KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: April 25, 2008
Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 48, Union, KY 41091; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324; Web: http://www.atheists.org/ky/
Editor’s personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com
Editor’s personal blog: http://edwinkagin.blogspot.com
Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.
I WAS BORN AN ATHEIST JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE
To Unidentified Recipients:
American Atheists Speakers
FRANK ZINDLER SPEAKS TO CINCINNATI
FREE INQUIRY GROUP SUNDAY 4/27
The Myth of Nazareth
FRANK ZINDLER, Editor of American Atheist Press will speak to the Free Inquiry Group of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky this Sunday, April 27, 2008.
Frank will discuss The Myth of Nazareth, the controversial new book by Rene Salm that explores the archaeological and historical data showing that Nazareth was not inhabited at the time of the alleged figure Jesus Christ. Frank muses: “Can the Wizard of Oz be real if there was never a land of Oz?”
Frank Zindler is a profession linguist and historian with expertise in ancient languages. He is the author of numerous books and articles about Atheism, religion and related topics. He is also a member of several learned societies including the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the New York Academy of Science; Society of Biblical Literature; and the American Schools of Oriental Research. Frank is also a nationally recognized lecturer and debater in the ongoing battle of creationist pseudo science and evolution.
Copies of Renee Salm’s “The Myth of Nazareth” published by American Atheist Press will be available for purchase.
The lectures takes place April 27, 2008 (Sunday) beginning at 2:00 PM at the Vernon Manor Hotel, 400 Oak St. in Cincinnati, Ohio. The event is free and open to the public, and is parking at the Vernon Manor. For further information including detailed driving directions, visit http://www.gofigger.org .
WHO & WHAT: Frank Zindler speaking on The Myth of Nazareth
WHEN: This Sunday, April 27, 2008 beginning at 2:00 PM
WHERE: Vernon Manor Hotel, 400 Oak St. in Cincinnati, Ohio. The event is free and open to the public, and is parking at the Vernon Manor.
MORE INFO: http://www.gofigger.org
(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)
Repelled by “Expelled.”
Ben Stein’s self proclaimed “documentary,” “Expelled. No Intelligence Allowed” vies with “The Passion of the Christ” for the most stupid and intellectually dishonest cinematography travesty released upon a vulnerable public since “The Ten Commandments.”
Apart from some excellent statements by Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, and other thinking humans, the only redeeming aspect of this work of media whoredom was the inclusion of some footage of our very own “Rally for Reason” protest against the museum of nonsense in Northern Kentucky known at the “Creation Museum.” See: www.rallyforreason.com . Thank you for that Ben. But this does not in any way make up for the damage done by the movie’s shoddy attempt to show that “Intelligent Design” is something that can be on the same intellectual and scientific thermometer as what Brother Stein incorrectly terms “Darwinism.”
The effort to obey the U.S. Constitution and to keep the religious views that are the only basis of this ignorance, that attempts to dress up and put lipstick on the pig of “Creationism,” out of public education and scientific research funding is portrayed as a horror of the same character as those shown in doctored black and white film clips of Nazism and the Berlin Wall. In this unethical propaganda, proponents of “Intelligent Design” are portrayed as the innocents who are being repressed in their search for truth by the thugs of scientific orthodoxy and the repressive demands of the scientific method.
For an outraged and well thought out responses to “Expelled” see:
Yes, you need to see this movie. Just as you need to visit the Creation Museum. You need to do this so you can become informed on what they really are and what they are attempting to foist upon innocent people, including impressionable children. And the movie and the museum are worse than you think. Get over the idea that you don’t want to give these people money. That is certainly understandable, but gaining knowledge and education costs money.
Let the other side express views on movies and books they have neither seen nor read—like “The Golden Compass.”
The movie “Jesus Camp” was shown at Camp Quest.
by Edwin Kagin
April 25, 2008
From reader Z:
Subject: Florida Senate passes anti-evolution “academic freedom” bill
Senate passes evolution academic freedom bill, 21-17
House sponsor committed to his version
By JAMES A. SMITH SR.
Published April 24, 2008
Updated 11:30 a.m. April 24
TALLAHASSEE (FBW) – The Florida Senate adopted on April 23 by a vote of 21-17 a bill to permit academic freedom for teachers and students addressing evolution in Florida’s public schools. The prospects of the measure remain in doubt after the House sponsor of its academic freedom bill said he will push his significantly different version in the House next week.
During the debate senators on both sides of the evolution divide invoked cultural depictions of America’s evolution debate – from the play “Inherit the Wind,” about the so-called Tennessee Scopes Monkey Trial, to the currently playing documentary film, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”
The Evolution Academic Freedom Act, SB 2692, sponsored by Sen. Ronda Storms (R-Brandon), was offered in response to new statewide science standards that have been the subject of debate since its release last October, with critics asserting the standards require a dogmatic acceptance of evolution.
Storms, a member of First Baptist Church in Brandon, read e-mail in support of her bill from two teachers who are concerned about the lack of academic freedom in the teaching of evolution.
One teacher, requesting anonymity, told Storms that students who reject evolution are routinely ridiculed by teachers as “religious idiots” and “rednecks.”
“One [teacher] says it’s his duty to free these sheep … from the chains of religion,” the anonymous teacher said in the e-mail message Storms read.
Storms likened such religious ridicule to comments made earlier in the debate by Sen. Steven Geller (D-Hallandale Beach), the minority leader in the Senate.
Geller spoke about his participation in a high school production of “Inherit the Wind” when he and other students laughed “at how backward those folks were” and warned that some day there may be a future play made about the Florida Senate for engaging in an evolution debate in 2008.
Storms also read portions of a three-page e-mail from Wayne Gerber, a Pinellas County science teacher, who noted a biology textbook currently in use in his school includes erroneous information about evolution that remains in the book because it supports evolutionary theory.
“Note, there’s no reference to religion here,” Storms told her colleagues. “This is just a scientific basis for objecting to evolution.”
Geller asked Storms twice whether her bill permitted the teaching of Intelligent Design, revisiting an issue he repeatedly pressed her about during the April 17 floor debate on the bill.
Intelligent Design has been held by one federal court to violate the U.S. Constitution’s first amendment, ruling it is a version of creationism, rather than a valid scientific theory.
Intelligent Design postulates that the intricate design evident in human beings and the natural world undermines Darwinism’s argument of a common ancestry for all living things evolving over billions of years by means of natural selection.
“I know you want me to deviate” from answering with the language of the bill, Storms told Geller, “but I can’t do that because it’s not appropriate.”
Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach), however, noted in his comments in support of the bill that Storms answered “no” when he asked during the April 17 debate whether the bill permitted Intelligent Design or creationism.
“And the simple text of the bill supports her answer,” Gaetz told his colleagues.
Gaetz said if the subject matter of the bill was controversial literature, liberals would support it, but since the bill permits differing views on evolution, they oppose the measure.
“There’s nothing wrong with inquiry, there’s nothing wrong with debate, there’s nothing wrong with discussion, and that’s what this bill does. And that’s why it should be supported,” Gaetz said.
Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) insisted the Storms’ bill, contrary to her claims, was indeed about religion.
“What this bill is, is an attempt to bring the controversy of creationism versus evolution into our science classrooms,” she said.
Sen. Stephen Wise (R-Jacksonville), a member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, said the new documentary film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” currently in theaters starring Ben Stein, demonstrated the need for academic freedom by featuring credentialed scientists who have lost their jobs or been denied tenure for questioning evolution.
“Students ought to have the opportunity to talk about both sides of the issue,” Wise said.
Sen. Nan Rich (D-Sunrise) said the Senate’s job was to support the experts who wrote Florida’s new science standards, rather than interfere with their work by passing Storms’ bill.
Sen. Daniel Webster (R-Winter Garden), majority leader in the Senate and member of First Baptist Church of Central Florida in Orlando, said the bill encourages the proper question, “Could it be?”
Noting that scientific
advancements have come from those who were willing to ask that question, Webster said of teachers and students, “Can’t we ask that question?”
Speaking to his colleagues, Webster said, “Maybe King David was right … when he looked up and said, the heavens declare the glory of God.”
A companion bill in the Florida House of Representatives, HB 1483, was approved by a House council April 11 but differs significantly from Storms’ bill.
In an attempt to reconcile the differences between her bill and the version approved by the Florida House’s Council on Schools and Learning, Storms offered an amendment to replace her two-page bill with the 12-word, one-sentence House bill sponsored by Rep. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla). Hays is a member of First Baptist Church in Umatilla.
Hays’ bill amends the current statute listing “approved methods of instruction” for public school teachers by adding, “A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution.”
Since the amendment was offered during final consideration of the bill on the Senate floor, a two-thirds majority was needed for passage. The measure failed on a voice vote.
The Herald-Tribune.com reported April 24 Hays planned to ask his colleagues in the House to vote on his version early next week, leaving just a few days after that to forge a compromise that could be approved by both chambers.
“We’re not going to just get something in,” Hays said, reported Herald-Tribune. “We want to get something right.”
Storms warned the legislature is running out of time in its session scheduled to adjourn May 2.
Sen. Wise told the Herald-Tribune Hays “must be hitting the sauce if he thinks he’s going to send the bill back here.”
In addition to praising Storms for her leadership on the issue, Florida Baptist Convention legislative consultant Bill Bunkley told Florida Baptist Witness he is thankful that Senate President Ken Pruitt (R-Port St. Lucie) scheduled a vote on the controversial issue late in the legislative session, even though it takes more time.
“I cannot emphasize how important his support and leadership was to this legislation moving forward,” Bunkley said of Pruitt.
Bunkley also singled-out Sen. Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) for breaking with his party to support Storms’ bill, calling his vote “exceptional statesmanship.”
