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Archive for April, 2008

This group is really coming together! Cat Herding is possible?

Posted by Andy D. on April 18, 2008

I saw this on Debunking Christianity’s Bog. Remember our meeting on May 14th with John Loftus! This should be our biggest turnout. I am glad to be apart of the freethought experience.

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Posted in FreeThought, Humor, Local | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Truth, The Whole Truth, Etc.

Posted by mikebftw on April 16, 2008

Whenever I try to explain to a believer why I don’t believe in any gods or religions, I find myself facing an often-recycled argument about truth.

“Well, that’s what’s true for you.”

What usually precedes this argument is any number of points I’ve made that rest on empirical evidence. What usually follows is a retreat to the far reaches of the universe of philosophical skepticism. A heretofore logical conversation partner instantly turns into the consummate postmodernist. Suddenly truth is a David Lynch film; confusing and nebulous and ultimately subjective.

While we may not be equipped to discover the capital-T “Truth,” we can all agree on a generally accepted level of confidence in the “amount” of truth we can perceive. It’s fine for someone’s words to question truth itself for philosophy’s sake, but no one acts on this perspective. No one. Imagine if you owed someone $500.00:

You: Here you go.
Lender: What’s this?
You: That $500.00 I owe you.
Lender: This is a stack of Pogs.
You: To you.
Lender: No, to pretty much everyone. And while I’m astonished that these are still in existence, my astonishment is not worth $500.00.
You: It is to me! Or is it… we ultimately have no way of really knowing, so let’s just call it square, OK?
Lender: Not OK. Prepare to be kneecapped.

I guess my imagined scenario is pretty ridiculous. The point I’d like to make is that believers can’t continue to be skeptical of nothing and skeptical of everything at the same time. If you really want to dive into the issue and swim around a little bit, I recommend this page, which I recently StumbledUpon:

http://www.sl4.org/wiki/TheSimpleTruth

m

Posted in Philosophy, Skepticism | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Christine Comer: Expelled For Real

Posted by neuralgourmet on April 15, 2008

While I might think that the fraudulent documentary Expelled is a non-starter, it can’t be argued that Creationists and Intelligent Design proponents are waging a political war based on ideology. One such casualty of that war is Christine Comer who was the Director of Science for the Texas Education Agency for nine years before being expelled for “repeated acts of misconduct and insubordination”. But what exactly were her crimes? Well, in fact, there was only one. She forwarded an e-mail promoting a talk by Barbara Forrest with the National Center For Science Education. As it so happens, I was over at NCSE’s newly redesigned Expelled Exposed site and happened to see this short video of Christine Comer talking about her experience. There’s not a lot of factual information in there, but it puts a human face on the manufactuversy. Enjoy.

Oh, and don’t forget to bookmark Expelled Exposed’s YouTube channel. I expect you’ll be able to see many more videos there in days to come.

Posted in Religion | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Our next meeting will be May 14th, 2008

Posted by Skeptigator on April 14, 2008

As a special treat John W. Loftus will be speaking to our group on the topic, “Why I rejected Christianity”. The meeting is at the Downtown Fort Wayne Public Library in Meeting Room B from 7:00PM to 9:00PM. There will probably be a group of us going out afterwords for drinks.

Here’s a little more information on the author, John Loftus,

“Born and raised in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and as a former ordained minister with Christ’s Church at Georgetown, John ministered for fourteen years in Christian churches in the Tri-State area. John earned the equivalent of a PhD degree in philosophical and theological studies. He was a student of William Lane Craig, considered by many Christians to be the best defender of their faith in this generation. John’s book, “Why I Became an Atheist: A Preacher Rejects Christianity,” will be published this year by Prometheus Books. John is also the founder of the blog titled, “Debunking Christianity,” which has several ex-Christian ministers and apologists sharing their reasons why the Christian faith is delusional.”

Posted in Events, FreeThought, Local, Skepticism | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Expelled is a non-starter

Posted by neuralgourmet on April 14, 2008

It seems the producers of the fraudulent documentary about a manufactured controversy starring wannabe smart guy Ben Stein are going out of their way to insure that the film will be a flop. They are actually withholding screenings of Expelled from critics. This seems like a reasonable thing to do if your film is full of spurious facts and misrepresentations. After all, critics have this nasty habit of, you know, criticizing and who wants that? Especially when you’re banking on people not knowing what your flick is about lest they decide to hang onto their hard won money.

And it’s a tactic that works when your audience doesn’t read movie reviews anyway instead relying on commercials and trailers. As Sean Means, film critic for the Salt Lake Tribune puts it:

This makes sense, from the studio’s perspective, since the people who go to see horror flicks and dumb comedies – teenagers and morons, respectively – don’t read reviews, and will be lured by those shiny objects called TV commercials. The same logic applied to the “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus” concert movie, which was pre-sold to its pre-teen audience, who would have attended no matter what wooly-headed critics likeme had to say about it.”

However, documentaries are different. Documentaries aren’t usually marketable via trailers or commercials and people are reluctant to spend their money to be “educated”, especially by an unknown film. So documentaries are almost always dependent on critics for initial praise and to help build a word-of-mouth following.

Not the producers of Expelled though. But why? Probably because they know the film is terrible. Not just bad, but mind-blowing, gut-wrenching, claw-your-eyes-out-with-your-fingers awful. They don’t want critics to see it because they don’t want people to know, before they plunk their silver down, how abysmal the flick really is.

So I think we have to ask, why all the fuss? The film is getting next to no publicity outside of creationist circles, the widely reported disingenuous tactics and the general ineptitude of the producers of Expelled have already garnered the film so much negative publicity that perhaps the only reason anybody would pay to see the movie is to laugh at it, much in the way that people laugh at Ed Wood films. I think, inside of a month, Expelled will have come and gone and no one but creationists will care.

Well, to be fair, there are some reasons for rationalists to care. After all, viewing flicks like Expelled gives good exercise in deconstructing propaganda and studying denialist tactics (and believe me, denialists all use the same tactics). It’s also useful for pointing out to others the deceitful hypocrisy of creationist and ID proponents. Beyond that though, I truly think Expelled is a complete non-starter.

Posted in Religion | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

I Have Found God!

Posted by JD on April 13, 2008

And Her name is spelled “G-O-O-G-L-E”

She answers every question I ask.

It’s gotten so habitual that I’ve started praying to Her.

There’s even a site for dyslexics (sort of).

And talk about a God who can communicate with all of Her creations! There are over 140 languages you can use to communicate with Her, including igPay atinLay, Elmer Fudd, and Hacker.

Seriously, have you never googled google? Ok, maybe I have too much time on my hands.

But there is one google site I really do recommend. It cuts out a lot of the mythos that you have to wade through to get to the good stuff.

That site talked me out of the last religion that I was sucked into and the one before that.

Thank Google for that.

Posted in Humor, Skepticism | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The First Ever Freethought Fort Wayne Contest!

Posted by JD on April 12, 2008

I noticed no one else has posted a contest yet here, so I get to be the first! I plan on giving a small token to the winner, but I don’t know what it will be yet. Bragging rights come along with it.

I got this idea from the evangelicalatheist, so he deserves some of the credit. I think he deleted the original contest, but luckily I write down most everything. This is a Haiku contest. The following are some of my entries in his contest. The only rule is that it needs to revolve around religion, atheism, science or philosophy. That leaves it pretty wide open. I will be the final judge (bribes accepted), but I want you guys and gals to tell me which ones you think are the best. I will announce the winner next weekend so get crackin’ and have fun!

My examples:

Bush chokes on pretzel

Atheists briefly wonder:

Might there be a God?

Critical of cults?

Not critical of your faith?

Hypocritical!

Creationism

The Spanish Inquisition

Ignorance is bliss?

Yawning brings demon

Sneezes exorcise demon

Bless you! Body cleansed.

The root of evil?

Money given to churches

to uproot evil

The Old Testament

was just called The Testament

before the new one

Apologist in

missionary position

uses bible belt

From Adam and Eve

to a virgin that conceives

why should I believe?

Hitler had one nut.

Testicular fortitude

was not his strong suit

Posted in Events, FreeThought, Humor | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Howdy Everybody

Posted by JD on April 11, 2008

I’ve just recently had the pleasure of joining Freethought Fort Wayne and I thought I would introduce myself.

I’m the definition of a natural born skeptic. I’ve attended several churches a few dozen times over the last three decades, but never as a believer. From what I understand, it is rare to never have been indoctrinated into a religion, especially in a town like Fort Wayne, the “City of Churches”.

I go by the handle Theo Doersing, but it is not my real name. This is not out of fear. I am quite openly anti-theist and a humanist. I use this handle because of my devious sense of humor.

Theo Doersing is an anagram. I’ll let you figure out what it is.

I’ll leave you with a few tidbits of my silly side until next time because “A little nonsense now and then is welcomed by the wisest men” (Willy Wonka):

cross eyed = blinded by faith

There’s no “I” in HEAVEN, but there’s no “U” either.

A freethinker uses his brain, is compassionate, and is not afraid to accept death.

A Christian knows that somewhere over the rainbow God is waiting with his brain, heart and courage.

Belief is relief

But prophets make profits so

Beware of dogma

Abstinence is the only form of safe sects.

And most importantly:

Don’t wipe. It’s a sin to touch your pooper.

Posted in Local | 10 Comments »

Walking with Dinosaurs Live

Posted by Skeptigator on April 10, 2008

The critically-acclaimed Walking With Dinosaurs series has now been turned into a live arena-based event. And guess what? It comes to Fort Wayne May 28th – June 1st for 7 shows.

Check out the website it looks amazing. My kids LOVE the WWD series, we even own it on DVD. My wife and I will definitely be taking our 2 boys to see this.

But be forewarned the tickets go on sale April 12th and it has been selling out so I would get on it if you want decent seats. If anyone else is attending let me know.

Here’s a little taste but there is much more on their website.

Posted in Events, Local, Science | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Barack Obama visits Fort Wayne

Posted by Skeptigator on April 4, 2008

As many Fort Wayners probably know by now, Barack Obama stopped by Wayne High School in Fort Wayne today. My wife and I plus our two little heathens were fortunate enough to be able to attend this event. There is something about a political rally that really gets your blood pumping. Until the speeches began I did not realize that today also marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have included a video of that portion of his speech.

After the event my wife lamented the fact that we weren’t able to see Hillary Clinton in person in order to get a “feel” for the two candidates. We were not able to see Bill Clinton when he came to town either. And allow me if you will to rant a little bit about the differences between the two campaigns. Hillary comes to a small restaurant in the Fort and Barack books a high school gymnasium. Bill Clinton comes to town and they book a room at the Grand Wayne Center. To me, and this is totally my opinion on the operations of the campaigns and not the fitness of either candidate, the Clinton campaign (or the local Democratic Party, not sure who does this stuff) is either not really trying very hard in Indiana or they are just running a sloppy campaign which I put in steep contrast to the very well thought out and coordinated efforts of the Barack campaign.

Also on another political note, the deadline to register to vote in time to be able vote at the May 6th primary is April 7th (check here for polling places). Many states require that you declare a party in order to vote in their primaries however Indiana does not. I need to verify this but the only caveat is that you can only vote on one party’s ballot in Indiana, so if you want to vote between Obama or Clinton then you will only be able to choose candidates on the Democratic ballot and you will not be able to choose any candidate on the Republican ticket (and vice versa).

Posted in Events, Local, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »