PZ Myers, Biology Professor from UMN Morris Removed From 'Expelled,' a Creationist Film Screening

No, we don't mean to imply PZ Myers, a biology professor from the University of Minnesota, Morris, was removed from the footage in the film which had the title "Crossroads," and was to be about religion and science.  PZ Myers, who appears in the film, and is thanked in the credits, was removed from an advanced screening of the film while he was in line with his family, and a few guests.  Free tickets were provided to interested guests, and PZ registered in advance under his own name.

Dr. Richard Dawkins, who was in town for the American Atheists National Conference in Minneapolis, was a guest of PZ Myers that evening, and was not expelled from "Expelled."   PZ Myers was asked by a security guard to leave the theater on request of the film's producer, or else he could be arrested.  When he checked in with his family to coordinate where to meet after the film, he was told to leave immediately.  Good natured that PZ Myers is, he complied.  Unfortunately for the producer, PZ Myers contributes to a blog with an extremely high Alexa rating, and posted his tale from the Apple Store at the mall.  

Also in attendance were fellow Minnesota Atheists who provided their own account. Kristine Harley can be read here .  Mike Haubrich sounds off here.  Greg Laden has collected various links to the story here.  Among them, The New York Times, the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, and Salon.com.  A bit of art from Digital Cuttlefish has been drafted in honor of the event.

To hear the tale from Dr. Dawkins and PZ Myers in a pleasant, conversational tone, please watch the video provided by the Official Richard Dawkins website

Mark Mathis could not have been better at providing so much negative attention to an already struggling movie.  By exposing the tactics of the producer in a highly ironic way, a larger segment of the public should recognize the value in the scientific method, rather then theologically-based teaching of Intelligent Design Creationism.

 

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KARE Profiles the American Atheists Convention in Minneapolis

KARE 11 featured a video on the American Atheists Convention taking place the weekend of March 21 to 23.  Minnesota Atheists Chairman, Steve Petersen, is interviewed for a bit about atheism.  So far, the conference has been a sucess, featuring interesting debates, and discussions in the hallways between fellow atheists.  You can read about the story here.
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KSTP features MN Atheists and the American Atheists Convention

August Berkshire, president of Minnesota Atheists, one of "5 People Making News," was interviewed by KSTP about the mission of Minnesota Atheists and about the upcoming American Atheists Conference kicking off with free entertainment Thursday night, and featuring Richard Dawkins on Friday morning.  Minnesota Atheists seek to educate the community about atheism, create a network of friends who share similar thinking about supernatural claims, and promote the seperation of church and state.  To watch the video, please visit KSTP here.
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"Blue Laws" in Minnesota on their way out?

Liquor stores hate them.  Car sales people love them.  'Blue Laws' are laws used to govern certain moral standards, and are usually in reference to laws prohibiting actions on Sunday.  Most of these 'Blue Laws' around the country have been overturned, declared unconstitutional, or are left unenforced.  Minnesota is one of the few states which prohibit the sale of liquor on Sundays, except for 3.2 beer.  Try buying a car in Minnesota on a Sunday and you'll be out of luck.  Employees love the day off, and are fearful of the day when you can buy are car any day of the week.  There is now a bill, H.F. 3681,  with bipartisan support to remove these prohibitions against operating businesses on Sunday by Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, and co-authored by Rep. Chris DeLaForest, R-Andover.  Kahn doesn't believe the bill will get out of committee, but is there, "to let people know these silly laws exist."  I, for one, would rather get rid of silly laws.  If you support the bill, contact your state representative.  You can read more at Minnesota Monitor
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A Lobbyist on Atheism

No, not Lori Lipman Brown of the Secular Coalition for America in Washington D.C., Jennifer Lange is a lobbyist in Albany, New York.  She's a part time lobbyist for the Institute for Humanist Studies.  She fights for the rights on nonbelievers in New York, including seperation of church and state issues.

From the New York Times article:  “It’s not like I’m coming from Save the Children or something everybody’s in favor of,” Ms. Lange, 32, put it in an interview. “When you say you’re an atheist, people think of negative values, of heathens. People feel that we’re antireligious. I’m not trying to change anyone’s religion. I don’t even want to talk religion or the Bible when I’m lobbying. I want to stay focused on state policy and finding the places we can make common cause.”

Let's hope the work of Lange and Brown inspires more organizations to support lobbying efforts to protect the rights of nonbelievers.

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