Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

Pictures From Seperation Of Church And State Rally

Im holding the mic, and that Jeanette on my right.

Chalmer Wren

Lucia, the Author of Splendid Elles

Lucia, the Author of Splendid Elles

Victor J. Stenger

Victor J. Stenger

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October 9, 2008 Posted by | Events, News, Politics, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2008 Election

From Jeanette, an organizer for Denver Atheists & Freethinkers

As an individual, my own political inclinations are well-known to anyone who reads the message board, but the group as a whole is open to a diversity of people and doesn’t represent any particular political party, and as a leader of this group (as opposed to as an individual and member of the group) I’m not going to tell you all what political party or candidates you should vote for. I will urge you to consider whether your choices represent the best hope for equality, personal freedoms, and separation of church and state.

Also, I know that some of you might feel that voting is a futile act, and that no one person makes much of a difference anyway, especially when that one person isn’t part of a large voter block. In a sense this is true, but voting isn’t an individual act. It’s something that do collectively, acting in unison to shape our country.

This is something that evangelical Christians understand very well. They aren’t some enormous majority of society, they’re about 25% of the population. And that’s after a couple of decades of enormous growth that stems largely from their willingness to put effort into what they believe. They work together to such an extent that it creeps out the rest of us who are more inclined toward individuality. We wouldn’t even want to emulate their “hive mind” mentality, but if we aren’t ready to hand the country over to them, we’ll have to learn to follow their example just a little bit. At least get off the couch long enough to vote.

~Jeanette

October 9, 2008 Posted by | News, Politics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alien Life, The Science And The Hype

The folks at the Center of Inquiry made this new poster for us.

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Lecture, Politics, Pseudoscience, science | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Campus Inquirer: News, Announcements, & Events

I got to write an article in the campus inquirer about our hosting PZ Myers last moth, so I’m posting it here. If I for got to thank anyone, please let me know. A lot of people helped us out with this event, and I don’t want to forget anyone.

Campus Inquirer October 2008

Metro State Atheists Hosts PZ Myers
by Chalmer Wren
Vice President, Metro State Atheists

Professor PZ Myers was the first guest speaker Metro State Atheists arranged to bring to our campus and our first Center For Inquiry co-sponsored event. Although we started this group some 3 years ago, we had never before taken the steps to bring an event like this from speculation to reality. Despite short notice, technical difficulties, and our lack of experience, everything came together and Professor Myers’s presentation turned out to be entertaining, informative, and enlightening. Although the weeks leading up to the event were stressful, new friendships were developed and the things we learned were well worth the hardship.

Preparations for the presentation began about three weeks prior. We spent the first week creating a proposal for funding from Metropolitan State College of Denver, which was subsequently approved, and advertising the event. During the second week of preparations, though, our campus was closed completely for a week due to the Democratic National Convention being held in the Pepsi Center across the street from our campus. This completely hindered our ability to take care of any preparations that required the school’s involvement; however, because of help from CFI with organizing and funding the event, and from various local groups in promoting the event, the week was not a complete loss.

Once campus reopened we resumed work and managed to get just about every loose end tied up. All we had to do now was wait for Myers to arrive and hope that nothing unraveled. We greeted Professor Myers several hours before the presentation and finished off some last-minute paperwork, then socialized at a nearby café until it was time to head over the lecture hall for the event. Once at the venue we worked with Marvin Voelker of Freespeech TV, who filmed the event, to work the kinks out of the video and audio equipment. Finally, our guests arrived and we were ready to begin.

Joel Guttormson, President of Metro State Atheists, gave a brief introduction and then invited Professor Myers to the podium. Myers discussed the state of science education today and introduced us to a multitude of characters whose religious agenda has influenced the current state of science education. After the lecture concluded, we received a great deal of positive feedback and gratitude for hosting the event. It was uplifting to hear that the weeks of turmoil we incurred led to the production of something our audience could enjoy and appreciate.

We owe a great deal of thanks to the numerous secular groups and activists who helped us organize and plan this event including CFI field organizer Debbie Goddard, The Colorado Coalition for Reason, Denver Atheists, Denver Atheists and Free Thinkers, and especially PZ Myers himself. It was an honor to work with and host as our first guest speaker someone with such a prominent and respected voice in the field of science and the practice of reason.

