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  • Susan Jacoby: Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism

    Susan Jacoby: Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism
    Excellent overview of the prominent role that freethinkers (atheists, agnostics, and deists) played in America's past, including the founding of our country, the abolition of slavery, and giving women the vote. (*****)

  • Sam Harris: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

    Sam Harris: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
    One of the most frightening books I've ever read. Among numerous other topics, Harris argues that it is almost inevitable that atomic weapons will fall into the hands of religious radicals -- if not terrorist, then perhaps a nation with religious radicals in charge. (****)

  • Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion

    Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion
    Highly recommended. Despite what you might have heard, Richard Dawkins does not spew venom in this book. Flames do not shoot out when you open it, nor does bile drip from the pages. Far from being an hysterical, rabid diatribe against religion, it is a quite measured, logical explanation of the evidence against God and why religion should not be treated with such reverence. (*****)

  • Daniel C. Dennett: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

    Daniel C. Dennett: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
    I highly recommend this book for anyone who is about to embark on studying religion and atheism. Why do people enjoy music? Why do we like to socialize? Why do we sometimes become violent? Science has attempted to answer each of these questions. Dennett proposes that science attempt to answer another: Why are people religious? Even if one of the religions is true, that still means that billions of people believe religions that are not true. Why? What is it about our evolutionary past that makes us willing to believe? (*****)

  • Jared Diamond: Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

    Jared Diamond: Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
    Why wasn't Europe invaded by ships carrying gun-wielding Native Americans or Africans, rather than the other way around? This is an excellent explanation of why some societies became quite advanced, while others remained primitive. (*****)

  • Richard P. Feynman: "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character

    Richard P. Feynman: "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character
    Very entertaining and thought-provoking collection of anecdates from the life of perhaps the best-known physicist of the 20th century. (****)

  • Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, Jack S. Cohen: The Science of Discworld
    You'll have to visit Amazon UK to locate this one. This book explains science concepts by comparing them to the decidedly different physical laws of the Discworld series. (****)
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June 16, 2008

James Randi at UIUC


James Randi
Originally uploaded by Wally Hartshorn

On March 10, 2008, well-known skeptic and debunker James Randi spoke to a large crowd at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as did Nobel Prize winning chemist Richard J. Roberts. Several members of REALL and the Springfield Area Freethinkers made the trip to attend their talks.



Randi with Springfield Skeptics and Freethinkers



In addition to the many photos, Randi was also nice enough to autograph my copy of his book, Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions. That was one of the very first books on skepticism that I read. Perhaps even the first book.


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Comments

Frank Sheehan

As James Randi is one of my hero's in the Skeptical Community i thought I would post this here

This is a letter i sent in reply to an unsolicited email i received recently from "some fellow' who said he was having a loving relationship with another fellow called God" LOL yeah and he wanted me to buy a book from some Fellow called Cremo

Dear Sir,

With respect

Your argument is false, ill logical and has very little relevance in fact. Relies solely on faith without a basis of rational thought. It is true that some people with scientific degrees purport to “disprove evolution” but they never have. Firstly they normally have been “converted” to believe in your faith, are blind to evidence and do not study “in the field” of “evolutionary science” .

Mike Cremo has no “degrees or qualifications in science or history” that I know of, he left university before completing any studies. Is widely regarded within and outside the scientific community as a “wacko” and is supported by the good fellows of the “Christian right” who continue to buy his books, DVD s etc. Plus some even sponsor his trips to the “Holy Lands”. Talk about a truly independent scientist! Hogwash (source his own bio posted online) oh and by the way your own right wing zealot sites don’t even agree on “what qualifications” the guy has, unsurprisingly so he doesn’t either, that’s right his qualification keep changing (like the wind lol) dependent on the article, book etc

A few indisputable facts

The Sun (a star) is approx 6 minutes away from earth (that’s how long the light takes to get here)

Using math (not bible mathematics) nearly all stars in the sky are over 50,000 light years away with the majority being well over a million light years away some even thousands of millions of light years away

Oil took many, many, millions of years to be made, Oil comes from Plant matter

Fossils in the ground record a history dating back “hundreds of millions of years” Dinosaurs did not miss the Ark like the Unicorns

My ‘mom’ one of the most Christian women in my community knows that evolution is a fact. She still believes in God

Evolution is a fact

The only country on earth where “factual science” has been attacked and ridiculed to such a high level in the western world is in the USA by Right Wing Christian Zealots who wish to impose “their moral values” on the rest of society. The rest of the Western World stand with our friends in the USA to help protect education, basic science and rational thought.


Yours Truly

Frank Sheehan
Australia


Bill

Hear Hear.

jyotsna

I believe, belief in God and belief in science are two different things.

Josh Neumann

If God doesn't exist, how come there are any rules at all? How come we all intuitvely know that killing and stealing are wrong, without anyone having to tell us this? Where did these rules come from?

Also, if there really is no deeper reason for us being here on earth as athiests say, than why do we all want there to be?

If the world had no meaning, we wouldn't even know what meaning is, and therefore wouldn't continue looking for it.

Bill

With the greatest of respect Josh, the belief in a supreme being has nothing to do with the belief in a moral code of behavior. One simply does not lead to the other.
Admittedly some of the greatest lawmakers in the world have suggested that it requires a belief in a supernatural diety in order to guide the law makers, (George Washington said so in his farewell address for instance) but this view is not universally supported. In fact, one would argue that the separation of Church and State is more likely to lead to less corruption and more clear thinking.


jenneigs

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ChrisWhite

This site is a fantastic source of useful information! Will you be mind if I reblog some of your posts on my private website?

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