Humanism on the Move


Jan. 6, 2010

The Reason Project is hosting a film competition with a very sizable pot of money. To enter submit the code for the embedded video of a film explaining the importance of critical thinking.  Films must be eight minutes or less and submitted by February 28.

First place prize is $10,000; second place is $4,000; third place is $1,000.

The contest is fairly open in subject matter and style: videos can be serious or funny, animated or live action. Even if you can't enter, you can still vote for your favorite video in March.

Atheist Ireland has begun a campaign to challenge Ireland's new blasphemy law. On January 2 they published 25 blasphemous quotes, which have previously been published by or uttered by or attributed to Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Mark Twain, Tom Lehrer, Randy Newman, among others.

According to Irish law, blasphemy is a crime punishable by a €25,000 fine. The new law defines blasphemy as publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion.

According to the Atheist Ireland website, "this new law is both silly and dangerous. It is silly because medieval religious laws have no place in a modern secular republic, where the criminal law should protect people and not ideas. And it is dangerous because it  incentivizes religious outrage, and because Islamic States led by Pakistan are already using the wording of this Irish law to promote new blasphemy laws at UN level."

The St. Joseph Skeptics had their holiday display stolen.  The sign read "Be Good For Goodness Sake", and included the name of the organization and its web site address.  It survived for three days until someone took it–posts and all.

According to the organization, "for nearly 30 years the City of St. Joseph, Missouri, has turned its Krug Park into "Holiday Park" with nearly a mile of lighted tunnels, snowmen, Santas and a crèche complete with the requisite shepherds and wise men.  After several months delay processing a request, the city parks department consented to the Skeptics display and the group had the sign in place for the park opening the day after Thanksgiving.  Two days later the sign, three supporting posts and even the light provided by the city had disappeared.

Undeterred, and aided by a $150 donation from the American Atheists sign fund, the St. Joseph Skeptic Society erected a duplicate in the same park.  Although the light bulb was again taken, the sign was still in place after New Years.  The Skeptics plan to store the sign and try again next year."