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Dr. Victor Stenger, physicist, philosopher, and author, will be giving a lecture in Austin at Opal Devine's Freehouse (700 W 6th St.), 6pm, Thursday, October 29th. The lecture is titled "The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason", which is based on his new book, "The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason". The lecture is a joint event with the ACA and Center for Inquiry Austin. 

Vic Stenger, is the author of the New York Times best seller, "God: The Failed Hypothesis", and other books concerning what science has to say about religious claims. He is widely known as an advocate of philosophical naturalism, skepticism, and atheism. He is a prominent critic of intelligent design and the aggressive use of the anthropic principle. He maintains that consciousness and free will, assuming that they in fact do exist, will eventually be explained in a conventional scientific manner that invokes neither the mystical nor the supernatural. He has repeatedly criticized those who invoke the perplexities of quantum mechanics in support of the paranormal, mysticism, or supernatural phenomena. His other books include, "Quantum Gods", and "The Comprehensible Cosmos".

Stenger was a member of the Department of Physics at the University of Hawaii until his 2000 retirement. He has held visiting positions on the faculties of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, Oxford University (twice), and has been a visiting researcher at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in England, the National Nuclear Physics Laboratory in Frascati, Italy, and the University of Florence in Italy. He is currently an Emeritus Professor of physics at the University of Hawaii, and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado. He is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and a research fellow of the Center for Inquiry.

On Saturday, September 19th, Sean Faircloth, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, will present a lecture titled, "One Nation Under the Constitution." The event is co-sponsored by the Atheist Community of Austin and the Ethical Society of Austin. 

The Secular Coalition for America is 501(c)4 lobbying group for the advancement of secular values and support of non-theists in our national government. 

Sean Faircloth served ten years in the Maine legislature, including a term as Majority Whip. Sean advocates for secular policies in Washington DC. 

The event will be held at the Ethical Society of Austin, 5555 N. Lamar, Suite L137 [map]. The schedule will be as follows:

  • 6:30pm -- Reception
  • 7:00pm -- Presentation
  • 7:30pm -- Questions, then socializing

The event is free, but part of the purpose is to raise money for the Secular Coalition's successful lobbying efforts.

The ACA will be publishing a 2010 voters' guide again this election season. While our 501(c)3 organizational status does not allow us to support any particular party or political candidate, we can raise our issues in the political arena. And there are plenty of issues that atheists care about that are largely missing from the nation’s political dialog. Church-state separation would be a major one, but we also care about fair treatment, promotion of science, and other topics. As an active atheist group in the Capitol city of the second largest state, the ACA is well positioned to make a big impact. To do that, we are again publishing a voters’ guide for issues that concern atheists. This guide is similar to the one we did in 2008. 

The 2010 Voters’ Guide has been announced on the ACA Web site. Results will be published in early October. The guide will be based on the results of a survey of candidates running for offices voted on by Texans in the 2010 general election. Because every candidate for each race is given the same opportunity to respond, the voters’ guide will allow voters to make an informed choice on the issues behind the questions. 

We are hoping that the survey gets some publicity and raises awareness for our issues. Even so, the survey will have an educational impact on the candidates and the community at large. 

We feel the voters’ guide is a great initiative that advances our mission and provides a public service. We are doing our part to improve our nation by helping to elect highly qualified candidates regardless of party. Thanks to ACA members who have contributed to the project. If you support this effort, consider making a donation to the ACA to defray costs. See you at the voting booth!

On September 26th, the ACA will be holding its annual Bat Cruise. There will be several related events that day, so there will be plenty to do if you live around Austin, or you're coming in for the event.

Here's what will be happening:

  • 5pm(ish) meet at the bar at Threadgill's Restaurant Threadgill's Restaurant 301 West Riverside Drive (at Barton Springs Rd.) Map for a quick drink and hello. You may park at One Texas Center (505 Barton Springs Road) parking garage behind the restaurant for the duration of the cruise. Parking should be free, unless there happens to be some other special event downtown that evening.
  • 5:30pm walk to Capitol Cruises for the Bat Cruise. You're welcome to bring food and drink but no glass containers. We will be limiting the cruise to about 50 people, so get paid up prior to the event. The boat will leave promptly at 6pm. Don't be late!
  • 8pm return to Threadgills and pick up your car and/or eat dinner. Note that it's a pleasant ~1 mile walk from Threadgill's to Esther's Follies, should you prefer not to hassle with parking downtown.
  • 10pm The 10pm show at Esther's Follies comedy club starts. The address is 525 E 6th St. Map (512) 320-0553. It is recommended you get your reserve seating ticket(s) in advance via their web site ($25). Shows do fill up. We have no parking suggestions at this time, but the area can be congested on the weekends.
  • After for those who are especially young and energetic, you'll be able to go clubbing on Austin's famous 6th street.

Please join us for this great set of events. There will be plenty of time for chatting and making new friends. We look forward to seeing you!

The ACA will be chartering a cruise boat on Town Lake on Saturday, September 26th, 2009, 6-8pm. We'll have the large, double decker boat to ourselves to chat, picnic, and watch the bats emerge from the Congress Avenue bridge. The event will be open to out-of-town visitors this year. Click here for the full schedule of events. 

The boat we'll be taking is the Capital Cruise's M.V. Pride and Joy. This boat has the upper deck for great bat viewing. It has a bathroom and tables for our use. We can bring food and drinks to share, but not in any glass containers. Plan on bringing some food and drink. The event should be a relaxing cruise on the lake. For those who are interested, check out the scrapbook entry from the 2008 event. 

We're going to need to collect money in advance for the event for around 50 people. Invite your friends, but space will be limited! Atheist-friendly guests are welcome. The price is $20 per person. Please pay with exact change (preferably in an envelope), with a check made out to "ACA", or via PayPal on our donations page. (If you pay via Paypal, please add an extra $1 for the 5% Paypal fee that is charged the ACA on the transaction.) Mark the check, envelope, or submission notes with the name(s) of the participant(s). Give your payment to an ACA board member at any meeting or ACA event. If the event is canceled, we'll return your money. 

On the day of the event, meet at 5:30pm at Capital Cruises' dock, on the river, behind the Hyatt Regency Hotel, on the South side of the river. That's between the Congress Ave. bridge and the 1st St. bridge, on the South shore. The number for Capital Cruises is (512)480-9264 if you need last minute help, or see their web site

We recommend parking at the One Texas Center garage, 505 Barton Springs Road Austin behind Threadgills. 

For more information about the bats, see Bat Conservation International and their web page about the Congress Avenue bat colony.

Atheist Community of Austin

The Atheist Community of Austin is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting positive atheism and the separation of church and state. The ACA serves the local Austin community through outreach programs, providing informational resources and various volunteer activities. In addition, the ACA serves the community-at-large through free online portals including informational wikis, regular audio/video podcasts and interactive blogs.

We define atheism as the lack of belief in gods. This definition also encompasses what most people call agnosticism.

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