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Atheist Rocker/Scientist to be Honored at Harvard

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David GraffinUCLA's Greg Graffin to Be Honored for Lifetime Achievement in Atheism, Punk Rock, and Science

"Cultural Humanism" Awardee is Seminal Punk Singer, Earned Ivy-League PhD in Evolution

CAMBRIDGE, MA­ - Harvard University's prominent community of atheists and agnostics is poised to honor a rock star and scientist whom they argue is an ideal role model for the nation's millions of non-religious youth.

The Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard has gained considerable national attention in the past year for its unique approach to building a culture and community for the non-religious, and this April 26 it will give its highest honor, the "Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism," to a unique figure: Dr. Greg Graffin, frontman of the influential punk rock band Bad Religion. Graffin, whose "day job" since 1980 has been recording and extensive worldwide touring with a band boasting such hits as "How Could Hell be Any Worse" and "American Jesus," earned his PhD in Zoology at Cornell and is a member of the UCLA's Faculty in Biology, teaching Life Sciences courses covering Darwin and natural selection. Graffin will give an acoustic performance after accepting the award.

"I always put education high on my list of priorities because I thought, Wouldn't it be neat if you can have a singer of your favorite band who also has something more to offer than looking cool -­ which I don't -­ or dressing cool -­ which I don't;" Graffin said. "Those are the things that I try to inspire young people to do, whether it is in the lecture hall or on stage on the Warped Tour."

But Bad Religion, considered among the most influential modern punk bands, has been known for inspiring young people towards a particular set of ideas: those of atheism and Humanism. Graffin's lyrics make plain his passionate disbelief in God. Yet the Harvard Humanists cite his faith in the ability of music and science to improve the world as making the singer unique.

In Oklahoma, Religion Trumps a Real Education

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miraclehappens.jpgFrom Friendlyatheist.com:

A bill just passed through the Oklahoma House of Representatives that allows students to express their religious viewpoints without being penalized for it.

On the surface, House Bill 2211 (RTF file) sounds like a nod to religious freedom. A good thing.

However, this legislation actually has the potential to be disastrous. Says Dave McNeely of The Edmond Sun:

If a student's religious beliefs were in conflict with scientific theory, and the student chose to express those beliefs rather than explain the theory in response to an exam question, the student's incorrect response would be deemed satisfactory, according to this bill.

The school would be required to reward the student with a good grade, or be considered in violation of the law. Even simple, factual information such as the age of

the earth (4.65 billion years) would be subject to the student's belief, and if the student answered 6,000 years based on his or her religious belief, the school would have to credit it as correct. Science education becomes absurd under such a situation.

In other words, the {included} cartoon would be describing acceptable classroom work!

Applications Available for Secular Student Alliance 2008 Best Awards

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By Leslie Zukor

Does your group's website get zillions of hits a day? Have you raised $1,000 for children with cancer? Is your club simply superlative when it comes to lectures held, achievements earned, and fabulous secular fun had? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you should submit a Best Award application.

Paid Northern California Campus Organizing Internship

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students talkingThe Secular Student Alliance is seeking applicants for its northern California Campus Organizing Internship (COI). This internship pays $10/hr. and all expenses are covered. This internship will require approximately 10 hours a week. The internship will start in mid to late March and last through late May or early June of 2008 with an option to extend the internship or restart it in the fall.

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