Chalmer Wren is Vice President and co-founder of Metro State Atheists and an undergraduate in chemistry at the Metropolitan State College of Denver.


Reminder to Update Group Contact Information!

It’s time to update the CFI campus affiliate database for 2008-2009! If you are a campus group leader, go to the new CFI Campus Group Affiliation Form and fill it out as completely as you can. This information will be used to update the CFI Campus Groups Listing in the coming weeks. New groups also receive a New Affiliate Group box with complimentary issues of Free Inquiry and Skeptical Inquirer magazines, stickers, brochures and pamphlets, videos, and other educational and promotional materials.

Even if you have registered a campus group before August 2008, please fill out the new form if your group will be active in 2008-2009.

With about 200 active CFI-affiliated campus groups around the world, it’s difficult to keep track of current group contact info. Filling out the form is quick, it’s easy, and you’ll help CFI to best provide resources and speakers where needed. Thank you for helping us to keep our records up to date!


SAVE THE DATE! Join us for “Sources of the Jesus Tradition: An Inquiry”
Friday, December 5 – Sunday, December 7
Center for Inquiry Transnational
Amherst, New York

This conference is the inaugural meeting of The Jesus Project, launched in 2007 by the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion. The first conference will answer the challenge laid down by CSER Fellow and Jesus Seminar cofounder John Dominic Crossan to decide what counts as “evidence” of the Jesus tradition.

Speakers include:

  • Paul Kurtz
  • R. Joseph Hoffmann
  • Ronald A. Lindsay
  • Dennis R. MacDonald
  • Justin Meggitt
  • Robert M. Price
  • James Tabor
  • and many others!

Section topics include:

  • The “substratum” of the earliest gospel
  • The legitimate use of noncanonical sources in reconstructing the Jesus story
  • Argumentum ad analogium in Christ-myth theories
  • Historical, theological, and value-driven approaches to the gospels
  • Rules of exclusion and evidence: what counts as “data”?

To register for the conference, or for more information, call 1-800-458-1366.


Become a Friend of the Center for Inquiry

As a new school year gets underway for many of us, now is a great time to become a Friend of the Center! Your membership entitles you to many benefits including discounted or free admission to CFI events, and it helps to support the continued development of the programs and services offered by the Center for Inquiry.

For just $60 a year, or $20 if you’re currently a student, you get:

  • Free or discounted admission to CFI events
  • 10% discount on national events sponsored by CFI and its affiliates (CSH, CSI, and CSMMH), including the upcoming CFI World Congress 2009 in Washington, D.C.
  • 15% discount on selected Prometheus Books titles
  • A colorful CFI vinyl decal

…And you get to feel good knowing you’ve made a contribution towards science and reason!

With your membership you will receive a membership packet, but please allow up to 6 weeks for processing. If you have any questions, please contact our Community Development Assistant Whitney Kemp at 1-800-818-7071 ext. 428.


Upcoming Events

Now that the fall semester is here, there are lots of great events being planned on campuses and at Centers and Communities for Inquiry across North America. Check out the new CFI On Campus Events Calendar for more information about these, and other, upcoming events of interest to campus freethinkers and skeptics.

Thursday, October 9, 7:00 p.m.
Dinner with Toni Van Pelt
CFI Community of Fort Lauderdale
Mythos Taverna, 2864 N. University Drive, Coral Springs, FL

Friday, October 10, 6:30 p.m.
Toni Van Pelt: “The Dangers of Freethinking Women”
CFI Community of Fort Lauderdale, FL

Friday, October 10, 7:00 p.m.
D.J. Grothe: “A Nation of Suckers: Getting Duped in American Today”
CFI Austin
3418 N. Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX

Saturday, October 11
Toni Van Pelt: “The Dangers of Freethinking Women”
CFI Community of Miami, FL

Saturday, October 11, 7:00 p.m.
PZ Myers and Richard Carrier
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster at Missouri State University
Plaster Student Union Theater, 901 S. National, Springfield, MO

Sunday, October 12, 12:30 p.m.
Voices of Reason: MAAF Founder Kathleen Johnson
CFI DC, 621 Pennsylvania Ave. SE (Eastern Market metro), Washington, DC

Sunday, October 12, 1:00 p.m.
On Global Warming and Climate Change with Geophysicist David Archer
CFI Chicago
UIC Room 613, University Center East building, 750 S. Halsted, Chicago, IL

Tuesday, October 14
Toni Van Pelt: “The Dangers of Freethinking Women”
CFI Community of Naples, FL

Tuesday, October 14, 7:00 p.m.
CFI Community of Portland Kickoff
Featuring Lawrence Krauss: “Science, Non-Science, and Nonsense: From the Classroom to the Capitol”
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, OR

Thursday, October 16, 12:00 p.m.
Toni Van Pelt: “The Dangers of Freethinking Women”
CFI Community of Daytona Beach, FL

Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m.
Toni Van Pelt: “The Dangers of Freethinking Women”
Campus Freethought Alliance – Rollins College
Reeves Lodge, Rollins College Campus, Winter Park, FL

Friday, October 17, 4:00 p.m.
Toni Van Pelt: “The Dangers of Freethinking Women”
Campus Freethought Alliance at UCF
University of Central Florida, Math and Science Building, Room 405

Saturday, October 18, 11:00 a.m.
Toni Van Pelt: “The Dangers of Freethinking Women”
CFI Tampa, FL

Saturday, October 18, 2:00 p.m.
Ronald Aronson: “Living without God”
CFI DC, 621 Pennsylvania Ave. SE (Eastern Market metro), Washington, DC

Sunday, October 19
Eddie Tabash: “America at the Crossroads: The Threat of the Religious Right to Our Most Basic Freedoms”
11:00 a.m. at CFI LA, Hollywood, CA
4:30 p.m. in Costa Mesa, CA

Sunday, October 19, 1:30 p.m.
D.J. Grothe: “A Nation of Suckers: Getting Duped in America Today”
CFI Community of Southern Arizona

Sunday, October 19, 7:00 p.m.
Roy Zimmerman
CFI Indiana, Indianapolis, IN

Tuesday, October 21
Toni Van Pelt: “The Dangers of Freethinking Women”
CFI Community of Tallahassee, FL

Wednesday, October 22, 7:00 p.m.
Ron Lindsay: “Future Bioethics”
CFI Michigan
Women’s City Club, 254 E. Fulton, Grand Rapids, MI

Wednesday, October 22, 7:00 p.m.
Toni Van Pelt: “Religion and Politics”
Gator Freethought Alliance
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Thursday, October 23, 3:00 p.m.
Astrobiologist David Grinspoon: “Why Denver Doesn’t Need an ET Commission”
Metro State Atheists at the Metropolitan State College of Denver
Auraria Campus, North Classroom Building, 9000 Auraria Parkway, Denver, CO

Friday, October 24, 5:00 p.m.
Toni Van Pelt: “The Dangers of Freethinking Women”
Freethinkers at USF
University of South Florida, Marshal Student Center, Tampa, FL

Friday, October 24, 6:30 p.m.
Dale McGowan: “Parenting Beyond Belief”
CFI San Francisco
World Affairs Council Auditorium, 312 Sutter Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA

Sunday, October 26, 11:00 a.m.
Texas Freethought Conference
CFI Austin
Saengerrunde Hall (Scholz Garten), Austin, TX

Sunday, October 26, 2:00 p.m.
Richard Carrier
CFI Indiana, Indianapolis, IN

Monday, October 27
Toni Van Pelt: “Promoting Science and Secularism”
CFI Community of Pittsburgh
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Tuesday, October 28
Toni Van Pelt: “The Dangers of Freethinking Women”
Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH

Wednesday, October 29, 7:00 p.m.
Toni Van Pelt: “How Do We Do It? Promoting Science and Reason in Public Policy Today”
CFI Community of NE Ohio
Case Western Reserve University, Strosacker Auditorium, Case Quad, 2125 Adelbert Road, Cleveland, OH

Friday, October 31, 7:30 p.m.
PZ Myers: “Caught in the Middle of the War Between Science and Religion”
CFI Ontario
University of Toronto, MacLeod Auditorium, 2158-1 King’s College Circle, Room 2158, Toronto, ON

Saturday, November 1
Jamy Ian Swiss: “Heavy Mental”
CFI Community of Pittsburgh
Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Monday, November 10, 1:00 p.m.
Victor Stenger: “God: The Failed Hypothesis”
Metro State Atheists at the Metropolitan State College of Denver
Auraria Campus, North Classroom Building, 9000 Auraria Parkway, Denver, CO

Wednesday, November 12, 7:00 p.m.
Barbara Oakley: “Evil Genes”
Case Center for Inquiry
Case Western Reserve University, Strosacker Auditorium, Case Quad, 2125 Adelbert Road, Cleveland, OH

Friday, November 21, 7:00 p.m.
Monthly Forum with CFI founder Paul Kurtz
CFI Community of Long Island
Plainview – Old Bethpage Public Library, 999 Old Country Rd., Plainview, NY


News of Note

News items featuring the Center for Inquiry and affiliated campus groups:

Articles of Note:

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Center For Inquiry, Newsletter | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Modern Proposal

(For Preventing The Children of Poor or Unrighteous People in the United States From Being A Burden to Their Christian and Wealthy Brethren and Country, and Instead Making Them Beneficial to the Public)

It is such a sad affair, at the beginning of this 21st century, to travel within the city and its surrounding urban districts and find oneself assaulted by the vast numbers of homeless, especially the rapidly increasingly number of women—homeless or not—with their children and swollen bellies. At least two in five children live below the poverty line, and with the absolutely necessary wage depressions placed upon the middle class, leading to further growth among the poor, along with the corresponding taxation, which I wholeheartedly agree that the government is most correct in applying (far be if for me to question the wisdom of the policies our most astute leaders see wisest to institute). And of course we must reward our most successful citizens with permanent tax cuts and not help those who cannot help themselves. After all, it’s a well-known fact that those who have absolutely nothing can most certainly pull themselves up from nothing using nothing.

Even within the schools, whose moral duties are to protect our young before they reach the age of taking on adult responsibilities, I have seen horrifying signs of the young bearing their own young. And the numbers of poor continue to surge among them, growing numbers of unaccompanied, wild youth, no matter how hard we try to instill morally true messages and admonish them to honor their parents! Why, just a few years ago the number of homeless youth ranging the country was swelling in numbers of over 300,000 a year! I cannot convey the staggering consequences put upon this country from these numbers of uneducated, unprepared children—fleeing, I am told, alleged conditions such as sexual and physical abuse, economic instability and merely leaving parents who simply did not care, of which I am sure these incorrigible youth must be deliberately committing perjury.

I have taken on the task of questioning many of these poor, pregnant and/or already mothers and unknowing fathers at tender teen ages. It seems that many, despite our excellent education exhorting abstinence only and quite wisely keeping from these indiscrete youth the knowledge of preventing pregnancy in order to uphold the sanctity of marriage, gave in to their lust despite the consequences and the numerous admonitions given and disciplinary measures taken by their parents and preachers. In keeping with our country’s policy that our children are best kept ignorant of the sordid processes behind the making of babies and be raised to see procreation in the service of God and matrimony, I most certainly cannot declare myself in favor of changing this course as it is indeed in keeping with the best values of Christianity and morality itself. And I do understand that in order to maintain the purity and sanctity of life that we hold so dear we cannot teach these poor young women about birth control or ever allow them access to it or, heaven forbid, abortion. Yet faced with the prodigious numbers mounting here that they do not have in ungodly, socialist Europe, I have spent many years as the tragedies compound, bending my mind to various solutions.

And so now, I find myself in a position of offering a proposal that would be palatable and acceptable within our Godly commitments to protect the unborn souls and yet not allow the born offspring to become a burden upon those families that either cannot care for them or those that do not deserve them nor the society that must not provide medical care, jobs, social programs, counseling, or other unchristian help to those who have disobeyed God and country in this matter.

Something must obviously be done to intervene at an early age to keep these children from growing up to be the homeless and miscreants burdening our society or repeating the mistakes of their mothers of having children outside marriage (it is a fact that this is indeed a typical pattern). Now I have studied and thought long and hard before staking a claim on a possible solution, and I want to make sure that my critics understand that I have nothing to gain from my proposal. Since I am now a retired teacher, I would not be profiting in smaller class sizes that would be created nor could I benefit since I am not married and so given my Christian upbringing would never have a child out of wedlock to try and make a few dollars from my proposal. I do understand that my proposal will not help things immediately, but we are in need of long-term preventive measures, given that we cannot allow a continually growing population of poor old people past their working prime to burden those among us who pay their our way, and this will indeed solve such nagging concerns from occurring in the future.

Since our country is so beholden to the rich for their patronage of our goods, as well as the powerful corporations that have built such wondrous empires upon our own and other soils, my suggestion is basically for them to take up the gauntlet of this cause to save our country and to increase the wealth of those who truly deserve it. I am now going on knowledge acquired by others that the tender flesh of young babies is of the highest quality in taste and protein (J. Swift). I therefore submit that those approximate 1.3 million abortions now being performed per year that will most thankfully and assuredly come to a halt through the efforts of our Evangelical brother Alito upon the Supreme Court bench, and the other thousands of children born from lust and the inability to abstain from disgusting carnal pursuits may now lend a noble hand to the continuation of this country and bring just punishment upon their thoughtless, criminal parents as is befitting a just God. I submit that these babies, after having been breast fed for a year, be sold to the finest restaurant chains and meat companies in the United States to become as fine a delicacy as caviar: home grown, cured, packaged, and dressed all by US businesses for consumption by those in our society so deserving through their wealth and Christian living (such wealth seen as a reward from heaven for their service to the Lord) and by any others our most illustrious leaders see fit to provide this cuisine to.


Surely, in this way, we may stimulate the economy (which we all know so dreadfully needs it) without encroaching upon the just wealth or our richest citizens and corporations; rid ourselves of the pestilence of the poor, unwed, homeless, criminal, immoral elements: shower further favor upon the elite; punish the unrighteous; and cleanse this country of its sins in the eyes of the Lord and so make our peace with the Almighty before He decides to totally destroy us as He has most recently showed in the rash of floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes He has been sending of late as warnings to our shore to mend our unholy ways.

Certainly there will be critics of this proposed action, but I am most amenable to other solutions if anyone can think of something that will take care of as many facets of the problem as this proposal does; in that instance, I will most wholeheartedly lend them my mind and ear. Until then, though, I feel we must urgently move forward and adopt this proposal to stem the tide that is overwhelming society. I can only call attention again to the numbers I have already given that have grown further in the last few years to point out that something needs be done at once (and let us not forget the burgeoning prison population—with the highest per capita incarceration rate of any country in the world—that that is another blight upon our sacred society).

Now, I must admit that I owe my solution to a greater mind than my own, a man who first thought of this more than one hundred years ago, and so I must rest on his laurels: chaplain Swift. And so, you see, I cannot even claim honor or recognition for my proposal, only for putting it forth once again in these trying times. I just must thank the Lord for giving us such a brilliant mind as chaplain Swift’s.

Amen

By riki mathews, The Trickster

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Christianity, Politics, Satire, The Trickster | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Science In The News: Turtle, Hamsters, and Babies

1) New fossil provide insights into the evolutionary origins of the turtle shell.

“Over millions of years, rows of protective armour plates gradually fused together and to the reptile’s vertebrae, eventually creating a complete shell.”

2) Hamsters reveal details about the role of the circadian clock in memory.

“Working with Siberian hamsters, biologist Norman Ruby has shown that having a functioning circadian system is critical to the hamsters’ ability to remember what they have learned. Without it, he said, “They can’t remember anything.””

3) Infants seem to be capable of distinguishing happy music from sad music.

“One of the first things babies understand communicatively is emotion, so for them the melody is the message,” Flom said. “Our study showed that by nine months, babies are categorizing songs as happy or sad the same way that preschoolers and adults do”

– Chalmer

October 9, 2008 Posted by | biology, science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Epicurus: The Problem of Evil

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?

– Epicurus, according to Lactantius in The Wrath of God

Problem of Evil

October 9, 2008 Posted by | god, philosophy, Qoutes, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments