Editorial opinions and story selection do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the leadership or members of DS&A.
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Thanks to the following for contributing to July’s Newsletter: Betsy Norton, Lou Fontana, Rebecca Martinez, Marc Masor, Wray Boswell, Dan McGuinness, Kathleen O’Conner, Ray Polidori, and Uncle Bob
“There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer”.
-Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946)
Next general meeting, July 20
Meetings are at Irish Embassy, 900 Main Street Durango
Dinner, for those interested, from 5:30PM. Discussion starts at 6:30
The discussion topic for this month:
When was the moment that you decided you were an (choose one) Atheist/Agnostic/Humanist/Secularist/Free Thinker/Rationalist?
What was your first inkling that the religion of your birth was seriously deficient? When did you first set both feet firmly on the Road to Perdition? What led you to your Atheism? It’s always interesting to hear about others’ personal stories and what led them to reject religion. At this month’s general meeting, you will have the opportunity to learn more about your fellow members and what events shaped their lives. Share your own story and then sit back and listen as others do the same!
IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT THIS MONTH’S MEETING…PLEASE READ!
We anticipate having a new member at this monthly meeting. He was convicted of attempted murder. He contacted the organizers before he came to a meetup, letting us know that he is currently living in Hill Top (a half-way house), and asking if we had a problem with him attending. After reflection we decided that we wanted to include him in the group. We also felt a duty to the members of the group to advise the members of his anticipated attendance.
Obviously the severity of this crime may be of concern to individuals. If people wanted to share their perspective privately with the organizers of the group, Kathleen, Dan and Larry, please feel free to do so (you can email one of us and cc the other two through the meetup.com message system).
In letting us know about his crime he also shared the following:
I am ex-Navy, had a great career as a systems integrator,
traveled the world several times over, have two daughters and a grandson.
This was my first issue with the law-of any kind.
I am hoping to spend some time with like-minded people who base their
decisions on logic and understanding rather than emotion and can get to
know me for me and not my mistake.
If nothing else, I would bring a unique perspective.
Skeptics and Atheists of Durango Members Seek Voter Signatures
Members Betsy Norton and Lou Fontana have been active in the “Yes on CO End of Life Options” movement for some time. Currently, they are seeking members’ signatures on the petition to get a death-with-dignity measure on the November ballot. It’s a race-against-time to gather signatures from registered voters in Durango so that they can be forwarded to Denver by July 25th. Earlier this year, a Death With Dignity bill, proposed in the Colorado legislature, was defeated in a vote along party lines, the Democrats in favor, the Republicans opposed. This ballot initiative is an attempt to revive the bill and provide seriously ill citizens alternatives to needlessly suffering at the end of their lives. IF YOU WANT TO SIGN THE PETITION, YOUR TIME IS RUNNING OUT!
YOU MUST SIGN THE PETITION IN PERSON…
WHERE TO SIGN: Juanita Ainsley will be at the Durango Library on Tuesday, 7/19, from 11AM – 12:30PM. Or check out the following locations:
* Organizers in our area will be in Rotary Park 9AM – 3PM to accept signatures from registered voters
* There are usually volunteers at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.
*If you are having trouble connecting with the petition, you can contact John Shiffel at email@example.com to find out where you can sign.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE MEASURE: http://www.denverpost.com/2016/02/12/yes-colorado-should-pass-the-end-of-life-options-act/ OR durangoherald.co.newsmemory.com/publink.php?shareid=3147757e4 OR http://www.coendoflifeoptions.org/
Are You Ready For Some Good News Out of Texas?
(Contributed by Kathleen O’Conner) Clayton and Janna Nash have given birth to a bouncing baby Atheist! Our heartiest congratulations on the arrival, June 20 2016, of Lukas James Nash! Welcome to Planet Earth, little Free Thinker! For the benefit of newcomers to the Skeptics and Atheists of Durango, we should explain that Clayton was one of the founders of the group. His work as an engineer for BP required him to move to (shudder) Texas. We miss you guys and wish you luck on your new hobby!
Durango Atheists Hit the Road!
(Photos contributed by Rebecca Martinez and Marc Masor)
The Skeptics and Atheists of Durango took to the open road Sunday, June 26th, to spruce up our adopted portion of Highway 550 at Coal Bank Pass. Marc Masor noted, “Noticeably less trash than the last time we were here…clearly, we’re making a difference.”
FOLLOW-UP ON PAST GROUP DISCUSSIONS
All Aboard The Ark!
Atheists Warn Schools About Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter
(Contributed by Wray Boswell) http://www.christianpost.com/news/atheist-group-warns-schools-against-ken-hams-1-ark-encounter-field-trips-166553/ The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent warnings to Kentucky school districts, saying that a school field trip to the ark would be akin to proselytizing and would violate the principle of separation of church and state.
This is the latest billboard in which the Ark Encounter Project responds to critics. (Photo: Answersingenesis)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/noahs-ark-dinosaurs_us_577d9ff8e4b0344d514dea93?section= It’s not just a mis-use of tax payer money, it’s a mis-representation of science.
Says Huffington Post: “It’s like the Flintstones, only on a big boat!” Read the article and be astounded at Ken Ham’s hilarious explanation of how all those dinosaurs fit into the ark.
“Rachael Cross, who visited with her five children, told CBS News that the Ark shows actual history. “The truth. The absolute truth,” Cross told the network. “God’s word is the Bible and it’s the absolute truth. I totally believe that.”
Critics said the Ark was a threat to kids.” Now ain’t THAT the truth?
107 Nobel Laureates to Greenpeace: “Knock It Off!”
107 Nobel Laureates ask Greenpeace to end its efforts to block the introduction of a new strain of rice which supporters say have many positive health benefits for the developing world.
Are Hardline Atheists Alienating the Very People Who Should Be Our Allies?
(Contributed by Wray Boswell) http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/upfront/2016/07/atheists-undermining-atheist-160715102830982.html “So-called New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris, tend to see religion as irrational, evil and unnecessary, often saying that faith must be resisted, or even eliminated. But as the number of atheists, many of whom are happy to coexist with faith communities, increases, does hostility from new atheists undermine the atheist cause?In this week’s Arena, we debate the issue with two leading atheists, author and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss and humanist chaplain Greg Epstein.”
Incidentally, Krauss says he now identifies as an ‘apatheist’ (that is, one who is apathetic about the existence or non-existence of god).
Is Religion the Root of the World’s Conflicts? Karen Anderson Says, “No”.
(Contributed by Wray Boswell) http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/upfront/2016/07/religion-root-world-conflicts-160715103347604.html “From the Crusades to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL which is also known as ISIS), religion is often blamed for some of the world’s worst conflicts. While some use their faith to justify acts of violence, is religion really the root of such conflicts? In this week’s Headliner, we speak with Karen Armstrong, author of Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, who says politics, not religion is to blame for the violence in today’s world.”
Survey: White Evangelicals Overwhelmingly Back Trump
http://religionnews.com/2016/07/13/white-evangelicals-overwhelmingly-back-trump-survey-says/ According to Pew Research, 78% of evangelicals would vote for Donald Trump if the election was held today.
“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”
Stories of The Odd
(Contributed by Uncle Bob via Ray Polidori)
Duck Dynasty ‘Star’, Phil Robertson’s Breathtaking ‘Proof’ of Jesus’ Existence
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/07/05/duck-dynasty-star-phil-robertson-makes-argument-for-the-existence-of-jesus-in-world-conservative-summit-speech/ Executive Summary: the calendar dates from Jesus’ birth, so Jesus must be real. But, if you have the time, the video is very entertaining. Theblaze.com posiitively swooned at the elegance of the argument presented…
He’s a theological genius!
And now, your moment of Dancing Bug
Tom the Dancing Bug is reprinted in the Durango Skeptics and Atheists Newsletter with the permission of its creator, Reuben Bolling. See more TtDB cartoons at http://www.gocomics.com/tomthedancingbug. Help support Reuben Bolling’s “Inner Hive”