Sunday, April 13, 2014

Podcast #102 - Miranda Celeste Hale

The Oklahoma Atheists Godcast is on a 2 week streak of releasing podcasts now. This is a bona fide flurry of production because we've got MC Hale following Karen Stollznow's appearance on the show. In this episode, Hale tells all about growing up in a Catholic school and let's us know that all those evil characteristics I have bestowed up on the Church have merit. 

Show note: just like last week, the conversation goes in to a dark place even as our interviewee is seemingly a happy-go-lucky person so I have to wonder what kind of interviewers we are.

Direct link.

Share and enjoy!

Links to the podcast archives:
iTunes ] [ RSS ] [ HTML ]

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Podcast #101 - Karen Stollznow

The Godcasters had a delightful time interviewing Karen Stollznow this week about her latest book, God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States. We had a fun preparing for this interview and she blew away my expectations for the podcast. God Bless America covers Scientologists, Amish, Mormons, Voodoo practitioners, Satanists and Charismatics, describing what they believe and what the consequences of their practices are.

Karen Stollznow is a linguist, contributor at Skeptical Inquirer, JREF fellow, and a host of Monster Talk as well as many other distinctions that seem to stretch on and on. This was a big time interview for us so I hope you share and enjoy!

Direct link.

Links to the podcast archives:
iTunes ] [ RSS ] [ HTML ]

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The House is Busy

HB 1674, The Science Education and Academic Freedom Act, has passed the house with an overwhelming majority of votes and has now been read by the Senate.

The summary of the bill is as follows:
The measure requires the State Board of Education, district boards of education and administrators to endeavor to create an environment that encourages students to explore scientific questions and respond appropriately to differences of opinion about controversial issues. Educational authorities will endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies and teachers will be permitted to help students analyze the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories. No student will be penalized because the student subscribes to a particular position on scientific theories.
The wording is all very broad including "education authorities" (which could be the Discovery Institute???) but the main thrust of this bill is to allow for teachers to help students analyze certain scientific controversies. Also, I'm afraid that teachers may misinterpret this line:
Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials, but no student in any public school or institution shall be penalized in any way because the student may subscribe to a particular position on scientific theories.
Of course, no students should be graded based on their personal opinions but they MUST, not "may", be evaluated based on their understanding of all of the scientific references. This necessitates that the curriculum be appropriate and this act is no help. Please contact the Senate Education Committee and inform them that you would rather our government work to strengthen the education system instead of cut the legs out from under it.

And please do so quickly. Our government is in a great hurry.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Secular Coalition

There are many great local groups that are lobbying the state lawmakers for church/state separation but the Secular Coalition has a chance to become the best web presence. Here is Oklahoma's state website and from there you can explore all of the different ways that you can help as an online activist. You can listen the last state conference call here as well as watch training slide shows here and read how to lobby your state government and raise funds here (on right side of page).

There is just a wealth of information on this website that is begging to be used. So let's do it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Oklahoma Science Education Act: SB 1765

SB 1765 is an Oklahoma proposed bill that closely resembles SB 758, "Oklahoma Science Education Act" which died in committee in last year's session. SB 758 aimed to include creationist language in textbooks and lesson plans for state science classrooms. By this I mean the bill aimed to "assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies" and analyze the "strengths and weakness" of existing scientific theories. This years "Oklahoma Science Education Act" (SB 1765) includes much of the same language (which is vague) and opens the door for instructors to deviate from the scientific consensus that currently decides our children's lesson plans.

This bill will soon be heard in the Oklahoma Senate Education Committee so I am asking you to let your voice be heard regarding this bill. I sent my email to all members and I have already received responses.

The members are:

John Ford 


Gary Stanislawski 
Vice Chair 


Josh Brecheen 


Earl Garrison 


Jim Halligan 


David Holt 


Clark Jolley 


Susan Paddack 


Wayne Shaw 


Ralph Shortey 


John Sparks 


Ron Sharp 


Erin Boeckman 
Legislative Analyst

Lori Block 
Staff Attorney 

Leigh Garrison 
Fiscal Analyst

Mary Savuto 
Administrative Assistant 

(H/T David Wrenn)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Parade 2013

The Oklahoma Atheists had another successful turnout for the Halloween Parade that they have participated in for the past couple of years. What's new? We're a growing group of atheists that does a wonderful job of attracting active folks and we are careful to display a positive image to our surrounding communities. Yes we do all that but this year...we actually have a decently intricate float that surely made it difficult for onlookers to automatically hate us.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster was overlooking the gaggle of atheists and protecting them with its noodley appendages. FSM's eyes flashed as it floated to and fro and it beckoned its followers to delight the children with handfuls of the finest candy. All went according to FSM's will.

Edited to add:

Many thanks to Brian Collins for putting together this short video of the event.