Maybe it’s just me, but tabling for events in secularism has always been…a little tense. You stand there next to your poster-board, flyers in hand, and a (forced) smile as hordes of passersby try their darndest to avoid making eye contact as they race by. Sometimes I wonder if we ought to replace the usual props with lollipops and teddy-bears (“Despair Bears” have a nice ring to them) to ease the tension. Then I remind myself that promoting skepticism has always been an uneasy task, because skepticism is relentless and scrutinizing by nature. That’s what Darwin Week at UNI is all about. It’s a healthy concoction of science and inquiry with a pinch of discomfort that gives it a kick. In this regard, the 2014 lineup of speakers didn’t disappoint.
The event with Dr. Boghossian was a big hit! With help from Gulf Coast State College's Honors Program and Student Government Association, we were able to offer free pizza and drinks to everyone preceding the presentation. Then, at 1:00 PM, Dr. Boghossian kicked off his Critical Thinking Crash Course, where he presented wonderful thinking tools for tackling many questions in life! It was very informative, and we think everyone learned a lot from it.
AURA (American University Rationalists and Atheists) was created, like many of our campus groups, as a forum for non-believers on campus and a place to have open conversations about religion. They have regular discussion meetings, bring in speakers, and even had a kind of "Atheist Church" event. They are using the CFI Speakers Bureau as a resource to find more future speakers to host at AU. Read on for more from the group's current outreach coordinator, Benjamin Cook!
On January 23rd, Julia Galef, co-founder and president of the Center for Applied Rationality and co-host of the Rationally Speaking podcast, visited the Secular Student Alliance at UC Santa Cruz to give a public lecture entitled "How to Change Your Mind." Julia spoke of ways humans are often very irrational in our decision-making, but also how we can overcome our irrationality with critical thinking and some clever thought experiments. Some examples she covered included how to tell when a task you routinely perform is ineffective and how to rethink difficult life decisions to help determine which plan of action is most logical.