Skeptics and Atheists of Durango NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 17, 2014

Skeptics and Atheists of Durango        December 17, 2014

“For I have done your bidding.  I have slain mine enemies in your name.  I have put women and children to death in your honor.  I have caused great pain among them, for your glory.”  – King David (c. 1011 – 971 B.C.E)

David is credited as being the author of the Psalms (but they were most likely written c. 600 B.C.E.) 

On the Agenda for December’s Meeting

Wednesday December 17th at Irish Embassy, 900 Main Street Durango.

Dinner, for those interested, from 5:30PM.  Meeting at 6:45-ish.

Max Macpherson will lead the group discussion.  Max will introduce  the book “On Being Certain; Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not”.   He will lead us as we explore the biological origins of the feeling of certainty.

Project Merry Christmas culminates in the delivery of gifts to ‘our’ family this Sunday, December 21.  Kathleen is our point-person (since she has so much free time!) for collecting the gifts.  Either bring your wrapped gifts to the December 17 meeting OR drop them at her house this week (on the porch or inside the front door).  Kathleen’s address is: 1832 Highland Ave, Durango.

MORE Project Merry Christmas!  For any members who still wish to contribute, we will be taking donations (cash/check) AT THE MEETING to purchase a credit on the family’s LPEA bill OR for a gift certificate to City Market.  Kathleen will handle the donations and convert them into gift certificates.  Make checks out to LPEA or Cash.

Maria Doucette, who normally is our cheerful Santa-in-Chief for the Project Merry Christmas drive, suffered the loss of her grandmother earlier this month.  As a result, she is spending her time this December helping her aunt with funeral preparations and attending to other family details.  We send our most sincere condolences to Maria and her family and we look forward to her return to our group.

As always, CANNED FOOD will be collected for the Food Bank!  Kathleen again!

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NEXT BOOK FOR OUR BOOK CLUB:

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (recommended by Kathleen O’Conner)

Friday, January 23rd 2015 (6:30PM) at Kathleen and Adam’s home,1832 Highland Ave, Durango

Present day Earth receives signals from an extra-terrestrial source…a group of missionaries are dispatched to make first contact.  With God leading the Jesuit mission what could go wrong?

Limited to first 10 reservations!  PLEASE RSVP AT MEETUP.COM

 

UPCOMING BOOKS FOR THE BOOK CLUB include:

Waking Up: A Guide To Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris  Mon, Feb 23, 2015

Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist   March 13, 2015

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor   June 28, 2015

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Greenpeace Activists Irreparably Damage Ancient Nazca Lines

Contributed by Joyce Fontana

http://www.iflscience.com/environment/greenpeace-irrevocably-damages-fragile-nazca-lines-peru-during-publicity-stunt

From I Fucking Love Science: “Pro tip: If you want to be taken seriously when you are delivering an important protest against the destruction of the Earth, it’s best to not desecrate a World Heritage Site in the process.  While this advice could probably be categorized under  “logic for five year olds,” it has apparently eluded the folks at Greenpeace.  Protestors from the group inflicted irreversible damage to the Nazca Lines in Peru when they laid out banners ironically decrying the destruction of the environment.”

Read this and weep.  Here’s what it looks like:

nazca lines greenpeace

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75% of Americans See the Bible as The ‘Inspired’ Word of God

Contributed by Beth Jones

http://www.gallup.com/poll/170834/three-four-bible-word-god.aspx?utm_source=facebookbutton&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=sharing

Beth writes: “I was curious to see how most Christians view the bible since my own experience with my family has shown me that many Christians do not see it as the word of God, but rather an historical religious text that can offer insight and a set of values.

wpgmhi27j0q8qf977uj8ug

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When My Son Survived a Serious Accident, I Didn’t Thank God … I Thanked Honda

Contributed by Kathleen O’Conner

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/12/when-my-son-survived-a-serious-accident-i-didnt-thank-god-i-thanked-honda/

This mother writes: “Something sad and strange happens when we thank God: we tend to stop there…”

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Christian blogger Rachel Held Evans created this handy chart as a reference for Christians of the Bill O’Reilly ilk who feel persecuted every Christmas season.

o-PERSECUTED-570

She points out, “Religious persecution is real. Suffering is real. But sharing the public square is not persecution and being wished “happy holidays” causes no one to suffer…”.  Stuff that in your stocking, Mr. O’Reilly

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While This Seems Like a Positive Development….

http://www.religionnews.com/2014/12/02/evangelicals-add-support-epa-plan-cut-coal-pollution/

WASHINGTON (RNS) Evangelicals are teaming up with environmentalists to support the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan to substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants.

The Rev. Mitchell Hescox, president and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network, submitted comments from more than 100,000 “pro-life Christians” who he said are concerned about children’s health problems that are linked to unclean air and water.

“From acid rain to mercury to carbon, the coal utility industry has never acted as a good neighbor and cleaned up their mess on their own,” Hescox told reporters on Monday (Dec. 1). “Instead of acting for the benefit of our children’s lives, they’ve internalized their profits while our kids (have) borne the cost in their brains, lungs and lives.”

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…There’s This: Over Half of Americans Think Adam and Eve Were Real People

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2014/12/creationism_poll_how_many_americans_believe_the_bible_is_literal_inerrant.html

Click on the link above for details behind the numbers from Slate.com141203_creationChart.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

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Atheists Continue to be the One Group It’s OK to Discriminate Against

http://www.newser.com/story/199726/atheists-banned-from-public-office-in-7-states.html

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Pope Watch

Pope Sez: that Heaven isn’t exclusively for human beings (or post-human beings).  Animals will also enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven!  “The Holy Scriptures teach us that the realization of this wonderful plan covers all that is around us, and that came out of the thought and the heart of God,” Pope Francis said, as quoted by Italian news site Resapubblica.  The Pope then went on to say that “heaven is open to all creatures, and there [they] will be vested with the joy and love of God, without limits.”  https://www.thedodo.com/animals-go-to-heaven-says-pope-866342824.html

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News of the Stupid:

Kentucky Withdraws Tax Breaks from Ken Ham’s Noah’s Ark Project  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/11/kentucky-noahs-ark-tax-breaks_n_6307882.html

All they had to do was abide by anti-discrimination laws in their hiring practices and the state of Kentucky would have handed over taxpayer money to fund 25% of the cost of building Ken Ham’s latest Bible-based tourist attraction.  Answers in Genesis, builders of the Creation Museum, is building a theme park around a giant replica of Noah’s Ark.  But, they insist on screening future employees to be sure each one is a True Believer.  The miracle here is that the citizens of Kentucky will not be wasting over $20,000,000 on this boondoggle.

Atheists: Not Only Reviled But Feared?   http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/2014/12/10/swat-teams-train-to-kill-extremist-atheist-terrorists-at-gun-show-convention/

At the annual Urban Shield conference, SWAT teams trained to rescue Christians-held-hostage in a church by ‘…extremist, Atheist, terrorists’.

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Tom the Dancing Bug is reprinted in the Skeptics and Atheists of Durango Newsletter

with the permission of the cartoonist, Ruben Bolling.Tom the Dancing Bug

See the Tom the Dancing Bug Archive at gocomics.com.  Support Reuben Bolling by joining the Inner Hive!  A mere $10/year for inside stories, early access to new comics and the warm feeling that comes from supporting a comic genius.  Go to http://gocomics.typepad.com/tomthedancingbug/blog for more information.  Join me in The Hive!

Are there any announcements, activities, opinions or other tidbits which 

you would like your fellow Skeptics and Atheists to know about?

Drop an email to larrybollinger@comcast.net with your information so that it can be included in the next newsletter!

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