The booth for the Kentucky Secular Society and Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers is now up and ready for the Kentucky State Fair to start! We will be there the whole time, from the morning of Thursday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27.
The Kentucky State Fair is our biggest outreach activity. Our goals are to reach out to atheists among the general public, to normalize atheism, promote the separation of church and state, and support accurate science education.
We are in booth 1436. Our location is marked in red in the map at the link below.
The May meetup was extra an extra special meetup for the Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers. During her tour of the US, Shelley Segal stopped in Louisville, Kentucky to give a stunning live performance at our meeting. The lineup included songs from her first album An Atheist Album and her project with Adam Levy called Little March. If you are familiar with An Atheist Album, the stories behind the songs are particularly fascinating (at least they were to me).
Lee Dugatkin discusses his new book, "The Prince of Evolution." The topic of the book is Peter Kropotkin, a Russian anarchist and biologist. Kropotkin's observations of villages and wildlife in Siberia let him to the conclusion that Darwinian evolution can lead to altruism, or mutual aid as he called it, and not only to competition.
University of Louisville biology professor Michael Perlin was our guest speaker with a presentation entitled Misuse of Biology in Film and Pop Culture. This fun and informative presentation pokes fun at the misuse of biology and evolution in particular in popular shows and movies. Toward the second half of presentation, Perlin goes into a discussion of the Intelligent Design movement, and how it takes advantage of common misunderstandings of science and evolution.
Michael Perlin earned a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Chicago in 1983. His areas of interest include molecular genetics; structure and function of the gene; molecular biology of drug action; gene mapping and splicing, fungal phytopathogens, host/pathogen interaction. Perlin has been published in many leading scientific journals.
In the January 2013 meetup of Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers, Suzanne Lamb spoke to the group about a situation in a Muhlenberg county high school. When challenged about letting the Gideons distribute bibles in the school during class time, the school board decided to implement an "open forum" policy to allow any group to distribute literature, but did not originally put the policy in writing nor publicize it. Suzanne Lamb discovered that the school board was using the policy to allow special access to the the Gideons (but not necessarily any other group) by examining the school board minutes, and decided to do something about it. With the help of the Secular Student Alliance and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, she put pressure on the school board to honor the "open forum" policy by allowing her to distribute FFRF materials on the school grounds.
Here are a few important points from the presentation:
Open Forum policies regarding access to public schools by outside organizations can be used as loophole strategies to give religious groups privileged access. It is important to know of these policies and be sure they are being implemented appropriately.
If you become aware of potential Church/State violations in your district, you can contact groups such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Secular Student Alliance for legal advice. Oftentimes, it only takes a letter from a national organization to solve the issue. These situations do not always have to lead to a lawsuit.
If children are raised from K-12 with consistant endorsement of religion in the schools, they come to see such Church/State violations as normal and to be expected.
We need to remember that this is not an issue for atheists only. We have religious allies in Church/State Separation issues. In her presentation Suzanne speaks of a Baptist minister who spoke out strongly in favor of her case.
You can read more about the case at Suzanne's blog, What to Tell the Neighbors. Posts specific to the Muhlenberg County case may be found under the label "Gideons" in the right sidebar.
Charles Darwin was a remarkable and influential man who marked the most important milestone in humanity's pulling away from relying on religious explanations of the world and our own origins and instead examining the evidence directly to find out what really happened. He is a hero not only to atheists but to all who respect reason and science.
You are invited to join us for a celebration of Charles Darwin and his accomplishments! The address and tentative schedule is posted below. This event is free and open to the public.
Saturday February 9, 2013
First Unitarian Church 809
South Fourth Street
3:00 - 3:30 : Vote for best cake at $1 per vote; Pictures with Darwin; visit group tables;
3:30 - 4:30 : Rob Bevins of Ky Science Education on The Darwin We Don't Know
4:30 - 5:00 : Cake contest results announced. Eat cake. Pictures with Darwin.
5:00 - 5:30 : Kitchen Sink Science
5:30 - 6:00 : Eat cake and visit group tables; Pictures with Darwin
Today's paper has a feature on End of the World parties celebrating the Mayan apocalypse and the LAF party got a mention!
Atheists and Freethinkers
For the Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers group, Friday is just another day. But it also happens to be the date of its annual holiday party.
“We decided to call it an end-of-the-world party as a fun way to draw attention to it, to have a little fun at the people who claim inaccurately that this is somehow a doomsday predicted by the Mayans,” said Ed Hensley, co-organizer of the group.
But at this time of year, the Atheists and Freethinkers take a tolerant view of the many traditions that evolved around the winter solstice. “We recognize that people observed solstice activities … long before Christianity used the date of Dec. 25 for the celebration of Christ’s birthday.”
“We don’t think there’s anything magical about any of the traditions,” Hensley continued. “Just like Halloween is a fun day to get together and wear costumes and get creative, the longest night of the year or a night near it is a fun time to get together and think about all the things that have happened during the year.”