Sunday, February 28, 2010

A response to the buzz about Christian group in Haiti

There has been a bunch of buzz on the internets recently about how the pastor of a Christian group helping in Haiti said,
“We would give food to the needy in the short term but if they refused to give up Voodoo, I’m not sure we would continue to support them in the long term because we wouldn’t want to perpetuate that practice. We equate it with witchcraft, which is contrary to the Gospel.”
Hemant, via Friendly Atheist, had this to say about the situation: "Those who give aid to victims of a tragedy with no expectations in return are far more generous than Christians like Amedia who want something in exchange for it. People like him are despicable."

This is all backgrounded by the article that had that original quote, entitled, "Voodooists attacked at ceremony for Haiti victims", in which the author states that,
"Voodooists gathered in Cite Soleil where thousands of quake survivors live in tents and depend on food aid. Praying and singing, the group was trying to conjure spirits to guide lost souls when a crowd of Evangelicals started shouting. Some threw rocks while others urinated on Voodoo symbols. When police left, the crowd destroyed the altars and Voodoo offerings of food and rum."
Then, the next sentence states, "We were here preparing for prayer when these others came and took over," said Sante Joseph, an Evangelical worshipper in Cite Soleil".

It seems to me that this story has more to it than we're seeing, on both levels; the "attack" on the voodooists, and the quotes given by Frank Amedia, the pastor in question.

Let's start with the attacks: Sante Joseph claimed that the evangelicals were already there for prayer when the others came and "took over"? Do we really think that that means the voodooists just politely asked the evangelicals to stop praying? Frank also says in his response, "It is interesting to note that the incident reported in this AP article was instigated when voodooists interrupted a resident Haitian Christian prayer meeting."

We don't really have any way of knowing what exactly happened there. And regardless of who started what, becoming violent and "urinating" on voodoo symbols is abhorrent, and definitely not what most Christians would claim is "appropriate Christian behavior". But it is important to try to look at these as objectively as possible.

It is also important to look at all of the Pastor's comments, not just the one that makes it look like he'll only help those in need if they eventually convert, which was a response to an extremely hypothetical question that, for all we know, might never occur. . Let's take a look at this quote, for example (emphasis is mine):
"Let there be no doubt that the love of God is our driving force, and He loves everyone. Jesus taught that if we say that we have love, but do not love our neighbor, then we really do not have the love of God in us. That is why we have indiscriminately worked so hard, day and night, to help out urgently during this crisis mode for Haiti. Our mission is born and driven out of our love for God, which is the source of our compassion for those in need, and which is further fueled by our zeal for the Gospel. The Great Commission of Christ is to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15). We do not apologize for that nor do we minimize our determination."
Of course, they are missing the point that, in the original 10 commandments, the "Love your neighbor" was assuming that your neighbor was only if they were an Israelite. But let's not mention that :)

Anyways, there is definitely a lot of evangelical crap going on in there, but we can't really just forget all the help they ARE doing for people down there. If you read the response article in full, you'll see that the Christian group has done a lot to help the people of Haiti, regardless of the people's faiths. We atheists sometimes like to focus so much on the "conditional help" that the religious groups give that we forget that, despite all that, religious groups are probably one of the biggest groups that help during these crises.

Would it be better if there was no proselytizing? Of course. Would it be better if they were not down there at all? I doubt it. Does the proselytizing change the fact that they are helping tens of thousands of people in a time of need? Not in the slightest. And the fact of the matter is that they are doing a lot more helping out than proselytizing. I think, in a time like this, we have to appreciate all the help everyone is giving, and that helping people for the sake of helping people is something all people do.

I think it would be inhuman to think that the Christians are helping solely to convert and spread the gospel, don't you? I feel very strange saying this, but Christians are human too! Whether they realize it or not, they do help people because they feel it important to help others, regardless of what their faith has to say on the matter. It's something that makes us human.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

IQ linked to Atheism, Liberalism say Smart Alec Liberal Atheist Researchers


It's being widely reported (ex., CNN, ScientificBlogging, EscienceNews, and Reddit) and circulating through the blogs and social media that a new study correlates somewhat higher IQ with evolutionarily "novel" behaviors such as atheism, liberalism and in the case of men, sexual exclusivity. Nothing is said about women which I presume means you're still whores.

