Information

Tennessee Atheists

A refuge for the godless in the heart of the Bible belt.

Location: Tennessee
Members: 126
Latest Activity: Jun 8

Southeast Atheists Groups - a link

Find it here...

Discussion Forum

Any good things going on in Memphis?

Started by Sicile. Last reply by Jacob Alan Ross Oct 17, 2013. 5 Replies

East Tennessee Atheists

Started by Anthony Jordan. Last reply by Our Daily Train blog Jul 3, 2013. 1 Reply

Middle Tennessee Social

Started by Sheila Varga Jun 7, 2013. 0 Replies

Tennessee Atheists group of Atheist Nexus Dead ?

Started by Anthony Jordan. Last reply by One Manic Ninja May 28, 2013. 2 Replies

Introductions - tell us about yourself!

Started by Brad Feaker. Last reply by Jenny Jun 6, 2012. 54 Replies

Did YOU enjoy your 4th of July?

Started by Robert Moore Jul 11, 2011. 0 Replies

New Information!

Started by Brad Feaker May 22, 2011. 0 Replies

New To Group

Started by Jeff Foster. Last reply by Greg Anthony Apr 27, 2011. 1 Reply

Anyone live near Cleveland / Chattanooga?

Started by Godless Glen. Last reply by Godless Glen Jan 7, 2011. 4 Replies

A talk by Victor Stenger!

Started by Brad Feaker. Last reply by Emily H Jul 23, 2010. 1 Reply

It is time to liven this place up!!

Started by Joseph. Last reply by Sicile Jul 22, 2010. 9 Replies

My favorite picture from "The Onion."

Started by Joseph. Last reply by jim jones May 19, 2010. 4 Replies

Banned Books Week

Started by Joshua James. Last reply by jim jones May 19, 2010. 1 Reply

Richard Dawkins

James Shapiro goes after natural selection again (twice) on HuffPo - Jerry Coyne - Why Evolution Is True

I hate to give attention to my Chicago colleague James Shapiro’s bizarre ideas about evolution, which he publishes weekly on HuffPo rather than in peer-reviewed journals. His Big Idea is that natural selection has not only been overemphasized in evolution, but appears to play very little role at all.  Even though he’s spreading nonsense in a widely-read place, I don’t go after him very often, for he just uses my criticisms as the basis of yet another abstruse and incoherent post. Like the creationists whose ideas he appropriates, he resembles those toy rubber clowns that are impossible to knock down.  But once again, and for the last time, I wade into the fray. . .

In his post of August 12, “Does natural selection really explain what makes evolution succeed?” (the answer, of course, is “no”), Shapiro simply recycles some discredited arguments used by creationists against evolution. The upshot, which we’ve heard for decades, is the discredited idea that natural selection is not a creative process. I quote:

“Darwin modeled natural selection on artificial selection by humans. He ignored the inconvenient fact that human selection for altered traits has never generated a truly new organismal feature (e.g., a limb or an organ) or formed a new species. Selection only modifies existing characters. When humans wish to create new species, they use other means.”

This is the old canard that artificial selection doesn’t create “new features.”  His definition of a “new organismal feature” is, of course, one that hasn’t been generated by artificial selection, so it’s all tautological.  Of course we haven’t seen whole new organs or limbs arise in the short term, for people have been doing serious selection for only a few thousand years, and have not even tried to create new organs or limbs. But we can create a strain of flies with four wings, breeds of dogs that would be regarded as new genera if they were found in the fossil record, and whole new biochemical systems in bacteria.  Both Barry Hall and Rich Lenski, for example, have demonstrated the evolution of brand new biochemical pathways that have evolved to deal with new metabolic challenges. Now that is a “new organismal feature”!

Often new species are created by hybridization, but Shapiro forgets that that hybridization is often followed by either natural or artificial selection for increased interfertility of the new hybrid form, so it truly becomes an interbreeding population that characterizes a species.  And that, of course, gives a crucial role to selection, as it did in the experiments of Loren Rieseberg and his colleagues on hybrid sunflowers.

Read more

Viewpoints: Why is faith falling in the US? - - - BBC News

A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.

Thousands attended an atheism rally in Washington DC this March

Recently, researchers conducting a WIN-Gallup International poll about religion surveyed people from 57 countries.

The poll suggests that in the US, since 2005:

  • the number of people who consider themselves religious has dropped from 73% to 60%
  • those who declare themselves atheists have risen from 1% to 5%

What's behind the changing numbers? Is the cause churches that chase modern trends at the expense of core beliefs? Or are those who have always been ambivalent about religion now less likely to identify as Christian? We asked two writers for their take.

Rod Dreher: Progressive churches fuel apathy

As a practicing Christian of the Hitchens sort (Peter, the good one), I welcome the news that more Americans are willing to identify as atheists. At least that clarifies matters.

I respect honest atheists more than I do many on my own side, for the same reason Jesus of Nazareth said to the tepid Laodicean church: "because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth".

Read more

From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader - Robert F. Worth - New York Times

Late one night in early May 2011, a preacher named Jerry DeWitt was lying in bed in DeRidder, La., when his phone rang. He picked it up and heard an anguished, familiar voice. It was Natosha Davis, a friend and parishioner in a church where DeWitt had preached for more than five years. Her brother had been in a bad motorcycle accident, she said, and he might not survive.

DeWitt knew what she wanted: for him to pray for her brother. It was the kind of call he had taken many times during his 25 years in the ministry. But now he found that the words would not come. He comforted her as best he could, but he couldn’t bring himself to invoke God’s help. Sensing her disappointment, he put the phone down and found himself sobbing. He was 41 and had spent almost his entire life in or near DeRidder, a small town in the heart of the Bible Belt. All he had ever wanted was to be a comfort and a support to the people he grew up with, but now a divide stood between him and them. He could no longer hide his disbelief. He walked into the bathroom and stared at himself in the mirror. “I remember thinking, Who on this planet has any idea what I’m going through?” DeWitt told me.

As his wife slept, he fumbled through the darkness for his laptop. After a few quick searches with the terms “pastor” and “atheist,” he discovered that a cottage industry of atheist outreach groups had grown up in the past few years. Within days, he joined an online network called the Clergy Project, created for clerics who no longer believe in God and want to communicate anonymously through a secure Web site.

DeWitt began e-mailing with dozens of fellow apostates every day and eventually joined another new network called Recovering From Religion, intended to help people extricate themselves from evangelical Christianity. Atheists, he discovered, were starting to reach out to one another not just in the urban North but also in states across the South and West, in the kinds of places­ DeWitt had spent much of his career as a traveling preacher. After a few months he took to the road again, this time as the newest of a new breed of celebrity, the atheist convert. They have their own apostles (Bertrand Russell, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens) and their own language, a glossary borrowed from Alcoholics Anonymous, the Bible and gay liberation (you always “come out” of the atheist closet).

DeWitt quickly repurposed his preacherly techniques, sharing his reverse-conversion story and his thoughts on “the five stages of disbelief” to packed crowds at “Freethinker” gatherings across the Bible Belt, in places like Little Rock and Houston. As his profile rose in the movement this spring, his Facebook and Twitter accounts began to fill with earnest requests for guidance from religious doubters in small towns across America. “It’s sort of a brand-new industry,” DeWitt told me. “There isn’t a lot of money in it, but there’s a lot of momentum.”

Read more

Does this set a record for smug nastiness? - Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net

Tony Nicklinson died today. His appalling suffering is now at an end, no thanks whatsoever to our judges or our parliament. Obviously all decent people will feel glad for him, but I would add sorry that he failed to win a precedent that might benefit others. Indeed, it was precisely the fear of such a precedent that motivated the High Court to hand down its callous judgment. Let’s continue his fight for a more humane approach to the right to die.

In pursuing that fight, we need to take full measure of the opposition, where it is coming from, and in some cases the sheer depth of its unpleasantness. The article posted below was written before Tony Nicklinson’s death but after the High Court turned down his request to be allowed to die. The author, Richard Carvath, describes himself as a British Conservative political activist. I have never met him and have no wish to do so, nor had I previously heard of him. But I think his article could perform a useful service in laying out, clearly and relentlessly, the full extent of the nastiness of which people of his persuasion – we inevitably get to the love of Jesus before we are through – are capable. As often on the Internet today, you have to wonder whether it is satire, but on balance I am persuaded that this one isn’t. This is the real McCoy. Read it and marvel at the depths to which the human mind can sink, when its moral sense is sufficiently disabled by religion.
Richard Dawkins


For the Love of Tony Nicklinson

Richard Carvath

Poor old Tony Nicklinson.  His wife wants to kill him, his family want to kill him, his barrister wants to kill him, the mainstream media want to kill him, the euthanasia lobby want to kill him and a vociferous mob of Twitter followers want to kill him.  It’s enough to depress anyone to the point of despair.  In a recent tweet, Cheryl Baker (yes, she of 1981 Eurovision Bucks Fizz fame) seemed to sum up the general attitude of the misguided ‘Kill Tony’ mob when she wrote: “My heart cries for Tony Nicklinson.  If he was a dog there would be no ethical or moral decision to be made, just whatever is best for him.”  But Tony is not a dog.  Tony is a human being.  Last week, thankfully, Tony failed in his attempt to change the law which serves to protect us all from murder.  The upholding of the law was applauded by champions of justice and pro-life defenders of the disabled – and rightly so.  Tony Nicklinson isn’t terminally ill; he is severely physically disabled but he is not dying; Tony has a life to live.

There are many forms of human suffering and we each suffer something at least once in our lives: severe illness; injustice; betrayal; loneliness; poverty; unemployment; crime; childbirth; bereavement; unfair discrimination etcetera.  Sometimes our suffering is our own fault and sometimes it’s the fault of others.  Suffering is inevitable and what matters is how we respond to suffering.  Do we help ourselves or are we our own worst enemy?  Do we wallow in self-pity or do we resolve to think positively? 

Read on

Missionaries of Hate - - - Top Documentary Films

Thanks to Mike for the link


Correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to Uganda, where many question whether the growing influence of American religious groups has led to a movement to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death. As an anti-gay movement spreads across the continent, gay Africans and their families face an increasingly uncertain future of isolation, imprisonment or even execution.

The film makes it much easier to understand why the general Ugandan public is so eager to send their peers to jail. If the most prominent spiritual leader in your community made it his life purpose to convince you that there were people coming to eat your poop and recruit your children, you would be against them too. They are only hearing one side of the story and it is the origin of their information that is truly infuriating.

Although Ugandan leaders are deeply offended by the notion, the facts definitively show that American evangelists have played a central role in defining the nation’s hard line against sexual minorities. The documentary focuses on American evangelist Dr. Scott Lively, who is widely credited with installing the dominant notion that homosexuals are after your children.

Read more and see the full playlist

Comment Wall

Comment

You need to be a member of Tennessee Atheists to add comments!

Comment by Raina R. on November 15, 2011 at 7:04pm
Comment by Darrell on August 18, 2011 at 5:07am
Fourth Annual

Regional Atheists Picnic

Saturday September 17, 2011


at Lake Julian Park in Asheville, NC

The event this year will be catered by Jen Lovejoy, with both meats and vegan options available.

Cost per person will be $8.00 for those 12 and up, 12 and under eat free.

We have an alcohol permit this year, however alcoholic beverages will not be provided.

We ask that you please RSVP if you are planning to attend. If at all possible, advanced payment for the meal would be appreciated by September 10,

2011.

The WNCAtheists Forum and can be accessed directly here:

target="_blank">Regional Collaboration

(This list is only accessible through the direct link above,unless you are logged-in as a registered user, so use the link above if you are not registered.)


82.53808&sspn=0.033618,0.053215&ie=UTF8&source=embed&a...



Directions:

From North of Asheville, take I-26 East to exit 37 (Long Shoals Rd.) Turn Left on Long Shoals Rd.

From South of Asheville, take I-26 West to exit 37 (Long Shoals Rd.) Turn Right on Long Shoals Rd.

From East of Asheville, take I-40 West to exit 46A (I-26 East). Follow I-26 to exit 37 (Long Shoals Rd.) Turn Left on Long Shoals Rd.

From West of Asheville, take I-40 East to exit 46A (I-26 East). Follow I-26 to exit 37 (Long Shoals Rd.) Turn Left on Long Shoals Rd.

The entrance to the park is @1.3 miles down on the right across from Overlook Rd.


We Plan to meet @12:00 at Picnic shelter #3 near the playground and we've got the place until 7:30 PM.
Comment by Darrell on August 18, 2011 at 5:07am
<a href="http://www.wncatheists.com/RegionalPicnic.html" target="_blank">Fourth Annual
 
Regional Atheists Picnic

Saturday September 17, 2011</a>

at Lake Julian Park in Asheville, NC

The event this year will be catered by Jen Lovejoy, with both meats and vegan options available.

Cost per person will be $8.00 for those 12 and up, 12 and under eat free.

We have an alcohol permit this year, however alcoholic beverages will not be provided.

We ask that you please RSVP if you are planning to attend.   If at all possible, advanced payment for the meal would be appreciated by September 10,

2011.

The WNCAtheists Forum and can be accessed directly here: <a href="http://www.wncatheists.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=24"

target="_blank">Regional Collaboration</a>
(This list is only accessible through the direct link above,unless you are logged-in as a registered user, so use the link above if you are not registered.)

<a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Lake+Julian+Park+Asheville,+NC&sll=35.481295,-

82.53808&sspn=0.033618,0.053215&ie=UTF8&source=embed&hq=&hnear=Lake+Julian+Park,+Arden,+Buncombe,+North+Carolina+28704&ll=35.4838

07,-82.543201&spn=0.04445,0.077162&z=14&iwloc=A" target="_blank">View Map</a>


Directions:

From North of Asheville,  take I-26 East to exit 37 (Long Shoals Rd.)  Turn Left on Long Shoals Rd.

From South of Asheville,  take I-26 West to exit 37 (Long Shoals Rd.)  Turn Right on Long Shoals Rd.

From East of Asheville, take I-40 West to exit 46A (I-26 East).  Follow I-26 to exit 37 (Long Shoals Rd.)  Turn Left on Long Shoals Rd.

From West of Asheville, take I-40 East to exit 46A (I-26 East).  Follow I-26 to exit 37 (Long Shoals Rd.)  Turn Left on Long Shoals Rd.

The entrance to the park is @1.3 miles down on the right across from Overlook Rd.


We Plan to meet @12:00 at Picnic shelter #3 near the playground and we've got the place until 7:30 PM.
Comment by Robert Moore on July 11, 2011 at 12:03am
Soo how are my fellow Tennessee Atheists doing?! Everyone still in one or several pieces?
Comment by Cody Gaisser on April 17, 2011 at 1:58am
ACLU of Tennessee
Please visit this link, enter your zip code, and follow the instructions to generate letters to our representatives.  PASS THIS ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW.
Comment by pixie on April 14, 2011 at 8:50am

Regarding the bills running through the House and Senate:

Something is definitely fishy. The bill states that this in no way serves to promote any religous or non-religious viewpoint, but to point out the controversies in the various theories on the origins of life. So what will that look like? "Okay, class, I am required by law to tell you that the theories on the chemical origin of life and evolution are controversial. Unfortunately, I am unable to discuss any other theories because they all have to do with some sort of creator/space alien involvement and that falls under forbidden categories." The bill seems a little unnecessary, since to my knowledge (which may in fact be limited), the only controversy is between mainstream science and religion.

 

Can anyone shed some light on this?

Comment by Cody Gaisser on April 13, 2011 at 9:14pm

House Bill 368 passed on April 7, now watch out for Senate Bill 0893.  This bill is disguised as promoting critical thinking and scrutinizing scientific evidence, but in actuality is a classic creationist "Teach the Controversy" bill.  Just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of this.


The bill, or at least I believe it to be the current version:

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/SB0893.pdf


A committee meeting that makes abundantly clear the intent of this bill:http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/default.aspx?BillNumber=SB...


Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Cody Gaisser

Comment by Greg Anthony on March 29, 2011 at 11:40am

Hi all.  Thanks for maintaining the group, Brad.  The membership has more than doubled just since I joined.  To borrow a line from Martha Stewart, "That is a good thing."  I look forward to participating, and getting to know some of you.

Comment by Brad Feaker on March 28, 2011 at 1:57pm
Everyone - I have committed myself to making this a very active group - I have been very lax in keeping this site updated and that is going to be changed.  Help me make this a lively place to gather and discuss!
Comment by doubtingED on March 27, 2011 at 10:47am
Hey, just joined.....is this a very active group?
 

Members (126)

 
 
 

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

AJY

 

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service