About Ron Stephens

President of Mid Ohio Atheists

Mid-Ohio Regional Atheist Picnic 2013

Our group is proud to announce the Mid-Ohio Regional Atheist Picnic 2013, sponsored by Mid Ohio Atheists Inc.  Again this year we are inviting groups from all over Ohio to our annual get together at the Mohican State Forest. The general public is also invited to come out and meet some atheists, as long as they are respectful and not trying to proselytize to us.  The picnic will be held on Sunday, July 21st, at noon at the Mohican State Forest.  (MAP)

We have met at the Mohican State Forest four times before and had a great experience each time.  This year though we will meet at the North Park Shelter.  Once you are in the forest, follow the signs to the shelter.  Come rain or shine, we will still have the picnic as the shelter will protect us from the rain.

Contest

Again this year we will have a contest that will benefit Harmony House, a homeless shelter in Mansfield. A representative of Harmony House said what they need the most, and what most people don’t think to donate, is toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels. So, the contest winner will be the one that brings the most of those three items.  You can donate other things as well, but the contest will be decided on only the amount of toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels that you bring.  Prizes will be admission to the Great Lakes Atheists Convention in August, tee shirts, buttons, and pens.

This is for a good cause and I hope we can collect lots of these items for Harmony House like we did last year.

Games & Activities

We will have several activities for children and adults, including a corn hole tournament, Frisbee toss, and ladder ball.

Good Conversation

The main reason to go to the picnic is for the company.  We hope to see all of our members there and people from all around the state and beyond.  It’s great to talk with like minded people and so refreshing to have conversations that aren’t stuck at the ‘does god exist’ level.

Public Invited

We also invite the members of the general public who wish to meet atheists.  This is not an invitation to have people come out and proselytize to us but rather a chance to meet with atheists and learn more about our beliefs and see that we are normal people too.

Speakers

This year we will have five speakers.  It is unusual to have speakers at a picnic but we tried this for the first time last year and it worked out well.  MOA greatly appreciates the following people for volunteering to come to our picnic and sharing some of their wisdom and experiences with us:

  • Frank  Zindler, Director of American Atheists Press will speak on  “Why only atheists can save the world”
  • Rachel  Johnson, student and podcaster will talk on  “Atheist Activism”
  • Dan DeMurra,  Atheist activist and organizer will share his views on “Life Beyond Faith”
  • Douglas  Whaley, OSU professor emeritus, lawyer, LGBT activist, and author will speak about  “What atheism can learn from the LGBT movement”
  • Shauna Strand  Sowga, humanist, will share her experiences in  “How secularism has affected my life”

Good Food

What would a picnic be without good food?  We have already started the list of what foods people have volunteered to bring. Go to our picnic sign-up post and see what others are bringing and send an e-mail to picnic2013@midohioatheists.org with the food(s) you will bring.  Feel free to bring anything you like even if it isn’t on the list or someone else already volunteered that item.

We estimate we will have about 75 people show up.  Keep checking back here as the number of people will be updated as more people respond.  The list of items will be updated as we receive emails also.

Meetups this Saturday

We have two meetups coming this weekend I’d like to tell you about and encourage you to attend.

First is the Adopt a Highway Cleanup on Saturday morning. We’ll meet at the usual location, the Ohio State Patrol post on Main St. near the I-71 & St Rt 13 interchange. The pickup will start at 7:30.  If we get enough people the pickup should go pretty fast, the last time it only took us about two hours.

For those who want, we’ll meet at the nearby McDonald’s for breakfast at 6:30 AM.

The second event this Saturday is the Fire Pit meetup at Brad and Candice’s home in Mansfield near Middle Bellville Rd.  This is the second time for this event and I highly recommend it as the first one was so much fun.  This month we’ve decided to ask members to bring their favorite desert to share with everyone. All other food items will be provided. There is a $5 per person charge to pay for the food.  Any money left over will be donated to the group. Alcohol is not provided but is allowed; just bring your own favorite adult beverage.  Also, if you are able, please bring nonperishable food items to be donated to Harmony House.  They have a limited number of chairs so bring extra camping chairs if you have them.

Big Plans for the Picnic this Summer

I just came back from the initial planning meeting for the annual picnic this July 21st.  We have many MOA members who are enthusiastic about making this the best picnic yet.

We already have a confirmed speaker and also 2 probable speakers.  There will be games, a charity event with prizes and of course great food.  We plan to advertise the event and make this the place to be in July if you are an atheist in Ohio.

More details to follow so keep checking back.

Another awesome free e-book

John W. Loftus has made available free for download the companion book to Why I Became an Atheist.  Here are the titles of some of the chapters to give you a feel of the book-

  • Where’s The Beef? And Where’s the Evidence?
  • The Argument From the Scale of the Universe.
  • The Fall of Adam Is No Answer to Evil
  • Can Prayer Change the Past?
  • Two Problems with Calvinism
  • Preterism: an Admission Jesus Failed to Return
  • The History of Christianity Debunks Itself
  • Christians are Fearful of Doubting
  • Pascal’s Wager Revisited

The book is being offered for free but why not spread the wealth and give him a donation while your at it.  You can get the e-book here.

Great book debunking the resurrection now free to download

imageChris Hallquist has made available for download a great book on the resurrection and the way Christian apologists spin the story to make it sound plausible. Chris even takes on the most famous modern apologist William Lane Craig and shows the tricks Craig uses to cloud the fact that there is no good evidence the resurrection occurred.

The book is entitled UFOs, Ghosts, and a Rising God: Debunking the Resurrection of Jesus and can be downloaded from Chris’ blog.

Chris is making this available for free but if you want to support him and encourage him to write more books like this, please consider donating some money to him.  A donation link is available on his blog.

What are the chances for religions growing in the future?

Not very good, according to psychologist Valerie Tarico,  She sees religions being doomed due to six factors, all related to the internet.

The dogmas of religions are able to survive in the face of the truths found in the secular world because religions shield their adherents from outside information.  The internet is changing all that by bypassing religious leaders and parents and going straight to the individual, young or old.

You can read her blog enter here.

Darwin Day Celebration Evolves into a Great Event

The Darwin Day Celebration went very well.  Our speaker, author Mary Anne Farah, was able to be at the meetup despite a very bad snow storm in Ontario Canada.  She left early Friday to go to a meetup in Toledo and was stopped by the storm only a half hour from her home.  She couldn’t even get back to her home at that point and had to get a hotel room for the night.  Luckily she was able to continue to Toledo on Saturday where she was a speaker at the Great Lakes Atheists Darwin Day event.  Mary Anne then came to Mansfield today and was early for our event.

H.M.S. BeagleOur event started with me giving a brief opening.  Then Drenn Workman, Mid Ohio Atheists Vice President, gave a presentation on the life of Darwin and his voyage of discovery to South America aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, a survey vessel.  The presentation also covered the Theory of Evolution that Darwin wrote about in his seminal work, On the Origin of Species.

 

 

 

HMS Beagle

imageThe next speaker was Mary Anne who presented her e-book, Pepper’s Special Wings.  Mary Anne said she thought the evolution of the peppered moth species in England would be the perfect subject for a children’s book explaining how evolution through natural selection works.

Pepper’s Special Wings is about a peppered moth aptly named Pepper that was darker than her friends, who were mostly white with small flecks of black.  There were a lot more light colored moths than dark ones.  Mary Anne asked for volunteers from the audience to help count the moths on the white birch tree.  Two children came up and it was easy for them to find the dark colored moth but not so easy to find the white moths.

In the story, Pepper had to be very careful to hide from hungry birds because she was so easily seen whereas her white friends didn’t have to be so careful since they were harder to see on the white birch bark.

The story goes on to describe how industry moved close by where the moths lived and soot from the air pollution the factories produced had turned the trees to a much darker color.  Now it was easy for Pepper to hide from the hungry birds but not so easy for her friends.  Pepper went on to have lots of babies so that eventually the forest was full of dark moths like Pepper.

I thought it was a great learning experience for the kids and they seemed to really enjoy the story.

I am sure we will have more events like this in the future since this was so enjoyable.  Mary Anne was a great speaker and I would recommend her to anyone.  I want to thank her for coming all the way from Canada to Mansfield.  I also wish to thank Drenn Workman for presenting and Barbara Williams for letting us borrow her projector.  Special thanks goes to Marisa Hills for planning and coordinating the event.