Stand Up Riot 6: Hambone’s Comedy Showcase: 7/12/2014 at Hambone’s


Where: Hambone’s (4207 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201)

When: 7/12/2014

RSVP at: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/193890752/

Come join us for our 6th stand up showcase of the year at the finest ham themed bar in the city of Pittsburgh! Featuring stand up comedy from some of the regions funniest comics. Featuring:
Krish Mohan
Anil K. Bandhakavi
Nicholas Solomon
Ronald Renwick

Hosted by Derek Minto

Door Opens 9:30pm
Show Starts at 10:15pm
Tickets are $7

Pittsburgh, PA 15201 – USA

Saturday, July 12 at 9:30 PM

Details: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/193890752/

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Pittsburgh CoR New Member & Family Picnic: 7/13/2014 at Schenley Park


Where: Schenley Park (Bartlett Shelter & Playground) (Bartlett St. & Greenfield Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15207)

When: 7/13/2014

RSVP at: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/177402332/

Welcome to the Pittsburgh CoR meet and greet event of the year!

If you’re new to the Steel City Skeptics or to any of the Pittsburgh Coalition of Reason groups, or if you’re a long-time member who just hasn’t been to one of our meetups yet, this event is especially for you! You’ll have a chance to meet our regular members, and for those of you who’ve been asking for more family-friendly events, this will be one of more to come! There is a really nice playground next to our shelter.

This event will be a potluck picnic, and there are grills on site! Alcohol is allowed. Please bring some picnic food to share, and feel free to bring whatever makes you comfortable–blankets, folding chairs, coolers, frisbees, games–or just a big smile. We will have the event rain or shine. (You can use the comments below to say what you are bringing.)

Here is a Google maps link of the shelter, which has portable toilets nearby; click here for park rules. Here is a map showing the location of the shelter, and more information about Schenley Park.

This event is joint with the Pittsburgh Secular Freethinkers and the other Pittsburgh CoR groups.  We hope to see you there!

*PittsburghCoR strives to be an ADA compliant organization. This site is wheelchair accessible.

Pittsburgh, PA 15207 – USA

Sunday, July 13 at 12:00 PM

Details: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/177402332/

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2014 convention planning meetings: 7/12/2014 at Panera Bread


Where: Panera Bread (3401 Blvd Of The Allies, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)

When: 7/12/2014

RSVP at: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/193194382/

The purpose of this meeting is to help with the planning of the PA Atheist/Humanist Conference at the end of August.  Look for us in the meeting room, but if it has been taken by another group, we will most likely be in the open room in the back of the restaurant.

It is a business meeting rather than a social event, but newcomers that want to help with conference are welcome to join us.

Pittsburgh – USA

Saturday, July 12 at 12:00 PM

Details: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/193194382/

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2014 conference planning make-up meeting: 7/6/2014 at


Where:

When: 7/6/2014

RSVP at: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/193194632/

Sorry for the confusion on Saturday. This will be a WORKING meeting. We have a lot to do — this con is in 2 MONTHS!

Pittsburgh, PA – USA

Sunday, July 6 at 10:30 AM

Details: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/193194632/

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CFI and PSF Discussion Group: 7/10/2014 at Tan Lac Vien


Where: Tan Lac Vien (2114 Murray Ave (Squirrel Hill), Pittsburgh, PA 15217)

When: 7/10/2014

RSVP at: http://www.meetup.com/Pittsburgh-Secular-Freethinkers/events/181314452/

Pittsburgh Secular Freethinkers (CFI)

Hi Everyone,

This is our monthly discussion group.  This month’s topic is the intersection of politics and belief–can you be social conservative and a Humanist?  Here is an article to get the conversation started:  Wait, You’re and Atheist and a Conservative?

See you there!

To learn about all the secular groups in Pittsburgh, visit the Pittsburgh Coalition of Reason website…and you can follow Pittsburgh Secular Freethinkers and CFI on Facebook!

*CFI-Pittsburgh strives to be an ADA compliant organization.  Please email pgh@centerforinquiry.net to request accommodations.

 

Pittsburgh, PA 15217 – USA

Thursday, July 10 at 7:00 PM

Details: http://www.meetup.com/Pittsburgh-Secular-Freethinkers/events/181314452/

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Brunching Skeptically: 7/6/2014 at Schenley Plaza


Where: Schenley Plaza (4100 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213)

When: 7/6/2014

RSVP at: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/177090232/

Come meet some like-minded folks of all ages and have a great brunch at the same time. This month, we are doing an outdoor meetup in Schenley Plaza in the heart of Oakland.  We will meet under the big tent.

Before joining the group, you should buy your brunch at one of the local vendors in the plaza (or bring your own).  Recommended are the Conflict Kitchen, which only serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict (Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba, etc) or Waffalonia.  There is also Asia Tea House or Opa Gyros.  You could also consider carry-out from The Porch, but the wait would be a little longer.  See menus for the Kiosks at http://www.pittsburgh….

Brunching Skeptically is brought to you by the Steel City Skeptics, which is part of the Pittsburgh Coalition of Reason. For more information on these groups or our other events, go to: http://unitedcor.org/…

Pittsburgh, PA 15213 – USA

Sunday, July 6 at 12:00 PM

Details: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/177090232/

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A New Proof for God?


An astronomy club friend, Richard (Dick) Haddad) presents a novel proof for the existence of God in “No Sign in the Sky: Mediations on the Problem of Evil,” a book  that even an atheist can appreciate. It is well written, honest, and original. It also is reason based. Dick has this to say to readers who would argue that the question of God’s existence should be decided by faith alone: “As I said earlier, I would be very glad to have had the gift of faith. But for better or worse, I am one of those (and our name is legion) who find it difficult to accept as truth assertions which do not appear to be consistent with reason. . . . I believe it is likely (or at least possible) that logical reasoning can establish the existence or non-existence of God, and it seems to me that both the religious and the non-religious should welcome any attempt to do so, since each side . . . . should believe that the exercise of honest logic must necessarily prove its position. Such reasoning ought to begin at some basic and unarguable point, grounding itself in self-evident truth, and to proceed from there to a necessary conclusion.”

Great. I’m on board . . . . . However, the ensuing proof is hard. Despite its grounding in cosmology and the fact that I am an amateur astronomer, I realize I am not qualified to assess it. It has something to do with infinite versus finite time, and whether everything that could happen will happen in infinite time, and the fact that we do not see “Heat Death” (when the universe decays to just radiation), which is where the universe should be by now if time is infinite. Hmmm . . . I almost follow the argument. However, I suspect there is a flaw in it somewhere.

Here are the outlines of my own intuition as to why there may be a flaw: Let’s say for the sake of argument that time is infinite. If so, isn’t it strange that I am alive NOW!? Well, no. . . . it’s not strange. There is no other moment I could be experiencing. Perhaps time just is an illusion and in actuality everything exists at once, like an equation for the whole universe, or computer program. The only way a conscious entity within the program of the universe would be able to experience anything is going “forward” along the arrow of time. If so, it is no wonder that the part of the program that is “Ann” is experiencing “now” as 2014, just as the part of the program that is Benjamin Franklin experienced now as 1706 to 1790. And no part of the program is going to be able to experience “Heat Death” (when the universe turn to all radiation).

So to summarize, “No Sign in the Sky,” is a worthy exercise. I hope someone more qualified than me will assess Dick’s mediation. However, for myself, I no longer engage deeply with these sorts of arguments and here is why. As the example above illustrates, the only arguments for the existence of God that are not easily dismissed are extremely difficult to follow. So we know that whatever kind of God is being proved by them, it is not the kind of God who is trying very hard to show himself. No kind of God is trying hard to contact me. Like Dick, I “lack the gift of faith.” If God’s message is so important, why is it so hidden?*

Also the Gods that are proven through these exercises are always perfect, just, and consistent (a huge improvement over the gods recommended to me by actually existing religions), but this also means they can be safely ignored. Their perfection means that they are not needy for praise or demanding my adoration. They are not constantly changing their minds or their universe by intervening with tiny miracles. They are not doing much of anything other than giving “Good” rather than “Bad” their official seal of approval. (Of course they cannot approve “Bad” and still be perfect.)

But “Good” is already better than “Bad.” If “God” has nothing more to say to us other than the tautology that “Good is Good,” do we really need him?

Philosophical God (the God proved by philosophy), if he exists, is goodness itself and requires nothing more from me than to be good. To go farther than this we must turn to “Revelation.” Dick mentions revelation as a way to learn more about God, but to his credit, he does not pursue it. This may be because the gods of purported revelation are temperamental and even genocidal maniacs. They are self-contradictory in many ways and, as such, do not appeal to people who like logic (or just common sense). These almost certainly fictional characters do offer a few gems of wisdom mixed with the nonsense, but nothing so special that I can’t find it elsewhere.

Dick’s philosophical God wants us to balance the principles of 1) living in harmony with the universe and 2) surviving and prospering. Dick has described our moral predicament perfectly, drawing on the greatest thinkers (philosophers and scientists) who have ever lived (I am looking at this impressive bibliography).

It does give me pause when a secular philosopher says there may be something to that ontological proof for the existence of God. If the smartest people in the world ever do manage to prove a god who has something important to say, somebody please call me.

 

(The book “No Sign in the Sky” by Richard Y. Haddad (2003) published by World Association Publishers is available at Amazon.)

*In the “Afterthought” Dick admits this point (that the difficulty of proving God, even if it can be done, is somewhat troubling): “But now, having at last arrived at the conclusion of my long search, I find I have certain reservations, not about the validity of my reasoning nor the truth of my conclusions . . . but about the usefulness of all this to people in general . . . It has become plain to me that at almost every step of my proof a reader will require some familiarity with words that have depths beyond everyday connotations, and with concepts that will require some study to see clearly. People are unlikely to be acquainted with all the scraps of information from various disciplines that have been advanced during the course of my argument and it is my feeling now that to grasp the full weight of the logic, it is necessary to make specials studies. Not everyone is inclined or has the time to do that. . . . At the beginning of my search I more or less took for granted that if I presented a logical proof of the existence of God, I would be giving an answer sufficient for questions about the matter. I was mistaken.” The author concludes that the exercise was at least useful to him and perhaps will be to others.

 

 

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2014 convention planning meetings: 7/5/2014 at Panera Bread


Where: Panera Bread (3401 Blvd Of The Allies, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)

When: 7/5/2014

RSVP at: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/189196072/

The purpose of this meeting is to help with the planning of the PA Atheist/Humanist Conference at the end of August.  Look for us in the meeting room, but if it has been taken by another group, we will most likely be in the open room in the back of the restaurant.

It is a business meeting rather than a social event, but newcomers that want to help with conference are welcome to join us.

Pittsburgh – USA

Saturday, July 5 at 12:00 PM

Details: http://www.meetup.com/Steel-City-Skeptics/events/189196072/

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SCOTUS Okays Psychological Torture of Sluts


Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) struck down Massachusetts’ law creating safety/buffer zones around abortion clinics and women’s health centers. This law was intended to protect women choosing to use the legal services that these facilities offered from harassment and intimidation by protestors and other anti-choice activists – usually religious zealots.

Thankfully, they did not completely strike down the whole concept of safety zones as the anti-choice zealots wanted, but they did enough damage that it ensures that millions of women can be psychologically tortured with the Court’s blessing. It seems that what the Court has said is that as long as you are pretending to be civil and are not shouting, you can torment and psychologically abuse women who have made the agonizing decision to terminate their unwanted pregnancy. Because, of course, as everyone knows, any woman/girl who finds herself pregnant (when she did not intend to be) is a slut – because the patriarchs of a primitive tribe of ancient goat-herders said so. And slut shaming is good for society – just ask Rush Limbaugh and the abstinence-only crowd.

Personally, I think allowing the so-called “counselors” full access may be even more insidious than the protestors screaming at their victims. Since they approach their victims pretending that they want to help them, and then betray that trust by abusing them psychologically, it is even more damaging than having to deal with the shouts and slurs of the known enemy – the loud-mouthed protestors. Just ask any child victim of sexual abuse – it is the betrayal of trust that does as much or more damage than anything else.

So yesterday was another bad day for women’s rights and generally rational attitudes toward human sexuality. The unfortunate thing is that we’ve had way too many of these bad days recently.

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CFI Social Night: 7/1/2014 at Sharp Edge Bistro


Where: Sharp Edge Bistro (922 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222)

When: 7/1/2014

RSVP at: http://www.meetup.com/Pittsburgh-Secular-Freethinkers/events/189218362/

Pittsburgh Secular Freethinkers (CFI)

Welcome to the Center For Inquiry’s monthly social night, held every first Tuesday of the month at the Sharp Edge in the Cultural District downtown.  Come and socialize with like-minded friends.

See you there!

To learn about all the secular groups in Pittsburgh, visit the Pittsburgh Coalition of Reason website…and you can follow Pittsburgh Secular Freethinkers and CFI on Facebook!

*CFI-Pittsburgh strives to be an ADA compliant organization.  Please email pgh@centerforinquiry.net to request accomodations.

Pittsburgh, PA 15222 – USA

Tuesday, July 1 at 7:00 PM

Details: http://www.meetup.com/Pittsburgh-Secular-Freethinkers/events/189218362/

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