Touched by His Noodly Appendage

Flying Spaghetti Monster Strikes Again

You may have noticed some changes to saiu.org. We’ve been touched by his noodly appendage and blessed with a new website! Aside from the new look, you can still quickly find out about our events and read engaging blog posts on our themes for the semester. And we have an exciting event planned for the fall that will be announced at our callout and posted here, so come back and stay informed!

William Lane Craig on facts, tracts, and things abstract

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of the SAIU. For a longer version of this post, see the Nothing Is Mere blog.

I’m grateful to Alex Rosenberg and William Lane Craig for taking the time to respond to my post, “Fact-checking the Craig-Rosenberg debate“. I edited in a few of Rosenberg’s comments from correspondence, but Craig’s public reply, “Fact-checking the fact-checker“, is more in-depth, and deserves a response in its own right. I’ll single out two points for special attention: historical methodology, and the idea of immaterial causation.

Scripture and scholarship

Craig writes of my

[...] breezy dismissal of N. T. Wright’s scholarly work because Wright is “a Christian apologist and bishop” and of the work of New Testament historians in general because they are allegedly Christians [...]

I didn’t dismiss Christian scholarship. What I wrote was:

Craig doesn’t note that most New Testament scholars are Christians. (Are we to take it as evidence for the truth of Christianity that a lot of Christians happen to be Christian?)

Now, of course being a Christian doesn’t make it impossible for you to evaluate Christianity in a fair and skeptical way. I believe very strongly that the Earth is round, but that doesn’t mean that I’d be hopelessly biased in a debate with flat-Earthers. Agnosticism does not imply objectivity, and objectivity does not imply agnosticism. If anything, we’d be worried if most New Testament scholars weren’t Christians, since that would suggest that the historical evidence tended to make people less religious than the general populace.

But it’s also worth noting that Christian orthodoxy is not generally considered by historians the only possible objective interpretation of the evidence of the Gospels. And appealing to scholarly consensus here is misleading inasmuch as it has the guise of an appeal to independent authorities, as opposed to authorities who already came into the field accepting Christianity.

The charge was not that being Christian invalidates one’s scholarly work on Christianity. It was that, in the context of a debate with non-theists, it’s misleading to appeal to the authority of historians qua historians without mentioning that most of them came into the field already accepting the conclusion for which you’re arguing. (From childhood, no less!) Continue reading

Bloomington Atheist Happy Hour [Under 21 Welcome!]

On the first Friday of every month, the Bloomington Atheists group meets up at Player’s Pub for Atheist Happy Hour. Drinks are had, food is eaten, and chat happens. You don’t have to be an atheist to attend.

Feel free to drop by anytime between 5:30 and 7:30ish! We’re always at a big table in the back room with the pool tables. If you need a ride to Player’s Pub (424 S. Walnut, on Walnut between 2nd and 3rd street), email secular@indiana.edu and we can arrange one.

Dead week with SAIU

The SAIU Community Center will be open for studying on the Thursday of dead week. There will be free pizza, desserts, soda, coffee, and tea.

You can come as early at 6pm and stay as late as midnight!
The times when fresh pizza will be available are limited, but the rest will be available the whole time.

To get to the community center,  go up the Student Activities Tower elevator (located across from Starbucks) to the fifth floor, we’re in room 577.

Leaders

Bow to your new leaders!

The ’13-’14  leadership for SAIU has been selected! After the President, Secretary, and Treasurer were elected by popular vote on April 7th, they  selected three individuals to carry out a semester term as small group leaders. All new officers will be sworn in at the end of year potluck on Sunday, April 21st. If you would like to read more about what each of these people will be responsible for, you can read information here. Additionally, there are four appointed positions which SAIU’s current president, Jessika Griffin, selected with recommendations from SAIU at large.

President


Orion Day studies both the natural and social sciences, and he will be leading the SAIU in further outreach and advocacy for secular issues.

Secretary

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JT Stewart studies psychology and sociology at IU, he enjoys music, art, and analyzing everything.

Treasurer

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Katie Russell studies human development and family studies at IU, she is very interested in sexual health and reproductive rights.

Reflection Leader

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Allen Quaderer studies geology at IU and will lead this small group during the summer of 2013.

Action Leader

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Brooke Lange studies communications and culture and journalism at IU, she is happy to have a hobby aside from sneaking out to fight crime every night.

Support Leader

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Rachel Van Nostrand studies human biology at IU, she is excited to help build a community to provide support to secular students at IU.

Quidditch Captain

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Brienne Strohl studies philosophy and is very interested in rationality activism.

Mascot


Plastic Jesus has been with SAIU for about a year. Previous SAIU president, Carly Casper, found Jesus during her summer travels and donated him to the SAIU. Plastic Jesus will be the face of SAIU for the ’13-’14 academic year.
Worldview: who the hell knows

First Lady

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Scott Setchfield has been selected, appropriately, as the SAIU First Lady. Scott will support Orion along the way and be a pretty face for us to admire. There are rumors that his arms are almost at First Lady Michelle Obama standards.

Overseas Correspondent


Aubree Allen will be spending the summer of 2013 abroad in Croatia, and visit many other countries along the way. Aubree was SAIU’s service director for two years and is an enthusiastic vegan. If she doesn’t die of starvation in countries that mainly eat seafood and do not have appropriate soil to grow vegetables, then when she returns she will share her experiences with us all!

A year in review

My final official day as SAIU President is April 21st, at which time we will swear in all the new officers at our end of year potluck. I wanted to go over all the wonderful things SAIU has accomplished this year and thank all of you for a wonderful year!

Left to Right: Jessika Griffin, Orion Day, Alishba Zarmeen

May ’12 – July ’12

We kept the group alive throughout the summer with regular discussions and movie viewings. Check our events calendar in mid-May for updates on the summer activities for 2013. Summer activities draw a smaller group of people, and are great for those of you who don’t have much time to participate during the school year.

In June, myself and Orion, Outreach Director, travelled to the Center for Inquiry Student Leadership Conference in Amherst, NY. We picked up Alishba Zarmeen on the way, founder and President of Earlham Humanists. SAIU was also awarded Best Online Outreach for 2011. Continue reading

End of year potluck

Come one, come all to celebrate a wonderful year with SAIU.

The location is TBD. We’re looking for somewhere with a grill that is free (which is incredibly difficult). Follow the facebook event page for updates.

If you have a grill and are willing to work with us to host the event send a message to secular@indiana.edu

We will also swear in the new officers.

Service Event: Pages to Prisoners

Join us for our final service event of the semester!

We will volunteer with the Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project on Thursday, April 18th at 7pm! As stated on their website, “The Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project is an all volunteer effort that strives to encourage self-education among prisoners in the United States”. Activities include reading letters from prisoners and selecting books they request, and packaging books to be mailed. It’s a nice low-key evening of volunteering :)

Pages to Prisoners is located at 118 South Rogers Street. You can come late and/or leave early if you wish

If you need a ride email secular[at]indiana.edu

Ask an Atheist Panel

The Secular Alliance is having our second Ask an Atheist panel, and we will be speaking to students in a course on deviant behavior and social control (SOC-S320) in Swain East 105.

This panel will focus on the stigma of the atheist label, the “coming out” process, and ways in which atheists face resistance or discrimination. The class is open for anyone to join the discussion.

Russell’s Tea Party Discussion: Morality (final discussion of the semester!)

Join us Sunday, April 14th at 7pm in Wylie 115 to discuss biblical and religious morality, our final discussion meeting of the semester.

 

  • How do religious people justify their morality?
  • Do they actually have a consistent moral view?
  • What are the consequences of being immoral in different * religions?
  • What are the consequences of being moral, but not religious? Are religious conceptions of morality “fair” by secular standards?
  • How can we convince people that we can be good without Gods?

Russell’s Tea Parties are held in honor of Bertrand Russell’s teapot thought experiments