Friday, April 30, 2010

Chalkin' it up to Free Speech: AAF stands with Trey Parker and Matt Stone


"Life is a 4-letter word"
-Lenny Bruce

The worst possible thing that can happen on a college campus happened today: some people were offended. As students receiving our liberal education we've been inculcated with the sure knowledge that these are the heart of all the great evils in a society: racism, sexism, patriarchal oppression, xenophobia, and probably cancer somehow. We have drawn stick figures upon the land, and with those stick figures is the word "Muhammad." We can only wait in counted breaths to find out how society will respond to our crimes against humanity. If only there were such a thing as a "crime against inanity", we might not be so troubled.

The consequences are pretty harrowing. Behold:

Kidding aside, AAF has wrestled with its collective conscience. It has weighed the dangers, it has been assaulted by the wielders of white guilt, and in the end it has decided that standing up against the enemies of freedom is worth the discomfort of a few who are innocent and our friends. Silencing anyone, including Matt Stone and Trey Parker, via threats and aggression is intolerable; and it will never stop until all of us agree that no one's sacred cow unwrites basic human rights. You can cater to the whims of fundamentalists, or you can cater to fundamental rights, but you can't do both. And Muslim Student Association of U of I, you do cater to the fundamentalists in at least one respect. You talk all day long about peaceful means, condemn threats, fostering discussion, and mutual respect, but at the end of the day your position will still be "those extremists are evil and insane, now do everything they asked because they're totally right about the issue." They aren't right. No one has the special luxury in our society of not being offended. When that principle is threatened, all people of conscience, no matter their religion or politics, must oppose it in whatever ways are available. That's why we risk so much that is precious to us to do what we did. The prospect of your friendship is precious to us. I hope some day you can join us, AAF, and the entire community of religious groups who know that we can coexist only as peers for whom the same rules, not special rules, apply.

I want to thank everyone who helped out. The response was really inspiring- we almost had too many people. I'm very proud of you, to be among you, and to be your president.

-Ed

PS - Check out our Flickr photostream here for some more images of our handiwork. Here are a couple from that set.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

TALKMAGEDDON - Recap

You missed an excellent time if you were not at last night's debate with our new Navigator (the fightin' 'gators!) friends. Panel debates such as these allow AAF to combine its two great loves: good faith outreach to sister RSOs and good faith brutal criticism of our sister RSOs.




Anyway the venue worked very well for us, a good crowd showed up and the moderators did a fine job keeping things on track and interesting. They were truly moderate, perhaps immoderately so but I wouldn't modulate their modesty. As I was a panelist I will abstain from direct comments on the debate proper but it is fair to say there was some good back and forth and I heard many positive comments from attendees. Audience members submitted quite a few questions for the Q&A portion. I invite attendees to append comments to this post and share your thoughts. After the debate just about everyone adjourned to Murphy's where we continued discussions and got to know each other better.

Debate content aside the Navigators seem very pleased with the event and are enthusiastic about doing more social and other sorts of events with AAF. In spite of my theatrics we've made a good impression and that is tremendously gratifying to myself, my fellow panelists, and fellow officers. AAF is and always will be committed to maintaining civil ties if not outright friendship with the excellent people of different world views. Speaking for myself, I really liked meeting the Nav panelists. They are smart, sincere people with a great sense of humor. I even got some navigators to agree to next year's matchup having the title "Talkmageddon".

Thank you everyone who helped put this event together, it has been a great success.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Instead of elections, we are having a rAAFfle to determine the new president.

(Not really. I just needed a clever subject line.)

Hello, my favorite godless heathens! Mark Twain once said, "Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company", and, seeing as you're all definitely going to Hell with me, he would be very much correct. This week's meeting will be in our usual location and time, Thursday, April 29, 7PM, 229 Natural History Building.

This week's meeting will be a combination Pizza Party/Elections (we gotta get you guys to come to our very last meeting and vote somehow...). I have explained the election process in previous emails, so for reference look there. If you are interested, I again implore you to consider running! Competition is always a good thing, and being an officer is quite the rewarding experience. If you are interested in running but don't, you will regret it the rest of your life, and, on top of that, when you are in Hell with me I will constantly make fun of you.

After the meeting, we will be heading over to Murphy's, but then, at 10:00, in response to the recent death threats to the creators of South Park and to promote free speech, will be chalking the quad with stick figures of a certain religious figure, before going back to Murphy's (of course). Feel free to see details and join the facebook event here. If you happen to have chalk feel free to bring some too, since at this point it's coming out of the officers' pockets. Thanks to John for the idea!

We've got a lot of things going on before the end of the year is up! Stuff yourself with as much AAF as you can so you can properly hibernate from us over the summer.

Wednesday, April 28th: Panel Discussion! It will be held in Altgeld room 314, from 7-9PM. The AAF members representing us will be Bob!, Payel, Ed, Mike, and Karthik. They have done quite a bit of preparation, and it is bound to be quite entertaining! Please come and help represent us! Here's the link to the facebook event. And here's a link to our blog where we talk more about it.
Thursday, April 29th: Meeting at 7PM, where we will do elections and pizza party! Then at 10PM we will be chalking the quad. See link in description above for details.
Wednesday, May 5th: Second Semesterly AAF Barcrawl! Wear your AAF t-shirts and come celebrate with us what a great year we've had. Facebook event will be appearing soon.

That's all! Hope to see you at our LAST AAF MEETING EVER for Franklin :(

~AAF

TALKMAGEDDON 2010: AAF vs. The Navigators

WEDNESDAY 4/28 7pm 314 ALTGELD HALL
The final battle (of the semester) between good and evil to settle the atheism vs Christianity debate once and for all: TALKMAGEDDON 2010! Ok no one calls it that but me but you have to admit, pretty catchy. Talkmageddon is legally binding, the loser has to agree to either sleep in on Sundays and stab the occasional pregnant woman with an ice pick for the sheer sick thrill of it, or vote republican, depending on the who loses. Here are the contenders!

AAF aka Team Nuclear Samurai
Bob "evil carrot top" Sandheinrich
Edward "happy pants" Clint
Karthik "Southern Dandy" Manamcheri
Payel "sassy smurf" Kundu
Mike "Cindy" Crawford

Navigators aka Team Fluffy Bunny
Drew "Carey" Bazil
Ariana "psalmalicious" Brodsky
Austin "Tex" Woodruff
Kyle "Do-teronomy" Marquardt
Jackie "clesiastes"Boyd

Old school debate rules apply: Two Teams enter, one team leaves. Then later the other team leaves. also the following format applies:
4 min: Main response
2 min: Chance for opposing side to rebut
2 min: Free-flow back and forth until eight minutes has been reached or discussion ends (whichever comes first)
After one hour there will be a 15 minute break then 45 minutes for Q&A from the audience. Questions can be submitted during the main part of the debate.

Remember you'll get a whole seat, but you'll only need the edge!

Speaking of freedom of speech...

I just recently got an invite to join the cause, "Petition to remove facebook group praying for President Obama's death". I was quite interested in what it was referring to, so I went ahead and found the link to the actual group.

The actual name of the group is (caps are maintained for accuracy), "DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN."

On top of being a socialist, he is also
an atheist, a Muslim, and the son of Satan.


First of all, why would you ever make your group's name in all capital letters? That's just annoying. Next, why would you create another group to petition it? Should we really care? I guess it might tie back into whether or not this is an actual threat to the President- Is it a threat because the original people in the group do, indeed, have harmful intentions, even though it's obvious that it will have no effect? Does the fact that this is not seen as a threat (seeing as it is still up) say something deeper about how the general public views the effectiveness of prayer? I could see why people would want it taken down if it is seen as a direct threat to the president, but since it's not going anywhere I can only assume that most people think it's pretty harmless.

This obviously isn't a big deal, but it's quite interesting that one million people are in the anti-Obama group. And that 500,000 people are affected enough by the group to join the counter-group petitioning it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dick-joke Cartoonists Now Last Bastion of Free Speech

Following the failure of all other media, government, commercial and civilian efforts, piss and shit-based cartoon makers Trey Parker and Matt Stone became the world's only hope to preserve free speech Wednesday. Virtually all the world's newspapers, magazines and other news outlets voluntarily forfeited their freedom in 2005 when Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten recklessly expressed an opinion with a political cartoon. Then on Wednesday Viacom-owned Comedy Central aired a "burka'd" version of South Park episode 201 covering up all the good parts.

