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August Berkshire, President of Minnesota Atheists, and Steve Petersen, Associate Chair, will interview Tom Flynn, whose Wikipedia page describes him as "an author, journalist, novelist, entertainer, folklorist, Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, and Editor of its journal Free Inquiry magazine. He is also director of the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum.
"Much of his work addresses church-state issues, including the best-selling book The Trouble With Christmas, about which he has made hundreds of radio and TV appearances in his role as the curmudgeonly "anti-Claus." He is also the author of the critically acclaimed anti-religious black comedy science fiction novel, Galactic Rapture (2000) and its sequel, Nothing Sacred (2004). His latest work, The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief (2007), is a comprehensive reference work on the history, beliefs, and thinking of America's fastest growing minority: those who live without religion. He is currently writing a third science-fiction novel set in the Galactic Rapture universe."
Tom is affectionately known as the Anti-Santa Claus and Scrooge. A happy curmudgeon, he will discuss his book The Trouble With Christmas. His book and research put into historical context the Western celebration of Christmas. He challenges his fellow atheists and freethinkers to leave this holiday alone and raise the consciences of everybody.
We will discuss what many secular humanists celebrate - The Winter Solstice, HumanLight, or Festivus - and talk about those who just ignore the religiosity of the holiday and celebrate the togetherness of one another and humanity. Oh, yes, we will also cover the culture war of Christmas, Happy Holidays, and government's enchantment of supporting religious displays. So Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Eid, Happy Holidays, Happy Festivus, or Bah Humbug everybody!
Paleontology is a set of tools of discovery in science. Explorers look to the rocks, and the quarries and the fossils encased within to read the story of the evolution of life on Earth, from which single-celled beings radiated to what Darwin described as "Endless forms most beautiful." Brian Switek is a science writer and blogger whose new book explains the processes by which paleontologists from the 17th century forward analyzed the bones of past eras and eons to give us avian dinosaurs (we call them birds), whales, elephants and more.
Despite creationist claims, there are transitional fossils. Brian's book is written clearly and with an entertaining voice and I have been thoroughly enjoying it.
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