back in the day, used to chase after me for spilling and breaking such lamps! I want to be hugged lovingly by those gnarly hands of the village that raised me — however many religious stains they might be covered in.

Finally, I have settled on the current path, my personal decision: I am going to grandfather my atheistic skeptical worldview. I will indulge the culture even if it reeks of religion for those who cannot see past it. For the strong or the seekers, I will present the rational case, but for those who are nothing but accumulated decades of their religious culture, I will hold back. I anticipate religion and faith dying out over the next few years. I am not going to hold against its victims, my innocent friends, and their folks, the price of its past. This decision sets me at peace within myself and with my loved ones.

Luckily, my children might not have to face this dilemma… will they?

Peepal: Large tree, Ficus religiosa
Kirtan: Worship through singing and chanting
Mithoo Dahi: Parsi sweet yogurt, usually served at celebrations like Navroz (Parsi New Year)
Langar: Ritual free meal service offered at Sikh temples (gurudwara) to guests regardless of religion, creed, denominational differences
Seviyan: Semolina vermicelli porridge with cream, raisins, and nuts prepared and distributed usually during the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Sadhya: Malayalam (Kerala, India) word for “feast,” usually served on plantain leaves
Ganpati Bappa Morya: Part of a Marathi chant “Ganpati Bappa Morya, pudhcha varshi laukar ya” — “Lord Ganesha of Morya (a 14th century devotee), come early next year”
Ram Ram: Common greeting in India; Ram is one of the primary gods in Hindu mythology
Raakhi: A Hindu ritual where sisters tie a string around their brothers wrists to celebrate the brother-sister bond; rooted in Hindu mythology where Draupadi (one wife of the five Pandav kings) tied a knot on Lord Krishnas wound
Prasad: Small morsel of a treat after offering to a deity
Eid Mubarak: Happy Eid
Divali: Hindu festival of light

Think Check
A Harmless Pastime?
Sophia Lisikh

“A gunman who killed 22 people and injured 24 others at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on August 3rd 2019 made a fleeting reference to video game soldiers.”

“The young men who opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, were video gamers who seemed to be acting out some dark digital fantasy.”

“Criminologist Ray Surette of the University of Central Florida researched video game-playing habits of 249 inmates in a county jail...finding that the degree of immersion in (violent) media did predict copycat crime.”

Notice anything similar? It would be bold indeed to claim that the heightened exposure to violent media in our days is the driving force of all global crimes. However, there is no denying the fact that the negative influence of violent video games is far too often overlooked. With more and more statistics supporting the suspicion that these games are the underlying cause of the increased psychological and physical problems of children and adolescents, it is alarming to consider that there are an average of 2.5 billion video gamers around the world! If that wasn't bad enough, more than 90 percent of these games designed for children 10 and older are violent, which is why there is an urgent need to put an end to their steady growth in purchases.

Some would argue that video games, including violent ones, are “a harmless pastime,” and would go so far as to state that they even provide a therapeutic, if not safe, outlet to cope with anger. In fact, 70 percent of parents honestly believe that video games have a positive influence on their children's lives, especially when they are used in healthy moderation. But scientists show otherwise.

In the beginning, the individual's behaviour is neutral and even relaxed due to the
release of stress hormones; however, these coping mechanisms cease to work at some point, reversing the system. In other words, these video games begin to trigger the release of dopamine in the individual's brain that reinforces behaviour, similar to an addictive drug. This addiction can become dangerous as it stimulates problematic psychological and physical arousal along with more anxiety and stress. With regards to moderation, about 80 percent of high school-age boys say they play video games, most of which are violent, and perhaps up to a third of these boys have a habit of playing up to 10 hours a week or more.

Is this what we are calling “healthy moderation”? I believe that we should bring more awareness to the destructive consequences in regards to the individual and those around them. It is evident from the events presented above that violent video games play a significant role in violent behavioural patterns. Of course, this is not to say that any child who plays superhero video games will grow up to be a mob killer. But it is nevertheless important to realize the long-term consequences such activities may have in relation to agitation and aggression.

Countless modern studies have found that exposure to violent media and partaking in violent entertainment correlate with aggressive behaviour, aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, and physical arousal, as opposed to neutral video games. For example, an experiment published in JAMA Pediatrics looked at 3,034 children who had a habit of playing violent video games and found that they were associated with “long-term, self-reported aggressive behaviour regardless of parental involvement, age, sex, or initial aggressiveness.”

It was also observed that playing violent video games promoted acts of bullying, fights in the playground, and risky behaviour. This is due to a phenomenon in which the player begins to act out what they witness in these virtual games in real life. Given brain research, it is known that our brain sometimes does not distinguish between reality and fiction. Furthermore, any video gamer would know that performing more violence in a game rewards you with more points, new achievements in the game, and a higher level. This is why it comes as no surprise that witnesses of gory, bloody, and at the very least disturbing scenes would eventually communicate violence to some degree.

