With the help from Metroplex Atheists and the Secular Student Alliance, Secular Students at Collin College was able to take nine of our members to the Reason Rally in Washington, DC.  Although we had to scramble to arrange transportation as the Rally Bus was canceled only a week before, we teamed up with local off-campus organizations to rent vans and make the trip.  We took two passenger vans and split our members between them.

The trek from Dallas to DC was an event in and of itself.  We left at dawn on Friday to cover 1,326 miles—21 and a half hours of straight driving with nine other people we would get to know *very* well.  The vans got separated nearly immediately, but our experiences still were similar.  We drove through Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia.  We got to go through cities like Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville.  Tennessee is an incredibly long state, as it turns out, and can produce some mean storms and extremely thick fog.   After gingerly driving through, we managed to survive and make it all the way to DC just as the Rally was starting.

Even though the weather didn’t fully cooperate, it was still an amazing event to be at.  Seeing so many of the biggest names in the movement—live!—was incredible.  Tim Minchin and Eddie Izzard were hilarious.  Nate Phelps was moving.  Adam Savage was inspiring.  Jessica Ahlquist was young!  And then there was the massive tent behind the crowd.  We got so much free stuff!  (The Secular Student Alliance bags were the best, of course).  It was awesome getting to see the big speakers work their tables in between speeches.  There was nothing quite like seeing Michael Shermer and Dan Barker just chill out within 50 feet of each other.

The funding that the Secular Student Alliance provided made it possible to bring two more members with us.  Everyone’s lives were changed after going to the Rally.  We all felt empowered that we could make a real difference in the movement and the rest of the world. We truly got the message that is our duty to help dispel the negative stereotypes about people without religion.  One of our members even found the courage to come out as an atheist to his family once he got home.

The trip also got us very close (both literally and figuratively) with the off-campus groups in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.    DFW is large, and our groups don’t cross paths often.  However, by teaming up and getting a large Texas presence to the Rally, we created relationships that will benefit both the students and the non-students in the future.

After a long and very wet day, we crawled into our vans and set off for home—another 1,326 miles and 21 and a half hours away.  Although two thirds of our three day weekend was spent in a van (and a member lost her phone AND got food poisoning), the trip was well worth it.  We left DC empowered, inspired, wet, and with a bunch of new friends with plans to travel to more secular events.  After all, if a bunch of heathens from Dallas can conquer DC, what in the world can stop us?

-KB


 
His presentation is now on our Youtube channel!  Check it out!
 
Contact:  Kevin Butler                                                                                                     
Cell Phone:  469-298-8429
Email: collin@secularstudents.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

GAY AND GODLESS STUDENTS PROTEST SANTORUM RALLY

Secular Students at Collin College Rally Against Rick Santorum at Plano Rally

Today at Fairview Farms, the Secular Students at Collin College (SSCC) - a student organization for the non-religious that participates in community outreach and secular awareness - will join members of the LGBT community to protest Rick Santorum's ignorant and hateful positions toward gay rights and other social policies.

WHO:  Secular Students at Collin College (SSCC) is an affiliate of the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason (www.dfwcor.org), a regional network of organizations for non-religious people, including atheists, agnostics, deists, skeptics and humanists.  SSCC works to better the Collin County community through political activism, community service and providing educational services such as guest lectures and tutoring.

Kevin is the founder of SSCC.  He is a current student of Collin College and University of Texas at Dallas.  Kevin is also an officer for UTD's ASH (Atheists, Skeptics and Humanists) and OUT @ Collin, the gay-straight alliance of Collin College.

WHERE: Fairview Farms
3314 N. Central
Plano, TX 75074

WHEN: Feb. 8th, 7:00pm to 8:00pm

WHY:  Due to Rick Santorum's theocracy-driven campaign, grossly ignorant positions about LGBT rights and anti-choice stance against women's contraceptive rights, SSCC will protest his Plano rally tonight to offer their support to the LGBT movement as well as educate the general population about the constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state.

Secular Students at Collin College (SSCC) (www.secularcollin.tk) - A group of Collin College students open to anyone interested in discussing religion, secularism, atheism, and other related topics.

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For more information or to schedule an interview with Kevin Butler, please call 469-298-8429 or email collin@secularstudents.org.

 
_ Several weeks ago, the idea of the search for truth came up in a comment on the SSCC Facebook page. The discussion only briefly focused on it before moving to another topic, and I had all but forgotten about it until recently.

I was watching a debate with a theologian who stated that, when discussing our understanding of the universe, one must "start with, and finish with a Christian understanding of god." This is tantamount to a juror deciding his verdict before seeing the evidence.

And that is the problem I have with many people's “scientific” defenses of their religion. From a young age one is brought up with a preconceived belief about reality, namely the existence of whichever deity, that has been given to them without evidence but asserted as a matter of faith, you just have to believe it. And, at that age, why wouldn't you believe what your parents and church leaders are telling you? From then on they, consciously or not, view the world through the lenses of their religion, filtering out what does not fit the beliefs they already hold, and molding what they can to support them, thereby creating an incomplete view of reality designed to fit what was already assumed.

This is completely backwards from how one should go about the search for truth. One should be as a juror, viewing evidence and basing one’s beliefs about reality solely on that evidence.  Any presumptions about the topic should be left at the door, because if a claim requires a prior assumption of its truth or falsity in order for the evidence to support it, then the claim is fallacious, and the evidence is meaningless.  When judging the evidence to a claim, one should evaluate it as if there were no prior beliefs about the subject, and simply view the facts. If I did not already believe Z, would X + Y = Z make sense?

Take the Goldilocks Zone argument. It states that life as we know it is only theoretically possible under the conditions that exist in the small region of space (several hundred thousand miles) that the Earth inhabits. One then goes on to make a logical leap in assuming that this indicates our placement here by a deity, this assumption built on the assumption that life as we know it is the only form of life in the universe or that it bears any cosmic significance whatsoever in a universe of one septillion stars.  This is not scientific evidence, nor proof of any kind, it is an argument constructed to defend the preconceived beliefs of whoever wields it, like a shield full of holes.

The reason scientific theories like evolution, gravity, and heliocentrism, became so widely accepted was because they proved to be logical and were supported by the given evidence despite the popular beliefs about them.

The issue with “scientific” evidence for whichever deity is that the only reason the evidence would cause one to arrive at the conclusion of a god is because the notion of it is so culturally accepted. Side note: this is also the reason imperialism, slavery and segregation took so long to overcome.

If you are genuinely searching for truth, ask yourself: Am I basing what I believe on what I know about reality, after an honest and unbiased evaluation of evidence, or am I basing my view of reality on preconceived beliefs, viewing evidence as a means to support those beliefs?

 

Patrick Smith

 

 

*The views expressed in this posting are the opinions of the author and do not represent the views of Collin College, the SSCC or any organizations with which the SSCC is affiliated.

 
Instead of using wordpress, we're going to try using Weebly for our blog for now.  Let us know what you think!

Meetings next semester will start on Wednesday 1/18/12 in room I116 at 6:00 PM.  See you there!

Kevin Butler
Events Coordinator