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  • 19 Jul 2018 6:41 PM | John Blanton (Administrator)

    A panel of speakers at last night's town hall meeting on LGBT rights discussed the Masterpiece Cakeshop case recently ruled by the Supreme Court. The meeting was held at First Unitarian Universalist Church to a packed audience. Representatives included Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Texas Freedom Network, and Equality Texas.

    Notable among the panelists was Eric Rothschild, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board case, which determined Intelligent Design is, in fact, warmed over creationism and has no scientific basis.

    Videos from the meeting are posted on YouTube. Here is the link to the first. You will find the others also on my YouTube channel:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsExcZFiX1w

  • 16 Jul 2018 5:35 AM | John Blanton (Administrator)
    Here is something I am posting elsewhere later this week.


    Actually, you don't have to die. Sometimes close is close enough:

    North Florida Woman Crashes Into Home After Closing Eyes To Pray While Driving

    Police didn't indicate which prayer she said

    Published at 11:25 AM EDT on Jul 12, 2016 | Updated at 4:04 PM EDT on Jul 13, 2016

    A North Florida woman is saying her prayers after running her car into a home — fter saying her prayers.

    The 28-year-old woman was driving in the tiny town of Mary Esther, located west of Fort Walton Beach in the Florida Panhandle. Deputies from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office say the driver told them she was praying and had her eyes closed before the incident took place.

    According to NWFDailyNews.com, authorities say she ran a stop sign, going through an intersection and into the yard of a home. The driver tried to back out, but her car got stuck in sand and dirt around the home.

    Wait, wait! She didn't have to  admit she had her eyes closed. She could have told police she blacked out for a moment. I mean, why else would somebody actually close their eyes while driving down a city street? Religion is one possible answer.


  • 15 Jul 2018 10:13 AM | John Blanton (Administrator)


    I have been following groups that promote creationism since about 1989, and what I  have observed is they are becoming more sophisticated. Those early guys, back in 1989, they were biblical literalists. They wanted us to know the Earth and everything on it was created in six days and are less than 6000 years old. They objected to the teaching of evolutionary biology in  public schools. They also objected to teaching modern geology, which reveals the Earth is more like 4.5 billion years old.

    That didn't work. After having their way in 1925 with the conviction of John Scopes for teaching evolution in Dayton, Tennessee, the creationists began  to lose the battle, as the push to align school curricula with modern science came from the federal  government. Challenging the new teachings, the so-called young Earth creationists (YEC) lost big in Arkansas, when in 1982 Federal  Judge William Overton concluded, based on the evidence presented in McLean v. Arkansas, that creationism is a totally religious concept and has no basis in science. The creationists lost again in 1987 in Louisiana in a case termed Edwards v. Aguillard that requiring creationism be taught if evolution is taught has a solely religious intent. Notably Justice Antonin Scalia dissented.

    Enter about that time a new breed of creationists. They had real Ph.D. degrees, some actually in  biology, and they did not deny the age of the Earth. But they wanted us to know that natural processes cannot account for the known facts. There must be an Intelligent Designer behind it all.

    The modern catalyst for the Intelligent Design movement is credited as law professor Phillip E. Johnson, who wrote a book Darwin on Trial, and got the ball rolling. I met Johnson in 1992 at a related symposium at SMU and obtained an autographed copy of his book. Also there were a number of those there who were to become principal players in today's Intelligent Design movement. One who was supposedly there, but whom I did not meet, was Stephen C. Meyer, a Ph.D. in philosophy of science who later established the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. The Discovery institute is the prime proponent of Intelligent Design in this country, and their influence has been felt in major cases involving the push to introduce Intelligent Design in public schools.

    A tactic of the modern creationists is to disclaim religious intent. On their face they proclaim no godly motivation and have refused to  identify who the Intelligent Designer is supposed to be. They have been thinking that if you convince students there is an Intelligent  Designer, then students are going figure out it is the God of Abraham, leading directly to Jesus. That didn't sell very well, and I am beginning to notice something. Particularly, Stephen C. Meyer no longer disclaims God, rather he embraces the Almighty in his presentations. And that's what this post is about.

    Last year I caught the video Is the Bible Reliable, produced by Focus on the Family and streaming on Amazon Prime Video. It's a series of ten episodes, each featuring a lecture by Stephen C. Meyer. I came away from my review with a number of conclusions:

    • Stephen C. Meyer wants you to know the Intelligent Designer is the God of Abraham.
    • He wants you to know the Bible is factual.
    • His presentations are salted with spurious assertions and incorrect information.
    Get the background by reading through the review I posted last year. The review is spread over four posts, and the link is to the fourth and final post. The posts are back-linked, so you can click the back link until you get to the first post. Here's the link:
    I want to get some conversation going, and the best way you can get involved is to post comments to the original story. I will respond, and others likely will, as well.
    Keep reading. This news page is planned to be a base for getting views out to the public and to generate interest in FACT and in our goals.
  • 11 Jul 2018 6:24 PM | John Blanton (Administrator)

    Greetings to members of Freethinkers Association of Central Texas. It is my pleasure to assume the task of managing the FACT newsletter. As you may already know, Debra Ragan, who has been the editor, is moving to  Great Britain, which I am told is an island off the western coast of Europe. From what I can tell, she has been doing an admirable job of managing the newsletter, and my goal is to live up to the expectations she has created. For now, I need to introduce myself.

    I am a retired engineer, having moved to San Antonio from Dallas in  2010.  While in Dallas I was heavily involved in The North Texas Skeptics, an organization that loosely parallels FACT in ideals. For a number of years I managed their Web site and edited the newsletter.

    My tone for the NTS was sometimes harsh and cruel, and it earned me some notoriety. If you Google my name you will find a page posted by a creationist calling me a Bible hater and a liar. I would sue, except that most of what is said on the page is true. For our newsletter I promise to  soften my tone. Keep me in line if you find me becoming strident.

    There is ample material for us to have a monthly newsletter, and I will strive to get something out every calendar month. No guarantees on what day of the month. Submissions are welcome. If you have something to share, send it in. There is no assurance every submission will be published. For best results, confine submissions to items of interest to most members and also pertinent to the goals of FACT. My email address is jf_blanton@yahoo.com.

    That said, throughout my education, the English language has been my staunchest opponent, but I am hoping I am finally getting a handle on grammar and spelling. Clara Atkins was my English teacher in high school, and sometimes her ghost comes back to haunt me. Now that she is gone it will be up to you, readers, to take on that task. Feel free to chastise me for any language transgressions.

    Keep reading and  best regards,

    John Blanton

  • 19 Jul 2017 11:43 PM | Debra Ragan (Administrator)

    The Johnson Amendment has been identified by President Trump as a law to be ignored; see the links below for a more in depth understanding of this very important topic - listen to The Phil Ferguson Show podcast #218, go to 56:00 and start there to hear David Silverman (president of American Atheists) explain very clearly the problem with non-enforcement of this amendment. 

    http://www.spreaker.com/show/phil-fergusons-tracks

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/07/11/atheists-to-u-s-house-appropriations-committee-dont-gut-the-johnson-amendment/

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