With regards to risky behaviour, it can be noted that video games which display smoking, drinking, drugs, use of profane language, inappropriate sexual content, and rebellion (e.g., breaking the law) promote such behaviours as cool and “on trend” to the typical teenager. Teenagers in general are at a vulnerable age, as their interests, personality, identity, morals, and individuality begin to form. Being liked and accepted by their peers becomes more important than ever before, and if the majority are under the strong influence of such games, it would be difficult not to follow the crowd. In one popular video game called Grand Theft Auto V, players in the fictional world of San Andreas commit crimes and attempt to evade authorities. And this was the third best-selling video game in late 2019!

Doesn't this say something about the moral values that are being taught to each coming generation? Is it in vain that parents teach their children obedience to the law, prudence, and citizen duties? What about compassion, love, care, and respect? Much evidence points to the fact that violent video games desensitize players, instils lack of empathy, and displaces moral values. If the whole world immerses itself in such games, who will have the heart to feed the hungry, visit the sick, organize fundraisers, take action, or spread love and kindness? As cliché as it may sound, who will “make the world a better place”?

Furthermore, it has been researched that violent video games are strongly linked to depression. Picture this: a dark and hauntingly gloomy city in ruins, disfigured bodies scattered around, people with weapons running wild, the sound of gunshots engulfing the air, blood is everywhere, the police are chasing you, and you've got nothing left to do but to die or to kill. Now, would such an experience (even if virtual) bring about dreams of roses and butterflies? Just reading about such things is already terrifying enough!

In the above study by Susan Tortolero, director of the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention research at the university of Texas, it was observed that being a victim of violence, or even simply witnessing violence, is associated with mental health problems. No kidding! In addition, she made a unique discovery in which she notes that playing for more than two hours a day of violent video games is much more interconnected with depression than playing nonviolent video games. Moreover, being at the core of such an intense and gory atmosphere may heavily impact the individual's psychology and sleeping habits.

Depression, anxiety, and stress can work as a chain reaction that might trigger insomnia, which in turn could result in poor academic performance, which results in lower grades, which risks lower self-esteem, which can result in more depression, which risks greater dependence on these games (as distraction), and the cycle restarts.

In summary, I believe that there is an urgent need to educate society on the detrimental consequences of violent video games, as they negatively impact not only individuals, but society as a whole. In addition to stimulating violence and aggression, violent video games impose a flawed view of moral values through exhibitions of risky behaviours and are correlated with several mental health problems.

By perhaps making anti-video-game ads (as with cigarettes), re-designing the packaging of these games, or labeling them with clear warnings for the parents, we can gradually begin informing buyers and the general public about the side effects of these games. If we can bring more awareness to the dangers associated with violent video games and if parents express a greater interest into what environment they are surrounding their children, all of us can ensure a brighter, safer, and better future for the generations to come.
Keith’s Conundrums: Following a Contradiction
Keith Douglas

My retelling of the classic story of Hilbert's Hotel had one more point beyond “Think about infinity!” It was about how dangerous it is to think one understands something by the vividness and life-like nature of the description, and about how dangerous it is to regard "how something appears" as the be all and end all of something important. We claim to have learned this lesson with people, but there are schools of philosophy and areas of the discipline (like the debate over qualia) where it seems that's all many people do — appeal to appearances.

Was anyone thinking they'd like to spend their vacation in such a wonderful place? I admit I am a better philosopher than a story-teller, so perhaps not!

Moving on, let's spell out why in classical logic everything follows from a contradiction. Take a contradiction, A&~A. Then use conjunction elimination and get A. Apply disjunction introduction and get AvB. Apply conjunction elimination and get ~A. Apply disjunctive syllogism and get B.

This strikes people as a bit weird sometimes. In fact, there are at least two ways to avoid this weirdness.

One: Deny that one can apply conjunction elimination to the contradiction either of the times. This view is attributed to Aristotle, though I am not sure that's correct. But note the difficulty in stating the rule in the terms that we are used to in classical logic. One needs a rule that is sensitive to several of the sub-formulas. This can lead to so-called connexive logic. (Not connective.)

Two: Deny that disjunction introduction is a valid rule. This is adopted by the so-called "relevant" or "relevance" logics of our day, often associated with the logicians Belnap and Anderson (and in a way to the very challenging G. Priest).

Do you think either of these approaches solves the problem? Is there even a problem? What would be necessary to convince you they are right? Remember that you are talking about how one argues for a logic, which, among other things, is itself used to argue. Logic changed historically — how did that happen? Can one rationally reconstruct that process? Finally, if one decides logic has to change, how does one rewrite all of current explicit reasoning to use the new logic (e.g., in mathematics)?
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