Every fall, USU invites student groups to chalk or paint 700 North, the street that runs through central campus. Here is SHAFT’s contribution this year:
Today, from 4-6 PM at the University of Utah’s Orson Spencer Hall (OSH) Auditorium, Dr. Victor Stenger will be giving a talk partly based on his latest book, The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning.
Stenger, a philosopher and physicist, is a among the foremost “new atheist” thinkers. He has written several books about atheism and science, including the bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis and the critically-acclaimed The New Atheism.
The event, which is being organized by our sister group SHIFT, will be free and open to the public, with free parking available in the visitor parking lot just east of the Union building (just north of OSH). Seating will be first-come-first-served. The doors to the auditorium will be opened 30 minutes before the event.
Here is a campus map to help you find the event.
It promises to be fun and intellectually stimulating, so I hope to see you there!
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman details the Republican war against science.
Several groups, notably the National Academy of Sciences, are encouraging scientists to be more vocal politically and even run for office. Scientists have a lot to contribute to our political discourse, especially where it concerns issues like climate change and stem-cell research. But unfortunately, scientific literacy isn’t a perfect safeguard against believing in silly things.
The Standard-Examiner had an interesting history piece about Ernest L. Wilkinson’s ultra-conservative tenure as BYU president from 1951 to 1971. Wilkinson led a thuggish school spy ring that conducted witch hunts against suspected communists, atheists, homosexuals, and others.
Atheist writer Sam Harris spends another hour on YouTube to answer questions submitted by users of Reddit.com. Topics include science, morality, free will, and religion. Here is the first Q&A session he did back in June.
Dad’s Primal Scream poses some difficult questions to Mormons, many of which deal with the nature of progressive revelation and the role of prophets.
Steve Gershom explains how he’s “doing fine” as a gay, devout Catholic. His is an interesting perspective in that he maintains that homosexuality is a sin.
Fox News received over 8,000 death threats after Blair Scott of American Atheists discussed the group’s lawsuit to stop a cross from being erected at the WTC Memorial on the network’s “America Live”.
There is a growing rift within America’s evangelical Christian community, with an increasing number of conservative Bible scholars doubting the existence of Adam and Eve—something that is widely and uncritically accepted by the laity.
Secularism is gaining ground with every generation in the United States. Even reliably religious demographics like Hispanics, less-educated whites and women have seen a marked decrease in religiosity. That CFI has announced the first ever Women in Secularism conference reflects this trending.
A typo of Biblical proportions: A 1631 printing of the Bible read “Thou shalt commit adultery” instead of “Thou shalt not commit adultery”.
Andrew S. of Irresistible (Dis)Grace explains why ex-Mormons appear to be so angry in an insightful two-part series (part 1, part 2). I addressed this subject in my post “Am I an anti-Mormon” as well.
4 good reasons not to read the Bible literally.
As the LDS Church became more racially sensitive, folklore about Cain and Bigfoot became less pervasive. I suppose the traditional image of Cain as a big black man became less palatable after members’ attitude and the church’s policies toward blacks changed.
A fun, instructional video on how to resign from the LDS Church.
Mormon blogger Joanna Brooks, writing for the Washington Post, debunks 5 myths about Mormonism.
NPR sparked a fury over its report last month on so-called “ex-gay conversion” therapies. Some felt the piece created a false balance and legitimized the discredited practice. Another shortcoming is that it failed to mention that the protagonist is LDS and that the ex-gay programs he attended also had Mormon ties.
A video on the strange powers of the placebo effect.
Doves & Serpents compiled a list of the worst LDS talks. Ezra Taft Benson, Dallin H. Oaks, and Boyd K. Packer are the most frequent repeat offenders.
Wikileaks accidentally released thousands of dangerous documents that revealed the identities of confidential agents and sources. Earlier this year, I wrote a post critical of Wikileaks for leaking similarly life-threatening information.
A US pastor calls for a national registry for atheists. His justification: “There are already national registries for convicted sex offenders, ex-convicts, terrorist cells, hate groups like the KKK, skinheads, radical Islamists, etc..” Here is The Thinking Atheist’s video response.
My friend Dan writes about his encounter with homophobia at a Logan physical therapy clinic.
New York Times editor Bill Keller asks us to “confront our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life—and to get over them.” He argues that we ought to ask tougher questions about candidates’ religions, and Joanna Brooks volunteers a few questions to ask Huntsman and Romney about their Mormon faith.
17 misconceptions about evolution and their responses.
Why we don’t need religion to be moral or have an objective moral worldview.
The Book of Morma is the feminine counterpart to the Book of Mormon. From the book’s site: “In this imaginary parallel universe, a female Goddess has established a plan of salvation and ordained her only borne Daughter to be the Savioress of the world. Priestesses and prophetesses bring the heavenly messages to the people through a matriarchal order.” I love this project, because the real Book of Mormon has a curious dearth of women in it.
The Boston Globe gives a brief history of Mormons’ involvement in politics.
Salt Lake City ranks 3rd for same-sex couples among mid-sized US cities, behind Fort Lauderdale and Berkeley. The number of reported same-sex couples living together in Utah jumped 73 percent over the past decade, according to recently released Census data. And while Utah as a whole strongly opposes gay marriage, a majority of young Utahns support it.
Mormon Stories also interviewed LDS scholar and apologist Daniel C. Peterson. I often disagree with Peterson on Mormonism, but I agree with much of his critical review of Christopher Hitchen’s book God is Not Great.
My friend Neal runs an amateur Mormon apologetics blog, and in his most recent post, he asks that Mormons abandon this popular but false argument for the Book of Mormon’s historicity.
Speaking of religious apologetics, philosopher William Lane Craig is among the foremost defenders of Christianity and a seasoned debater. Craig has requested a debate with Richard Dawkins, but Dawkins has not taken him up on the invitation.
Those atheists who have debated Craig have almost uniformly lost—including Hitchens, who is himself an experienced and spirited debater. Only Yale professor Shelly Kagan has soundly bested Craig, in my opinion.
FLDS leader Warren Jeffs was recently sentenced to life for child rape, and it seems he has been attempting suicide—perhaps hoping to be a martyr—while in jail. He is in serious condition, and is having to be force-fed to be kept alive.
With polygamy back in the news, some comparisons between Jeffs and Joseph Smith have been made. I don’t think the comparison is fair or apt, but then again, Smith had the benefit of not living in an age of video cameras and tape recorders.
An analysis of the LDS Church’s highly effective SEO practices. (SEO stands for “search engine optimization”; the church has been successful in dominating search results and driving traffic to its sites.)
100 facts every teen atheist must know. My list of must-know facts would’ve been different, but it’s an interesting and informative list all the same.
Girls locked up inside fundamentalist religious compounds. Kandahar? No, Missouri.
Michelle Bachmann recently hired Peter Waldron to her campaign staff. Waldron has been accused of and arrested for terrorism in Uganda. He was also a prominent proponent of Uganda’s internationally-decried “Kill the Gays” bill.
Contrary to many think, Muslim Americans are the staunchest opponents of military attacks on civilians compared with members of other major religious groups Gallup has studied in the United States.
Atheists generally have an aversion to the word “belief”, especially in the context of the evolution/creationism debate, because it has a religious connotation and is often confused to mean mere opinion. CFI blogger Michael De Dora argues that his fellow atheists needn’t harbor such reservations about “belief”.
Brandon Pearce shares his essay on why he left the LDS Church.
A concert event (“Rock Beyond Belief”) organized by atheist, agnostic and other non-theist soldiers has been cleared by the Army to take place next spring at Fort Bragg.
The Mormon blog Millennial Star compares apostasy to conspiracy thinking. The comparison may sound offensive or absurd at first blush, but the author’s discussion of the issue is thoughtful.
The New Yorker explains how a godless universe isn’t devoid of meaning and how secularism can be a positive affirmation of the here and now.
Arguably, an 800-page compilation of the best essays of Christopher Hitchens’ career, came out this weekend. It may well be his last book, as Hitchens was diagnosed with cancer last year.