An Outdoor “Advance” for Atheists in the Smokey Mountains This July

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of attending the FFRF-sponsored Lake Hypatia Freethought Advance (because atheists don’t “retreat,” dammit) in Talladega, Alabama. Between the softball game (atheists vs. Agnostics), picnic-like atmosphere, great talks, and moment of bedlam (because we need to stop being silent), it was a fantastic weekend.

So I’m sad to hear that, due to some personal matters, the organizers needed some time off this year — though they will hopefully be back in 2016. But the Rationalists of East Tennessee will be hosting an alternative event in its place with FFRF’s (secular) blessing.

It’ll take place in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Townsend, TN on Fourth of July weekend.

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Swedish Group Wants to Know Why Embassy Rejected Bangladeshi Blogger’s Visa Request Before He Was Killed

We learned early this morning that blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was hacked to death with machetes as he walked to work:

While there’s a lot we don’t know, one piece of information that has come out since his death is that Das had been invited to Stockholm by the Swedish branch of PEN (the same group that recently gave a Courage award to Charlie Hebdo).

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This Graphic Novel Explains the Pseudo-Conflict Between Science and Religion

Sean Michael Wilson and illustrator Hunt Emerson have teamed up to create a cool guide to the evolution/Creationism faux-debate. It’s called Goodbye God?: An Illustrated Exploration of Science Vs. Religion.

Here’s a glimpse at one of the pages:



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College Atheist Group Offers Secular Stoles for Graduating Members

The Students for Free-thought at the University of Michigan-Flint just did something I’ve never seen before: They created graduation stoles for their members to wear as they accept their diplomas:



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Wife of Slain Atheist Avijit Roy: “Is Bangladesh Going to Be the Next Pakistan or Afghanistan?”

Back in February, author Dr. Avijit Roy (below) and his wife Rafida Bonya Ahmed were returning home from a book fair in Dhaka, Bangladesh where they were promoting Roy’s latest work when two assailants came after them with cleavers and “hacked them mercilessly.”

Roy died shortly afterwards. Ahmed soon issued a public statement in which she claimed “the local police stood close by and did not act” while they were being attacked. We learned this month that Asim Umar, the leader of the Indian branch of Al Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a lengthy interview with Reuters published yesterday, Ahmed lamented the tepid response from Bangladeshi officials:

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