Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

The loss of Hitchens is felt in a strangely personal way by freethinkers the world over, including many of us here in Greensboro, North Carolina. For all that he has inspired, for his brilliance and passion, for his fierce eloquence, we raise our glasses to Hitch one last time...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Science Marches On...

Once a month, the UNCG Atheists get together on a Sunday night to discuss recent advances in science and to watch a science-related documentary. As Carl Sagan wrote, science is "by far the most successful claim to knowledge accessible to humans." So the idea of these gatherings is to celebrate this method of understanding, promote its value within our community, and have a good time in the process! 

Last night, for this month's Science Sunday, about fifteen of us nestled in to the warmth of Robert Eldredge's home to snack on delicious voodoo cookies (courtesy of Lindsay Welch), and to watch The Cell: The Hidden Kingdom. The first in a three-part series on the cell from the BBC, this episode "explores how centuries of scientific and religious dogma were overturned by the earliest discoveries of the existence of cells, and how scientists came to realize that there was, literally, more to life than meets the eye."

The series was hosted by Dr. Adam Rutherford, who is a popular science broadcaster and editor at the the journal Nature.  And Rutherford, who has a degree in evolutionary biology and a PhD in the genetics of the eye, is also an open and outspoken atheist! Here’s an excerpt from an article Rutherford wrote for the Guardian entitled "Atheists: Stand up and be counted":

Part of the mission of the UNCG Atheists is to “organize, unite, educate and serve our community based on the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics."  Dr. Adam Rutherford’s career is thus far an inspiring example of how to advance these goals.

Lindsay and Robert made the delicious castle of cookies in the shape our spirit animals .

More from Dr. Adam Rutherford:

Science, atheism & ironed trousers (Audio 12min 22sec), 3 Dec 2009: Rutherford on why 93% of scientists are atheists, depending on who you ask

Ever-increasing circles of science 15 Jul 2010: Can science explain everything? The domain of knowledge amenable to science has only ever changed in one direction: at the expense of all others

Science as a way of knowing 27 Nov 2008: A report on children's poor science knowledge may, in fact, be unscientific, but our future depends on evidence-based methods

Time for science 14 May 2008: We have allowed the debate on stem cells to be hijacked by religious groups. Instead, scientific evidence should be at the forefront of the debate

Devoid of intelligence 15 Apr 2008: By resorting to deceit to get their story, the makers of the latest piece of creationist propaganda [‘Expelled’] have done themselves no favours

Blind obedience 26 Mar 2008: Catholic opposition of stem-cell research is sacrificing relief from illness for the sake of an opinion. There is no discussion, just a diktat from on high

The right fight 3 Oct 2007: Atheists should concentrate on the battles worth fighting, such as instances where religion has undue political influence, or turn the other cheek.