Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August Meeting of The Fayetteville Freethinkers

I will be attending the August meeting of the Fayetteville Freethinkers in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Here's the details.
Freethinkers, it's time for our August meeting. As usual we took July off due to vacations and summer fun. Now it's time to get back to what we do best: promoting critical thinking, science, and freethought.

This month we have a full agenda.

Doug Krueger will give us a report on his visit to James Randi's skeptics conference, also known as The Amazing Meeting 7. Doug met many famous freethinkers, and he's got the pictures to prove it. He also saw a Danish psychic, live and onstage, try out for the million dollar prize for a demonstration of the paranormal. Did she pass the test? Doug will tell us. (Hint: No.)

Leonard Schulte will explain to us how we have no choice but to cease belief in free will, in part 2 of his "Letting Go of Freedom." (Part 1 was in June.) Leonard's view is that believing in free will is no more justifiable than believing in a deity. He will explain and defend his arguments.

Darrel Henschell will examine some popular health care myths floating around, especially those related to Canada. Darrel has been researching in Canada this summer, and he and his wife even went so far as to be born in Canada and live there for five decades just to get the credentials for this presentation. Is the Canadian system over-hyped, or is it frought with insurmountable obstacles, as we see
so much on the "news?" Darrel will give us his best shot at an objective analysis.

Bill Harter, our resident freethinking physicist, will give us a talk about lasers, and the physics that allows us to create them. He promises to keep it simple!

We will be honoring and remembering a fascinating freethinker by watching 70-minute biographical film about magician and inventor Jerry Andrus. Andrus was a staple of The Amazing Meeting series of conventions, and he passed away in 2007. This biography explores the life and work of this freethinker--who was a founding member of a freethinker organization in Oregon. Andrus also created many optical illusions. Doug will bring one for us to pass around.

Our group and some new ones made the front page of the paper. You can read the article here:

http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2009/08/16/news/081709bzatheists.txt

***
Freethinker Meeting Details:

When: Saturday, August 29, 2009

Where: The Fayetteville Public Library. 401 W. Mountain
St. (two blocks west of the town square).

Time: 2:00 pm

Room: The Walker Room. This is the main meeting room. Go in the front door, through the lobby and go to your right. You can bring a snack or coffee from Arsaga's in the library lobby.

Map: http://tinyurl.com/b3sfgf

We'll decide a dinner location after the meeting.
If you're in the area, you can meet me and lots of other cool freethinkers in person. Bring money for your dinner, because we go out to eat after the meeting for some awesome dinner conversation (and usually thai food).

15 comments:

The Prophetic Observer said...

People actually *paid* to see people *without* psychic abilities? And they call Christians gullible!

The Prophetic Observer said...

Anyone want to pay to see me not play the violin, thereby proving that it is impossible to do? :o)

Robert Madewell said...

"People actually *paid* to see people *without* psychic abilities? And they call Christians gullible!"

PO, that wasn't all they did at TAM7. I wish I could have gone. Maybe next year.

BTW, I've never said that (all) christians are gullible. At least not any more than I am as a human. Humans tend to be a little gullible.

"Anyone want to pay to see me not play the violin, thereby proving that it is impossible to do?"

Actually, you have a good point. By not playing the violin, you're just proving that you don't play the violin. So, by a "psychic" failing to provide evidence of her abilities, that really only proves that the individual "psychic" is not really psychic.

However, your analogy fails because, I know people who do play the violin. I have heard people play the violin and I have played guitar with someone playing the violin. I know that playing the violin is possible because I can provide evidence. As far as I know, no psychic has yet to provide real evidence for their supposed abilities. That's the difference.

Barbie Bacon said...

Psychic no, but prophet yes. We see this one being fulfilled today. Would you deny that this prophecy has been fulfilled?

1 Timothy 4:1-5
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."

Robert Madewell said...

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;"

I think that prediction is too obvious. There's always been people leaving christianity as long as christianity has been around. It's like predicting that lightning will strike a tree somewhere.

"Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"

There's always been people lying to others for religious reasons. Predistions need to be specific enough that you can use anything as the fulfillment of it. As a prediction this one is useless.

"Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."

During Pauls* days, there were cults that forbade marriage and were vegetarians. Paul* wasn't predicting anything here. He was repoting what he was seeing.



* Although First Timothy (1:1) claims to have been written by Paul, many scholars believe that it was written after his death.

Robert Madewell said...

I said, "Predistions need to be specific enough that you can use anything as the fulfillment of it. As a prediction this one is useless."

I meant to say, "Predictions need to be specific enough that you can't use anything as the fulfillment of it. As a prediction this one is useless."

OOPS!

Barbie Bacon said...

He was not reporting what he was seeing. He said, "In the last days..." when speaking about vegetarianism. If it were going on at the time he wrote it, people would not have taken any stock in his writings.

The majority of textual scholars place Paul's letters to Timothy between 1 and 2 Corinthians. Most arguments are based on subject matter, which, considering that the Bible clearly states all scripture comes as the writer is moved by the Holy Spirit, is an unfounded argument.

Robert Madewell said...

The abstinence from marrying was also a common practice in the early church. As a matter of fact, there are several bible verses that seem to discourage marriage. Jesus himself discourage marriage (in case the couple might get divorced) and encouraged self-castration (Matthew 19:9-12). Many of the mystery religions at the time of Paul were vegetarians and were celebate and did not marry or even have sex.

Oh yeah, Barbie. What does "in the last days" mean to you? What do you think that term meant to the author of 1Tim? How can you be sure that the author of 1Tim didn't believe that he was living in the last days? How can you be sure that we are living in the last days? That prophecy could have applied to evry year since it was written.

That prophecy is very general and a very obvious thing to prophecy about. The author of 1Tim just looked at the trends in society and prophecied what would likely come true if those trends continued. The thing is that there have been vegetarians all through history. There have been cults that have members who are celibate (catholism, buddhism?) all through history. There have been "holy men" telling people lies to get them to follow them all through history. There have been apostates from every religion all through history. The author of 1Tim's prophecy is too general for me to believe that there is a miracle that it has been fulfilled.

Barbie Bacon said...

I refer you to the site of Dr. Hugh Ross:

http://www.reasons.org/fulfilled-prophecy-evidence-reliability-bible

Robert Madewell said...

http://www.reasons.org/fulfilled-prophecy-evidence-reliability-bible

<a href="http://www.reasons.org/fulfilled-prophecy-evidence-reliability-bible">Click Here</a>

Looks like this after it is submitted.
Click Here

Robert Madewell said...

Hey Guys! It was a great meeting as always. There were nearly 80 people in attendance. When I started attending there were maybe 15 or so.

My friend Professor Schulte gave us alot to think about with his free-will vs. determinism argument. I think I still lean toward free-will. However, whether or not we have free-will doesn't seem to be testable to me. Maybe, I will write an article about it.

After the meeting, we ate at a local mexican bar and grill. The food was great and I ate way too much. The dinner conversation was great. I discussed the atmosphere of Titan with a planetary scientist. How cool is that?

If any of you guys are in Fayetteville, Arkansas on the last Saturday of a month, you need to visit us.

Anonymous said...

We're all very excited for you. You really miss church. You haven't quit, you've just joined a different denomination.

GCT said...

By that definition, anything could be considered church. Go to the gym on a regular night? It's church. Go to a book club? It's church. C'mon.

ethinethin said...

"A ballpark at night is more like a church than a church." -Kinsella

Robert Madewell said...

Robert Madewell said...
Anon is a little right. Though, not in the way that he thinks.

I do miss one thing about church. The fellowship. Meetings like this one is my substitute for the fellowship that church provided. However, these meetings are much more open than any church I've ever been to. You're allowed to discuss the lectures and there's no emphasis on how you believe.

That's why meetings like this one are important. Fellowship is a human need. There are lots of churches and civic organizations that provide fellowship, but there are very few in Northern Arkansas for the non-theist. Some secular civic organizations even require that the member believe in God. (Elks, Boy Scouts of America for example) So, what a non-theist to do? Start our own civic organization.