Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

Food for Freethought Flyer

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September 9, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Books, Censorship, Center For Inquiry, Events, Food Bank of the Rockies, Metro State Atheists, Poetry, Press Release, UCD Atheists | , , , , , | 2 Comments

CFI Leadership Conference by Sara Diaz

Sara Diaz
Metro State Atheists
University of Colorado Denver

I recently “deconverted” from Catholicism and Christianity.  This past spring will be one year since I started living a more rational and religion-free life.  During this last school year, I helped out the Metro State Atheists, which is the Auraria Campus atheists club in Denver, CO.  The president of the group became my best friend, someone who has helped me through my struggles as an atheist.

Our club worked with the Center for Inquiry, which has also helped me through my transformation.  When we heard about this year’s CFI Student Leadership Conference, we were all very excited and quickly submitted travel grant applications.  The days leading up to the conference seemed to creep by more slowly as the conference approached.  Upon arrival at the CFI Amherst building, I became anxious—I was eager to meet fellow freethinkers and secular students.  At the same time, I was nervous.  I felt like everyone else knew more than me, that everyone except me already had this “atheism” thing figured out.  Growing up in a Catholic home and turning to Christianity as a teen, I wasn’t surrounded by people that would understand my shift to atheism.  But as I started talking to the other students at the conference I realized I was meeting familiar strangers.  Many of the students were struggling, or had struggled, with the same problems that I have.  How do I tell my family?  Will my family disown me if they find out?  Will other people accept me?  How do I find morals without religion?  (I’m a “closet atheist” and terrified at the thought of coming out to my family.)


Students arriving early wait for the conference to begin / Matthew LaClair talks about education

The conference started in the late evening with Debbie Goddard welcoming everyone to CFI.  Then, Matthew LaClair, the volunteer student president of CFI’s campus outreach initiative, spoke about his experience with his high school and other issues regarding education that he was facing.  Matthew shared some words of wisdom: “You cannot depend on other people to do things for you.”  I interpreted that as this: “No one else can tell your family but you, because no one else understands your family like you do.”  The students, staff, and speakers made everyone feel welcome.  I was in a safe place.  I could be me, not just the pretend me I am around family—the pretend me I am at the church where I work on Sunday mornings.

During the next few days we heard from Eddie Tabash about debating and watched Ron Lindsay and Eddie Tabash have a mock debate (which was good entertainment!).  Debbie Goddard and D.J. Grothe spoke about CFI and its affiliated organizations, Roy Natian gave groups helpful tips for online outreach, and Justin Trottier showed everyone how to manage media relations.  We also heard from John Shook and Massimo Pigliucci.  Joe Nickell gave everyone insight about investigating the paranormal and how sometimes being just a skeptic doesn’t help.


Massimo Pigliucci talks about reason / Ronald A. Lindsay (as Ron N. Atas) debates Eddie Tabash

Some of my favorite parts of the conference were the workshops with Dan Riley.  Dan posed questions to the students, then in small groups we discussed topics such as voting for an atheist, France’s wanting to make burkas illegal, and what we, the students, see as the future of CFI and the secular movement.  Many students compared the secular movement to the gay rights movement.  I have many friends who are gay, lesbian, and transgender, and although I do not completely understand all the struggles they go through, I do understand what it’s like to be “in the closet” about who you really are.


Workshop session outside / Dan Riley leads a discussion on secularism

As the conference came to an end I had more confidence in myself as an atheist.  I left knowing that I always have a community of people that will help me through my struggles and that the fear I had was a fear that many individuals at some time have faced.

Sara Diaz is an undergraduate at the University of Colorado Denver majoring in secondary education-English and minoring in philosophy. She served as the secretary for Metro State Atheists and is starting an atheist group at UC Denver, for which she will serve as the president.

August 18, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Bible, Center For Inquiry, Christianity, god, Metro State Atheists, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Metro State Atheists wins award from Center For Inquiry

Metro State Atheists has just been awarded the 2009 Campus Affiliate Group Award for Community Impact by the Center For Inquiry.

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June 29, 2009 Posted by | Awards, Center For Inquiry, Metro State Atheists | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lack of Christian’s Sense of Humor

Below is a conversation I had with several people (who’s names have been concealed for privacy) on Facebook.  Watch and see why it is almost impossible to joke with committed Christians.  I didn’t edit this convo too much, besides concealing the names,  only those comments that weren’t invloved in talking to me have been removed, other than that…it’s all there.  Enjoy

Evangelical Friend (EF)- I got my license (FB Status)

Joel Guttormson

Just one more driver-less car come the Rapture…oh wait…we don’t have to worry about something that isn’t going to happen…whew…I was scared there for a second

Friend of EF #1

You put a lot of effort into things that aren’t true.

