Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

Food for Freethought 2010

What is “Food for Freethought”?

Food for Freethought, inspired by the Center for Inquiry’s Campaign for Free Expression, is a food drive that also encourages freethought, freedom of expression, and free inquiry.  We plan to accomplish this by giving “Banned” and Freethought books away in exchange for non-perishable food donations that will be going to Food Bank of the Rockies, during “Banned Books Week”, September 27 – October 2 (specific dates below).  Our goal is to raise an enormous amount of food for those in need.  Most food drives are done during the holidays and tons of food is raised and distributed.  That is all well and good, but what about the majority of the time that it isn’t the holiday season?  The hungry don’t stop being hungry after the holidays, they are hungry now too!  Given the existing goals of Metro State Atheists, it is only natural that we would attempt to help the hungry by promoting freethought, freedom of expression, and free inquiry.  With the proper support,  we can  have an immeasurable positive community impact!

The event will be taking place at the Auraria Campus (1201 5th St, Denver, CO 80204).   September 28-30th, 9am-4pm (Times Subject to Change)

Metro State Atheists will have SIGNED COPIES available at Food For Freethought 2010 by the following authors:

Hemant MehtaDaniel Dennett , James RandiMichael ShermerDan Barker, and…RICHARD DAWKINS!. If you’d like to obtain any of these signed copies, donate food!

Largest donors receive signed books!

Metro State Atheists would like to formally thank the above and the following groups  for their support:

The James Randi Educational Foundation

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science

The Center for Inquiry

Secular Student Alliance

Skeptic Magazine

Freedom From Religion Foundation

How can I help?

AMAZON.COM Wishlist

Click here and check out the Food for Freethought 2009 wishlist.  From there you can buy the books directly and they will be sent to us!

A special thanks to Tanya J. Higgins of Boulder, CO for setting this up.

Donate Books:

If you have any of the books on the banned book list (http://banned-books.com/bblist.html) and would like to donate it to the cause, please email Joel Guttormson at metroatheists@hotmail.com to set up pick up/delievery of your donation.


July 28, 2009 Posted by | Art, Astrology, Astronomy, atheism, Awards, Bacteriology, Bible, biology, Blurb, Books, Calculus, Censorship, Center For Inquiry, Charity, Chemistry, Christianity, Chromatography, creationism, Differential Equations, Epistemology, Events, evolution, First Century, god, Group Theory, Guest Bloggers, Humor, Interview, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus is Lord, Language, Lecture, Mathematics, Medicine, Metro State Atheists, Microbiology, Morality, Movies, New Testament, News, Newsletter, Noah Mann-Engel, Old Testament, Organic Chemistry, Party, philosophy, Pictures, Poetry, Politics, Poll, Press Release, Pseudomedicine, Pseudoscience, Qoutes, religion, Resume, Rome, Sam Singleton, Sarah Schoonmaker, Satire, science, Scientology, Sirius, Skepticism, splendid elles, The Holy Bible, The Reed Secular Alliance, The Trickster, Troy Conrad, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Fall 2009 Newsletter

Hello Friends!

It’s that time of year again, gearing up for the semester. However, before we can talk about all our exciting plans and happenings over the summer we need to take care of some important business and inform you of some of the recent events, both past and upcoming, for Metro State Atheists.

Food for Freethought

IF ANYONE, AT ALL, HAS ANY OF THE BOOKS ON THIS THIS LIST (http://banned-books.com/bblist.html) AND WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM GO TO A WORTHY CAUSE PLEASE EMAIL ME AT METROATHEISTS@HOTMAIL.COM.  WE WILL BE GIVING AWAY BOOKS FOUND ON THE BANNED BOOKS LIST IN EXCHANGE FOR FOOD DONATIONS.  PLEASE HELP!

