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Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Relay is Over

And so ends our efforts at the Relay for Life.

The weather was horrid, it was cold and muddy.

We had to do our best to 'turn the other cheek' to religious folk telling us that we were going to hell (oh, how nice of them), the Phytoplankton cancer cure woo woo promoters and the mirrorless christian reflection tent.

The coffee was bad, the canteen only sold meat and all the raffles were for stuff we didn't want.

But we soldiered on and ended up raising $463 for the cause, which was to fund research into the minimisation of the immunological problems that people suffer when going through chemotherapy, which can cause further complications through infections etc.

All up we had 14 atheists walking for the cause, all of whom deserve congratulation for all the work they have put in. (remember this when you see us at the next pub meeting).

Once again the Sydney Atheists have helped to spread positive atheism and have lived up to our motto 'Good Without God'

The next charity event will be another blood donation in a month or so, we hope to see some more people then!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Its raining and the atheists walk on!

It has been raining for a couple of hours now, but we atheists are incredibly tough.
We have been walking in circles despite the high danger of contracting a case of wet.
The tasty sweet corm a few tens up from us has provided sustenance to get us through for a little longer. We are worried that we may not have been prepared for the severity of the conditions. As every moment passes we notice a drop in morale. The only thing that will b able to bring us through is an avalanche of donations. Please give often and generously.

Sydney atheists. Wet, godless and angry at cancer!

Nommy vegan cupcakes

Woohoo, we just were just told that Zach (our puppy) wasn't 'technically' allowed here, but he'll be ok if he stays in the tent.

That's just as well, because the tent is full of nommy vegan cupcakes!


Hawkesbury youth band

Hawkesbury youth band (that's my brother in the silly hat) playing at the relay for life.

Please sponsor us!


Um... I thought this was going to be somewhat safe! Whatever risks are involved were not duly communicated. Additionally, we were told that it is not a competition.


Our tents are up, we're walking in circles and none of us have cancer... So far so good


And they're off!


We're at the opening of the relay for life.

The weather doesn't look great, but we'll do our best!

(I don't think the telescope is going to be too successful!)

Relay for Life

This weekend, Sydney Atheists are participating in the Cancer Council's 'Relay for Life'.

We will be raising money to help fund cancer research, whilst also raising awareness of the need for cancer research.

Over the weekend we will be sending live updates to the blog (if I can get online, it is in the sticks), to let you know how we're doing. We only have a small team, so it's going to be a bit of a slog to be able to walk continuously for 24hrs, but we'll do our best.

Please sponsor us online here

You can see more details on out meetup site and facebook event.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Is it just me, or is there a mother of the son of one of the one true gods in my toast?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The webs are full of fruit!

Just going through my webcomics rss feeds and there was quite a few good ones this week.

Here's a taste

Monday, May 18, 2009

Holy Crap! (and other flash games)

I came across this site and just had to put up a post about it.

Freethunk is a site full fo freethinking miscellany, including articles, comics, videos and silly little flash games.

Ive been going through the comics over the weekend, and some are pretty good, there's even and archive of 'Atheist Eve' by Tracie Harris and Don Baker from the Atheist Community of Austin. Be careful, because some of them are quite NSFW.

But the most fun can be found in the little flash games. Here are a few of my faves.

Claque Beignet- in which you play an alien race trying to take over the earth, but can't because of the number of vocal singers, which destroy your ears. You have created a marvelous machine that allows you to remotely slap the singers in the face, but you must get them all before the sound becomes unbearable!

Holy Cow- you are a dead flying cow with blue polka dots, but to get into heaven you must do an acceptable amount of good in the world. You have to catch falling playing card suits and poop them out onto people praying beneath you. There's also a sewer for the poops nobody wants. If you don't crap on a person's head when they pray, they'll commit suicide!

Running Jesus- You are competing in the christlympic games as Jesus of Nazareth and have to win a sprinting competition agains other son's of the one true god. Oh yeah, and you're carrying a cross to slow you down.

Gods Playing Field- You are God (or, at least you are gods fist) and you just have to squash people. Earn points and get other funky powers, like lightening, floods and sowers of pianos!

There's heaps more to check out here.

I hope you het as much entertainment out of them as I did!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Atheists not fully human

Apparently, atheists (or people who don't consider the transcendent, which isn't necessarily a trait of atheism... unless you are referring explicitly to gods) are not quite human.

From Suburban Panic

But I guess we need to ask, what is more 'inhuman'? To seek evidence and ask questions before submitting to a belief, or eating the flesh of a non-existent dead Rabbi?

Enjoy your inhumanity, I'm happy where I am thankyouverymuch!

Penn Says: The Prayer Test

Penn (from Penn and Teller) had a video on his vlog "Penn Says" that basically supported proselytizing. The argument was that if you think you are right about an afterlife, supreme being, etc, you basically have a civil duty to tell the world.

This video has been used by a number of churches, which has trickled back to Penn.

In this video, Penn discusses some of the reactions to his post, including an experiment to test the efficacy of prayer.

Religion for children

Some of the creepy videos promoting religions to children

More brainwashed children

About a month ago, I blogged about a video of a child preacher, yelling and screaming from the pulpit. It was an eye opening display of a child's perception of the church experience, showing how the child is not seeing the soft, 'love thy neighbor', baby Jesus and little sheepies version of the church, but sees a person yelling and screaming fanatically at the front of a big room.

