September Meeting Featuring PZ Myers Draws Large Crowd
By Alyssa Ehni
The room was packed for September’s Minnesota Atheists meeting at the Roseville Public Library. The meeting featured PZ Myers, an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris, who has become well known in the atheist community through his Pharyngula blog at Freethought Blogs. He has recently released a book titled The Happy Atheist.
For the first half hour of Myer’s presentation, Myers shared parts of the chapter “Daughter’s of Eve” from his book. This chapter provides quotations from the Bible and biblical interpretations from theologians which demonstrate Christianity’s oppressive attitude towards women. Myers comments that a culture can increase its potential for achievement by allowing all to participate fully instead of imposing a lesser role on half of its members. Myers noted that while Christianity is not the origin of these attitudes, it does reinforce the status quo.
The last hour of the presentation was a lively question-and-answer session which covered a range of topics. Myers argued that to become a happy atheist it is essential to adopt a view of atheism which goes beyond the dictionary definition to include a more humanist outlook. Myers noted that the atheist community is expanding beyond those who it traditionally encompassed, and it is important to listen to and include the diverse ideas which come with this growth.
Myers explained that his own involvement as an atheist activist is in part a reaction to creationism’s attacks on his profession of biology. He discussed what it’s like to be an atheist living in a small religious town, where he largely finds support within the scientific community at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Still, according to Myers, not even the bookstore on campus is carrying The Happy Atheist.
The Happy Atheist is available at amazon.com. Myers’ Pharyngula blog can be found at freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula.