[Pre-Blogathon] Of Dinosaurs and Saddles

Part of the reason I’ve been so inactive on the internet recently is that the indomitable Louise (@spa_yedimonster) and I spent part of this week in Kentucky at a certain museum (hint: it involves creationism) you may recognize…


…for a women’s conference.

A full write-up (with pictures!) will be appearing over at Friendly Atheist shortly.

In the meantime, I’ll be blogalogging over here for SSAWeek, starting at 10 Central. Have something you want me to write about? For a $20 donation to the SSA, you can pick a post topic!

Have a post topic? Tweet me! Even more importantly, donate to Secular Students!

[Pre-Blogathon] Of Dinosaurs and Saddles

I don’t understand religion part 923

How can a person hold these two thoughts in their head?

1. The universe is too complex to simply exist, it must have been created

2. God, something so complex it can create and control universes, doesn’t require a creator

It seems to me that you can have two viewpoints that are internally consistent.  You can believe either:

1. Complicated things can exist without a creator, allowing the possibility of a universe without a creator and the possibility of God or

2. Everything complicated requires a creator, demanding a creator of the universe but denying the possibility of God at the same time

I just had this question with someone who is not a stupid person.  I know that atheist readers sometimes have difficulty grasping that not stupid people can believe in God, I myself have that difficulty at times, but I just cannot understand the complete lack of logic there.  Not only that, but the inability of the person in question to grasp the logic fail of saying that “everything must have a cause, except God” which means that not everything must have a cause, which means there’s no need for God.

Here is a place where it is laid out in much fuller detail, but if anyone can explain to me how those two thoughts exist inside the head of a not stupid person, please do, because he sure couldn’t.

I don’t understand religion part 923

Atheists United: Barbara Forrest

Power Corrupts, PowerPoint Corrupts Absolutely — Edward Tufte

I went this morning to something I found on meetup.com, which was an event hosted by Atheists United.  I’m not a dues paying member of Atheists United, but they function as sort of a community for Atheists that’s analogous to a church.  The event was a speech and lunch function, and the speaker was Barbara Forrest, who was instrumental in the Dover case against Intelligent Design.

She was very interesting and knowledgeable, and I feel immediate kinship to smart, rational, public school educated Southern women.  She had a powerpoint (keynote) presentation, and I really hate those, but other than that it was fascinating in a somewhat horrific way.  In Louisiana they’ve passed a law (SB 733) that basically says that a science teacher can supplement the science curriculum with whatever they want, the intention being that science teachers can teach Creationism if they so choose.

It’s so bad that, even though they’ve tried to pass it in several other states including Texas, the only place it’s actually passed is Louisiana.  It is a point of embarrassment that it’s still under consideration in South Carolina.  But apparently Louisiana, in addition to being ridiculously religious and conservative like the rest of the south, suffers from having an incredibly strong Executive Branch with an extremely right-wing religioso and politically vindictive governor, Bobby Jindal.  You’ll remember him from his embarrassingly bad response to Obama’s State of the Union.

I was shocked that I hadn’t heard about this at all.  I mean, you can teach creationism in public school biology classes in Louisiana.  It’s really icky.  Being a SC native, I’m hoping that the particularly weak governorship in SC will prevent this legislation from being pushed through there.

So, she was interesting.  But the event as a whole was a bit… geriatric.  I mean, I would guess the average age in the room was over 60.  They need to start a youth outreach or something because I felt very awkward being one of 2 people there under the age of 50.  Nothing wrong with older people, of course, it was just a bit weird.  I mean, people were impressed by the powerpoint presentation…

Atheists United: Barbara Forrest