"It's times like this we ask ourselves, what would scared little bitches do? Let's do that" said Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman adding, "do they want us to cancel Jon Stewart too? I've always kind-of hated that smug Jew prick." Parker and Stone have promised to defend the US Constitution and the basic human right of free speech by upping the ante on every cunt and fuck-filled episode they produce. Here is a video response from the heroic scatological duo




Super Best Friends with Muhammad, far right.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rush Limbaugh: Volcano is God's Punishment for Healthcare Reform

Perhaps envious of the respect and adoration given to the likes of Pat Robertson, opioid enthusiast and sphere-like radio operator Rush Limbaugh said the sky may in fact be falling because of President Obama's healthcare reform.

According to RawStory said Limbaugh,

You know, a couple of days after the health care bill had been signed into law Obama ran around all over the country saying, 'Hey, you know, I’m looking around. The earth hadn’t opened up. There’s no Armageddon out there. The birds are still chirping.' I think the earth has opened up. God may have replied.

Adding "...Also Nancy Pelosi is causing that cold snap in Idaho." According to wikipedia, "radio" is a music promulgating device used by primitive cultures but its use is now limited chiefly to terrifying the elderly.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Say nothing of my religion. It is known to my god and myself alone" -Thomas JAAFferson

Hello my little AAFers! This week we'll have a meeting in our usual location/time April 22 7:00PM @ 229 Natural History Building. We'll be talking about some recent events going on in the atheist world, such as the recent reversal of the National Day of Prayer and the recent scandals surrounding the Catholic Church.

Although our last meeting will technically be next week (elections), we are still going to have a barcrawl after that because we will miss each other so much. We want to do it sometime early during the week of May 3rd- visit the google doc and choose all the dates that work for you (you can chose more than one!).

We have moved the date of the Panel Discussion so we can get a better room- the new date is Wednesday, April 28th at 314 Altgeld Hall (on the quad).

Also, a reminder that the conference is this Saturday, April 24th. At this point we really need people to drive, so if there is any way you can help out be sure to email us back.

Sunday, the day after the conference, Phil Ferguson, head of C-U Freethinkers, is hosting a barbecue at his place, and all of AAF is invited! It's from 1-5, and he's pretty far off campus, so driving will be necessary, but we can always work out rides (email back if you're interested). Here are the directions via Phil.

So, here's a summary of what we've got goin' on:

4/22: Meeting
4/24: Conference
4/25: Phil's Barbecue
4/28: Panel Discussion
4/29: Elections!
Early May: Barcrawl

See you Thursday! Or else.

~AAF

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Is PZ Myers a Crank?

If you look to the right of this space you probably see Pharyngula in our blogroll. Pharyngula is the highly amusing blog of biology professor and atheist commentator Paul Zachary (PZ) Myers. PZ was good enough to come speak at our campus before my time here, and I understand he was well received. I usually enjoy PZ's flamboyant hyperbole because it is most often directed at the most absurd people and events. It's like when they make fun of the Pope on The Simpsons. Absurd satirical criticism goes with absurd reality like peanut butter and chocolate. A few days ago however, PZ turned his petulant wrath toward an undeserving Center for Inquiry (CFI) staffer.


PZ was way off base. Irrationally so. Here is the piece by CFI New York's Michael De Dora. De Dora discusses a case in which a parent is fighting to get a science textbook changed because it features the statement "the biblical myth that the universe was created by the Judeo-Christian God in 7 days." De Dora argues that schools should remain impartial and not 'spin' religion one way or the other. I happen to agree, but even if I didn't, I wouldn't write about De Dora under the heading "Witless Wanker Peddles Pablum for CFI". PZ Myers did.

It's not that no one should criticize others on the "same team". I've often railed against atheists or even large organizations like American Atheists. I felt no hesitation to criticize PZ here and now. It's not just about tone either, even though PZ's tone is inappropriately abrasive and reckless. He calls De Dora "wishy-washy and fuzzy thinking", and the author of articles "notable only for their fuzziness and willingness to accommodate any nonsense from religious BS artists". Whether you agree or not with De Dora, his articles are in fact reasoned and thoughtful. They appeal to values we all accept, such as objectivity and fairness. PZ's post is, weirdly, just wrong across the board. It strikes a pointlessly puerile tone, takes the wrong (biased, untenable) stance on an issue, and levies unjustifiable charges against an undeserving target. In fairness, I should point out that the CFI director did quote PZ Myers in his article as an example of a 'common secularist answer' to the issue. This might be considered provoking PZ, but De Dora's remark is hardly critical.

In response, Massimo Pigliucci defended De Dora and reprimanded Myers for his childish ranting, saying "PZ’s post reads like it was written by an intemperate teenager in the midst of a hormonal rage. " PZ replied in turn yesterday with a blog post titled "I shall be no friend to the appeasers". In it, he insinuates that he is being attacked for daring to criticize the CFI sacred cow and that Pigliucci is just defending his friend De Dora. PZ goes on to reinforce his trope about the state of science being warfare against insane zealots, which means anything goes as long as science wins. I'm sad to say this whole little spat reminds me of another paranoid and conveniently delusional atheist who may have debated at U of I last February, and also appears pathologically unable to handle honest dissent.

As skeptics or atheists active in such circles we will at times be made to choose between our pragmatic political goals and our honesty.. between the allegiance we feel to allies and allegiance to the truth. The former is a temping road. It may seem the expedient or necessary path, but it does not lead anywhere you really want to end up. PZ and others have lost their bearing, and steadily isolate themselves from the thoughtful, those for whom reason is a lighthouse and not just a sword to be flailed spastically for the ego's defense.

Hitchens vs Perkins: Nat'l Day of Prayer on Anderson Cooper




Reprising his token atheist role on the popular daytime soap "Anderson Cooper 360" Hitchens tries to remind us the Constitution exists. Meanwhile Tony Perkins explains why a President telling everyone they need to worship God is in fact not an example of government "respecting an establishment of religion". (Spoiler: mention is made of activist judges, founding Christian fathers, and the Tradition trump card) Fans of stupefying cognitive putrefaction won't want to miss Perkins explaining the NDOP's "secular purpose" of "uniting" the people.

Brit-born Hitchens is the political version of the foreign tourist who's seen everything in America you haven't: he's read the Bill of Rights and you haven't because a bill of rights is exotic to his original homeland.

The Justice Department is looking for means of appeal or escape of this ruling as Obama has said he plans to hold the NDOP as per usual. Whatever they do my prediction is the National Day of Prayer hasn't got one.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Federal Judge Rules 'Nat'l Day of Prayer' Unconstitutional

The Freedom from Religion Foundation has won the lawsuit filed under George W. Bush's administration. I'm not sure what happens next but this is great news for constitution fans out there. The judge has prohibited President Obama from enforcing the law. The National Day of Prayer was enacted in 1952 amid and citing communist hysteria.

In her ruling, Judge Crabb said that the NDP "serves no purpose but to encourage a religious exercise, making it difficult for a reasonable observer to see the statute as anything other than a religious endorsement."
Read all about here at FFRF.ORG

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chiropractors Unable to Remove Pain in the Ass

Simon Singh won his libel suit against the British Chiropractic Association, reported The Guardian.


The British Chiropractic Association dropped its libel action against the science writer Simon Singh today, filing a notice of discontinuation in the high court.

This comes after two years of litigation and at a great financial cost to Mr. Singh. Britain's libel and now blasphemy laws have been under fire in recent years and Singh's case has become symbolic of the struggle for free speech in the UK. This is a big win not just for Simon Singh but for all of Britain.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NAAFigators & AAF Panel Discussion.... discussion.

Hello my good friends! This week's meeting will be at 7:00 on April 15, in our usual location 229 NHB. In the meeting we will be discussing the final final questions that the Navigators have posed for us and we have posed for the Navigators for the Panel Discussion, which is coming up next Wednesday April 21st. We will have some people playing Devil's Advocate as Christians (if anyone is interested please respond) and go through some questions with the group, so everyone who didn't get the chance to be on the panel can have a little idea what it feels like :). Plus if we get some really good answers we can use them!

The year is coming to a close, and a certain AAF President is seeing his four years slowly slip away from him as the final weeks approach towards his graduation. That's why it's super important you all participate in the Elections, which are happening on April 29th (a week later than originally planned). If you are still interested in running, but, for example, don't know what position to run for, respond to the email! I will personally help you out.

While elections are by far the most important event, there are a lot of other things going on too! Here's a quick list of everything going on:

4/16: AAF Party! Join the facebook group now.
4/21, 7-9PM: AAF And Navigators Panel Discussion (location TBA)
4/24: Conference in Chicago! You can still sign up! If interested email the group back.
4/25, 1-5PM: Barbecue at Phil's house. More details coming up soon.
4/29: Elections!
5/5: Cinco De Mayo Barcrawl? (if enough interest)

Wow, look at how much effort AAF is putting in to see as much of you guys as possible before the year ends when certain people are graduating! You better show up to everything or you will make me very sad :(

~AAF

Monday, April 12, 2010

AAF AAFicer Elections coming up! (IMPORTANT READ!)


Note: This isn't the weekly email. Expect that soon.

Hello AAF members! Next Thursday (4/22) we are holding our Officer Elections, where you, the people, get to vote on our new officers! The purpose of this email is so everyone knows what exactly the positions are and to make sure that everyone who wants to be on the board next year will know what's up and run. The positions are:

President: VIP (Very important position). Along with the board they plan all the big events: speakers, debates, panels, trips, etc. The President is a go to person for interviews, emails, relations with other groups, running meetings, and organizing everyone.  They need to be able to effectively guide the group and the board; communication is key.  This requires quite a commitment of your time and yourself in general, as you become the 'face' of AAF.  

Vice President: The role of the VP varies from year to year. This past year the Vice President and the President basically worked as co-leaders for the group, although in previous years the VP has done a lot of administrative tasks, such as managing the email account and writing the weekly emails. Basically the President and the Vice President work together to make sure that everything goes well that isn’t directly related to tasks the other officers do.

Treasurer: The treasurer handles the group’s finances. The treasurer manages the RSO account and SORF Requests. This involves a significant amount of paperwork, but it is manageable. The treasurer is usually considered to be the coolest person in the group.

Outreach: The outreach person makes flyers to promote big events and sets up group promotion activities, such as quad day, tabling, and activity day. They are the ones that work out the logistics for conference trips and set up volunteering events. They assist the Pres. or VP with bringing in speakers, and also work with the other groups on campus, such as CRU, Hillel, etc.

Social: The social chair is, as the name would imply, the social/awesome one in the group. They need to meet and greet, and, most importantly, plan social events, both alcohol and non-alcohol related, including scheduling them and putting them on Facebook. They also play a significant role in helping officers with other duties.

Now, on top of all said responsibilities, there are weekly meetings to discuss the goings-on, and everyone helps decide what we do each week. There's also a top-secret google-group where we discuss important matters as well. So, no matter what position you take, be advised that there will be some sort of additional time commitment.

On Thursday, we will start with the President position, and each person interested in running will go up and give a very short speech (try to keep it around two minutes max) telling the group why they are running, why they deserve to win, etc. Everyone running for the position will leave the room and only enter to give their speech, so that they won't be able to respond to what each person said. I know that this whole speech thing might sound a little scary, but rest assured that it is really not a big deal at all.

When I ran for treasurer I didn't really have any qualifications, and I had not done anything for the group previously; I just wanted to be on the board so I could help make a difference and make the club better, so I basically said that and it all worked out. Then we vote, and once the president is decided upon, we move further down the list, and each role is decided upon consecutively. You are welcome to run for more than one position as well! If you want to help make a difference and make the club better/more awesome, please run! The very worst thing that could happen is that you don't get elected, and at least you could say you tried, which is better than all those losers who were kind of interested but didn't even bother to go up.


Any questions feel free to email us at UIUCAtheists@gmail.com. We're all looking forward to seeing you on Thursday and seeing who will be leading us next year!

~AAF

Safe Sex: Australians Safer in Strip Clubs than Churches

You're more likely to be assaulted in a church- and not just with terrible music and preachy bromides. Freethinker.co.uk reported based on newly released crime data pertaining to 27 classes of criminal offence comparing all houses of worship with strip clubs, gay clubs, brothels, massage parlours and other "adult entertainment" venues. The churches racked up 1600 offences whereas the adult venues only 282. While I personally doubt the difference is statistically significant, it still undercuts the notion that houses of worship are sanctuaries or that moral sanctimony leads to moral (noncriminal )behavior.



Australian for "Neighborhood Watch"

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Scientific Contributions of the Muslim World



All too often in atheist circles religion and science are presented as mutually exclusive positions. However, this is a perspective that dutifully deserves to be complicated and problematized.

One way to do this is to look at the history of particular religions and the relationship they have had with and towards science. In the end, this knowledge will put atheists in a stronger position, since they will have a better and broader understanding of the complex nature of religion.

That said, I came across some information about an exhibition devoted to scientific contributions from the Muslim world. Hopefully this will help atheists have a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between science and religion and avoid making simplistic arguments or statements about science and religion.
1001 Inventions Exhibition, Science Museum, London

DATES: 21 January till 30th June 2010 (temporary closure 25 Feb to 12 March 2010)
TIMES: 10am till 6pm every day. Entrance is FREE of charge.
LOCATION: Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London. (click for directions)
What is the secret behind the way we write numbers?
When did scientists first discover how we see?
Who drew the oldest surviving map showing America?
What is the hidden meaning of the Elephant Clock?

The Science Museum hosts its latest exhibition, 1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World, which traces the forgotten story of a thousand years of science from the Muslim world, from the 7th century onwards. The free exhibition, which runs from the 21 January to 30th June 2010, looks at the social, scientific and technological achievements that are credited to the Muslim world, whilst celebrating the shared scientific heritage of other cultures. The exhibition is a British based project, produced in association with the Jameel Foundation.
Featuring a diverse range of exhibits, interactive displays and dramatisation, the exhibition shows how many modern inventions, spanning fields such as engineering, medicine and design, can trace their roots back to Muslim civilisation.
P.S. Ben Kingsley is playing an arab yet again!? lolz

Atheist Barbie



Via Boing Boing.

How You Know the World is Changing


Pope Should be Tried for Crimes Against Humanity, says United Nations Judge

According to C-FAM, UN jurist Geoffrey Robertson asked the British government to arrest the pope during his scheduled visit so that he could be tried by the International Criminal Court Darfur warlord-style. He also laid out the legal premise in which immunity would be waived.

There's been no shortage of outrage against the Vatican in recent.. centuries. Outcry from international authorities is a striking development. This may be a hastening of the inevitable decay of the church. Read more here.
These crimes ^. When a hotline for Catholic abuse opened in Germany last week it was shut down due to overload of complaints. Read more on that here.

President Obama Calls for Unity over Differences
The President's Easter address has some of the religious language that still seems required but Obama seemed eager to skip ahead to the call to unity in spite of, not because of, religion. He again referred to nonbelievers, including them in the domain of legitimate citizens unlike other Presidents we've known. Never has a US President as often referred to atheists in a respectful tone.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"HAAF a truth is often a great lie" -Ben Franklin

Hello everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the barcrawl last night! I woke up surprisingly not hungover, considering how thoroughly intoxicated I was by the end of the night.

This week's meeting will be Thursday, April 8th at our usual place/time NHB 229 @ 7:00PM. For the meeting, we will be watching the movie "Water," which Karthik mentioned in his discussion on Hinduism. It's sure to be fascinating, so come on over! And bring your friends. And popcorn. The meeting will obviously go past 8:00, so we'll have to start drinking a bit late.

PARTY! We're having a party at our mate Jordan's place April 16th. Theme is yet to be decided, but look out for a Facebook event. It's also mom's weekend, so feel free to bring her along as well.

AAF Elections are coming up at the end of the month (already!?!?). If you're interested in running and have any questions feel free to shoot us back an email. There will be a designated email about it coming out soon.

Also don't forget that our Panel Debate with Navigators is coming up. Our current set date for that is April 28th, so keep it in mind!

Cheers! See you all this Thursday!

~AAF

James Randi's 2009 Pigasus Awards



The Oscars of Dumb, the Pigasus Awards are bestowed on people or agencies who best supported or advanced pseudoscience, quackery, religion and other silliness. This year's crop not surprisingly include Scientology and Chip Coffey but Oprah Winfrey and the Iraq Interior ministry also earned a chromed pig. Watch the video to learn why.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"We don't want your kind here"

The Pope currently has plans for an official "State Visit" to Britain this September, and many people want none of it. The trip, which would cost about £20 million, would be paid for by the citizens' taxes.

The movement against the visit began by Peter Tatchell, a human rights activist. He started a petition on the Downing Street website, available to all citizens of Britain (sorry everyone, you can't sign up) who are against the notion. On February 22nd they had around 3,000 votes, and since then it has risen up to 11,000. The petition closes in October, which is slightly strange as the visit is scheduled for September.

As for the reasoning of the petition, I'm sure many of you can guess, but in case you were wondering, Tatchell writes,

“The Pope opposes universal human rights. He rejects equality for women and gay people, condemns the use of life-saving condoms, colludes with Holocaust appeasers and he is implicated in the cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic priests.

A man with such objectionable views should not be honoured with an official State Visit. If he wants to come to Britain, he should pay his own way. The public should not be expected to cover the estimated £20 million cost. This money would be far better spent on schools and hospitals.

Amen to that.

Unfortunately, the situation gets more complicated. Lawyers have been debating whether or not the Pope should be shielded from prosecution because of his "implicit statehood status," or whether it might be necessary to file a complaint for crimes against humanity under Universal Jurisdiction.

Because we don't already have
30 pictures of the Pope on our blog.

If you're interested about the politics of that feel free to take a look at more details here. Mentioned in that article is that the Vatican became a state simply because Mussolini in 1929 decided it would be a good idea-- and having one state just randomly declare the sovereignty of another is ridiculous. So really, the Vatican has no reason to be a state in the first place.

I'm not sure the protesters will be successful, but the fact that this kind of protesting is occurring in the first place is saying something quite positive in and of itself-- I would have found it hard to imagine any sort of large movement publicly criticizing the Pope, particularly in the legal sense, just a relatively short time ago. Maybe this will help improve the stigma of criticizing other things related to religion.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Zombie Weekend!

He is risen. And he wants your delicious brains, which you probably aren't getting too much mileage out of anyway if you're in the flock.

Check out Christwire.org's great set of blasphemous zombie jesus images and videos, complete with damnation commentary. Why can't people just be more like Jesus and never defy authorities or upset social norms?

For your Easter enjoyment, my personal zombie flic picks.

Top Five Zombie Movies of All Time
5. Shaun of the Dead Simon Pegg is great at melding the mundane and insane.
4. Night of the Living Dead In many ways, the original classic has never been bested.
3. DeadAlive It's like Evil Dead but a whole lot more clever, fun, and yes violent.
2. Fido the best damn zom-com you never heard of. Expertly rendered satire and drama.
1. Planet Terror Tarantino's fun, cheeky pulp horror spoof is overall the best but each of these movies is unique and wonderful and essentially in a class by itself.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Have a Good Friday Night Protest/awareness event Great Success!

Is that a condom in your pocket, or are you just somberly ruminating over the death of Christ?

Who's the asskickin'est RSO at UofI? You are. I don't think today could have gone any better. Everyone pitched in to help or support our effort throughout the day. Thank you everyone so much! We raised some consciousness, handed out more than a few condoms, made some new friends and allies, engaged Catholic demonstrators at point-blank range, had lots of fun and maybe most significantly were accused of hate speech. Seriously.
        We had a small crowd of loyal AAFers all day to shout fun slogans like "hey even Jesus had two dads, relax a little folks" and "Have a great Friday!" Other folks like the ACLU reps and Will from PRIDE as well as many random passersby came and expressed their support and appreciation for what we were doing.
In all we probably produced at least a thousand different forms of condom-related innuendo, sometimes teasing the other tables in the quad. I coaxed The 'Make a Wish Foundation' people over by answering their shouted slogan with "and after you make the wish you'll need a condom!". We had fun and got on well with all the other groups- well almost all.
     Not everyone was supportive. Within 15 minutes of set-up we were accused of "hate speech" and assured "calls will be made". Later Jebus strolled by to remind us salvation requires a trip to the hardware store. The local catholics put on their Stations of the Cross passion play. We didn't interfere, merely offering them condoms and humbly suggesting the deadlier lies of the Pope are unkind and so on. One cranky Catholic, perhaps having given up jello pudding for lent, angrily spat out "have some respect" as if the quad was their personal altar. That said, most of the Catholics and Christians that approached our table were polite, thoughtful people. We had at least a dozen different discussions over HIV/AIDS and sexuality. The ones to which I was privy reinforced the necessity of these events in my mind. Plenty of people are very poorly informed on some of the biggest tragedies going on in our world. 
I've added some photos from the event to our flickr photostream here.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make this a huge success!


-Ed

Bar Crawl Monday at 9pm! Meet at Murphy's


dead sexy
It's that time again! Our route will be as follows-
9 Murphys
10 Legends
11 Brothers
12 Firehaus
1 Cly's
?? ????
Atheism means never having to apologize for drinking way too much.