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Atheist News from Edwin Kagin

KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: July 18, 2009

Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, Union, KY 41091; Email: [email protected]

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

Edited by:

Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)

What Is An ATHEIST?

“ANOTHER THINKING HUMAN ENGAGED IN SEEKING TRUTH”
(Edwin Kagin, 2008)

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To Unidentified Recipients:

“Answers in Atheism,” the sensational Internet live radio talk show that is heard regularly on www.answersinatheism.net at 8:00 pm Eastern Time, except when it isn’t, will be on again Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 8:00 pm. Check the website for details. We wish we could have this on every week as we want to do, but if wishes were horses then beggars would ride. Our unpaid and overworked production and engineering staff have other things to do, like trying to stay alive, and decline to starve to death on an empty stomach. So, we do it when we can and as often as we can (the radio show that is). Hopefully, such doing will be more rather than less, but hope is not the best way to run a interesting robust life or a live Internet radio show.

Next week, your beloved Editor goes to England to help open the first ever Camp Quest U.K. Many thanks to Samantha Stein and her volunteer staff for getting this together. Enrollment is completely filled up, and applications are being taken for next year. You can find out about this worthy effort here: http://www.camp-quest.org.uk .

Camp Quest Michigan still has a few bunks left we are told. And moreover, there may well be Camperships available for the campers willing to make the effort to apply for such. You can learn all about CQM and its programs and Camperships here: http://michigan.camp-quest.org/main.html .

P.Z. Myers, the professor with the unlikely name, will be visiting Kentucky on a pilgrimage to the museum of nonsense in Northern Kentucky, laughingly named the “Creation Museum,” and run by our friends and neighbors, the purveyors of superstition and medieval science known by the even more laughable name of “Answers in Genesis.”

And P.Z. is taking some students on the tour with him, at reduced group rates.

Do not miss this opportunity to see this adventure in money spent on miracles and madness. I strongly endorse everyone going to see it. Never mind that the fee gives money to people who would abuse children with ignorance and commit terror on our free land by vending anti-scientific ways of viewing the world. It is important that you see this place. And that is because it is worse than you think it is. Really. It really is.

So, y’all come on down y’hear and see humans and dinosaurs (missionary lizards, say the arkonuts) living in harmony with one another 6,000 years or so ago. It is the dog dangest thing you ever seen in your life. They even have a statute of a barefoot and pregnant Eve.

Information on where and how is findable below.

You can still get in on the reduced rate, or so thinks

Edwin.

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http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/07/important_information_about_th.php

Important information about the Creation “Museum” trip!
Category: Creationism
Posted on: July 8, 2009 12:04 PM, by PZ Myers
I’m going to be speaking at the Secular Student Alliance conference on 8 August, and before that, you may recall, I announced that we were going on a little field trip to Ken Ham’s bunco joint in Kentucky, on Friday, 7 August. We’re trying to organize a bit, so SSA sent me the notice below. Preregister and get a big discount on the entry fee, and SSA is also looking for more people to help with coordinating travel.

Register to get the $10 entry fee athttps://secularstudents.wufoo.com/forms/creation-museum-with-pz-myers-registration/. You have to pay in advance but you get the $10 entrance rate, rather than the $22 that you’d have to pay at the door. People have to register by 7/23 to get this rate.

We’re arranging carpools through www.rideshare.us using lookup code PZ2Creation. Anyone coming to the Museum and/or heading up to Columbus afterwards for the conference is strongly encouraged to post their rides if they’d be willing to take a student along with them. Students can also post ads for rides if they need to get from one place to the other.
We also have some (free!) housing available in Columbus for Thurs night for any students from out of town who need a place to crash before heading down to the museum. Interested parties should contact Jon the Intern In Charge of Housing at [email protected]

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From reader Conrad:

Americans favor science, but less than before
AP Science Writer
Published Thursday, Jul. 09, 2009

WASHINGTON — The share of Americans who see science as the nation’s greatest achievement is down sharply, even as the public continues to hold scientists in high regard. A new Pew Research Center poll indicates that 27 percent of Americans say the nation’s greatest achievements are in science, medicine and technology, more than any category other than don’t know.
But that’s down from 47 percent in a similar study a decade ago, the center reported Thursday.
The decline comes even as technology reaches out to connect people worldwide via the Internet.
But the era of “Big Science,” like the moon landings, has receded into history, while one-time wonders such as organ transplants seem increasingly routine and the battle against cancer drags on.
Probably reflecting last fall’s historic election of Barack Obama as president, the poll found that people rating equal rights as the nation’s top achievement jumped to 17 percent, compared with just 5 percent 10 years earlier.
Most Americans – 64 percent – see this country’s science as “above average,” but with advances by other countries getting increasing attention, just 17 percent say it’s the best in the world. Indeed, the European Union currently published more scientific papers than the United States.
There is the danger, over time, that the United States could lose its pre-eminence in science and efforts to interest more young people in research are under way, said Alan I. Leshner, head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Overall, the new study found that science remains well thought of by Americans, with 84 percent of respondents saying it has a mostly positive effect on society. Only 6 percent rated science as largely negative for society.
There was no exact earlier comparison for those numbers, but Scott Keeter, director of the survey, said other studies over the years have shown consistently positive views of science and medicine.
“The U.S. public recognizes research and development, perhaps especially to drive medical advances, as an investment in the future. Yet, researchers and the public too often are separated by a communications gap,” said Leshner. He said his group is conducting seminars teaching scientists how to better communicate with the public.
Even when they disagreed with some findings, people showed an overall positive outlook for science.
For example, 63 percent of respondents who believe in creationism and 64 percent of those contending there is no evidence of global warming still said science does much to contribute to the well-being of society.
The new report is based on a series of three polls. The first was a telephone survey of 2,001 members of the general public April 28-May 12, asking their opinions of science. The second, testing the public’s scientific knowledge, was a sample of 1,005 adults June 18-21. For comparison, the Pew researchers also conducted an online random sample of 2,533 members of the AAAS from May 1 to June 14. AAAS is an international organization of scientists and those interested in science. The error margin for the polls ranged from 2.5 percentage points to 3.5 percentage points.
Among the findings:
– About 91 percent of the general public knew that aspirin is recommended to prevent heart attacks, 82 percent knew that global positioning systems rely on satellites and 65 percent correctly linked carbon dioxide gas to rising temperatures.
-On the other hand, just 54 percent understood that antibiotics do not kill viruses and fewer than half – 46 percent – knew that electrons are smaller than atoms.
-Men have a more favorable outlook about science than women, 86 percent saying it has a mostly positive effect, compared with 81 percent.
-Science got an 87 percent favorable rating from whites, compared with 76 percent among blacks and 75 percent for Hispanics.
-The public and the science association members did not always see eye-to-eye. For example 87 percent of AAAS scientists believed that humans and other living things evolved naturally, compared with 32 percent of the general public. And while 84 percent of the association members say the Earth is getting warmer because of human activities, just 49 percent of the public agreed.
-A majority of the public – 58 percent – favor federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, but that is well short of the 93 percent of scientists who feel that way.
– And 69 percent of Americans say all parents should be required to vaccinate their children, compared with 82 percent of scientists.

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Fan Mail Department:
If folks are going to gratuitously write us about how awful we are, they can expect to get published, together with their email, so that their potential victims can respond.
Here is one such, followed by the response of American Atheist’s President Ed Buckner (NOTE: we do not answer all emails. But some we do).
Name: Mr. Bynum

Edwin.

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Email: [email protected]
Re: Why God is real and why you are a fool

Hello,
My name is Mr. Bynum. In no way is this message threatening, or filled with anger and hate. If you wish to try and prosecute me on false charges of hate/threatening mail, I just want you to know you will end up fighting a losing battle, for my God is not invisible, but very, very real.
The subject of my message is this: atheism is a pearl in the necklace of wrong ideas.
And there is a God, in a real place called Heaven, and there is a real place called Hell, where those who reject God will spend eternity.
You claim that you have given reasonable evidence against religion, and yet people won’t turn from their religion. You wonder why this has occurred. Well it’s because your alleged ‘evidence’ is actually nothing but washed up ideas that that have been proven worthless for decades.
The declaration ‘There is no God, god, gods, is an absolute statement. For an absolute statement to be true, you must have absolute knowledge, of all things. You would have to know every detail of History, how many atoms there are in all the rocks, know how many hairs are on the head of every human, and the thought of every mind.
So do you have complete and absolute all knowledge of everything? If not, to be reasonable and logical, then you would have to state ‘Using the limited knowledge that I have, I believe that there is no God, god, gods.’
Let me in turn ask you a question: if you were to send me a list of any and all questions you have regarding God’s existence and other religious questions, and I answered them to your full satisfaction, would YOU then turn to God and be saved?
Here are some other questions for you to seriously consider:
How can morality exist in a world, without a complete and totally moral God?
How can there be an intelligent design (the universe, especially the Earth) without an intelligent designer (God)? Think of a soda can- do you think it is logical or intelligent to say that a soda can has no designer or creator?
Did you know that the eye has 40,000,000 nerve endings, the focusing muscles move an estimated 100,000 times a day, and the retina contains 137,000,000 light sensitive cells? The idea that the eye could have formed in such a way from evolution or natural selection seems undoubtedly absurd to the highest degree. So why do you think it’s logical or even intelligent to believe that the world formed from a big explosion or any other form, other than a creator?
I invite you to come and veiw this website:
http://www.gotquestions.org/argument-existence-God.html
If you have any answers to my questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected] The following statement is not a threat but a simple statement to whomever reads this message-Rest assured, I will always have a counterargument to anything you try to use to try and prove my God does not exist.
May God bless you,
S. G. Bynum
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Ed Buckner Response:

Mr. S. G. Bynum,

Your message may indeed be characterized, plausibly, as not filled with anger and hate–but surely you realize that calling someone a fool in a subject line isn’t likely to begin a meaningful dialogue? (And yes, I know your Bible calls me that as well in two nearly identical verses–but I don’t see any good reasons to accept your Bible as an authority.)

Despite your apparent rudeness, I read your assertions and claims. They are neither as persuasive nor as original as you seem to think they are. If you really think this is an interesting set of arguments and want to pursue discussion of them, please first read Richard Dawkins, Keith Parsons, David Eller, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and the many essays on our web-site–and get back to me then.

Regards,

Ed B.
Ed Buckner
President
American Atheists
www.atheists.org
[email protected]
Something To Do Department:
Read this from the President of American Atheists and then send your letter to the magazine.
Edwin.

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From: Ed Buckner, President [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Saturday, July 18, 2009 4:05 PM
Subject: Amazing–and distressing–article in August Harper’s

All,

In this month’s (August 2009) Harper’s Magazine there is an article, “Like I was Jesus: How to Bring a Nine-Year-Old to Jesus,” by Rachel Aviv, that stirs real anger in me and reminds me of Richard Dawkins’s comments in The God Delusion about child abuse and religious identification, Edwin Kagin and Camp Quest (and the gross distortion in the press recently regarding Dawkins and CQ), the Jesus Camp tape of a few years back, and much else.

This article describes, in chilling detail (sometimes humorous, but overall frightening as hell) efforts in Connecticut to bring unwary children in public schools and public housing projects to Christian salvation. Aviv makes its abundantly clear that efforts such as the ones she describes so well are not mere academic questions, but are instead a real danger, to these children (including the young people, most of them little more than children themselves, who’re doing the proselytizing) and to a secular, rational culture.

It’s worth your going to the library or newsstand and buying the issue if you’re not a subscriber. (An online link is below–but it only links to a teaser, nit to the whole article.)

Regards to all,

Ed B.

Ed Buckner
President
American Atheists
www.atheists.org
[email protected]

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/08/0082606

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