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Hello everyone; Dave here. It’s Tuesday, which means we had a SASHA meeting. Below is a summary of our activities for those who weren’t able to attend.
Due to a previous reservation, our usual room, Ellis Auditorium (through the west entrance to Ellis Library on the Mizzou campus) was unavailable. We met at 6 PM at Speakers’ Circle, and hung out for about 20 minutes in front of the Bookmark Cafe at Ellis Library while we waited for other members. We talked about Osama Bin Laden and the reactions from Christians in this country. I personally was frustrated that Obama, in his announcement, made multiple references to God, and ended his speech with an invocation for God to bless this country. I think one thing we [should have] learned from the past 10 years is that religion and government should not be shoved together. I thought it was very insensitive to the ~15% of the population of this country that doesn’t associate itself with a god to ask us to be on the same page with him as he said this, not to mention the millions and millions of Americans who worship other deities altogether. Does Obama really think that Osama bin Laden and his ilk didn’t routinely ask God to bless their endeavors, too? God had nothing to do with taking down Osama bin Laden, and it removes credit from where credit is due: the effort, blood, sweat, and tears of the humans that made it happen. Thank the troops; leave your god in the privacy of your thoughts, where it belongs.
I’m reminded of Sam Harris’s quotation about George W., made while he was still in office:
The President of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. Now, if he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ludicrous or more offensive.
Amen, Sam (or as Brother Sam Singleton would say, “God damn”) 🙂
At 6:20, we headed down to Heidelberg, and continued our discussions. We talked about Bayseian probability, analytic philosophy, finals, and several other topics. We also did our Science-or-Fiction vote, in which one of us volunteers to present 4 science-related news headlines, three of them real and one of them fake, and then we discuss them and vote on which one we think is the fake one, using our knowledge of science and our critical-thinking skills. Co-Director of Public Relations Jeremy Locke was the only one who voted for the correct article. Here are the four headlines; scroll down to find out which one was the fake one:
ADHD, autism gene linked to alcohol consumption
By Kate KellandPosted 2011/04/04 at 3:10 pm EDT
Seas could rise up to 2.6 meters by 2050: study
By Alister Doyle, Environment CorrespondentPosted 2011/05/03 at 12:04 pm EDT
SCIENCE May 3, 2011
Hearts Beat as One in a Daring Ritual: A study of fire-walking found that the heart rates of relatives were synchronized with those of the walker.
By PAM BELLUCK
U.N. Forecasts 10.1 Billion People by 2100
The fake news article is #2, that a study shows seas could rise up to 2.6 meters by 2050. The real article said that a new study reveals that the seas could rise up to 1.6 meters by the year 2100, which was actually higher than previous estimates. Most people thought that the ADHD/autism gene, linked to alcohol consumption, was the fake headline. This, along with the other two headlines, is true (see links for full stories).
We wrapped up around 9:00, after some good talk. Technically, this was our last meeting of the semester, but we will continue meeting throughout the summer, and we will still be posting on this blog every day. Stayed tuned for updates!