Anyway everyone needs to take it down a notch. There are a lot of problems with this story so listen up then chill the fuck out.


Theists are not cats. Refrain from petting.

1. The actual IQ difference is 6 points. This is statistically meaningful but all in all, not much.
2. In spite of outlandish comments in the media, correlation is not causation. There is zero evidence IQ causes atheism or liberalism here.
3. Claims about behaviors being "evolutionarily novel" are shaky if not wrong outright. For example sexual exclusivity is actually a perfectly adaptive reproductive strategy found in many animals and finding it in some number of humans should hardly be surprising or called novel. What we call politically liberal views are rooted in evolutionarily adaptive emotions which support reciprocal altruism and total kin selection.
4. This is obvious but has to be said.. the authors are talking about their own social group.
5. Even if all the claims are somehow correct, playing up these headlines is political suicide for us. Worse- if they turn out to be overblown (they will) we look like arrogant douchebags.

Obama bashed for meeting with "hate-group" atheists, hurting Jesus's feelings


Following up on the previous posting about the Obama administration agreeing to meet with representatives of the Secular Coalition of America, the Christians have predictably freaked out. This is in spite of the fact that the president won't actually be there and no initiatives are expected to result. The take-home lesson here is that according to the more vocal Christian community, nonreligious people have no right to voice their concerns to their own elected officials.

It is sometimes argued the new atheism is hostile and belligerent. Take heed of this, our very existence is an affront to the faithful regardless of how we express ourselves. We will never win the "respect our beliefs" argument because to them respecting their religion means sitting quietly so the theocracy can parade in undisturbed.



Read here at RawStory. View Sean Hannity@Fox News on this topic on YouTube. Also view video of Bill Maher & Adam Carolla talking about it here from Real Time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

SCA to meet with White House on National Policy

Here's some interesting news... On Friday, the Secular Coalition of America is meeting with the presidential administration for a policy briefing, representing the nontheist community. This is the first time this kind of meeting has been held for the nonreligious. The Executive Director of the SCA, Sean Faircloth, states,
"We are very pleased that the Obama administration is affording us this opportunity to present our positions on issues of high importance, issues of freedom and fairness that affect every American, regardless of belief. Our Founders knew that there was no place in American government for the privileging of religion, or of one belief over another, and that will be a central theme in our interaction with the White House."

I actually feel like we may have used this picture before.


The topics planned to be discussed include protecting children from neglect and abuse (where religion is involved, I'm assuming), military proselytizing, and faith based initiatives. It's great that the movement is finally getting more recognition, and it seems like just the right topics to talk about, the issues we should be most passionate about. I'm surprised that Christian groups haven't started criticizing Obama for having the meeting though... maybe that won't start till after.


Stolen from Friendly Atheiest
Link to press release here

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't be lAAFt out of this week's meeting! (left, not laughed; we're in a different room!)

Fellow nonbelievers! For an exciting change of events, this week's meeting will be held in 161 Noyes, where we will be watching Jesus Camp and spending a small amount of time discussing how you all thought the CRU pizza party went. Please note that since we are watching the entire film, the meeting will run over about 45 minutes (we always get to Murphy's way too early anyway). Check out what Rotten Tomatoes (the root of all movie credentials) had to say about it: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/jesus_camp/.

Woah! 86% on the Tomatometer, don't miss out on this!

Hemant Mehta will be appearing on March 12th, so please mark your calendars down to see the author of "How I Sold my Soul on Ebay." Feel free to check out his blog, friendlyatheist.com, as well. While we're plugging blogs, don't forget to visit ours: uiucatheists.blogspot.com. It's the bee's knees.

Conferences! Please note the April conference in our dear Chicago, and be sure to grab your ticket asap when they start selling. We'll give you more details as they put them up online; for now just keep it in mind.

Also, in other non-affiliated AAF news, some of us were thinking of seeing the 7:20 pm movie of Alice in Wonderland Saturday, March 6th (everyone would be responsible for their own ticket), at Beverly. Speak to Franklin or Julia if you're interested, we'll update you on the details.

The weeks creeping up to Unofficial are upon us, and we cannot stress enough to be safe, with friends, and all around have a great UNBELIEVABLE time.

Remember! 161 Noyes!

~AAF

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

IQ2 Follow-up: Smack my Brit Up

Ann Widdecombe is the catholic British MP, one half the team that Hitchens and Fry humiliated at IQ2. Astonishingly, she invited both her adversaries to speak on the 10 Commandments one on one. On video. The result is predictable and amusing. It's worth noting that it seems her people edited this video, but all the editing in the world can't help someone like this. Watch the short video here, at DailyMotion.

As an aside, it's a bit shocking to realize England has successful politicians every bit as neocon as any George Bush. Google Widdecombe, she stridently opposes abortion, fought the repeal of a federal ban on homosexual "support", and defended government policy of shackling pregnant prisoners in irons while giving birth (and this while she was minister of prisons). This leads me to two questions: 1. Seriously Europe, WTF? and 2. Europe how 'bout you get off your god damn "America is backward hicks" high horse. At least we don't have prison mommies giving birth in fucking leg irons.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Forces of evil defeated by meddling kids

Specifically, when a small contingent of Christian window-lickers of the Kansas Westboro Baptist church showed up to picket homosexuality, sin, and probably gravity they were counter-protested by an overwhelming number of students of Long Beach's Wilson High School. Pics and video after the jump. LBReport.com has the story. Read more snarky commentary from redditors here.

In case you dispute my characterization of the Westboro baptists, visit their own website and decide for yourself, it's GodHatesFags.com. seriously.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Audio of Loftus D'Souza Debate

Hello everyone! Here's the link to the audio of the debate. To be honest, I haven't gotten the chance to listen to it yet. Also, to be honest, I think there's a couple other debates I'd rather listen to first (although of course I attended the debate), mostly the one mentioned in an earlier post about the Catholic Church and one I recently found via Universal Heretic asking, "Can historians prove that Jesus rose from the dead?", with atheist Bart Ehrman, who's books I have quite enjoyed. If interested here's the direct link to that one.

Although I suppose, if you didn't attend the debate, it's worth listening to just to see what all the commotion is about. And I'm sure that Loftus wouldn't mind specific examples of why "the young skeptics" think he lost.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Do Debates over Religion Matter?

Yep. Cynics like to say you can't change anyone's mind.. that it's all wasted effort but they're wrong and I have visual proof. In this Intelligence Squared debate re: Is the Catholic Church a Force for Good? Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry square off against an Archbishop and a British catholic member of Parliament. At the start and at the end of the debate the audience indicates whether it is for the motion, against, or undecided. You'll have to watch to see how the numbers change but at least 50% of the votes change and the number "undecided" goes from 346 to 34. Debates can be definitively won, and they can sway their audience considerably.
Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When Religion Isn't a Crutch

Lots of atheists like to chastise theists for relying on religion as way to hide themselves from reality and bathe in delusions that may be pleasant but are ultimately false. However, it isn't always the case that clinging to religion generates contentment. Instead, it can sometimes bring with it a deep sense of anxiety.

Such was the case with a woman who needed a lung transplant, but had to reject it, at least for a time, when she became a Jehovah's Witness and could not go through with the operation because of the religion's ban on blood transfusions.

The woman eventually decided that God wanted her to live, but the case illustrates the fact that religion can produce trauma at times rather than just being a source of warm and fuzzy goodness, as many atheists often depict to be the case.

Read more: Faith complicates a young mother's life-or-death decision on lung transplant.

Canada Church Facing Extinction

While not a shocking headline from Canada, buddy, the numbers are still pretty startling for flapping godheads to the north. A retired marketing expert published this data:
  • from 1961-2001 Anglican numbers plunged 53% from 1.36 million to 642,000
  • The Anglican church continues to lose 13,000 members a year
  • United Church of Canada fell from 1.04 million to 638,000 in the same period
Also it is not the case Canadians are joining other churches.. all denominations are declining and the numbers of nonreligious/secular are "rapidly increasing". Read the article here at Ecumenical News International. See people? We can win the War on Dumb.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

don't be an AAFhole

¡GET PUMPED HEATHENS! Loads of cool things are happening for our RSO this month and next!

This week, we'll be meeting together to speak with CRU on various topics of your choosing at an all inclusive pizza party! The location has yet to be set, but if you don't hear from us by Thursday, assume the regular meeting place at 229 NHB, 7 pm. You must have signed up for this by last Sunday, and yes (unfortunately) there will be a check in list with room for only a few extras, so if you didn't sign up, come early!! Here you'll get to meet CRU members and speak with them about anything you'd like (growing up Christian or atheist, what led them to they're belief or your nonbelief, etc). Please be respectful.

After the meeting, Phil from C-U Freethinkers is hosting an event called, "Spirits for Spirits," right at Murphy's, where we'll be anyway! (coincidence?) Just put your hand on the Bible and deny the Holy Spirit (the one unforgivable sin) and get a free beer! What a deal.

Also, conference time! This one hits close to home, right here in the windy city. Signing up is only $35 for a limited time, but the lineup should be great. Check it out at http://www.centerforinquiry.net/chicago. More information about this later.

Up ahead next week we have a showing of Jesus Camp (this meeting will extend to a half hour past regular time), so bring snacks/drinks if you care to enjoy those during a movie (or a box of tissues if you've seen this before, as it tends to be quite emotional). This meeting will NOT be at our usual location, so make sure to read next week's email.

We'll be doing some fundraising activities, as well as advertising in a couple of weeks, so tune in to WPGU 107.1 for our own commercial, and contact us if you'd like to work on the quad when it gets nicer out. We're looking for more involved students who can fill the exec board next year. It's a great opportunity to have your own voice in each meeting, speaker preferences (no, we didn't choose Loftus), and inter-RSO events. 

Stay tuned for more news, and don't forget Unofficial is happening March 5th! Stay safe, stay faithless.

Ciao, 

AAF

Monday, February 15, 2010

Does religion make one moral? The hell it does, says science



You might think this another editorial about theists behaving badly... bombing schools, molesting kids, writing bad checks and what not... but no. Quite the contrary, most theists are pretty ethical people. That's why it's still pretty chill to get a latte in Aviano, despite Italy's 94% belief rate. (by the way last time I did that a medium size drink was actually referred to as "medium" not "grande". Hear me, Starbucks douchbags?) We atheists know better because we're just as ethical minus the pervy Big Brother in the sky. We know that education in moral philosophy is important and that reason guides our ethical considerations.. except that it isn't and it doesn't.

Everyone is wrong. Sorry you've all overbid! That's what Harvard psychology maven Marc Hauser learned when he decided to put it to the test. Turns out religion and education are both entirely irrelevant to our most basic moral reasoning. Hauser's study used 5,000 people from 120 countries and asked 19 questions which were hypothetical moral scenarios. Most of these were a variation of the "trolley dilemma" of the form "would you throw a switch diverting an oncoming trolley from killing 5 people on the track if it meant killing 1 person on the alternate track". Hauser did not merely consider the yes/no answer but asked for justification. It isn't just that the answers were the same in terms of yes/no (they were) but everyone justified their answer in the same way. Nationality, age, religion, gender, and even education in moral philosophy played little to no role. This is also part of the topic of Hauser's book Moral Minds. The study has many other interesting implications I will not here belabor but it is worth a read.


Click here for a video of Hauser explaining the study and here is a link to the actual paper published in Mind & Language (pdf).

Atheist seeks to eliminate prayer "moment of silence" charade in Illinois schools

Some Illinois public schools still have a mandatory "moment of silence" which all but the most foolhardy know is really an effort to put mandatory prayer back in school. Read here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A comment on a comment.

Regarding my last post here about the debate, user metacogniscient wrote:

This is a fair review for the most part. However, while I used to concur with the presumption of atheism, in God and Other Minds, Plantinga showed that "if there are no solid arguments to believe that that is the case, lack of belief is the only logical alternative," is simply not true. Plantinga showed that it is not irrational to hold a belief in something if the arguments for and against either side are inconclusive. There are no good arguments that other minds exist. The arguments for and against the proposition that other minds exist are at best inconclusive; there is no reason to assume that the reason other individuals interact with you is because they are self-conscious rather than that their neural machinery is turning out appropriate responses regarding their current circumstances, or to assume that you aren't being deceived by a program like the matrix. However, while there is no way to prove that other minds exist, it is nonetheless not irrational to believe that other minds do, in fact, exist. Other reason for the warrant of that belief must be given, however, but this can be given for both theism and other minds, and Plantinga unwraps the reason for warranted Christian belief in his book titled just that.

I really appreciate him posting this, because it made me realize that, if that was brought up while I was debating, I would not have an immediate response, and it would take me even longer to be able to effectively articulate why this example doesn’t work. In that sense it was quite humbling. What I said was just something I assumed people would intuitively realize to be the case.

But, luckily, I’m not in a debate, so I had a lot of time to think about it, and came up with a couple reasons why I disagree with Plantiga’s argument. Feel free to respond about why I’m wrong, why I’m right, or other arguments. I have not read Plantiga’s book, so it’s quite possible he has already responded to these.

My best response would be that I think the reader is confusing Plantiga’s argument, that we can accept things without absolutely conclusive proof for them, with my claim, that we should have good evidence for something in order to believe it. I think this because, at the end of the paragraph, he says, “Other reason(sp) for the warrant of that belief must be given, however, but this can be given for both theism and other minds”, which says that there are indeed good reasons to believe that other people have minds as well. This would agree with my claim. But I have not read Plantiga’s book, so let’s continue assuming I’m incorrect and Plantiga is saying that we can accept something without any good evidence, and that he’s using the mind as an example of this.

The mind is a very philosophical idea. Making the claim “the mind exists” is really something that we shouldn’t take for granted or assume is the case. Indeed if we want to question its existence, we first have to examine what exactly we mean by the term. A google search would yield the definition, “that which is responsible for one's thoughts and feelings; the seat of the faculty of reason”. But isn’t that just the brain? The concept of “the mind” is just that, a concept. It is a word used to describe the fact that we can internally rationalize and think in a seemingly independent fashion. That we are able to make choices about things and be an individual, not just physically, but in the mind as well. It’s not something that exists; it’s a word we use to describe the conscious processes we do in our daily lives, and that we are able to see ourselves as an individual. If we wanted to say the mind exists (for others but even for us as well) we’d have to rethink what we mean by exist.

However, even if we assume that the mind exists, I think that the argument still has some issues. Who is to say that evidence for this “mind” word we’ve been talking about is inconclusive? For example, we know that thought originates from the brain, and, if we were to examine people’s brains, we can come to the conclusion that they are all quite similar, and that certain thoughts (products of “the mind”) even trigger brain activity in the same areas of the brain from person to person. We could even compare other peoples’ minds to our own with certain types of brain scans.

Of course there is the possibility that everyone else in the world is not self conscious. But is this really the most likely situation? I think that the simple answer to that would be no, given what we know about the brain and our daily experience interacting with other people. Indeed, if we were the only self-conscious individuals, just about everything we know about everything would be incorrect, including many scientific claims that are now seen as fact. In this respect there is a lot of evidence for other minds, even if there is no way to find absolute proof that it is the case.

I did take the time to check out the user’s own blog, and to be honest it is quite interesting to read. He himself seems to be very enthusiastic about philosophy, and even when he reads something that agrees with his conclusion (I’m assuming he’s a Christian or a weak atheist who is still open to the idea of Christianity), he still looks to critique, which I find speaks very well to his character. So feel free to check it out and leave comments!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Loftus D'Souza Debate, in Review

So, I assume that most of you went to the debate on Tuesday. I thought I'd share my thoughts on it and also hear what you guys have to say.

First off: We lost the debate, fair and square. Dinesh brought up different arguments, and for every one of them Loftus failed to effectively respond. Loftus started by telling all Christians they are brainwashed, thereby reducing any sort of respect and credibility the Christians would have had for him, which would be relatively small regardless. It doesn't matter whether they actually are or not. This is especially sad because he said his debating was targeted towards them.

As I see it, a debate consists of two parts: Arguments and presentation. D'Souza obviously does a very good job with presentation. Loftus did not. Being an atheist, I think that D'Souza's arguments aren't that great. The truth is, God and Christianity has decent arguments, that, without any sort of response, seem quite valid to the average listener. There are many many intelligent Christians who have spent more time thinking about these arguments than you or I. Not many atheists realize this. That's why it's necessary for the atheist to respond to those claims and explain why they don't work.

What lies central to this is the burden of proof. The atheist must make the audience realize, at the beginning, that the burden of proof lies on the Christian. You all know the arguments for why this is the case. Make sure the audience knows that the argument is "Does the Christian God exist?", and if there are no solid arguments to believe that that is the case, lack of belief is the only logical alternative. This lack of belief is technically what defines an atheist, or what defines what most people would call an agnostic. Bring up belief in unicorns if you want to make the audience laugh a bit.

If the Christian argues about this burden of proof, it will be up to the atheist to convince the audience that their case is right. Good presentation will help (If I told you Zeus existed, would you accept my claim without evidence?).

From there, it will be up to the Christian to come up with arguments. And then it will be the atheist who has to say why their arguments wrong. And I should hope that we can.

On Loftus' blog he wants to know why skeptics think he lost the debate, with specific examples. This is good. I was worried that his original opinion, that he didn't lose the debate, would make him not look for what to do to improve so, next time, he can be more effective. I want to help him out, but unfortunately it's tough to get into specifics until the video comes out.

Every time an atheist loses a debate you get people saying, "Oh, a debate is just a game anyway. It's not based on arguments." Maybe I'm just naive, but I still think that at the heart of the debate is arguments, and how you present them is how you influence your audience to believe them or be influenced by them.

More importantly, what were your thoughts on the debate? Can you guys think of any specific examples that demonstrate how Loftus lost?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Single Awareness Day: AAFailable at your nearest Murphy's

Dear AAF Members, 

In lieu of Valentine's Day, we'd like to dedicate this email to you. You make us feel warm and fuzzy even when it's so cold we don't want to walk to Murphy's. 

Oh atheist, oh student
how proud, how prudent
to know there's no such thing
to which you need to cling
no god, no spirit, no holy ghost, 
just a simple Murphy's toast.

WE LOVE YOU!!!

On to the news: 

Hemant Mehta will be joining us at 100 Noyes, on March 12 at 7PM, mark your calendars! Check out his blog at friendlyatheist.com

This week's meeting will be at the Cohen Center (Hillel), on Fifth and John, as we are cohosting a benefit for Haiti with Hillel and Interfaith! For this Hillel Haiti Hodown, there'll be a five dollar suggested donation. Potted Meat (a comedy group) will be preforming, H20 will be there cutting some awesome haircuts, and Insomnia cookies is providing goodies. Hillel also has free coffee and hot chocolate, so please join us anytime from 7-10 (and Murphy's afterwards, of course), to help out for hurricane relief. And bring your friends too (and their $5)! This is an event not related to atheism- just a fundraiser we're doing to help out people in need.

The week after, CRU will be joining us in a simple one hour pizza party that will be like a roundtable discussion. Bring your questions and your manners! In order to sign up, please email juliamititelu@gmail.com or just reply to this email. We'd like to get a number of people so that we can tell CRU how many people they should bring as well, and for the sake of pizza orders. Right now, there's no limit, so sign up sign up sign up! This is a great chance to sit down with CRU, meet them, talk about beliefs, education, and how they came to choose their religion, and a great opportunity for you to tell your story to a different audience.

And what goes better after pizza than some alcohol! Phil, from CU Freethinkers, is hosting Spirits for Spirits at Murphy's, starting at 7 pm. As long as you put your hand on the Bible and deny the holy spirit, you get a free beer (limit one to those 21 years or older). Disclaimer: not an AAF event, just a great idea from Phil, and we'll be there anyway! Reminder this will be next week, the 18th.

We're looking at a social event sometime near March 12th or 13th, and our very own Jordan has lovingly donated his house to such an event. Bring up some great themes at the next meeting!

Again, thanks for everything you do, and we wish you a happy Singles Awareness Day on the 14th!

Love <3 <3 <3 <3
AAF Officers (but Julia did the poem)

PS. As a gift, I wanted to share with you guys dirpy.com. Any youtube video that you find, put the link into dirpy.com and it'll automatically transfer that song/audio into your iTunes playlist. Great, great website. Now you owe me a beer.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Updates and more!

Want to shout out and say that, for all those who live in C-U but don't go to our meetings (shame!) on Monday at 6PM Phil has arranged a meetup with John Loftus, the guy on the atheist side for the Great Debate, at Murphy's, where we can chill and get to know the guy who will be representing us on Tuesday. Try not to get him too drunk.

There was a lot of talk about the Super Bowl ad from Focus in the Family, as people expected it to be heavily pro-life, but it aired, and it wasn't really anything too interesting. I'm sure that they wanted to keep it neutral, if not ambiguous, so that people would be interested to go to their website for the "full story". There you see a much more God-driven, if not boring, talk. All in all I'd say it was a waste of however many millions of dollars it cost to air it.

That's it! See you all Tuesday! And if you can't make it, don't worry, it'll be on youtube, and we'll be sure to link to it when it gets up.

~Franklin

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Antievolution Bill Dies in Mississippi; wake attended by none

The bill would have required scientific opinions for and against evolutionary theory and joins in the grave a similar recently failed Alabama bill. Source: NCSE

Sometimes I feel bad for the creationists- they just try so hard. Like a dog trying to eat chunky peanut butter. Life is hard when your mascot is nailed to wood. Also why Christians never do the wave in church.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dinesh D'Souza and John LAAFtus debate!

Hello everyone! This week's meeting will be on Thursday, February 4th. Phil Ferguson, the leader of C-U Freethinkers, the local atheist group, will be coming in to talk about homeopathy, and possibly other things if there is still time. And, as per usual, after the meeting we're heading to Murphy's at 8:00PM.

We have A LOT of things coming up, so mark them down on your calendars (don't just skip this part!):

February 7th: Blood drive! We still need people to SIGN UP, not just show up (although that's excellent as well), so open up the google doc and sign up. And tell your friends!

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AqcKq0sWo-bmdDZaLS1OU2JYZXI1M2h0TDlXejNvemc&hl=en

Or just reply to this email with when you can give blood and we'll add you in.

February 9th: The Great Debate! Facebook link.

February 11th: For next week's meeting, instead of our usual location, we'll be going to Hillel, where we are sponsoring a large Haiti fundraiser event. There will be a five dollar donation at the door (again, all money going to Haiti relief), and there will be a lot of stuff going on there. It will be a lot of fun!

March 12: Hemant Mehta is coming! We'll be at Noyes 100 at 7PM.

That is all! Looking forward to seeing you all this Thursday. And sign up for the blood drive!

~Franklin

Monday, February 1, 2010

How should we respond to street preachers?

One answer to the question posed in the title can be found in some San Franciscans' response to a visit by the Westboro Baptist Church. Do you think a similar approach would work with Brother Jed?


Via Laughing Squid's post titled, "San Francisco’s Answer to Westboro Baptist Church."

Also, for those who don't know Brother Jed.