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All posts by Adam Bourque

MISkeptics Pi Day with Alan Turing

March 14th is Pi Day. In celebration of Pi Day, we will be celebrating one of the world’s greatest mathematicians, Alan Turing. A biopic of Alan Turing, The Imitation Game was nominated for 8 Academy Awards winning the Best Screenplay Oscar.

Alan Turing in 1951. Three years before his death.

Alan Turing was a  British pioneering computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, mathematical biologist, and marathon and ultra distance runner. He was instrumental for his work on code-breaking during World War II. It is possible that without him, we would not have won the war.

Turing died on June 7th, 1954 after undergoing court ordered chemical castration because of a conviction of gross indecency. Being homosexual was a criminal offense.

We will have a presentation on Alan Turing along with our news round up and a small discussion on Pi Day.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary.

I hope to see you all there!

Darwin Day 2015 featuring Dr. Mark Reimers

–UPDATE– Instead of The Genius of Charles Darwin documentary, we will have Dr. Mark Reimers speaking on the evolution of the brain.

February 12th is International Darwin Day. This year it will also be Charles Darwin’s 206th birthday. On This month we will be joining with the International Darwin Day organization in celebrating Darwin and his history changing accomplishments.

Charles Robert Darwin at age 72. Painted by John Collier.
Charles Robert Darwin at age 72. Painted by John Collier.

Join us on Saturday February 14th at 1:00 PM for our Darwin Day celebration. Details and RSVP information are at the bottom of this post.

While Darwin’s remarkable impact on biology, cosmology, and the scientific process generally cannot be understated, it is again his undeniable desire for truth through scientific discovery, his unwavering curiosity to discover that which was hidden (naturally or purposefully), and his determination to brave intellectual depths that inspires us. ~ International Darwin Day

We celebrate Darwin Day because his discovery completely changed history and the way we look at our world. We also celebrate because there are many people who seek to discredit his work. Not because it is wrong, which it isn’t, but because they simply do not like it. And on this day we push back and laud the great man for his great accomplishments.

For our Get Together we will be joined by Dr Mark Reimers. He is a Professor of Neuroscience at Michigan State University. He also is a bicyclist, humanist, mathematician, scientist and a strong advocate of communicating science with the public

Dr. Mark Reimers

Our human mind and consciousness has evolved from an ape mind over the past six million years. How have our brains and genes changed to bring this about? We are very similar to apes in some ways, in which scientists previously thought humans were unique, but quite different in other ways, such as our capacity for joint attention, which scientists had not realized were so important. This talk will present genetic, anatomical, and behavioral evidence bearing on the changes to the brain that supported the emergence of the human mind and its capacity for culture.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Please RSVP for more details and the location of the event. You can RSVP at our Meetup Page, our Facebook Page, or our Google+ Page.

See you there!

 

Michigan Skeptics Presents: Sam Singleton the Atheist Evangelist

Brother Sam’s show is called, “Cats, Sheep and Goats: The Taxonomy of Atheists, Believers and Preachers”

Michigan Skeptics is proud to present Sam Singleton in his return to Michigan.

Brother Sam is presenting his latest show: Cats, Sheep and Goats: The Taxonomy of Atheists, Believers and Preachers.

Brother Sam and his cousin Palmer have followed widely disparate paths, Sam becoming an atheist evangelist, Palmer remaining faithful to their holy roller upbringing. Palmer is the one member of the Singleton clan who has stuck by Sam. And Sam is exasperated that anybody so smart and decent can be so misguided. Palmer feels exactly the same way. Their conversations, as recounted in Cats, Sheep and Goats: the Taxonomy of Atheists, Believers and Preachers, are a fun-house-mirror view of relations between atheists and believers.

This will be the third time for MISkeptics to host Brother Sam. It’s a sell out every time. Get ready to laugh until it hurts. Sam Singleton is a force all his own.

Tickets for Sam Singleton are $15 at the door and $10 in Advance. You can purchase tickets online by RSVPing at our Meetup page, our Facebook page, or you can purchase the tickets directly by following this link.

Greta Christina to Speak in Grand Rapids and Farmington Hills.

CFI-Michigan is co-sponsoring this lecture with The Birmingham Temple Congregation for Humanistic Judaism.

Greta Christina will speak on her newest book “Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why”

Coming out is the most powerful political act atheists can take. But coming out can be difficult and risky. What are some specific, practical, nuts-and-bolts strategies we can use: to come out of the closet, to support each other in coming out, and to make the atheist community a safer place to come out into? What can atheists learn about coming out from the LGBT community and their decades of coming-out experience — and what can we learn from the important differences between coming out atheist and coming out queer?

She will be speaking in Grand Rapids on September 10th and in Farmington Hills on the 11th.

Greta will be speaking in Grand Rapids and in Farmington Hills

About the Speaker

Greta Christina has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including atheism, sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind.

She is author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and of Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More, and is editor of Paying For It: A Guide for Sex Workers for Their Clients. She has been a public speaker for many years, and is on the speaker’s bureaus of the Secular Student Alliance and Center for Inquiry. She is a regular contributor to AlterNet, Salon, The Humanist, and Free Inquiry. Her writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Ms., Penthouse, Chicago Sun-Times, On Our Backs, and Skeptical Inquirer, and anthologies including Everything You Know About God Is Wrong and three volumes of Best American Erotica. She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Ingrid. She tweets at @GretaChristina, and has been writing about atheism on Greta Christina’s Blog since 2005.

Additional Details

Meetings are open to the Public

Cost: FREE ($5 Suggested Donation).

Click here to RSVP for the Grand Rapids lecture.

Click here to RSVP for the Farmington Hills lecture.

Location and times are in the RSVP.

 

The MISkeptics September Get Together: Mirage Men

DVD Cover of Mirage Men
How the US government created a UFO myth that took over the world.

This month we are watching the 2013 documentary Mirage Men. Our Get Together will be held on September 13th at 4:00 PM. RSVP for the location.

UFOs: weapons of mass deception… For over 60 years teams within the US Air Force and Intelligence services exploited and manipulated beliefs about UFOs and ET visitations as part of their counterintelligence programmes. In doing so they spawned a mythology so powerful that it captivated and warped many brilliant minds, including several of their own. Now, for the first time, some of those behind these operations, and their victims, speak out, revealing a true story that is part Manchurian Candidate and part Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

We will also have our news round up and an announcement of an upcoming event.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary. You can RSVP via our Meetup Group or by Facebook.

Don’t forget that our group is funded entirely by donations. Please chip in by clicking here. There will also be a donation jar at the Get Together and we are able to take credit cards on site as well.

I hope to see you all there!

The MISkeptics Get Together: Will we be the Borg?

Author Jonathan Stars
Jonathan Stars is a writer, database consultant, musician, comedian, and songwriter. He has written over 100 articles on computers, music, and software. His latest novel is the techno-thriller “N-hanced.”

This month we are talking about the future of technology. Our featured speaker will be Jonathan Stars.

In this talk Jonathan will tell us about the promise and peril of our coming relationship with computers.  According to inventor and futurist, Ray Kurzweil (among others), in the next few years our lives will be dramatically changed by advances in robotics, genetics and nanotechnology.  Kurzweil predicts a technological singularity that will arrive around 2045, where people will need to have their intellects mechanically enhanced in order to keep up with the accelerating changes.

You may be surprised to find the future is closer than you think.

Jonathan Stars is a writer, database consultant, musician, comedian, and songwriter. He has written over 100 articles on computers, music, and software.  His latest novel is the techno-thriller “N-hanced.” (Learn more at www.N-hanced.com).

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

We are meeting at 4:00 PM on Saturday, June 14th in Plymouth, Michigan. Details are in the RSVP Links.

You can RSVP via our Meetup Page, Our Facebook Page, or our Google Plus Page.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming.

MISkeptics is accepting donations! You can contribute to our future endeavors by following this link, or in person at any Get Together. You can donate with your credit card or drop money into the donation jar.

I look forward to seeing you there!

MISkeptics April Get Together: The Idea of a Basic Income

What is Basic Income? Proponents tie it to Humanism and Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Logo
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948 as a direct result of World War 2.

According to Article 25, Section 1 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

Basic Income is a concept where the state would provide a regular income payment to every adult citizen, with no conditions attached. Such a payment would be enough to meet basic needs for a frugal lifestyle, and would largely replace welfare, food stamps, and public pensions. It would also augment the income of poorly paid employed people, and provide a safety net for those with irregular incomes.

Is this a system that could work in the United States? How would it be implemented? How is it different and is it better or worse than our current welfare system?

Basic Income posters on a wall.
The concept of Basic Income goes back to the 16th Century.

Our special guest this month is MISkeptics member and contributor Marc Stemmer. Marc has extensively studied the philosophy and practice of a Basic Income and will present his research. We will learn the positives, the negatives and clear away the hype associated with it.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting Skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

We’re meeting on April 12th at 1:00 PM. The details are in the RSVP links below.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary.

You can RSVP at our Meetup Group, our Facebook Event Page, or our Google Plus Event.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

The End of the World is Coming! (again) Let’s Have a Party

The end of the world was signalled in York last night as a horn was blown to herald the beginning of the apocalypse
On November 14th, the Norse God Heimdallr blew the Gjallerhorn to warn of the Viking apocalypse. Actually, Heimdallr was unavailable. This is just some guy in eyeliner.

On November 14th, 2013 the Mythic Gjallerhorn was blown. Which is a sign that the world will end 100 days later. Traditionally it was supposed to be blown by the Norse God Heimdallr, but he was otherwise occupied. Nevertheless, the horn was blown and it means one thing. THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING!

Ragnarök

The blowing of the horn is a calling of the gods (the Norse ones) to a great battle. According to the Edda, a Norse Epic Poem, the great battle will cause the deaths of the great gods. Odin, Thor, Týr, Freyr, Heimdallr, and Loki will all be slain. Ragnarök, which literally means “Twilight of the Gods” will cause natural disasters, the Sun will turn black, wolves will increase in numbers, and the world will be plunged into the sea. But don’t worry! The gods will fix it all when they come back to life and the world will be born again.

How do we know Ragnarök is at hand? Let’s look at this handy checklist of signs:

How to know the world is ending: Continue reading

Nelson Mandela for our January Get Together

Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 2008.
Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 2008.

On December 5th 2013, at the age of 95, Nelson Mandela died. He was South Africa’s first black chief executive, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. He also served over 27 years in prison for his activism prior to that. The end of Apartheid in South Africa is credited largely to him. He was called a lot of things when he died, a hero, a savior, a great leader, a terrorist, a communist, and a murderer. But what was he really?

On Saturday, January 18 at 1:00 PM, we’re teaming up with Minority Atheists of Michigan to talk about Nelson Mandela. We will cut through the hype and hyperbole and learn the facts of his life and work. We will learn about the good and the bad and decide for ourselves who he was.

Our guest speaker will be Jamon Jordan. He is the Co-Founder and Facilitator of the Black Scroll Study Group. A local organization that researches any and all phenomena related to Black people.

Jamon Jordan Image
Jamon Jordan is the Co-Founder and Facilitator of the Black Scroll Study Group

They present their findings through educational materials for institutions to use in order to present data on Black/African history and culture that is frequently overlooked.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting Skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

You can RSVP for the event at our Meetup Page, our Facebook Page, or our Google Plus Page.

The MISkeptics November Get Together: Shakespeare in Detroit

Portrait of Samantha White
Samantha White is a Detroit native and the Founder/Artistic Director for Shakespeare in Detroit – a new theater company dedicated to using The Bard to improve the quality of life in the city.

This month we’re talking education and the arts.

There is a long list of studies showing the value of the arts in education. And we’re going to talk with someone who is actively trying to bring the arts back to Detroit and Michigan.

Our special guest is Samantha White. She is the Founder/Artistic Director for Shakespeare in Detroit Theater Company.  The theater company pioneered the first free outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s work, featuring an all local cast, during their production of “Othello” at Grand Circus Park this past summer.

Shakespeare in Detroit
Shakespeare in Detroit

When she is not in the director’s chair, White is a theater instructor with the YMCA Boll’s Y-Arts program where she visits local schools and engages youth between the ages of 5 and 17 with Shakespeare and theater. In addition, she oversees a volunteer theater project, Shakespeare Against Cancer, where she facilitates local actors to perform vignettes as a respite for children during their chemotherapy sessions.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary. You can RSVP at our Meetup Event, our Facebook Page, or our Google Plus Page.

I hope to see you all there!

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