Joel Guttormson

Prove me wrong Stephen.

Friend of EF #1

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

Joel Guttormson

Stephen. The bible isn’t proof. You’re using circular reasoning. Please try again.

Friend of EF

Pearls before swine, love. Pearls before swine.

Joel Guttormson

That doesn’t make sense. If you’re calling me a pig, that is quite the intelligent, thoughtful, Christian thing to do…ad hominim.

Friend of EF #2

LOL! It’s an expression. Google it or something. 😉 Goodnight!

Joel Guttormson

Or…don’t be 7 years old.

Friend of EF #2

Oh ho ho… Ad hominim, much? Joel….

Joel Guttormson

To stick with the animal metaphors: what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. But I really was talking about your conduct rather than you, so it really doesn’t qualify as ad hominim, please look up the definition of words before you use them.

Friend of EF #3

Joel, if you don’t like Christians, why do you like to start arguments with them?

Joel Guttormson

I didn’t start an argument. I said something clever, you guys got pissed. Grow a sense of humor, please.

Joel Guttormson

And for the record, I do like Christians.

Friend of EF #3

That does suck how quickly arguments get started on here…And sounds fair enough to me Joel.

Joel Guttormson

Thank you, Chris. I like you for this very reason.

Friend of EF #3

And I do have to apologize, you didn’t start an argument, one just kind of…appeared…The only reason people got upset was because you were mocking our beliefs, same as you would feel if we mocked yours about something =/

Joel Guttormson

I see and I understand. But in all seriousness I was only kidding around, as I usually am. Beliefs that are held to sacred make people crazy, stuffy and not fun to be around.

Friend of EF #4 (The Angry, Irrational One)

joel you’re seriously retarded. grow up. stop starting ridiculous arguments on something that has nothing to do with Christians at all. she got her license.. leave her alone.

good job EF! congrats! 🙂 do you have a car?

Joel Guttormson

Sara, please see Chris’ comments and my responses to them. Get over yourself and get a sense of humor. I also appreciate the very Christian, thoughtful and intelligent ad hominim attack, great stuff. It’s original to call someone “retarded”. If your beliefs aren’t strong enough to stand up to a little ribbing now and again, get some new beliefs.

Friend of EF #4 (The Angry, Irrational One)

haha. you are a retard. thats why i called you that. you have no idea what you are talking about. leave danae alone. my beliefs are never threatened by your silly little jabs filled with words you find in a thesaurus. grow up. leave young girls you don’t know alone. i will NEVER understand why danae still has you as a friend.. or puts up with the drama you start. DANAE: you can’t help anyone who doesn’t want to be helped. delete him.

Joel Guttormson

Quite judgmental for a Christian. Funny how you don’t know me at all and yet can claim all these things. I don’t use a thesaurus for my vocabulary, thank you, but I digress. For someone like you who resorts to childish ad hominim to tell me to grow up is the beginning of a good joke. Ya know, you could understand if you asked her…but since you’re a Christian I guess you’ve been discouraged from asking questions your whole life, just a guess though. I have more knowledge about your silly religion, called Chrsitianity, in my pinky, that you do in your whole body. Have a good night and be safe.

Friend of EF #4 (The Angry, Irrational One)

Christians are judgmental. they should be. there’s even a book called “Judges” in the Bible. next time do your research before claiming to know so much. And for someone so anti-judgement, you are pretty quick to say since i am a Christian, i have been discouraged to ask questions about life. man, you really are dumber than i thought…

Friend of EF # 5

Way to go! That is awesome! And I am saying that to both EF and Friend of EF #4 (The Angry, Irrational One)

June 3, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Bible, Censorship, Center For Inquiry, Christianity, Epistemology, First Century, god, Humor, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus is Lord, Metro State Atheists, News, Old Testament, philosophy, Politics, religion, Rome, science, The Holy Bible | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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

Group Theory: Relevancy to Chemistry

Due to the incompatiblity of Word mathematics formating and WordPress’ text editor,  I am making this paper available for download in two versions:

Group Theory: Relevancy to Chemistry (Word 2007 Version, .docx)

Group Theory: Relevancy to Chemistry (Word 2003 Version, .doc)

Click on the verison that is compatible with your version of Word.

– Note:  Word 2007 documents are not compatible with Word 2003

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Center For Inquiry, Group Theory, Metro State Atheists, science, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Metro State Atheists: Making noise, making a difference in Denver

Metro State Atheists: Making noise, making a difference in Denver
by Joel Guttormson, Metro State Atheists at MSCD

Many things happen during a college semester: mid-terms, finals, work and…activism?  Yes, activism!  That is the case for us, Metro State Atheists (MSA), an affiliate of the Center for Inquiry.  Besides the classes, work, and other academic responsibilities that we endure, we participated in some secular activist activity that put me in the spotlight both locally and nationally.

Not many can argue that 2008 wasn’t a historic election, not only for the entire country, but also for Colorado as we hosted the 2008 Democratic National Convention.  However, that wasn’t the only history being made—at least trying to be made—in Colorado.  Amendment 48, or the Personhood Amendment, was on its way to become the first legislation in the United States to not only completely ban abortion but also redefine the term “person”: “to include any human being from the moment of fertilization.”  When our group became aware of this initiative early in the summer, we immediately knew that we had to do all we could to prevent this from passing.  That is just what we did, come the fall.  We contacted the political group “Protect Families Protect Choice,” to offer our support, and they responded by giving us informational material as well as yard signs, stickers, etc.  We then had two informational tables set up two weeks out from the election urging people to vote no on Amendment 48.  This caught the eye of our local news, Channel 9, which was in the process of doing stories on the different amendments on the Colorado ballot.  They asked to interview me about Amendment 48 the next day on campus as a part of their series that aired live online.  Come November 4th, Amendment 48 failed miserably, much to our pleasure.  We’d like to think we had a hand it its demise, seeing as we worked quite hard on campus to that end.

Next, without much warning, came what would turn out to be the most media coverage we have ever received.  MSA is a part of the Colorado Coalition of Reason, or COCORE, which put up 11 billboards in the Denver metro area and Colorado Springs.  The message was similar to those seen elsewhere around the country.  The billboards needed only eight words, “Don’t believe in God?  You are not alone,” to ignite a controversy that took two local newscasts (11/13/08, 11/18/08) and a half-page opinion article in the Rocky Mountain News to clear up.  The fervently religious were utterly offended that such a message was allowed in Denver.  The story received national media attention when the Channel 7 news story made its way onto CNN.com.  We saw our first hate mail ever, from Christians no less, calling us evil and full of hate.  I got phone calls too!  However, instead of being mean-spirited phone calls, they were supportive.  A man from South Carolina called me, telling me that he appreciates what we are doing and asked me, as a fellow atheist, if there were any similar organizations such as MSA or COCORE in his area.  Another call was from a Jew lending his support to the cause.  This project was a great learning experience and we enjoyed the huge amount of media coverage it got.  It made more of an impact that we could have hoped for in our wildest dreams.

The last and most recent event wasn’t really an event, so to speak.  After rediscovering my cousin Becky via Facebook, I learned that her pastor is Bob Enyart who appeared on the same newscast as I regarding the aforementioned billboards.  She told me that ever since she told Bob that I was her cousin, he has been wanting to have me on his show on 670 AM, KGOV.  She then served as a go-between to make the proper arrangements for me to be on the show.  In short order we arranged a date and time.  I appeared on Bob Enyart Live on January 7th, 2009.  We talked about atheism, the billboards, and about how I became an atheist.  This was an advantageous interview as Bob has offered to advertise our events to people of an opposing viewpoint, which we believe is critical to our cause.

In closing, I’d like to stress the importance of organizing.  Although the task of secular activism and attempting to effect change can be tough, and at times seem impossible, it can be done, even if it’s just change at the local level.  Think big, but take baby steps.  The American Revolution wasn’t born, fought, and won in a day.  We need to stay vigilant, learning from every victory and, perhaps more importantly, from every defeat.  When a minority is fighting a majority who commands all the power and resources, it amplifies the importance of cohesive, organized goal-oriented activism by many orders of magnitude.  Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  I believe this is insufficient and passive.  You must not only be the change but also be willing to work for it.  Thus, I appeal to you all: work with us, fight hard, and we can bring about the change necessary to make this country what it once was!

Joel Guttormson is President of Metro State Atheists and a theoretical mathematics major, linguistics minor at Metropolitan State College of Denver.  Joel also volunteers for CFI as a campus regional coordinator.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Center For Inquiry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Is America a Christian Nation?

