Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monkeying Around on Science Sunday!

For November’s Science Sunday, the UNCG Atheists screened an episode of The Life of Mammals (BBC).  Hosted by David Attenborough, this ten-part series is a magnificent exploration of the evolution and behavior of that remarkably variegated class of animals… mammals!  This class of vertebrate animals is characterized by “endothermy (internal regulation of body temperature, often known as warm-bloodedness), bearing live young (placental), and feeding their young with milk produced by mammary glands.”

Monkeys are differentiated from other primates in the following ways:

The cinematography of The Social Climbers is truly beautiful and mesmerizing. And David Attenborough’s narration is both poetically informative and highly accessible.   Attenborough is perhaps the world’s foremost film-maker of natural history, and has been at it for more than 25 years.  He is also a non-theist!  In an interview with Radio Times regarding hate mail and death threats from creationists, Attenborough stated that it never even occurred to him to believe in god, that the sermons he heard as a child sounded absurdly unbelievable, and that the cruel indifference of nature is “hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator.”

The film instigated a spirited group discussion regarding the nature of the emotional lives of non-human animals (with ethical implications as to how one should prioritize non-human animal well-being), and whether there’s somehow more than a naturalistic explanation for ‘love.’

Good times!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Satanists masquerade evil with "festive potluck"

And our evil was a great success indeed! Everyone who showed brought something to the table. We had everything from two turkeys to casseroles of all varieties to home-made cookies and pumpkin squares. Even those who couldn't stay for long contributed a bounty! Awesome! It was a night of heathen antics, full bellies, and competitive Foosball. We wanted to sacrifice our captives to Cthulhu but it turns out that we're not very good at building fires. So instead we all expressed how grateful we are for each other and considered these words of secular grace:

"Let us enjoy good food and good drink,
And let us thank all whose efforts have set them before us; 
Let us enjoy good companionship, 
And let us each one be good company to the others; 
Let us enjoy ourselves, without guilt, 
But let us not forget that many are less fortunate." -George Rogers

We're a skeptical bunch.
Also, Vice President Jessica Gore produced this wonderful portrait of many in our group personified as a community of dinosaurs. As naturalists, we can only assume that after this picture was "taken," the strong devoured the meek's reward before an asteroid obliterated the unlikely collective . Happy endings are so sweet!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Remembering the sacrifices of those who served

Veterans Day is an opportunity to honor our servicemen and women who have fought for our right to organize apart from religion.  So we feel immense gratitude to be among the honored when we spent Sunday night with Disabled AmericanVeterans, the official organization that provides tireless representation and service to those who sacrificed for our country.  With DAV, ten members of our godless group raised nearly $500 at two Golden Corral locations in Greensboro.

We would like to thank Joey Kirkman of Church Without Walls for presenting the opportunity, Jessie Carty of the Marine Corps and Commander Spencer for accommodating us, and the veterans who’s service won't  be forgotten including the atheists in foxholes in our own group: Phillip Drum, James Muldoon, and Scott Parker.

Pictured left to right: Thomas O'Connell, Bobby Littlejohn, Jessie Carty, Daniel Foster, Zach Webb

James Muldoon, Christi Sevits, James Gemperline, Ashley Mears (not pictured)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Reasonable Gratitude

Do you find that there are good reasons to be grateful for your own existence? Are you thankful that you were born in a time/place where you have opportunity to access food, shelter, education, internet? Do you find it inappropriate (or perhaps insane) to give props to the (nonexistent) Big Man in the Sky for coordinating/allowing eons of suffering in order that you might share in said 'blessings'?

Then come celebrate Thanksgiving this year with the UNCG Atheists, Agnostics & Skeptics! You don't need a god to be grateful, or to share in good food and fellowship.

We will be holding our Secular Humanist Thanksgiving potluck @ Dan & Josh's house. It's a POTLUCK, so everyone who comes should bring his/her own favorite dish to share. If you plan on attending, please e-mail us for directions and also to let us know which dish/drink you plan on bringing.


A Humanist Thanksgiving Proclamation

by Robert Green Ingersoll (1833–1899)

When I became convinced that the universe is natural — that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom.
The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf or a slave. There was for me no master in all the world — not even infinite space.
I was free:
  • Free to think, to express my thoughts
  • Free to live my own ideal
  • Free to live for myself and those I loved
  • Free to use all my faculties, all my senses
  • Free to spread imagination’s wings
  • Free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope
  • Free to judge and determine for myself
  • Free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the “inspired” books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past
  • Free from popes and priests
  • Free from all the “called” and “set apart”
  • Free from sanctified mistakes and “holy” lies
  • Free from the winged monsters of the night
  • Free from devils, ghosts and gods
For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought — no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings; no claims for my limbs; no lashes for my back; no fires for my flesh; no following another’s steps; no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds.
And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love:
  • To all the heroes, the thinkers, who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain
  • For the freedom of labor and thought
  • To those who fell on the fierce fields of war
  • To those who died in dungeons bound with chains
  • To those who proudly mounted scaffold’s stairs
  • To those by fire consumed
  • To all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons and daughters of men and women
And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they have held, and hold it high, that light may conquer darkness still.