It's pretty obvious that the children aren't getting the message, that their attendance at church is inappropriate and that they ought to be protected from being exposed from this kind of material.

It's similar to when we went to the Bethlehem Experience, where they were showing the goriest scenes from 'Passion of the Christ' as all the children were walking past, leaving a number of children in our group crying, upset by the experience.

It seems like, in these cases, some people are willing to subject their children to traumatic experiences, justified by the fact that they are doing so as a way to indoctrinate children into the faith.

I say that if you are using methods like this to scare, shock and traumatise children into staying in your church, you are commiting child abuse and should be stopped.

There are standards of classification designed to protect people from offensive material. I would liek to see these standards enforced upon churches too.

Please speak out against abuse of children whenever you see it.

To add to the previous post on child preachers, here's a selection of kid preachers. It's pretty scary stuff!

Dan Dennett: A Darwinian Perspective on Religions

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Open Mindedness

This video is a really good explanation of some of the logical fallacies applied to skeptical thinking. It's really worth checking out.

Seth macfarlane and Bill Maher. It's about F#$king time!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Islam is not for me

Ooh... I hope this doesn't make it into a Danish newspaper!

Hat tip to Peter

The Big Questions: Faith

A Dawkins/Darwin double-dose delight!

The first video is Richard Dawkins in an interview on Belgian TV. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Antwerp.

The voice-over is not in English, but the interview is.

The second video is "Darwin: The Legacy BBC 1998 Documentary about the historical and future influence of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection on human behaviour, society and culture. Contributors include evolutionary biologists Edward O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins and John Maynard Smith."

James Randi Speaks: The compass trick

In this video James Randi, the uberskeptic debunks one of Uri Geller's Six tricks. Randi tells us of two of them, the compass trick and suing anyone who annoys him, but I was left thinking, "what are the other four?

Obviously, Uri Geller bends spoons, so that's three. By the way, the trick to spoon-bending is in the name ;) To bend a spoon, you get a spoon and bend it!

Geller also mucks about with watches, draws hidden images and makes stuff fly about. So now we're at six. Having a look through his repertoire, it seems he also dabbled in prediction and dowsing, among other things.

I'd like to know what the five tricks Randi is referring to are. Perhaps some of the ones described above can be collapsed into categories...

Enjoy Randi

Cathoholics anonymous

Last night, a group of nine Sydney Atheists visited Theology on Tap, a monthly Catholic get together with a talk and chat format, where a speaker presents on a particular theological issue, followed by some QnA, then everybody mingles and chats afterwards.

The guests on this night were ‘The Priests’, a three-piece a-capella group who sing religious classics in a warbly baritone. Needless to say, we were somewhat underwhelmed. We were expecting a night of theology, and were given a performance. After singing a few songs, the Priests each gave a bit of a talk, then opened up the floor for QnA. One of the people near us, who had figured out that we were a group of atheists (thanks to Jason’s ‘covert’ wearing of his Sydney Atheists t-shirt) turned around and said “Go on, ask something”. But there wasn’t really anything to say. The priests hadn’t really said anything objectionable and it was pretty much all about their music, leaving us without any real pressing questions. One person asked how their music was received by the secular audience, which led to a listing of all of the bands that they had worked with, including U2 and Manic Street Preachers.

During the talk, I was surprisingly noticed as ‘that guy from the Kerr-Anne show’, which led to a group in front of us all whispering and gesturing ‘inconspicuously’ over their shoulders at us. By the end of the night, it was quite obvious that the fact that we were there had spread around the whole crowd (about 200 people!). One guy overheard Jason saying ‘ooh, I’d like another beer’ and bought one for him before spending most of the night on the balcony chatting with a group of atheists.

After the Priests, there was the obligatory ‘dash for cash’, where it was subtly explained to us that merchandise was available upstairs, that their CD would make the ultimate Mothers Day present, and that the ATM was located through the door to the left.

When the sales pitch was over, the crowd started milling about and chatting amongst themselves, but nobody was initiating conversations with us, so I decided that we should be a bit less subtle and start to make our presence known a little more. We started by all getting our photos with a cut-out of the Pope and when Jason, in his Sydney Atheists t-shirt, was getting his picture taken, there was a great deal of pointing and whispering, but still no interactions. So we started to walk about the room with Jason until we were noticed. One of the photographers started taking photos of Jason’s shirt, then took some pictures of the whole group. After this we started to get into conversations left, right and centre.

The guy that had recognised me from the telly came up and introduced himself, then introduced me to Father Richard, a philosophy lecturer and priest from Notre Dame. Not long after that, another philosophy student was introduced to us and a few other people started to ask us all sorts of questions, from ‘so, what’s your group all about’ to ‘do you come across many Satanists in the Sydney Atheists?’

I had a good time talking to people about sex ed, biology, origins, and lots of dispelling the many myths that people have about atheists. From the sounds of it, pretty much everyone that was there had a good time. The vibe of the night was constructive, fair and inquisitive conversation, rather than arguing and finger waggling. We had a really good time and will definitely be back again. Look out for our report on critical mass podcast #7