This question has been answered many times over by a great many people; most more scholarly than I.  However, it is my goal to show that one need not be a scholar in the subjects of common sense, reason and basic history to know that The United State of America is not a Christian nation.  This is of course in the sense of our foundation, not the population.  If going by population, we might as well call America a white nation as well, which we most certainly; to the dismay of the bigoted.  There are those that assert that say we are a Christian nation because of some recent inclinations of our supposedly secular government to thrust god into the faces and the ears of the public by alluding to “him” on our money and in our Pledge of Allegiance, respectively.  This should concern atheist and Christian alike.  But I digress; why are these recent occurrences cited as evidence for something that long predates there happening?  Simply put, it is because these poor misguided and self-diluted people have absolutely no evidence to go on other than that.  Any sufficiently competent individual who knows even the most elementary workings of the Internet and Google searching can find the evidence necessary to thoroughly disprove nearly every claim dealt by these wish-thinkers.  One need only point to the Treaty of Tripoli- “Authored by American diplomat Joel Barlow in 1796, the following treaty was sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797, where it was read aloud in its entirety and unanimously approved. John Adams, having seen the treaty, signed it and proudly proclaimed it to the Nation.Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”(Source, Emphasis added)  Furthermore, evidence shows that religion forced its way into the places it is now, it wasn’t inherent to the founding of the country.  For instance, “In God We Trust” wasn’t put on the money nor did it become the nation motto until the 1950s; 180 years after the founding of the country. (Source)  There isn’t much more to say on this.  It is clear that we are not a Christian nation by founding, only by population.

 

Joel

February 24, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Bible, Center For Inquiry, Christianity, evolution, First Century, god, Jesus, Jesus Christ, New Testament, religion, The Holy Bible | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

An Example of Faith in Practice

One of the interesting quirks of faith-based religions is their tendency to encourage absurd behavior in substitute of useful. I suppose this is because once you think you have an answer, you stop looking for it; and if you end up being wrong, a faith-based approach solidifies and glorifies your error; no chance for correction is possible. From this disadvantaged point, the faithful will be left in the wake of the progress of those who continue seeking and discovering. The exception is when circumstances have allowed the faithful to be such a dragging obstruction to the progress of others that no wake may be had in the first place.

I was amused to find an artifact of this sort of behavior while aimlessly browsing the ‘net the other day. I discovered a group collecting people against something called the Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA. The group had succeeded in collecting 42,716 members, last I checked. The purpose of the group is to issue a message instructing its members to do the following:

“. . .We must stop this horrific act before it becomes a law.

The Plan :

To say a novena (9 days of prayer) along with fasting

starting on January 11th. For Catholics, the prayer of choice will be the rosary with intentions to stop the FOCA. For all other Christians, we I encourage you to pray your strongest prayers with the same intentions, also for nine consecutive days. The hope is that this will branch and

blossom as to become a global effort with maximum impact. We have very little time so we all must act fast. Just do three things:

1) In less than three days: invite all your friends to this group. (espescially those that you know are Christian)

2) Start the novena on January 11th and pray for nine

consecutive days.

(please also fast for at least two days during the novena). . .”

This clever plan brings to mind an image of an advancing army whose members periodically drop off from the ranks to bury their heads in the sand; from which location they might strategically avoid seeing the enemy’s approach. The advantage that their rational enemy has is the knowledge that it’s not actually useful to speak to oneself and frivolously skip meals while fighting a battle.

-Weston

************************************************
(Full message: )
“If you are opposed to abortion then there is bad news on the horizon. For those of you who do not know, the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is set to be signed if congress passes it on January 21-22 of 2009. The
FOCA is the next sick chapter in the book of abortion. If made a law then all limitations on abortion will be lifted which will result in the following:

1) All hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, will be
required to perform abortions upon request. If this happens Bishops vow to close down all Catholic hospitals, more then 30% of all hospitals in the United States.

2) Partial birth abortions would be legal and have no
limitations.

3) All U.S. tax payers would be funding abortions.

4) Parental notification will no longer be required.

5) The number of abortions will increase by a minimum of
100,000 annually. This is an estimation.

Needless to say this information is disturbing, but sadly
true. As Catholics, as Christians, as anyone who is against the needless killing of innocent children, we must stand as one. We must stop this horrific act before it becomes a law.

The Plan :

To say a novena (9 days of prayer) along with fasting
starting on January 11th. For Catholics, the prayer of choice will be the rosary with intentions to stop the FOCA. For all other Christians, we I encourage you to pray your strongest prayers with the same intentions, also for nine consecutive days. The hope is that this will branch and
blossom as to become a global effort with maximum impact. We have very little time so we all must act fast. Just do three things:

1) In less than three days: invite all your friends to this group. (espescially those that you know are Christian)

2) Start the novena on January 11th and pray for nine
consecutive days.

(please also fast for at least two days during the novena)

Remember that with God all things are possible and the
power of prayer is undeniable. If you are against the senseless killing of defenseless children then the time is now to do something about it!”

January 30, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Bible, Center For Inquiry, Christianity, creationism, Epistemology, god, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus is Lord, Metro State Atheists, religion, science, The Holy Bible | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments