November 9th, 2014 marked what would have been the 80th birthday of the late, great astronomer, educator, science popularizer, and wonderer Dr. Carl Sagan. Carl taught us to look up to the heavens and let our imaginations run wild. But, he also taught us to only accept conclusions about our universe that are supported by the strongest of observational evidence, and to achieve these conclusions via one of the most beautiful tools we have available to us: the self-correcting mechanism known as the scientific method.
This article was originally posted on illinissa.com by a member of the Illini Secular Student Alliance.I'll admit it. I found out about Brittany Maynard from a click bait title on my Facebook feed. Hers has all of the parts of a perfect viral story: beautiful 29 year old with lethal brain cancer decides to legally end her life through the Death with Dignity Act in Oregon. Maynard's story is bringing back to life the debate surrounding the idea of physician-assisted suicide and the ethics of terminal patients willingly ending their own life instead of suffering through their disease.
It's mid-October. If you're a leader of a CFI On Campus affiliate group, you're probably finishing up the planning for a Halloween event or Carl Sagan Day, counting down the days until Thanksgiving break and maybe, possibly, studying for midterms. What you're probably not thinking about, but should be thinking about, is what your group will be doing in the spring.
This article was originally posted on unifreethought.com.When I was in high school, I had a lot of complaints about how and what we were taught. As a Civil War enthusiast, I was once given a detention when I told my sophomore history teacher that he had confused the dates of the Battles of Antietam and Gettysburg. The principal let me off when I demonstrated I was correct. I clashed with English teachers on interpretations of literature and complained that my math teachers didn’t teach in way that made sense to me. However, my time in college has shown me the topic my public education really failed to teach: sex.
Editor’s note: During the week leading up to International Blasphemy Rights Day on September 30, leaders and members of CFI On Campus affiliate groups are responding to the question, “Why is free expression important to you?” This post is part of that series.In a world where I am afraid to express my beliefs, I censor myself and even overtly lie to protect me and my friendships. Freedom of expression allows me the opportunity to honestly express my beliefs (and disbeliefs) and what I value to the people I care about. Besides the fact that lying is a memory intensive activity, having to put up the false front of being a different person causes me anxiety; that in turn distances relationships and harms friendships.