Posts tagged Michael Shermer
Posts tagged Michael Shermer
Posted below are copies of all our original promotional material for the event.
As a longstanding member of SEAFA , I am happy to announce that the free book signing and lecture by Dr. Michael Shermer was a huge success and SEAFA has now made available the below video recording for your viewing pleasure.
Much thanks to Tony Rush for producing the promotional video and for taking care of the filming and editing of the event and thanks to all the SEAFA trustees and members who came together and made this possible.
Also, thanks to those at Troy University Dothan who facilitated the use of Sony Hall for the event.
Two other individuals of note in this events success I would like to acknowledged are Derek Johnson, founder of the Freethought Group Organizers site and Charles Raymond Miller of the Secular Coalition for Alabama.
An Evening With Michael Shermer: Dothan Alabama - The Believing Brain: Science, Faith and the Need to Know
One Nation, Another Religion? is a great set of reviews by by Rachel Pridgen—a fellow member of the Southeast Alabama Freethought Association—of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans by David Niose and Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses which is featured on this month’s eSkeptic.
Check out the excerpt below and please visit the main article and comment on the piece if you feel so inclined.
Having grown up in Southern California during the Reagan years nothing would have led me to challenge the assumption that all Americans believed in God. We had strong Evangelical leaders and it was evident that God had manifestly blessed America and allowed us to thrive and flourish. To be sure, there were two kinds of Americans: those with vibrant belief and those with apathetic belief. But Americans with no belief? Those existed in the same way ogres, evil wizards, and traitors existed—in a mythical ghetto where we were free to abhor them without actually encountering them. Born into a Christian family during the growth spurt of the religious right, I was unaware of the existence of secular Americans.
“Growing up” for me therefore meant (among many other things) encountering the reality of free thought in America and the humanity that lies behind it. As I asked more questions and my faith failed, I was amazed to find a sizable and thriving secular community beyond my believer bubble.
David Niose, President of the American Humanist Association and Vice President of the Secular Coalition for America presents a new book full of information on secular Americans. Nonbeliever Nation provides a framework for understanding the role of secular Americans, the obstacles they face, and their vision for the future. Niose’s treatment, while not exhaustive, ably maps the American secular experience sociologically and demographically. He begins with demographic data revealing a population in transition. Secularity in America is growing through a change in both belief and identity. It is still an unfortunate reality that disbelief is marginalized in the United States. Open secularity is still not as common as it should be based on the numbers. Tellingly, 81% of Americans report a belief in a divinity, but only 1.6% identify as atheist or agnostic. This means approximately 1 in 6 Americans don’t believe in a divinity, but are unwilling to identify as a non-believer.
The social stigma attached to atheism causes many to remain unidentified regardless of actual belief. This is particularly interesting if one looks at the results of increased religiosity. It would appear that we are not any better off for all of our high rates of fundamentalist beliefs. We have one of the highest homicide rates of all industrialized countries, and Niose provides quotes and statistics to show that “higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion.” It turns out that belief in God does not necessarily help us to be more moral, and in fact may result in just the opposite. Despite this information, surveys show that atheists remain the most distrusted minority in America, surpassing even rapists and pedophiles.
SEAFA Presents “Faith, Science and the Need To Know” Featuring Dr. Michael Shermer
There is still time to reserve your free tickets a www.dothanthinkers.com.
Does Books-A-Million Encourage Discrimination Against Atheists?
I recently had an interesting experience at BAM regarding the flyer posted above. I sent them the below letter and am currently awaiting a response.
As a longtime Books-A-Million customer and member of your discount club, I would like to file a formal complaint about my recent treatment at your store in Dothan Alabama.
On Saturday, February 25th I stopped by and greeted the lady up front behind the check-out counter and asked her if there was a manager on duty and she said sure and called her to come up front.
When the manager arrived, I describe an upcoming lecture and book-signing event featuring best selling author Dr. Michael Shermer at Troy University in Dothan and asked her if I could leave some flyers (flyer attached) on one of the display tables. The manager goes over corporate policy and says she can’t do that but that she could post a copy in the back—I assume on some kind of community bulletin board—and that she would put the rest at the check-out counter where people would see them when they checked out. I said that would be perfect, handed the flyers to the clerk behind the counter and thanked them both.
At this point, the manager went back to her duties and the lady behind the desk asked me how this event came to be so I told her that it had been arranged by the Southeast Alabama Freethought Association. She then asked about the group and what it was so I politely explained that SEAFA was a 501(c)(3) educational organization and briefly summarized our mission statement which can be found at http://theseafa.org/. She replied with, “So you’re an atheist?” and I said “yes, an atheist and a secular humanist” and explained that SEAFA’s members included agnostics and other freethinkers as well. I sensed by her tone that she didn’t care too much for “my kind” and soon after this, the conversation politely ended and I went to the middle of the store to do my regular shopping.
Several minutes later—by this time they must have forgotten about me—I overheard the lady behind the counter ask her manger if she had to “set these out” and the manager said she could throw them in the garbage if she wanted to. Now I wasn’t certain, but I presumed that she was talking about the color flyers I had printed out—which cost money and resources to produce—so I decided to wind up my shopping and go check-out.
When I arrived at the counter and the lady was ringing up my books and magazines, I saw that indeed the flyers were in the trash can. I then removed the flyers from the garbage and expressed my displeasure and told the lady that it was impolite for her to say she would display the flyers and then throw them in the trash as soon as I was out of sight and that if she didn’t want to put them out she should not have accepted them.
She said her manager told her to she could throw them away and that she didn’t mean to be offensive. I said, “Well I am offended and I don’t understand why you think I wouldn’t be” and told her that although I’ve spent hundreds of dollars there over the years, this would be my last purchase at their store.
When she finally gave me my merchandise and receipt, she once again expressed her regret and said she didn’t mean to be offensive and asked me if I would please talk with the manager. I politely declined, since I was already upset, saying that I had no desire to talk to the manager since I heard her say say she could throw the flyers away.
Right before leaving I noted all the exclusively Christian merchandise displayed throughout the front of the store and at the check out counters, which I have never complained about, and asked her if it was BAM’s policy to discriminate against non-believers and other non-Christians. In response, she said that the merchandise mentioned was displayed up front because the corporate office orders it to be so.
I have informed SEAFA’s 150 plus members of my treatment at your store, many of them who were also regular customers, and they too will be boycotting your store until we determine whether this intolerant behavior by your employes is a local issue that can be rectified or if it was encouraged by BAM’s corporate policy.
Also note that the local Barns & Noble store later set-up a book display of Dr. Shermers latest book accompanied by our flyers so their customers would be aware of the event.
One of BAM’s customer relations representatives responded this morning with the following message.
Thank you for writing to us regarding your recent shopping experience at Books-A-Million. In addition to providing exceptional values, we strive to provide exemplary customer care. We have not met these standards in this case and apologize for that. We have passed on your concerns to the district manager, and assure you that they will be reviewed and addressed with the store.
Books A Million is constantly working to improve service levels and your feedback is invaluable in our quest to enhance your overall customer experience. We hope that you will continue to shop with us and allow us to better serve you.
This email was followed this afternoon by a phone call from BAM’S District Manager D21 whom I had a lengthy conversation with. He apologized on behalf of the company and said that the Dothan BAM manger had called him after the incident related above and told him that I had left before she had an opportunity to apologize, which I did. Of course there were some discrepancies in the story she had related to him, which I corrected.
He also informed me of a scheduled meeting that would be held with all managers to discuss this issue next week followed by an employee meeting later in the week.
He followed up our conversation with the below email.
I wanted to take another chance to apologize for the behavior of the staff at your local Books-A-Million. It is not our practice to put out any information to customers unless it is a product put out for sale. The reason for this is we don’t want our cashiers to have to pick sides in any kind of ideology. We try to carry a wide variety of world views and histories for our customers to shop from. I have discussed this issue with the staff of the store and will continue train my staffs that our customers are very valued and we are not to judge their purchases only to provide the best customer service in the business. We hope you continue to be a customer with us. Once again, I apologize for the lack of proper customer service
I’m not one to hold grudges so from the long conversation I had with the District Manager, I’m satisfied with his apology and the actions he promised to take.
That being said, I will continue to shop at the Dothan Books-A-Million but I’ll probably be hypersensitive to any slight from the employees there so they better treat me right.
Peace, love and all that other good stuff…TPO
We still haven’t found a company to host our “Good… without a god?” billboard pictured below but we are still trying.
FREE book-signing and lecture with best-selling author Michael Shermer. “The Believing Brain: Science, Faith, and the Need to Know”
Thursday, March 1, 2012 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (CT)
This event is free of charge and is sponsored by the Southeast Alabama Freethought Association (SEAFA).
NOTE: Only 200 seats are available for this event! Make sure to get your tickets and attend this exciting event! Tickets will be available “at the door”.
Dr. Michael Shermer to Speak in Dothan Alabama
This is going to be great. Our local freethought group has arranged to have Michael Shermer come speak at Troy University in Dothan. Above is the outside of the event program created by Tony Rush.
For tickets visit http://shermer.eventbrite.com/.