Monday, October 28, 2013

Selling Out the Good Way!

If you buy from Amazon, then you can support NOSHA by using this link

NOSHA will get credit for the sale if the URL you used to get to contains our identifying tag. This is true whether or not you can see the whole URL on the screen.

You can use the link here or go to to the button at the upper right corner of the NOSHA.INFO website, both contain the correct identifying tag and ought to work fine.

Do it today and everyday! And thank you for your ongoing support of NOSHA!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Greenberger Delivers Humanist Invocation at New Orleans City Council Meeting

We're very proud that Harry Greenberger, NOSHA president emeritus, was invited to give the invocation at a regular meeting of the New Orleans City Council on September 26, 2013!

He has been a guest on several occasions to deliver proclamations for Day of Reason 2012  and Darwin Day in 2010. You can see his presentation below. Bravo, Harry!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

There's Always Room for Research

Child Cognition Lab at Boston University is conducting a study that compares how religious vs. non-religious adults think about nature. They have collected data from religious participants and now need non-religious participants to make the comparison. Would you be interested in helping us with our research?

Your participation in this research is voluntary. If you decide to participate, the participation only requires you to visit our study webpage to look at a series of pictures and make judgments about them, and then complete questionnaires about your background, scientific understanding, attitudes and personal beliefs. Participation should only take about 40 minutes. 

This study webpage is designed to work on laptop or desktop computers and will not work on portable devices such as iPads. Also, if you decide to participate, make sure that you are in a quiet place free from disturbances (e.g. TV) and able to concentrate through every task.

Participants will not receive any benefits from this study, other than knowing that they helped science understand better how religious vs. non-religious people think. We hope this will be a good incentive for you, and that you will help us!

And for the sake of the scientific integrity of the study, please participate only ONCE!

Here is the link to the consent form and the study:

THANK YOU so much for your interest!
Child Cognition Lab
Boston University
(617) 358-1738

Monday, June 17, 2013

Are You a February Baby?

Harry wanted to pass along this interesting information that he dug up from CNN about what the summer solstice really means for our recent NOSHA picnic:

(CNN) -- In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice has a history of stirring libidos, and it's no wonder. The longest day of the year tends to kick off the start of the summer season and with it, the harvest. So it should come as no surprise that the solstice is linked to fertility -- both of the vegetal and human variety.
"A lot of children are born nine months after Midsummer in Sweden," says Jan-Ă–jvind Swahn, a Swedish ethnologist and the author of several books on the subject.
Midsummer is the Scandinavian holiday celebrating the summer solstice, which this year falls on June 21. Swedish traditions include dancing around a Maypole -- a symbol which some view as phallic -- and feasting on herring and copious amounts of vodka.
"Drinking is the most typical Midsummer tradition. There are historical pictures of people drinking to the point where they can't go on anymore," says Swahn. While the libations have a hand in the subsequent baby boom, Swahn points out that even without the booze, Midsummer is a time rich in romantic ritual.

To read more: "Summer Solstice: It's All About Sex"

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Bible and Sex....a non-theist review

This year NOSHA Vice-President, Jim Dugan, attended the annual Greer-Heard Forum. This is his report:


The 2013 Greer-Heard Forum took place at the Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans on February 15th and 16th. The forum is an annual event designed to present a diversity of opinions on broad religious issues, and often includes a point-counterpoint between a theist and a non-theist. This year's forum was probably of less interest to most non-believers, as the various opinions represented were all within the Christian tradition. Nevertheless, the topic was one of broad interest: The Bible and Sex.

The presenters were all highly qualified scholars able to read biblical texts in their original languages. The more progressive among them emphasized that there exists a vast cultural chasm between our culture and the cultures of the writers of the Bible, that reading scripture always requires interpretation (whether the reader wants to admit that or not), and that the interpreter must always take responsibility for the interpretation given. More conservative presenters asserted that biblical texts have correct meanings intended by the original writers, that the reader's job is to extract those original meanings from the text, and never to read modern meanings into it. Unsurprisingly, the more progressive scholars were more supportive of equality for women and sexual minorities, and more supportive of more flexible sexual ethics, while the conservative scholars were not. 

It was interesting to see such a variety of opinions among Christian scholars. These were not just disagreements of interpretation and application, but also disagreements about the methods to be used in deriving those interpretations and applications. To what degree may we understand scripture as allegory rather than fact? How can we tell when a particular biblical narrative is merely a narrative, or is intended to convey an ethical rule or precept? Can interpretation be guided by on-going revelation? To what degree ought we seek to apply biblical precepts to our own culture, rather than seek to structure our twenty-first century society along first-century lines? 

For the non-believer, these scholars seem to be children arguing with each other over whose invisible friend could beat up the others' invisible friends. But for the non-believer who may often feel beleaguered in a society dominated by Christian believers, there is an important lesson here: Christians can't agree with each other on much of anything. The Bible is supposed at least to be divinely inspired, and for more fundamentalist believers to be a perfect revelation of divine will, yet interpretations of that inspired or revealed word vary tremendously. Moreover, that variation in interpretation is not just something we find among ordinary churchgoers; it is endemic to the high-powered biblical scholars who influence, and maybe even guide, rank-and-file opinion.

The topic of next year's Greer-Heard forum promises to be of more interest to unbelievers of all types: God and Cosmology. The main presenters will be arch-theist philosopher William Lane Craig and physicist Sean Carroll, author of From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time (2001). Save the date: Friday and Saturday, February 21-22, 2014.

For more information see: Greer-Heard Forum -