ACA Lecture Series
Dr. James Dee
December 7, 2008
Topic: The Truth
about the Christmas
StoryAbout the speaker
There are two Christmas stories;
Neither one happened;
... and serious scholars know it.
The Infancy Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke describe the
events surrounding the birth of Jesus. But when churches display (and
tacitly endorse) images and even Broadway-style reenactments of The Nativity
Scene, it's clear that they either do not know or do not choose to
acknowledge the intractable difficulties and contradictions in the two
In this talk Dr. Dee frequently uses the great critical-historical scholarly
resource, The Birth of the Messiah, a work that has the Imprimatur and Nihil
Obstat of the Catholic Church. This book was written - odd as it may sound -
not by a scoffing agnostic or atheist but by the late Father Raymond E.
Brown, who does not hesitate to draw non-traditional conclusions when logic
and evidence require it.
You may find the lecture, as Brown says of his book, "quite different from
what they learned about the infancy narratives in their early religious
education." But you will have an opportunity to gain something much better:
a rational and balanced understanding of this most famous and familiar of
all Christian stories.
James H. Dee is an upstate New Yorker by birth; he has a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the Univ. of Rochester and a Ph.D. in Classics from UT. His academic career was spent at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago, where he was Chair of the Department for a total of 8 years, including 6 straight years from 1982-1988. He's published 8 scholarly books since 1994, comprising over 5,000 mostly tedious pages, along with several dozen journal articles and reviews, and he's held two National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships for Research, most recently in 2004-05. He currently holds a courtesy "Visiting Scholar" appointment in the UT Classics Department. He's also been an intermittent "Local Contributor" to the Statesman, with 24 op-eds on a variety of topics, some of which have been--to put it gently--controversial.
Dr. Dee's handout is available as a large (6MB) PDF file here. Both the audio and video of the lecture are also available.
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|November 8, 2015
|October 11, 2015
||Update on the Texas Freedom Network
|September 13, 2015
||Mayan and Incan Religion
|August 9, 2015
||Contemporary Mayan Culture and the Modern World
|July 12, 2015
||Equal Dignity Under the Law: The Long Road to Marriage Equality
|June 14, 2015
||How the Church is Beating Atheism at Diversity
|May 10, 2015
||Mother's Day Special: Your Mother's First Gift to You: Your Microbiome
|April 12, 2015
||Religious Maltreatment of Children: based on her book, Breaking Their Will.
|March 8, 2015
||My Year Without God: Now a Permanent Condition
|February 1, 2015
||Inside Scientology 2: the Sea Org
|January 18, 2015
|December 7, 2014
||James H. Dee
||Why there are no gods (and no God)
|November 9, 2014
||The Foundation Beyond Belief
|October 12, 2014
||The New Tree of Life
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|September 14, 2014
|August 10, 2014
|July 13, 2014
||Wonders of the Living World
||A multimedia presentation of some of the amazing organisms sharing our planet.
|June 8, 2014
||"Sex Education in Texas: Just the Facts, Ma'am"
|May 11, 2014
|April 6, 2014
||"Meet the Neanderthals"
Note that this lecture is on the first Sunday this month instead of the usual second Sunday.
|March 9, 2014
||ACLU Update. Recent news in the conflict over church/state and free speech issues.
|February 9, 2014
||What Darwin Never Knew
||Video clips and discussion of science since Darwin
|January 12, 2014
||Politics and Higher Education in Texas
|December 8, 2013
||Zack Kopplin - postponed
||replacement talk was on Darwinian Medicine
|November 10, 2013
||The ABCs of Biotechnology. A primer on the composition of organisms and how their genes can be manipulated.
|October 13, 2013
||How Online Social Media is Changing the Face of Atheism
|September 28, 2013
|August 11, 2013
||Innes Mitchell & Victoria Davis
||"Perspective by Incongruity: Teaching Atheism at a Catholic University"
|July 14, 2013
||Broken Six Ways from Sunday: The Astounding Backwardness of the Christian Anti-Abortion Movement
|June 9, 2013
||A Secular Perspective on the State of the Nation
|May 12, 2013
||Reflections on a "lifetime" as ACA President
|April 14, 2013
||Update on Church-State separation and education issues facing Texans
|March 10, 2013
||Does Free Will Exist?
|February 10, 2013
||The Political Landscape from the Consultant's Perspective
|January 13, 2013
||The Politics of Evolution
|December 2, 2012
||Religion and Sex (tentative)
|November 4, 2012
||What's Eating You! An exploration of the evolving world of parasites. Visually gross, but fascinating.
|October 7, 2012
||James Dee, Ph. D.
||The X-Rated Stories about Jesus: Weird Tales from the Apocryphal Gospels
|September 22, 2012
||The Clergy Project and how she found freedom from religion
|August 5, 2012
||Paying the Price for Defending Religious Freedom
|July 1, 2012
||Dr. Karl Gebhardt, University of Texas Professor of Astrophysics
||“HETDEX”, The Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment
|June 3, 2012
||Laughing through the Apocalypse!
|April 1, 2012
||The ACLU of Texas & Religious Freedom
|March 4, 2012
||Wrath James White, author and blogger
||Escaping The Overseer: Atheism in Black America
|February 5, 2012
||Karl Gebhardt, UT Astronomy Dept
|January 8, 2012
||Unintelligent Design: Deceit and Hypocrisy vs. Science
|December 4, 2011
||The Lord is Not on Trial Here Today
||We'll be showing a documentary about the landmark Vashti McCollum school prayer case.
|November 6, 2011
||Gardner Selby, Austin American Statesman PolitiFact Texas Editor
||Pants on Fire and Other Ways to Judge What Politicians Say
|October 2, 2011
||Dr. Bruce J. Hunt, Associate Professor of History, UT Austin
||Darwin and Religion, or the Lack of It
|September 11, 2011
||Sarah Wheat, CEO of Planned Parenthood, Austin
||Standing up for Planned Parenthood---why healthy Texas women and families matter
|August 7, 2011
||Beyond The Reach, a look inside the FLDS
|July 3, 2011
||Nick Lee, President, Atheist Alliance America
||The New/Old Atheist Alliance
|June 5, 2011
||General Membership Meeting
||Meeting to discuss the purchase of a building.
|May 1, 2011
||ACA Members elect the 2011-2012 board of directors.
|April 3, 2011
||What we can and cannot honestly say we 'know'
|March 6, 2011
||Comfortable Lies About Don’t Ask, Don't Tell
|February 6, 2011
||Brian Spears talks about his experience of being steeped in Mormonism and his path out.
|January 2, 2011
||Mechanisms of Religious Evil
|November 7, 2010
||Eileen Flynn Delao
||Observations: Why the Media Still Fears Atheists, and other observations from a religion writer
|October 3, 2010
||Dr. Darwin Makes a House Call
|September 25, 2010
||The Superiority of Secular Morality
|September 12, 2010
||Dr. James H. Dee
||The Second Wave of Secular Humanism: How Scholarship Undermines Religion
|August 1, 2010
||Sarah Weis and Brian Spears from Americans United
||The Importance of the Separation of Church and State
|July 11, 2010
||Camp Quest Texas, A Journey of the heart for the secular community in Texas
|June 6, 2010
||Doyle Duke, author
||A Critical Analysis of Christianity
|May 2, 2010
||In lieu of a lecture, we will have an election meeting for the next ACA Board at the Austin History Center.
|April 11, 2010
||Effective Secular Activism -- Not Just Politics and Protests
|March 7, 2010
||A Place at the Table
|February 7, 2010
||Dr. Jennifer Whitson
||The Perception of Patterns in the Noise of Everyday Life
|January 3, 2010
||"Sailing the Rising Tide of Reason"
|December 6, 2009
||Dr. Jay Banner
||Climate change in Texas – A long past and view to the future
|November 1, 2009
||Don Moore from Final Exit Network
||Don Moore talks about the death with dignity movement and the Final Exit Network
|October 29, 2009
||Dr. Victor J. Stenger
||The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason
|September 13, 2009
||Texas SBOE -- Dragging our schools into the culture wars
|August 2, 2009
||Standing Up for Science in Texas
|July 5, 2009
||ACA Members will talk on the subject of school vouchers
|February 1, 2009
||How to fool the mind
|December 7, 2008
||Dr. James Dee
about the Christmas
|October 5, 2008
||How atheists can be effective evangelists
|September 7, 2008
||Are Atheists in the Military the "New" Gay, (or Black or
|August 3, 2008
|July 6, 2008
||Dr. Rory Coker
||Pseudoscience, Antiscience and Nonscience!
|June 1, 2008
||Representative Donna Howard
||Religion and the Texas Legislature
|May 4, 2008
||ACA Board Election Meeting
||In lieu of a lecture, we will use the time at the Austin History Center to elect a new board.
|April 6, 2008
||Charles Jackson, PhD
||Climate Prediction: What can or can't we tell about our future -
The little-known inner-workings of climate model development
|March 2, 2008
||James H. Dee, Ph.D.
||"Thinking about Religion...and Why it's so Hard"
This lecture will discuss some of the obstacles to clear and honest thinking
|February 3, 2008
||It's Not About Them, It's About Us
|January 6, 2008
||Early Freethought in Texas - The Immigration and Settlement of the "Deutsche Freidenkers" and the Struggle to Preserve Their Sto
|December 2, 2007
||"The God who wasn't There"
|November 4, 2007
||Meet the Atheist Longhorns
||We'll have several members of the new UT group "Atheist Longhorns" to talk about their group.
|October 7, 2007
||Membership appreciation meeting
||In lieu of a lecture, we'll have a membership appreciation meeting.
|September 9, 2007
||Low cost textbooks, progressive vouchers, and incorrect TAKS scores
|August 5, 2007
||Visions of Hell
|July 1, 2007
||Members of CASA
||From advocacy to reason and back again
|June 3, 2007
||Video Showing and Discussion
||Showing of "The Creation Adventure Team: Jurassic Ark Mystery"
|April 15, 2007
||Lori Lipman Brown, Secular Coalition of America
||Protecting Our Freedoms: Taking the Message to Congress
|March 4, 2007
||Three members of the Travis County Archaeological Society
||Three mini-lectures covering human history in Texas and the practice of archeology.
|February 4, 2007
||UT History Professor Howard Miller
||The Atheist Moment: The Sudden and Remarkable Emergence of Public Atheism in George Bush's America
|January 7, 2007
||Robert "Rock" Howard
||Libertarianism: Philosophy, Religion or What?
|November 5, 2006
||Teaching Evolution in Austin
|October 22, 2006
||The Influence of Religion in the Spanish Conquest of the Americas
|August 20, 2006
||Jeff Jones, Center for Inquiry
||The New Austin CFI Community.
|July 23, 2006
||The Religious Right's War on Birth Control
|June 18, 2006
||Thomas Van Orden
||Recapping the 10C case and looking to the future of church-state separation
|May 21, 2006
||Muon catalyzed nuclear fusion
|March 19, 2006
||The History of the Biblical Canon
|February 19, 2006
||Dr. Alan Cline
||The Disregard of Science and the Responsibility of Citizens
|January 15, 2006
||A special atheist tour of Inner Space Cavern.
|October 16, 2005
||DJ Grothe, Center for Inquiry
||Arguing for America: Secularism and the Culture Wars
|September 18, 2005
||Universal Darwinism: How Computer Science has Validated the Theory of Evolution
|July 17, 2005
||The Hartman Prehistoric Garden - a Place for Ancient Plants in a Modern World
|April 17, 2005
||Deece Eckstein of People for the American Way
||Challenges to church-state separation
|March 20, 2005
||Several ACA Members
||A panel discussion on debating theists
|February 20, 2005
||Church-state separation and the Texas Freedom Network
|January 16, 2005
||Tales from the Trenches: A Report on Atheist Activism
|November 21, 2004
||Darwin and Mendel were clueless: Why we shouldn't teach evolution in schools
|October 17, 2004
||Dr. Elaine Rich
||Our Quest for Machines that Act (and Look) Like Us
|August 15, 2004
||Texas, Health Education and the Textbook Debates
|July 18, 2004
||ACLU Attorney Jay Jacobson
||A "quick and dirty" guide on the history of the establishment ofreligion clause in the First Amendment - from colonial times to
|May 16, 2004
||Thomas van Orden
|February 16, 2004
||Morality and Christianity
|December 7, 2003
||Dr. Robert (Bob) Solomon
||Philosophy, Spirituality, and Atheism
|November 2, 2003
||Dr. James Dee
||The Death of the Afterlife: How Fossils, Embryos, and Brains
Falsify Promises of Heaven and Threats of Hell
|June 1, 2003
||The implications of viewing Christianity as a meme
|October 6, 2002
||Memes: The New Replicators
|July 2, 2000
||H. Thompson, R. Florence, J. Dee, J. Koonz, and M. Loewe
||Panel discussion on political activism
|December 5, 1999
||Predictions of science
On Saturday, September 26th, our pre-cruise lecture will be from Heina Dadabhoy. The lecture will start at 2pm.
The annual ACA Bat Cruise will be Saturday, September 26 at 6pm. Order your tickets via our products page.