#0003 RRS Newsletter for June 2, 2007

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Hello, to all you atheist heathens! Hope you all are enjoying your weekend! My additions to todays post, again, are mostly scientific. I am adding a couple of humorous videos as well, though. I urge you ALL to take a look at the first link I've posted!

This first link is to the National Geographic site (yet again). This one is a fascinating article about a species of hominid so close to us on the evloutionary tree they've given it the name "Homo Sapiens Idaltu"! Idaltu means "elder" in the native language of where it was discovered. Can anyone say "transitional form" or "missing link"?

Oldest Homo Sapiens Fossils Found, Experts Say

This is an article that outlines the hypothesis that primate bipedalism may have started before the decent from the trees occured.

Upright Walking Started in Trees, Ape Study Suggests

Yet another article from the same site (yes, I've become addicted). Again on the subject of hominid evolution.

New Fossils Help Piece Together Human Origins

One more link to an article on the subject of astronomy. This is about the possibility of most dark matter being in dwarf galaxies>

Universe's "Missing" Matter May Lurk in Dwarf Galaxies

Now, on to the best of what I've recieved today! Enjoy!

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Date: Jun 2, 2007 5:56 AM


Creationists are the ultimate skeptics!

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Date: Jun 1, 2007 8:30 PM


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Date: Jun 1, 2007 8:32 PM

Reverend AtheiStar


Growth of atheism could play political role News Analysis Irene Chang PR Week USA May 30 2007 12:52

With religion immersed in culture and politics, atheists boost efforts to ensure their side is heard

Evident from the success of films like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and The Da Vinci Code, religion is as much a cultural discussion today as it is spiritual. Religion is also incredibly political in the 21st century, when coupled with the ascendancy of the religious right, a post-9/11 rise in spirituality, and a President who speaks candidly about his faith.

On the other side of the religious debate, atheists have struggled to keep their voices heard in a world where most pundits believe an atheist could not win a major party nomination for President and where many major news publications have a "religion" section, catering to the spiritual masses.

But with a spate of recent pro-atheism (or anti-religion) books and some grassroots efforts, the atheism movement is gaining traction both by polemic and by persuasion.

Thanks to the success of books like evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins' 2006 polemic The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens' similarly caustic God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, released May 1, atheism is becoming a more prevalent topic in today's media. Scientists are usually unengaged in political issues, but when a famous scientist comes out and takes a hard whack against religion head-on, it attracts attention.

Ellen Johnson, president of the American Atheists organization, says, "[Atheism has] pretty much always been prevalent, but certain media have been paying more attention to the Dawkins book." She notes that atheists have been doing this for 40 to 50 years, "but you can't just be anybody to get the media's attention.

"It's all been said before," she adds. "He's echoing arguments and using phrases that we've been saying forever, but he has a little celebrity status."

The increased dialogue has emboldened groups to reach out to promote messages of atheism.

The Rational Response Squad (RRS), working with Christian-critical production company Beyond Belief Media, engaged in grassroots outreach meant to "provoke conversation about the dangers of religious belief" in January. The outreach was part of its "Blasphemy Challenge," which solicits young adults to create a YouTube video "denying the existence of the Holy Spirit."

"There are scholars who debate this issue, but don't get attention from the media," says Brian Sapient, RRS cofounder. "We were controversial enough."

Likewise, Hitchens' media tour for his new book has included TV appearances, a Web video featuring a contentious debate with the Rev. Al Sharpton, and an NPR appearance where he chided one pastor for claiming his prayers helped to save his 11-year-old daughter from Hodgkin's disease.

David Kuo, Beliefnet.com's Washington editor, says the atheism discussion is there, in part, to counteract the spiritual conversation that has already been in place.

"It's part and parcel of the religious discussion that's ongoing and has been increasing in fervor over the past five years in particular," Kuo says. "People who believe and unbelieve want to have their say and also be heard, [so] it's perfectly natural that [atheists] are being heard."

Kuo sees the atheism discussion as a political effect because of the portrayal of Christians as being overtly and absolutely political. He says, "Jesus is increasingly identified with a political agenda, and so much of the backlash now is anger against the political agenda."

While Kuo is convinced that atheists are now more organized politically, Johnson disagrees, saying atheists are extremely independent, self-reliant people who don't join organizations.

But Johnson hopes to change that with the creation of a political action committee called the Godless Americans Political Action Committee. "We're trying to get the word out that 58 million Americans are not affiliated with any religious group," she says. "They do vote, and they are a voting block, so they should be [given] attention."

Related Stories

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From: The A-Team
Date: Jun 1, 2007 8:32 PM

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From: Jeff
Date: Jun 1, 2007 7:18 AM

(for reference here is the LINK to the Wash Times Article)

Dear Mr. Pruden

As an atheist American, I resent being compared to the village idiot. Washington already has an idiot. He lives on Pennsylvania Avenue, is the worst president in history, and agrees with you on matters of religion.

But, I digress. Like many of the loudest voices spewing from the intolerant right, you don't display any real familiarity with the subject matter, yet, typically, will not let this prevent you from expounding at length, content to spew diatribe and invective when you have no real understanding. One thing I found interesting was your use of religious symbology - faith, revival, orthodoxy - in the form of insult.

You talk about the "irrational screeds" of the top Atheist authors. Dawkins, Dennet, and Harris are all accomplished scientists. Hitchins, is a prolific and respected author with a breathtaking command of history, literature, and philosophy - and a best seller. A single instance of irrationality from any of their screeds was not alluded to in your own. Such, I suppose, is what passes for journalism these days.

Jerry Falwell, on the other hand was a televangelist, a bigot, a charlatan, and a straight up dominionist theocrat who openly sought to subvert the Constitutional prohibition against official religion. Falwell did little to make the world a better place except for religious extremists. He did nothing to diminish religious intolerance in this country, but rather was one of the biggest perpetrators of the dangerous and subversive "christian nation" school of historic revisionism. Falwell contributed to both the deterioration of the level of discourse and to science education in this country. For this alone he deserves many times the contempt heaped on him by Hitchins.

FYI - a typical atheist in America is an educated law-abiding citizen, a patriot, a homeowner, a taxpayer, a parent, and many, like myself, are veterans. We raise kids, we vote, we are engaged in our communities, and we read books.

If we seem adamant, or angry, or dogmatic it is because we see people trying to impose their religion on others by force of law. We see important decisions being made based on Bronze-age magical thinking and superstitious nonsense rather than on reason. And we see people, on a mission from god, actively trying to destroy our Constitution, apparently in the belief that a reversion to mandatory state religion is a good thing, that men of reason can be coerced into believing insane things, that the Spanish Inquisition was on the right track, and that there is no irony at all in the fact that we are currently engaged in a global war against religious theocracy.

We may appear to be "angry" to some, but imagine if you had been hunted for bounty for say 1400 years, up until the enlightened adoption of a secular Constitution guaranteeing your freedom from the religion of another man, and you were confronted by an unrelenting onslaught of people who would, if given half a chance, dispatch you asap to the eternal damnation which, according to the only book they read, you so richly deserve. Maybe someone needs to look up the meaning of angry.

BTW - when history is written, if it is written on the smoking embers of our Constitution, it will not have been Osama bin Laden who destroyed it - it will have been American-grown religious extremists claiming a "higher" law.

And if the Constitution remains intact, it will have been the forces of reason that saved it. That will include all of us village atheists who fought long and hard to defend it because it is the only thing standing between us and those, like yourself, who use the pulpit, the airwaves, and national newspapers to make us villains of some sort. Maybe someone needs to look up the meaning of villain.

At any rate, your claims of irrationality rings a little hollow while you champion obvious mythology and endorse the actions of the Falwells of the world. And any claims you might have made about honesty, and inclusiveness, and compassion, and decency - all traits that some call christian and all conspicuously missing from your essay - are belied by your overt and irrational hatred of that which you do not know anything about.

One last bit of irony for you - the H.L. Mencken Prize, which you won, is named after an Atheist.

Rick Wingrove

American Atheists

The A-Team and we approve this message.

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Date: Jun 1, 2007 8:35 PM


Lance Armstrong is an Atheist

Faithless, the Wonder Boy

“If there was a god, I’d still have both nuts.” - Lance Armstrong

Something makes that quote awesome to me hahaha.

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Date: Jun 1, 2007 8:41 PM


If you enjoyed this video, please click here and rate it or leave a nice comment. Thanks!

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From: The A-Team
Date: Jun 1, 2007 8:50 PM

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From: ATHEISTSAGNOSTICS SKEPTICS & HUMANISTS ON MYSPACEDate: May 30, 2007 7:43 PMKaralynRandi and Dawkins discuss the perinormal and paranormal. This is only abrief clip of the conversation from the Amazing Meeting (January 2005) puton by the James Randi Educational Foundation.

The A-Team and we approve this message.

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Date: Jun 1, 2007 9:07 PM

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Date: Jun 2, 2007 12:25 AM