Let there be light

I just couldn't resist sharing this.

Evolution Day Drinks and Dialog

On November 24th, 1859, Charles Darwin first published "The Origin of Species" introducing to the world the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. For this reason, November 24th is now known as "Evolution Day".

2008 marks the 149th anniversary of this historic event. Since it actually falls on a Monday this year, the Missoula Area Secular Society will observe Evolution Day on Sunday afternoon. Come on out to Sean Kelly's (all ages welcome) for drinks and dialog about Evolution & Science & anything else of interest to M.A.S.S.ers who attend.

When: Sunday, November 23rd, 4:00pm

Where: Sean Kelly's, somewhere in the back.

If you're not sure who to look for, Dan will have his Watson Bobblehead prominently displayed on our table, and Jon will likely be (yes, again) wearing his "Darwin 08" campaign t-shirt.

RSVP if you'd like on the facebook group event, or post a comment here, or just show up prepared to meet some unsuperstitious, yet amazingly friendly people. Our facebook group recently gained it's 50th Member, so we're anticipating a wonderful turnout. See you there!

Tonight on NOVA: The Bible's Buried Secrets

Tonight at 7:00 on Montana PBS...

A visually stunning two-hour special edition of "Nova" examines decades of archaeological studies that contradict much of what is in the Bible. The entire Exodus story is debunked, as is the idea that the Israelites were monotheistic following the contract made between God and Abraham. It turns out idol worship was common through the reign of King David and right up to the Babylonian exile.

Why YOU should attend M.A.S.S.

PZ Myers (biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris) has an excellent blog post today that strikes to the heart, in my opinion, of one of the major reasons why the Missoula Area Secular Society exists. His post is a bit "Atheist" centric, but I think it still does a great job of discussing the roles that communities (clubs and other organizations) of non-religious people have to play in society.

The positive effect of religion in the real world, to my mind, is tied to this last, community component--rather than a belief in constant surveillance by a higher power. Humans are social beings, and we are happier, and better, when connected to others. This is the moral of sociologist Robert Putnam's work on American life. In Bowling Alone, he argues that voluntary association with other people is integral to a fulfilled and productive existence--it makes us "smarter, healthier, safer, richer, and better able to govern a just and stable democracy."

[S]cattered individuals who are excluded from communities do not receive the benefits of community, nor do they feel willing to contribute to the communities that exclude them.

And as Bloom says and I've said before, we are social animals and community is essential for our health and happiness. What can kill [secularism] best is if we refuse to make accommodations to build a fellowship of interests, a community of godless folk dedicated to living rational lives. A fractured group of hermits and misfits can not change the world.

You can read the full post here, just remember that Dr. Myers describes himself as an atheist, so that's his focus. M.A.S.S. however welcomes all non-religious people, regardless of what particular label you think least inadequately encompasses your personal nuanced position on the subject.

So, come on out to our next event (not scheduled yet, but should be later this month) to have fun and meet other similarly minded people. Or, even better, plan and organize an event for the rest of us to enjoy (but only if you want to).