For more information on the Sydney Atheists Visit our website here.
You can also check out our photos, newsletter, podcast and MeetUp site.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Pope Mobile Fined For Being a Distraction to Motorists

Popemobile protester to appear in court - needs your support
A Protest Popemobile was built by Sydney activists as a protest against the Pope's visit and World Youth Day activities in July.

Details of its adventures, photos, and a video, are linked from the website

It received the attention of the police, with vehicle driver Ian Bryce being booked and fined for "having a roof ornament likely to distract motorists". The vehicle (in this form) was issued with a Defect Notice and put off the road.
The operator, Ian Bryce, is to appear on court on Monday 1 December, at Downing Centre, 143 Liverpool St, near Elizabeth St. Your support is encouraged (contact 0408 177 007):

- 8:45 am - a "No to Pope" protest, for free speech and civil liberties, on the steps outside.

- 9:15 am - in court on 4th floor? check daily listing (no banners or talking in court, just your presence).
We now learn that the State Government ran $100 million over its WYD budget. Come and let them know what you think.

You can RSVP your attendance on the Sydney Atheists Meetup SIte

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Watch Expelled! Online

Expelled is available online, so if you are interested in this utter piece of feculent garbage, have a look-see here.

Here's the first part


I would also recommend that you check out Expelled Exposed to get the truth behind the movie, there's a whole lot of interesting material there, so have a good look around.

For those of you who have obtained a copy of the film, I would suggest that no screening would be complete without the now infamous Lie Correcting Subtitles

Some have hailed this film as a masterpiece of cinema, destined to hold a place amongst the great films of all times, whereas sane critics have torn it to shreds like a pack of wild beasts.

You be the judge
(hint: it's terrible)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Rachel!

It's Rachel's 25th birthday today and I know she's going to have a terrific day!

Without getting all nostalgic over the events of the last year, I will say that it's been a big one and will be hard to top!

So, this video is just for Rachel... enjoy!

Now back to the Richard Dawkins Appearances and Events DVD that Rach got today... :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sydney Atheists

There's been a lot of movement in the Sydney Atheists over the past few months and it's been fantastic to be a part of this group as it loses it's baby teeth and becomes a fully fledged organisation. I think that the time has come to let everybody in on the changes, structure and growth of the organisation that have come to be lately.

But first, a bit of background is required. It all started a couple of years ago, when the Sydney Atheists meetup group was created by Ansgar (perhaps he will expand on the process in the comments?). This group would hold regular monthly meetings with the vision to bring likeminded people together and facilitate the free exchange of ideas in an open and comfortable environment. The meetup would host a monthly meeting, which would include a topical talk, as well as plenty of general discussion and opportunities for socialisation. Additionally, there were also monthly social lounge events, which would not have an agenda and were more of a meet-&-greet, get to know you kind of affair. Both of these are still running and now form the basis of the social aspects of the organisation.

At some time in the development of the Sydney Atheists (someone will be able to clarify when), about a year ago, a group of interested people formed a sub group called the 'Sydney Atheist Action Group' which would get together and work on a variety of projects that were outside of the scope of the more socially based meetup group.

This group (unappealingly acronymed to SAAG) toiled with a variety of projects, but it wasn't until 'World Youth Day' that the cogs really began to turn.

[World Youth Day was the misnomer for the week that the Pope visited Sydney, earlier this year]

During WYD, the Sydney Atheists mounted a campaign of reason to stand up against the ridiculous nature under which the Pope's visit was conducted (including a massive overspending and a controversial ban on annoying the pilgrims). During this time, the SAAG group was responsible for organising various campaigns promoting reason and secular values over faith and dogma. (including the now infamous 'Good without god' message, along with 'the pope should pay his own way' and the 'sponsor a lion' messages)

This brought much interest to the SAAG group and following the WYD protests the momentum that the group had picked up was funneled into the formation of the Sydney Atheists Committee, marking the beginning of the 'Next Steps' for the Sydney Atheists

The committee consists of a group of people interested in promoting, developing, organising and maintaining the group. We have a variety of roles (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer) and stream coordinators (Social, Educational, Media, Policy, IT) which focus on the different areas of the organisation.

So far the committee has been working on our charter, becoming incorporated, branding, and various projects such as T-shirts, bumper stickers, fliers, posters, business cards, membership forms etc.
Events that we have organised have been regular topical meetups on the first Sunday of the month (recent talks included joke religions and teaching evolution), regular Atheist Social Lounge meetups on the last Thursday of the month, a blood drive, diabetes charity walk, and the Newtown festival stall.

We also provide information about other events happening in Sydney that members of the organisation might be interested in. Recent examples include a Humanist talk, debates and a lecture on the God Delusion.

We have a website, blog, photos, podcast, newsletter, Meetup site and a Facebook group.

With so much happening, there is bound to be something for everybody in this vibrant and energetic group, so if you haven't done so already, check us out, let us know what you think about what we are doing and think about becoming a part of it. All of our events are open to all atheists and atheist friendly people, we welcome civil discussion with those who have different views to our own and we are more than happy to answer any questions that you may have (see the 'Ask an atheist' form on the website).

There's plenty of opportunities to get involved coming up, including:
  • a social night out to watch SA committee member, Dave the Happy Singer, as he performs his unique blend of musical comedy (Nov 16, details here )
  • The November Atheist Social Lounge (Nov 27, details here)
  • The December topical meetup (Dec 14, details here)
  • The next Sydney Atheist Blood Drive (Jan 11th, details to come)
  • We will also be celebrating Festivus (details to come)
Check us out, get involved have a great time and be Good Without God.

Hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Newtown Festival

Saturday was the Newtown Festival, a large festival in Sydney that attracts upwards of 80 000 people. There were a bunch of stalls selling clothes, trinkets, food, all the regular market type stuff and also live music. It was a massive day and the crowds were packed in like sardines the weather was terrific, the sun was shining and not a cloud to be seen.

The Sydney Atheists had a stall at the market, where we were handing out pamphlets and invitations to our meetups. We were also signing up members, accepting donations, selling T-shirts and bumper stickers ('Good without god' and 'Test drive your faith, drive with your eyes closed') and generally spreading the concept of positive atheism through discussing our positions on various topics with the crowds, singing various secular themed songs, and handing out lollybags with 'card carrying atheist' cards attached.

We had a really good time and enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive reponse from the crowd, with only a few people getting upset. One of them tried to set their dog on us, as they saw out banner, they said 'sick 'em'! There was also a few people that made faces at us and flipped us off, but that was pretty much the worst of it.

One of the gimmics that we had there was a gong, where passers by could declare their lack of belief in gods by 'giving the atheist gong a big bang'. It was a real hit and was ringing constantly (and as a result I had a splitting headache that saw me well into monday afternoon!). Heaps of children were also ringing the gong, with parents in tow, ringing it after their children did!

We ended up selling a bunch of shirts and tons of bumper stickers and signed up around 80 new members, so the day was a complete success!

Afterwards, we had our 100th meetup, where Ian presented a talk on 'Joke Religions', covering Pastafarianism and a bunch of others. It was a terrific talk and a great end to a terrific day.

To everone who helped out a big thankyou is in order and the event's organiser, John deserves a massive congratulations on a job well done! It wouldn't have come together without your tireless efforts!

It seems that we have caused a bit of a stir, at least as far as the author of the blog 'Sydney Anglican Heritics' is concerned. In the blog post, they talk about turning up to the festival in such an uplifting way:
Upon entry to the site I was overwhelmed by the number of stalls and the multitude of people just browsing around, most of whom I suspect are "dead in their sins".
Then goes on to mention a group fairly well known amongst readers of this blog:

What I did see, however, was group with a stall who were keenly proselytizing the passing crowd. It was a group calling themselves Sydney Atheists. So consider the scene. Here we are on the eve of Connect 09. Within a few hundred metres of the the engine room for mission within the Diocese is a crowd of over 80,000 people just browsing around and who is there to reach them? The Atheists!

My friends, I cannot help but have seen a vision of the effectiveness of Connect 09. In year 2010, when measuring the effectiveness of Connect 09, remember Newtown Festival 2008 ... Atheists 1 vs Moore 'Collage' 0.
So they seem to be a little shaken up by our prescence at the festival, which is pretty good news. It just proves that a candle in the dark really is a force to be reakoned with!

Keep up the good work, Sydney Atheists!

For more pics of the Festival, go here

Thanks to William for the video

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Dawkins DVD out! "Voices of Reason"

Voices of reason

The blurb on the site:

Now more than ever before, our world needs VOICES OF REASON

Bestselling author and biologist Richard Dawkins has become a vocal proponent of reason and science. In this collection he sits down one-on-one with a scientist, a poet, a lobbyist for secular rights, and a former bishop. With this diverse collection of individuals Dawkins explores methods of conveying science to the public, the current hold religion has on many people and their politics, the fate of a world with mounting social, biological and geological emergencies, and much more.

Aubrey Manning
was Professor of Natural History at Edinburgh University.

Richard Holloway is the former Bishop of Edinburgh and Head of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Troy Jollimore is an award-winning poet and Associate Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Chico.

Lori Lipman Brown is the director and lobbyist for the Secular Coalition of America.

The RDF has also put together a package, which includes The Four Horsemen, Voices of Science and Voices of Reason. All for $US 49

Here's the Four Horsemen

Hour 1

Hour 2

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Jesus (the funny version)

A really big favour

More at Mr Deity

Jesus meets the Terminator

Zombie Jesus

Jesus does standup

More at Comedy Jesus
(Note: "Copyright 2006 Lord, thy God. All Rights Reserved. Thou shalt not steal." Hmm, I wonder if I'll incur his wrath?)

Then there's the always hilarious JFC and Moral Orel

Monday, November 3, 2008

Richard Carrier And PZ Myers Lecture

The following videos are of a lecture recorded in October featuring Richard Carrier and PZ Myers. The event was hosted by The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. A great lecture well worth watching. There are more videos to the series, but they haven't yet been edited and posted.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Part Nine

Part Ten

Part Eleven

Part Twelve

Part Thirteen

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We need to call ourselves atheists

This video from the Beyond Belief (2007) series really encapsulates my feelings about the label 'Atheist'.

There are some people out there that would prefer to relabel non-belief to escape the negative connotations that are popularly associated with it, but I would much more prefer to retain the label and show, through my actions, that the popular myths are untrue. This is the basis of the Sydney Atheists 'Good Without God' slogan.

I feel that if we can show that there is nothing that the church can deliver that cannot be obtained through secular means, while also exposing the damage that religious belief can cause, we will be able to show the community that to believe in a god offers no merit and only muddies the waters. By offering the same positives as religion does, along with encouraging clear thinking, inquisitiveness and rationality, we would actually be offering people a chance to grow and improve upon themselves.

I am happy to call myself an atheist.

I am a proud atheist.

I feel so full of life and excited that through reason, evidence and rationality we can further our knowledge of the world and beyond, without needing to rely on a supernatural proposition to help make sense of it all.

You can watch the Beyond Belief videos and a bunch of other stuff at the science network.

You can go straight to the Beyond Belief programs here:

Beyond Belief (2008) Science as a candle in the dark

Beyond Belief (2007) Enlightenment 2.0

Beyond Belief (2006) Science, Reason, Religion & Survival

Podcast #1 out now!

The first Critical Mass podcast is available now!

You can get to it via this site,

or you can just download the file here (high quality 47 MB) or here (med quality 23 MB)

On the show are Anthony, Ian, Dave and myself

We talk about
  • What the Sydney Atheists have been up to
  • What we're all about
  • Religion invading schools
  • Kevin Rudd's argument from design
  • The London buses
Also, Dave does the topical song, On the buses 'Freethought Bus'

Check it out now!

You can subscribe to it by clicking the feedburner link at the top of the page.

What's The Harm?

Too often I listen to and read apologists that use the phrase "But what's the harm? These are private beliefs, and who are we challenge what people believe?" Well, all too often, irrational beliefs that are acted on cause a great deal of harm. Just look at the fantastic website What's The Harm. "3,284 people killed, 306,068 injured and over $2,815,114,000 in economic damages ..." and that's just the beginning.

The three terrorists known as the Bali bombers are due to be executed by firing squad sometime within the next day or so. In 2002, they targeted nightclubs packed with western tourists, killing 202 people, 88 of which were Australians. They have never expressed one ounce of remorse, with Amrozi often seen with a huge grin on his face, which gained him the name "the smiling assassin."

They view themselves as martyrs for their religion. Their brother believes that when they are executed, they will be placed in paradise because they stood up for their religion. Their mother is pleased that they will be put to death, again because they will be martyrs for their religion and will be sent to paradise. There are no doubt countless others that believe the same thing.

In the interview below with CNN, the interviewer tries to insist that the bomber is "twisting the Muslim religion completely", however the bomber is able to point out an exact passage in his holy book that justifies killing for his religion.

The interviewer asks "What gives you the right to take the lives of other people?"
The bomber answers "The verse... blood by blood, soul by soul."

That is the harm.

This also raises another point which I often struggle with understanding. These people not only believe that they are right, they "KNOW" that they are right and are willing to give up the one life that they are certain to have. If you don't hold the belief that they do, then you are either going to hell, or not going to heaven, or whatever particular teaching that religion has. Then there are people from other religions that make similar claims about their own belief systems, and they believe and "know" JUST as much as the other group. It goes on and on, with countless religions making these claims. Some one MUST be wrong. They cannot all be right. Yet each group is just as convinced as the other, and in some cases willing to die for the cause.

As an atheist, I reject all claims of any type of god/s until I have good reason and am justified to believe. Hence there is no dogma, no beliefs to follow, nothing to worship, nothing to want to die or kill for, and in fact makes me love and enjoy every day I have in this life, doing as much good as I possibly can.

It seems to me that atheism makes far more sense.