Monday, November 23, 2009

Misrepresented in the Media

I was home sick today watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and they had an episode featuring an evangelical and an atheist on a tour debating the existence of god...the atheist was most certainly supposed to be Dawkins, and the evangelical was Ted Haggard, complete with the meth and gay sex. The evangelical's wife was murdered and (spoiler) it was the atheist who did it.

I've been watching Law & Order for a long time and I'm fully aware of their centrist themes...they strike a nice balance between liberal and conservative characters. Their episodes featuring religious undertones are normally really well done, if not with a little too much sensitivity heaped onto "believers", but this episode was highly disappointing. They gave into the tired, cliché tactic of making the atheist a nasty, hateful person who did nothing the entire episode but talk about how stupid Christians are. After the wife had been killed he was so upset that he went outside to smoke instead of trying to comfort her husband. Classy. I was hoping against hope he wasn't the killer because they were trying way, way too hard to make him completely unlikeable. The male prostitute was a more cuddly character.

This has been the status quo for a while. Now more than ever, though, people are focusing on atheism as a "threat", and they are apt to think of atheists in this way, as unfeeling asswipes who would rather spew vitrol about Christians than feel any kind of compassion for another human being...sure, this isn't always off the mark, but we here at Freethought would like to counter that claim!

If you're an atheist don't let this trash be a mirror image of how you act from day to day (the being an ass, not the murdering people...I'm just going to assume the second one goes without saying ;P). It's far too easy for both sides to point fingers and build up stereotypes, its what our species is good at...we create mental models to explain how our reality works, and only more experiences and careful reflection can keep these highly generalised mental models from taking over how we conciously treat people and regard them. Don't be that stereotype some people seem to believe we are.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Carl Sagan Day

Freethought will be having a Carl Sagan Day celebration Saturday, November 7th. Basically, we're just going to watch an episode or two of Cosmos and talk about how cool Sagan was :)

Carl Sagan Auto-Tune:


Friday, October 23, 2009

Atheist Rift!!

I saw this article today and I felt like discussing it, mainly because this is something we, as n00b Atheists here at the club, have been dealing with as we've been changing our goals and identity. Unfortunately, our club has shrunk significantly, and I've started to change how I've regarded our mission after realising my favourite part of being in Freethought was being with my friends. The core 5 of us always have a great time, and even though I'm unsure if the group will be around after I leave, I did enjoy the time we had together. Ironically, the trip down to see Dawkins is what got me pondering our groups role and how well we handled it. The name is "Freethought", but our original goal seems to have been just belittling religion and generally being arrogant in a way that likely didn't attract many people. Once there were fewer people in the group we relaxed and just spent time talking about books and times!

We were so excited to go to the Dawkins event, because the guy is a badass and what better way to meet cool, like-minded people? Unfortunately it didn't work out that way at all, and we were extremely put off by the composition of the crowd...either completely oblivious to who Dawkins is, and only there for extra credit, or so insufferably smug that it almost made you sick to talk to them. Now, I've been around my share of insufferably smug people, and am extremely guilty of it myself, but this was a bit overwhelming for all of us. We were giggling like fangirls while the people around us were discussing the reasons all those stupid Christians should be destroyed (forgive the awful generalisation!).

So now I'm beginning to understand the "just as bad as the Evangelicals" criticism...some atheists tend to group "Christians" into a group and make broad assumptions and comments about them when it's obviously not warrented. This bothers me about the "New Atheists"...I'll say nasty things about religion amoungst my friends, but I try to check myself when I start generalising them as a group, and acting as if anyone who believes in religion is stupid. At worst I believe their faith is unexamined. Anyway, enough of my rambling! Until next time!

Atheists, Agnoistics...etc

There is a second Atheist group on campus that just started this fall, Atheists, Agnostics, and Non-Believers Student Society (AANSS...or something...really long name!), and we've sort of joined forces with them! We're planning a few joint activities, my favorite of which is the Argue with an Atheist booth at Riverside. We're also going to try and do a fundraiser Dodgeball tournament to raise money for shirts, which should be loads of fun. I'd also like to put on a Cthulhu day, but personal life stuff is going to make these things increasingly difficult. Keep on the look out!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Welcome to the official blog of the Ball State University Freethought Alliance! We are a local Muncie group that promotes science, skepticism, and critical thinking in all aspects of life. Our primary webpage is, but this page is infrequently updated. The primary source of news for the group will be housed here, as well as our own rants! Enjoy, comment, and follow us!

- Carrie Arnold