"We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing, all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.” 
― Gene Roddenberry


Durango Skeptics and Atheists Newsletter

August 2017
Greetings, Free Thinkers!
Welcome to the Durango Skeptics and Atheists monthly newsletter. Look here for information on upcoming monthly group events, relevant news items and  a sprinkle of miscellaneous stuff. Comments, suggestions for monthly meeting topics, or if you have a news item or event you'd like to share in the newsletter, please send it to
  • August 16th- Monthly meeting at the Irish Embassy (come early to eat and socialize! Discussion starts around 6:20ish).

  • August 25th-  Members Talk- Marc Masor will be presenting "The Testing an Economics of Colorado's Marijuana  Industry . See our Meetup page for more details.

  • August 26th- Book Club: Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Help Others, Do Work that Matters, and Make Smarter Choices about Giving Back by William MacAskill. 

* There will be a Summer Party at Dan and Erin's after the book discussion. Come for both or just come for the party! More details on our Meetup page.

What does it mean to be an Atheist Activist and how important is it to normalize atheism and non-belief in our society? How does one going about being an Atheist Activist, both locally and nationally? What are ways to promote atheism from the comfort of  your own home? 

These are some of the  questions, Member Ben Hendry will be discussing with the group during our next monthly meeting in the Underground. Meeting and discussion will begin around 6:20 but come early to grab dinner and socialize!

A big thank you to member and Executive Director of Durango's Business Improvement District (BID) Tim Walsworth for leading last month's discussion on homelessness/panhandling in Durango, and a recent news item which attempted to connect this issue to the recent legalization of recreational marijuana. Follow-up links to the discussion are provided in a section below. Check them out!

And don't forget to bring a non-perishable food item to the next meeting for donation to Durango Food Bank!
Follow-up to our July Monthly Meeting Discussion

We had a great discussion at last month's meeting concerning a news item that appeared on a Fox News outlet that made an inaccurate claim, based on a distortion of interviews with local business owners and BID Executive Director, Tim Walsworth, that there has been an increase in panhandling in Durango due to the legalization of recreational marijuana.  Many thanks to Tim for leading the discussion!

Here is some follow-up to the July meeting topic, beginning with a response to the Fox News article from BID and fellow Durango residents:
Many people at the July meeting asked about ways to help without necessarily giving money directly to a panhandler. One way would be by contributing to the Make it Count campaign. Donation boxes are located at local business outlets throughout the downtown area. For more information, check out the website. 

Other organizations you could donate to include: Manna Soup Kitchen, Housing Solutions for the Southwest and Volunteers of America Community Shelter.

For those interested in diving down deep into the research that has examined the costs and benefits of housing the homeless, email me at for a list of studies that Tim recommends.
Speaking of Atheist Activism....
Coming out as an atheist is one form of activism. Sometimes that's easier said than done. In the spirit of coming out of the atheist closet, here's a video, titled 5 Mistakes People Make When Coming Out Atheist, from the YouTube channel Holy Koolaid, recommended by Member Ben Hendry. Check it out!
5 Mistakes People Make When Coming Out Atheist
Members Corner
A happy belated birthday to Marc and Jane, who both celebrated birthdays in July!
Photo from our July monthly meeting in The Underground at the Irish Embassy. Sorry for the blur!
We would like to extend a very warm welcome to all of our newest July members to the Durango Skeptics and Atheists Meetup group. Welcome, Brandon, Mary and Pam! We hope to meet you in person at a Meetup soon!

We'd also like to wish a very Happy Birthday to the following members:

Kylene Jones (August 19th)
Whitey Powers  (August 2nd)
John Rivas (August 6th)

 And on behalf of the group, I would like to give a heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS to
Dan and Erin on their recent engagement. Dan and Erin are planning on a June wedding next year.  We are so happy for you guys!
For those of you haven't heard yet, we now have a YouTube channel! We've just updated this page with a recording of Member Shandra McClanahan's discussion on stepping away from Jehovah. This was a powerful presentation, and I recommend it to everyone.

In The News......

(News Items from around the Interwebs)

Secular News-
  • Looks like we have a long road ahead of us when it comes to preserving the First Amendment. The Mayor of a town in Henderson County, TN has deemed a biblical quote on the wall of their local courthouse "ok":
 “The verse alludes to the throne of a Judeo-Christian god, and it is embedded into the walls of the courthouse, the seat of government. This perpetuates the myth that our law is based on biblical principles, and it sends the message to private citizens with business at the courthouse that the justice they seek will be decided based on religion.” Read more about it here.
Science/Skepticism/Non-Belief  News-
  • More about measles. An article in Reuters discusses the consequences of not vaccinating:
 "Just a 5 percent decline in measles vaccination rates could triple the number of young children who get infected with the virus in the U.S., according to a study highlighting the risks of parents refusing to vaccinate their kids."

  • How do you know what you know is true? Here's an excellent article about the nature of knowledge (aka epistemology) and why we must be ever vigilant against our own cognitive biases when it comes to thinking critically and assessing what we believe is "truth".  Here's an excerpt:

"It is interesting that we individually tend to think of ourselves as clear thinkers and see those who disagree with us as misguided. We imagine that the impressions we have about the world come to us unsullied and unfiltered. We think we have the capacity to see things just as they really are, and that it is others who have confused perceptions. As a result, we might think our job is simply to point out where other people have gone wrong in their thinking, rather than to engage in rational dialogue allowing for the possibility that we might actually be wrong."

  • August is quite the month for witnessing celestial events! Not only do we have the Perseid Meteor Shower to look forward to on August 12th, but also a partial lunar eclipse on August 7th (watch it here) and a solar eclipse on August 21st. For those interested, the Powerhouse Science Center will be holding an eclipse party from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. Special "staring at the sun" glasses will be provided.


 Thanks to those who contributed news articles for this month's newsletter. Have a news item for the newsletter? Send it to
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