PZ Myers to Speak at MN Atheists Meeting September 15
PZ Myers will be our featured speaker at the September Minnesota Atheists meeting.
Myers is an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris. His research focuses on the evolutionary developmental biology of zebrafish. He is an active critic of religion who makes no attempt to be courteous in his condemnation. Noting that Myers once “publicly desecrated a Communion wafer,” The New York Times wrote, “Myers is way out of the closet as an atheist—proudly, outrageously so.”
Myers began the weblog Pharyngula in 2002, which is now hosted by FreethoughtBlogs.com. In 2006, Nature ranked Pharyngula as the most popular blog by a scientist. Myers covers a wide variety of topics on Pharyngula, but the weblog is primarily noted for its fierce opposition to Intelligent Design and creationism.
At the September Minnesota Atheists meeting, Myers will talk about his newly released book The Happy Atheist, published by Pantheon. The Happy Atheist takes a humorous look at the absurdities of religious thought and addresses the very serious problems superstitious thinking can cause. Here’s a sample from the first chapter of the book:
I’m an atheist swimming in a sea of superstition, surrounded by well-meaning, good people with whom I share a culture and similar concerns, and there’s only one thing I can do.
I have to laugh.
Living in America at the beginning of the twenty-first century is like attending the circus when the clowns are performing—it’s low comedy, full of pratfalls and pies in the face and silly costumes. It’s also hilarious.
The people all around me seriously believe most fervently in a god who briefly became human and was tortured to death for his trouble—and that this is the greatest story ever told. The omnipotent Lord of the Cosmos is a man-like entity who, in addition to keeping the planets in their courses, deciding fates of nations, and spawning hurricanes and earthquakes, frets endlessly about the sex lives of his chosen people…. Lately he has become a devotee of football, and players and spectators beg for his divine favor in helping to get a ball from one side of the field to the other. His followers are offended at the thought that they have distant relatives who are monkeys, but they feel ennobled by the myth that they were made from dirt….
I try to laugh, but I also feel the human suffering caused by these follies. But then, as Shakespeare knew, the best comedy has always been born out of the truth of pain and has a leavening of tragedy mixed in with it.
The September Minnesota Atheists meeting will be held in the meeting room of the Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Avenue North, Roseville, on September 15th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.