Kim Kendall, a stay-at-home mom and activist who has lobbied against the new science standards since October, told the Witness she is “very pleased” with the Senate’s adoption of the academic freedom bill.
“We are very disappointed” Kendall said of her two area senators – Sen. Jim King (R-Jacksonville) and Sen. Tony Hill (D-Jacksonville) – who were unwilling to meet with her and other concerned citizens, in contrast to other senators who ultimately opposed the bill.
Forwarded from the Michigan State Director for American Atheists, Arlene-Marie.
MICHIGAN ATHEISTS TO COUNTER “NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER”
WITH BLOOD DONATIONS
Positive Life-Saving Action, Not Passive Prayer, Is the Message
What will you do on May 1, 2008, the “National Day of Prayer?” If you are an Atheist and do not accept prayer as an answer to human suffering, join us.
On May 1st, groups of Atheists in scores of American cities will go to their local Blood Banks to donate blood and sign up for organ-donor programs.
We call our blood donation program B.L.O.O.D., an acronym for Benefiting Lives of Others Donations.
It’s simple. Here’s what you do:
1) Find your local blood bank by accessing http://www.americanblood.org/ (Bottom left corner, type in your zip code to find your local blood bank.)
2) Tell your local Red Cross Donation Center that you are donating on behalf of the Michigan Atheists Blood drive. Then………………
3) Report your donation to Michigan Atheists B.L.O.O.D chariman, Chris McLaughlin at email@example.com who will report your donation to national B.L.O.O.D
4) If you live near the Detroit Metro area, please join Michigan Atheists
WHEN: May 1, 2008
WHERE: American Red Cross Donation Center, 1605 S. Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
Directions: North of Square Lake Road, E side of Telegraph, at Wagner Rd, 1st street past the Kawasaki-Honda sign, behind Allstate Billiards & Patio Furniture, 1/4 mile S of Orchard Lake Road.
The Bloomfield Hills facility is clean and spacious, with a comfortable waiting area that can easily accommodate dozens of people. Here, we can celebrate together with coffee, juice and light refreshments supplied by the Blood Bank. Just show up to the facility any time between 4:00-6:45, and you will be greeted by other Atheists. Even if, for some reason, you can’t donate, you may wish to attend to show your support. All donations will be counted and logged on a national website that tracks Atheist blood donations.
Be sure to Email me firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP if you plan to donate; the Red Cross needs to know how many donors will arrive so that they may have enough staff on hand to take care of us. We will notify local news media about this event.
If you have ANY questions about donating blood, you may call the American Red Cross’ confidential donor hotline at (877) 835-5736.
Thanks for your support. For additional information contact, Chris McLaughlin, Michigan Atheists B.L.O.O.D Chairman Ccmclaugh@comcast.net
FORWARDED MESSAGE BY:
ARLENE-MARIE, Michigan Atheists Affiliate Director
(313) 938-5960 email@example.com http://www.michiganatheists.org/
P.O. Box 0025, Allen Park, MI 48101
Michigan Atheists is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, social and educational organization defending Atheists civil rights and dedicated to the complete and absolute separation of state and church.
Action without discussion is dangerous. Discussion without action is futile.
From reader Jan:
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The Southern Baptist Convention is “a denomination in decline” due to drops in baptisms and membership, one of its lead researchers says.
Southern Baptist churches reported their third straight annual decline in baptisms last year and are down to their lowest rate of baptisms in two decades.
Baptisms dropped five percent to 345,941, while membership dropped less than a quarter of a percent, to 16,266,920, according to newly released figures for 2007.
“This report is truly disheartening,” said Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, the SBC agency that gathers the statistics. “…We are a denomination that, for the most part, has lost its evangelistic passion.”
Ed Stetzer, director of research at LifeWay, said Southern Baptists used to take comfort in seeing steadily rising membership numbers, especially compared to the moderate and liberal Protestant denominations that have been bleeding members for four decades.
But now, “Southern Baptists are a denomination in decline,” Stetzer wrote.
Some statistical categories are up slightly, such as total numbers of churches (up 1 percent to 44,696) and church attendance (0.16 percent to 6,148,868). But Baptists have always viewed baptisms as a central measure because it represents bringing new believers in Jesus Christ into the congregation.
But even as the denomination had been growing in membership in recent years, the rate of growing had been slowing, he said.
Among Stetzer’s diagnoses: a failure to recruit leadership among the young and among racial and ethnic minorities. “Vacant seats still exist at the SBC table for the ethnic and generational diversity that matches the America we are attempting to reach,” he wrote.
He also cited Southern Baptists’ well-known propensity for infighting and a failure of evangelistic fervor to match the doctrinal fervor that led to the rightward shift in the denomination in the last two decades of the 20th century.
“We must battle to build upon our Conservative Resurgence and make it a Great Commission Resurgence,” he wrote. “If we don’t, why did we bother with the Conservative Resurgence in the first place?”