CFI Leadership Award

Joel Guttormson, President of Metro State Atheists, and Sara Diaz, future President of the new club UCD Atheists and Director of Media Relations for College Atheists of Colorado attended the 2009 CFI Student Leadership Conference at CFI Transnational headquarters in Amherst, NY June 26-28. Besides the conference being an inspiring and educational experience for us, Metro State Atheists won the 2009 Student Leadership Award for Community Impact!
Officers

Positions are open, Treasurer, Secretary and Representative. You can go to our blog for more info or email us at metroatheists@hotmail.com if you are interested. (You must be a Metro State student at least in your second semester and carry a 2.0 GPA)
UCD Atheists

Sara Diaz is starting UCD Atheists to represent the many UCD students we, Metro State Atheists, currently represent. They are currently in need of more officers and 20 members. For more info email Sara Diaz at sdiaz.ucd@gmail.com and/or go to the website at ucdatheists.wordpress.com for more info on the requirements for being an officer. There will be a more detailed explanation of this in a separate special announcement within the next week.
New Affiliation

Metro State Atheists is proud to announce that we are now affiliated with American Atheists.
Rational Alchemy

On July 11th, President of Metro State Atheists, Joel Guttormson, appeared on the radio show Rational Alchemy, which broadcasts from Fort Collins, CO. You can listen to the show here. Subscribed to the podcast while you’re there!
Daniel’s Fund

Metro State Atheists have been invited by The Daniels Foundation/Project to network with other groups from Colorado. We are very excited to be part of this event. It will be on Saturday July 28th at 7pm. The event will be held in the Turhalle Room inside the Tivoli Student Union on the Auraria Campus. Below the Daniels Foundation Mission Statement and the link to the website.

http://danielsfund.org/index.asp

The Daniels Fund Mission

Mission

In the benevolent and entrepreneurial spirit of our founder, Bill Daniels, our mission is to partner with individuals, organizations, and communities to recognize inherent value, develop abilities, and provide opportunities in order to fulfill our collective potential.
Vision

A world where every individual has an equal opportunity to live a healthy, productive life.
Guiding Principles

We embrace and will adhere to the fundamental principles embodied by our founder.
We are committed to a tradition of excellence and will exemplify the highest standards of integrity, honesty and ethical conduct in all we do.
As individuals and as an organization, we believe our success depends upon our ability to listen and appropriately respond to the people and communities we serve and to remain aware of ever-changing issues and ideas. We are committed to continual learning and self-assessment in order to be the best we can be.
We acknowledge and honor the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals. We pledge ourselves to creating and maintaining an environment that respects diverse traditions, heritages, and experiences.
We believe that boundless opportunity can exist for each and every individual. We will constantly strive to act courageously and think imaginatively in order to make such opportunities available throughout our community.

July 25, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Bible, Christianity, god, Metro State Atheists, News, philosophy, religion, science, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why I Support the Freethought Books Project

Chalmer Wren, Metro State Atheists former Vice President, was recently invited to write an article for The Reed Secular Alliance about their Freethought Books Project.  That article can be found at http://reedsecular.org/2009/06/13/chalmer-wren-book-projec/.

June 14, 2009 Posted by | atheism, The Reed Secular Alliance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Joel on MetRadio June 8, 2009

President of  Metro State Atheists, Joel Guttormson, will be on the MetRadio show, “Take Issue”, on June 8, 2009 from 2pm-3pm .  Joel will be on for 45 mins, the first 15 mins are for news.  You may listen to the show on the Auraria Campus on 91.7; best reception is in the Tivoli.  Metro State Atheists is a Center for Inquiry affiliate.  MetRadio is the radio station of Metropolitan State College of Denver.

If you are not on the Auraria Campus you must listen to the show online.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW: (You will need Real Player, get it here)

IN YOUR BROWSER

ON YOUR COMP W/ REAL PLAYER

-SUBSCRIBE TO THE METRADIO PODCAST HERE

June 2, 2009 Posted by | Astrology, atheism, Bible, Blurb, Books, Censorship, Center For Inquiry, Chemistry, Christianity, creationism, Epistemology, Events, evolution, First Century, god, Interview, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus is Lord, Language, Lecture, Metro State Atheists, Morality, New Testament, News, Newsletter, Old Testament, philosophy, Politics, Press Release, religion, Scientology, Skepticism, The Holy Bible, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Metro State Atheists End of the Year Newsletter

This year Metro State Atheists has accomplished a great deal. We won the Metropolitan State College of Denver(MSCD) Student Involvement and Leadership Award; the Student Organization of the Year 2009.   These events and our professionalism is what lead to this honor.  These two semester have been very busy for us and we apologize for not getting out newsletters for the latest semester.  Below is a summary of our numerous events and activities, in approximate order of there happening.


Click on the event to read a brief summary.


Also, change has come to Metro State Atheists.  Chalmer Wren,  now the former Vice President of Metro State Atheists,  graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver May17, 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with a minor in Biology.  He was accepted to the Applied Chemistry Ph.D program at the Colorado School of Mines where he will be a T.A. over the summer.  He will be missed as an officer of Metro State Atheists, but he will still be involved with the group as Co-Founder, Director of Events and Treasurer Advisor of the newly formed group College Atheists of Colorado.
This means we are looking for new officers.  Open positions are Vice President, Treasurer and Representative; for information on these positions click here.





Biologist Paul Z Myers
In November 2008 we hosted our first big event, which was a lecture by popular blogger, evolutionary biologist, and secular activist PZ Myers entitled “The War Between Science & Religion.”  A synopses of the event was published in the Center For Inquiry’s October 2008 edition of the Campus Inquirer.  The event was also mentioned by MSCD’s online news production, The Met Report.  PZ Myers is author of the popular science blog known as Pharyngula.



Vote No on 48 Campaign

The year of 2008 saw what was the most historic election in the history of the United States thusfar.  Although the presidential election of 2008 overshadowed most of the other issues in our state, one ballot initiative could not go overlooked. Amendment 48, also known as the Personhood Amendment, would have made a fertilzed egg a person under sections 3,6, and 25 of the Colorado State Constitution.  The implications of this amendment were appalling and we wanted to fight it.  So, we teamed up with Protect Families, Protect Choices to oppose Amendment 48.  We set up two info table about two week prior to the election to get the word out, while do so, 9 News spotted us and asked if one of our officers would agree to do a live interview online.  Joel Guttormson agreed to do the interview.  When asked why our group opposed the measure, Joel was concise and accurate in explaining the pitfalls of the Amendment.  Then, the pro-48 person was interviewed.  She agreed with what Joel had said regarding the pitfalls of the Amendment but said she was voting for it anyway because it outlawed abortion.  On November 4, 2008, Amendment 48 was defeated in stunned fashion with a near 3-1 margin.


Separation of Church & State Rally


In September of 2008, Vice President of Metro State Atheists, Chalmer Wren, was one of numerous guest speakers for a
Rally for the Seperation of Church & State on the steps of the Denver capital.  organized by Denver Atheists and Freethinkers.  Additional speakers included Lucia Guatney, Victor Stenger, Marvin Straus, Brian Graves, Groff Schroeder, Mike Smith, and Richard Berg.





Astrobiologist David Grinspoon


In October, we hosted a
lecture by author and curator of astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, David Grinspoon.  David is author of Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life .  Although David was scheduled to speak about the Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission, he instead spoke about astrobiology and planetary science in general.  David  was also kind enough to donate his time for this event.  More information about David can be found at is website www.funkyscience.net.



Don’t Believe in God?  You’re not Alone


In November of 2008, the
Colorado Coalition of Reason (COCORE), put up 11 billboards with the phrase, “Don’t Believe in God?  You’re not alone”.  This resulted in a what we considered a media frenzy given the lack of media attention we get as a movement.  Joel Guttormson stepped up as the unofficial spokesman for COCORE in this matter and was interviewed by Channel 7 News on November 13th prior to them actually going up and then again on November 17th once they were up.  Then, Joel was interviewed by Bill Johnson of the now disbanded Rocky Mountain News.  We received some hate mail, mostly from Christians but we all got encouraging emails from Christians, Joel was phoned by a sympathetic theistic Jew and we also received a blog comment and phone call from someone on the east coast.   Joel also wrote an article about this and other events in the CFI Campus Inquirer in January. All-in-all, the campaign was a success, and we’d like to thank COCORE for their activism and support.



Author Victor J. Stenger


In October 2008, we hosted a
lecture and book signing by the New York Times best selling author and retired physicist, Victor J. Stenger.  Victor was kind enough to donate his time for this particular event.  Victor spoke about the content of his 2007 book, God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist. Afterward, Victor stuck around to sign copies of his book that we were selling to raise funds.  An article about the event was written for the The Metropolitan by Nicole Queen but never published.  Nicole sent us a copy, though, and it can read here.


Sam Singleton Atheist Evangelist


In what I can only described as a theatrical comedy performance, we arranged to host “
Sam Singleton Atheist Evangelist: Patriarchs and Penises.”  More information about Brother Sam can be found at www.samsingleton.com.



Bob Enyart’s Radio Show

In January of 2009, Joel was interviewed by Christian radio talk show host Bob Enyart.  You can listen to the interview here.  After listening, you can read Joel’s and Chalmer’s commentary about the show.


CFI’s 12th World Congress (Bethesda, MD April 9th-12th)

In April 2009, Joel, Chalmer, and Faculty Adviser of Metro State Atheists, Norman Schultz, attended the Center For Inquiry’s 12th World Congress in Bethesda, Maryland.  Among the numerous guest speakers were ncluded magician and skeptical investigator James Randi, evolutionary biologist Michael Ruse, NASA climatologist Drew Shindell, philopher and author Barbara Forest and professor of psychology Richard Wiseman . Additional information about this event can be found at www.centerforinquiry.net/worldcongress. This endeavor was funded the MSCD’s student travel program.  We would like to thank MSCD, specifically Angela LeValley for making the trip possible.


Colorado Skepticamp 2009


In may of 2009, we hosted and provided catering for Skepticamp, a skeptics barcamp style conference.  This event included more than a dozen speakers, including presentations by Metro State Atheists’ President, Joel Guttormson, and Vice President, Chalmer Wren, on a plethora of topics including global warming, homeopathy, and Saturn.  More information about Skepticamp can be found
here.


The National

A Denver-based reporter for The National, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) English newspaper, contacted Metro State Atheists via email requesting an interview and photo of Joel and Chalmer.  They were told the article would be similar to the one done by the New York Times some time earlier. She interviewed both Joel and Chalmer and both of them were quoted in the article along with others in our movement.

Evolvefish.com

Late in the fall semester, Metro State Atheists received a grant from the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) to purchase merchandise to sell for fund raising purposes.  This merchandise was provided to us by fellow COCORE member Evolvefish.com.  We are happy to say that so far, the effort has been a success and we have sold a good portion of the merchandise and are poised to re-order some of our more popular selections.

By Joel Guttormson and Chalmer Wren

May 21, 2009 Posted by | Metro State Atheists, News, Newsletter | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Metro State Atheists in The National

First, before I explain anything, here is the link to the story about Metro State Atheists published in The National Newspaper, an English language newspaper distributed in the United Arab Emirates. See also the general story about atheists in America. Our picture is on the latter story. My name is misspelled as Charmer Wren, rather than Chalmer Wren, in both articles.

fig 1

I’m done explaining.

- Chalmer

May 14, 2009 Posted by | atheism, god, Metro State Atheists, News, Newsletter, Press Release, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Metro State Atheists Promo Documentary

April 29, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Bible, Christianity, god, Metro State Atheists, News, philosophy, Politics, religion, science, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Metro State Atheists Wins MSCD’s Student Organization Of The Year

Metro State Atheists was nominated for one of  MSCD’s Student Involvement & Leadership Awards, the Student Organization Of The Year, and we won!

dscf1378

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Schedule of Events 2009

Metro State Atheists

Schedule of Events (Spring Semester 2009)

2/12- Darwin Day party- Time and Local TBA

2/16- Why Intelligent Design is not science. Tivoli Tavern Space. 10am-4pm

3/11- Think you know the 10 commandments? Think Again. Tivoli Tavern Space. 10am-4pm

4/7- R-Harmony: We match you with the religion of your dreams! North Classroom Atrium A2. 10am -4pm

4/22-4/23- Spring Fling Our event will consist of demonstrations of the failure of some pseudo-medicine, including the famous Kinoki Footpads. . Tivoli Commons 10am-3pm

5/9- Skepticamp. This event is being brought to us by the Denver Skeptics. It is a gathering of skeptics in which they will present in a lecture type format, certain findings that they have discovered on phenomena spanning a whole host of different fields. President, Joel Guttormson, and Vice President, Chalmer Wren, will be presenting on the language of pseudoscience. Tivoli room 320 9am-8pm

This list is subject to changes and additions as it is TENTATIVE.

January 25, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Center For Inquiry, Events, Lecture, Metro State Atheists, Pseudomedicine, Pseudoscience | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vice President’s Commentary On Bob Enyart’s Interview Of Joel

By Chalmer Wren, VP of Metro State Atheists

Yesterday at 3:00pm Metro State Atheists’ President and co-founder, Joel Guttormson, was interviewed by Bob Enyart on AM 670 KLTT.  While I was not interviewed, I did have a great deal to say regarding the content of the interview, so I thought I would share my thoughts with all of you.  If you didn’t catch the show, check it out at http://kgov.com/bel/20090107.  Before getting into things, though, I would like to mention that I accompanied Joel to the studio and had the pleasure of meeting Bob myself.  Bob was polite and accommodating.  Joel and I both had a great time, and we are both very grateful to Bob for inviting us to appear on the show.  Also, Bob, if you read this please let me know if I misrepresented you or the points you made.

Near the beginning of the interview, Bob asked Joel why he is an Atheist.  Joel gave some information about his background, but never specifically answered the question. Firstly, we believe that there is insufficient evidence to reasonably conclude that God(s) exist.  We feel that the burden of proof is on the believer, and unless the believer can produce good evidence, we have no reason to agree with them.  Secondly, we think it is reasonable to conclude that God(s), or at least most of the ones that have been presented to us, probably do not exist.

We hold to the improbability of God(s) for several reasons.  Many of the God(s) presented to us have logically inconsistent definitions.  Epicurus first introduced what is generally referred to as the problem of evil in the following quotation:

Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?

This is only one example at an attempt to reconcile the conflicting attributes often assigned to God.  For more examples, you might try David Hume, one of my favorite philosophers.  These sort of objections to God'(s’) existence are not at all uncommon, and should not be hard to find.  Click here for more information on the problem of evil. I don’t want to get into the details of these arguments right now, but would be glad to expand on any of them if asked to do so.  I should clarify that we are not absolutely certain that no God(s) exist, we simply think that the most reasonable conclusion, given our present evidence and understanding,  is that God(s) probably does not exist.

Joel mentions that he is an empiricist; as am I.  Within the scope of epistemology,  three main groups exist which are empiricism, dualism, and rationalism.  None of these epistemological positions necessarily restrict one from or force one to believe in God(s).  Empiricism is the position that knowledge comes exclusively from the senses.  David Hume was an empiricist and, while some might disagree, I believe that Immanuel Kant was an empiricist as well.  Rationalism is the position that knowledge is is not acquired from experience, but that it is innate.  Dualism, as the name implies, sits right in the middle of the aforementioned views.  Dualism is the position that some knowledge comes from experience, and that some is innate.  Rene Descartes and Plato, for example, were dualists.  For more on dualism, click here.

Now, based on the discussion between Joel and Bob, I suspect that Bob is a dualist.  This is not at all surprising.  Though dualism does not necessarily lead to theism, or the converse, philosophical dualism is the prevailing outlook in western religion (not to say that it isn’t prevalent else were).  I can only speculate that this is becuase dualism, if presumed accurate, makes believing in God(s) a great deal easier becuase it allows for the existence of a non-physical aspect of our reality.

Joel mentions he is a theoretical math major early on, which later prompts Bob to challenge the basis of Joel’s empiricism by appealing to the non-physical nature of the principles expressed in mathematics.  The objection that I believe Bob is making  is essentially that concepts are of a non-physical nature.  He goes on to give a clever analogy, stating

“If you rubbed your hand on a  piece of paper over an equation could you feel that its valid”

Though this is a valid point, I does not refute the notion that mathematical concepts are non-physical.  We hold that concepts, ideas, notions, and other cognitive occurrences are a manifestation of physical interactions in the brain.  Though we can not observe a principle in the way we can smell flowers or hear music, principles and concepts must stem from observation.  Our concepts of depth, color, or even complexity are abstract derivations that we reach by thinking about our observations.  I challenge anyone reading this to find within themselves a concept that neither describes a direct observation or that can be abstracted from an observation.  I see no reason to conclude that conceptual understanding is not an emergent property of the natural human mind.  For more on this topic, please see The Mind Body Problem.  This particular topic is far to extensive for me to cover it in this post, but anyone interested in more details should ask.

Bob goes on to claim that reason, or rather our ability to apply reason to our observations, precede our observations.  The ability to reason can not be observed, and I agree with Bob on this.  However, the ability to reason could just as easily be attributed to the natural human mind as it could to a spirit or soul.  Reason, we believe, is an intrinsic function of the physical human brain, just as acceleration is a property of a functioning automobile.

Well that’s all for now.  I could talk about epistemology for days, so I will refrain from further elaboration unless someone asks for it.  Once again, thank you Bob Enyart and KGOV for having us.

- Chalmer Wren

January 8, 2009 Posted by | atheism, god, Interview, Mathematics, Metro State Atheists, News, Newsletter, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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