Reload    SLVA -  Since 1972   
Salt Lake City, Utah
Who we are...
Page Updated 09/18/13 06:43

A Formal Organization of Atheists -                             Updated  2013-09-18
theists of Utah

...the longest continuously sponsored atheist meetings in Utah

American Atheists plan large national convention in Utah
during 2014 Easter weekend

 "What can be asserted 
 without evidence
can also be 

 dismissed without evidence."
Christopher Hitchens

Utah's atheist brunch happens on the
FIRST SUNDAY of each month and you are invited!

Where - Sizzler Family Steak House --Map
When  - 1st Sunday of the month, 11:30 AM
Next    - Atheist brunch


Also  - COFFEE CHAT: Every Thursday, 7:PM
Where - 631 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City. Map

Our brunch is held on the first Sunday of each month,
11:30 AM at the 
    Sizzler Family Steak House (back room), at
    371 East 400 South
in SLC. --  Directions

Please tell the cashier  that you are with our group -- a 15% gratuity will be added to your bill.

Next Sunday brunch - May 5, 2013:

Book Review!!
This time it's "Church of Lies" by Flora Jessop, a story that will leave you stunned!


Previous speakers

Please send email if you'd like to be on our mailing list (no spam:).

Our two groups, Salt Lake Valley Atheists  (formerly Utah Atheists) and Atheists of Utah have merged into one organization, Atheists of Utah -- AOU.

There will still be monthly Sunday brunches and also the weekly COFFEE CHAT Every Thursday.

  Our Core Values - We Support: 
      * Atheists and agnostics to have freedom from religion
      * Human racial rights
      * Women's rights, birth control and abortion rights
      * Rights for gays and lesbians
      * World environmentalism
      * Treating animals as humanely as possible - specifically when they are used
        in scientific research and on farms.

Sunday Brunch at the Sizzler Family Steak House.   Old Pictures 2000    Old Pictures 2010

Professor Deen Chatterjee returned as our speaker in 2013

    I N   M E M O R I A M   -   Brian Barnard
Latest News:

   New    Richard Dawkins calls Mitt Romney 'gullible fool' over Mormon faith
 New    Brian Barnard dead at 67
Letter from FFRF to Mayor of Draper, UT (.pdf)
  Utah Atheist Groups Pressure City of Draper over Christian Concert

 New    State of Utah pays ~ $400,000 to settle UHP Crosses Case
  Six-year Battle Removes 12-foot Crosses From Government Land (pdf)
e filed a brief in the Supreme Court in 2011
and WE WON!

All the News About the Utah Highway Patrol Cross Case

In the News...

  High Court Won't take up Mt. Soledad Cross Dispute (we Won!)
   Utah Atheist Leader Retires After 33 Years

  Tax Church Property: Our Protest - 1987
  Utah Chapter to American Atheists Triumphs in the Face of Adversity - 1980
  State of Utah pays ~ $400,000 to Brian Barnard to Settle UHP Crosses Case
  US Supreme Court Declines to Hear ex-Idaho School's Case
  Judge Throws Out Charge For Harassing Atheist Calling Victim A Doofus
  You Tube - Brian Barnard Speaks To Utah Atheists: Part 1  2   3   4
Mormonism besieged by the modern age
Christopher Hitchens 1949 - 2011
  Muslim medical students boycotting lectures on evolution...
  Islamic cleric bans women from touching bananas, cucumbers for sexual resemblance
  FFRF sues Tennesse Villages of Somerville and Whiteville over Crosses
  Testimony Glove
  Who picks which religions are sacred?
  Consumer Reports rated Security software
  Idaho's National Day of Prayer Counter-Demonstration 2011

 The Latest...   It Happened again!

The Woonsocket Call reported April 23, 2012 that the city is exploring its options. “I have no intention of removing the cross under any circumstances,” the newspaper quoted Mayor  Fontaine saying.

FFRF       Letter
Water Tower crosses

May 11, 2012. The city of Woonsocket has raised $15,000 for a fund established to defend against a potential lawsuit over a monument topped with a cross that has drawn a complaint from an atheist group.  Mayor Leo Fontaine said this week that donations have been coming in from around the country. A local lumber company that's been making and selling Latin Crosses...
The Woonsocket Call reported in April2012 that the city is exploring its options. “I have no intention of removing the cross under any circumstances,” the newspaper quoted Mayor Fontaine  saying.  [more]


  What you ought to know about using LED lights in your house
  Eureqa is a software tool for detecting equations and hidden mathematical
    relationships in your data.

  The Global Consciousness Project - Meaningful Correlations in Random Data
  The Value of Science - Richard Feynman (1955)
  Victor Stenger -Video- The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning - SHIFT - SLC 09-10-2011
  Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas
  God did not create the universe, says Hawking [Yahoo]
Heaven, is hotter than Hell
Philosophy / proof: Not for the faint of heart... [External link]

  Our Core Values - We Support: 
      * Atheists and agnostics to have freedom from religion
      * Human racial rights
      * Women's rights, birth control and abortion rights
      * Rights for gays and lesbians
      * World environmentalism
      * Treating animals as humanely as possible - specifically when they are used
        in scientific research and on farms.

April 1 2012. Lori Howard, President of Idaho Atheists and Susan Harrington
President of Idaho Atheists. (click to enlarge).

 You Tube -   April 1 2012
Lori Howard speaks to Salt Lake Valley atheists - Part 1(a)
Lori Howard speaks to Salt Lake Valley atheists - Part 1(b)

Susan Harringtond speaks to Salt Lake Valley atheists - Part 2

Atheists Of Utah's Thursday coffee, 2011

Richard Dawkins

Pat Condell

"Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position"
~ Bill Maher

"Atheism is to religion as fish is to bicycle."
~ Madalyn Murray O'Hair

 Link:  Mormon posthumous baptisms

TV screen shot:  Helen Radkey on O'Donnell's
Last Word, explaining Mitt Romney's Mormon
church's baptism of dead Jews.


Elephant Parts by Michael Nesmith
Temple RecordsTemple RecordsTemple RecordsTemple RecordsTemple Records Customer reviews

 Link  You Tube video


I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear sheep skin gloves?

In the News
Religion in the News
News from the past
Utah Bus signs '84

New    From: "Dan Ellis" <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 11:43:45 AM

Atheist Group Reaches 1,000 Members

For Immediate Release - Contact Dan Ellis at (801) 784-2053   (Salt Lake City, UT, July 10, 2012)

The Atheists of Utah’s Facebook Group reached 1,000 members last week, having more than tripled in size over the last three years. The Atheists of Utah are part of the Utah Coalition of Reason and are just one of approximately 15 separate non-theist groups currently operating in the state. These groups promote the separation of church and state and encourage a community of intellectual free thinkers.

The Atheists of Utah are a non-profit organization and active members of the community. They are currently participating in the Adopt-A-Highway program and have conducted two cleanups thus far. They also perform regular volunteer work for local charities such as the Utah Food Bank and Planned Parenthood. Meet-ups and activities for members occur every week and larger events, like their first Winter Gala last February and annual camping trip are also held. “We have started planning and holding more family-friendly events,” says Dan Ellis, President of the Atheists of Utah, “We have formed a family events committee and have hosted several family events.” It should be noted that this group of like-minded people is gaining members rapidly, showing evidence of a growing secular movement in the state of Utah and the rest of America.

Source:  GALLUP 2012



In the News...

Religion Survey [pdf]
2007 Survey of Mormons
National Surveys on Religion
Chris Allen: Is Religion Valuable?

Jesus: The Evidence [YouTube]
Mormonism For Dummies
Test Your Atheism
Ideas Worth Spreading:
Cool Maps
The Size of Our World
The L-word: Romney Disingenuous?




Atheist Page
Utah Atheist Brunch
Religion Survey


     Celeb Atheists
- Humor

9 of 10 states are tops in religion and obesity:

Atheists Under-Represented in Prison

Top 10 most religious states

Mississippi: 58 percent are very religious
Utah: 56 percent
Alabama: 56 percent
Louisiana: 53 percent
Arkansas: 52 percent
South Carolina: 52 percent
Tennessee: 50 percent
North Carolina: 50 percent
Georgia: 48 percent
Oklahoma: 48 percent


10 least religious states

Vermont: 19 percent are very religious
New Hampshire: 23 percent
Maine: 24 percent
Massachusetts: 27 percent
Oregon: 29 percent
Rhode Island: 29 percent
District of Columbia: 30 percent
Washington (tie): 31 percent
Connecticut (tie): 31 percent
Alaska (tie): 31 percent
Hawaii (tie): 31 percent
Nevada (tie): 31 percent

 Protestants' Perceptions of Islam

  SLVA Supports GAY Protest @ LDS Temple Oct 2010

  A 2010 study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that Americans who don’t believe in God scored better on a religious study quiz than those who identify with a specific religion. More and more.
 Our own Richard Andrews, State Director of American Atheists and president of the Salt Lake Valley Atheists, agrees. See See this spin on the survey by the Salt Lake Tribune.

(One of the first pages on was the Potato Quiz (1998), an attempt to gauge the relationship of religiousity vs. general knowledge. That Quiz is now no longer operative but the original is still available here.  Similar to the above study, the results from the Potato Quiz are shown by in this graphic.)

  Does the 1796-97 Treaty with Tripoli Matter to Church/State Separation?
  Chaplain Is Protected By God-- and by an Atheist--at War.
  The state of the unholy union of State and
church -- Brian Barnard explains his recent victory in the Tenth Circuit Court: The Utah Highway. Patrolmen's cross case.    Listen to the speech here. YouTube here.
  Richard Dawkins' Speech protesting the Pope on YouTube.

Atheists Billboard: It's "Like They're Poking A Finger In Your Eye"
OKLAHOMA CITY - Atheists have erected a billboard seeking fellow non-believers, drawing criticism from ministers in a state where more than 8 out of 10 people say they are Christians. More

 Link   Kiss Hank's Ass

One of our members on Meetup, Jonathan, posted You Tube links to a  very interesting lecture series. I've stolen that and below are the links... you'll need some time to do this.

Day 1:  Battles in the Brain -- A consideration of the seemingly paradoxical nature and structure of the brain, including: intra-cerebral conflicts, 'selfish neurons', and anarchic computer architectures.

Day 2 : My Body Has A Mind Of Its Own: So What Does It Need Me For? -- If "conscious thought" is an evolutionarily recent and hugely expensive innovation, what pays for it?

Day 3:  How Brains Become Minds: The Role Of Cultural Software -- An exploration of how culture in general and language in particular shape our minds, installing perspectives and values, and building the thousands of cognitive micro-habits that constitute both our competences and our disabilities.


 Members' Letter to the Editor

Click / Tap to enlarge


Tom Gene Daniels, Prop. 8-Loving Pastor Accused of Child Molestation

 Reader contributed link:

Roman Catholic Televangelist priest Mike Manning confessed to an affair with his second cousin, Nancy Kotowski. (more)


 Members' Letter to the Editor
Religion no, PBS yes

I was a little confused when I read John Hasson’s letter, which called for an end to government funding of the Public Broadcasting Service (“Stop funding PBS,” Forum, Feb. 23). Hasson wrote that he didn’t want his tax dollars funding a news source on the “political left.”

I wonder whether Hasson ever watches public television. After all, those late-night KBYU reruns of “Perry Mason”, “I Love Lucy” and “My Three Sons” are mighty subversive. On the other hand, perhaps Hasson is concerned about KUED’s lineup, which includes left-leaning shows like “Nova”, “Antiques Road Show” and “Great Performances at the Met”.  Dangerous stuff, for sure.

Like Hasson, I’m troubled by how the government spends money. I’m miffed that churches — which have a long history of anti-intellectualism, discrimination, sexism and homophobia — don’t have to pay taxes. Furthermore, my tax burden is larger because those who contribute to churches are allowed to deduct their donations. Talk about subsidy. Enough is enough!

We could easily afford PBS if we didn’t give religion a free pass.

Ken Roach
Salt Lake City   
First published Mar 01 2011.  Source:

John Garth, Madalyn & Robin
O'Hair Family


   Finding Happiness at Work

 You Tube: 
   Al Qaeda  Recruiting Missionaries
   Bill Maher Exposes  Mormonism

Meetings / RAMs
Atheist Page
Governmental prayer
I s l a m
Pope Demo '95
Weird religion
Test yourself -
Battleground: God
Letters to the Editor: How To...
Google How-To: Letter to the Editor
Celebrity Atheists (archive)
X-ray Vibravision
Math / Logic Library
Only a FOOL would have a false religion
Kiss Hank's ass

Parenthood  Association of Utah
Utah Legal Clinic
Stupid Design Decision
Speech by Julian Hatch
Mental Self Defense Radio
Discrimination Against Atheists


Corollary to
Ockham's Razor:

 "Everything should be made
  as simple as possible, but
  no simpler."  
~ A. Einstein

   Catholic Encyclopedia




An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds,
and Hoaxes of the Occult
and Supernatural

by James Randi and Arthur C. Clarke

Previous Atheist brunch   Back to Brunch

December 2, 2001: meeting of Salt Lake Valley Atheists featured Atheist and First Amendment activist Chris Allen looking back on more than two decades of constitutional activism. Mr. Allen serves on the Board of Directors of the national organization. He has been involved with numerous lawsuits throughout Utah on behalf of the separation of State and church.

Aug 3. 2003: Filmmaker Troy Williams spoke on Mormon Erotica and showed two short films that explore his thoughts after religion.  "Mormon Erotica", is an attempt to reclaim his sexuality from Mormonism. It examines the homoeroticism embedded within Mormon art, architecture and theology in an absurd and humorous manner. "Apotheosis", an abstract cinematic experiment examines Troy's "obsolescence of god", a film about reclaiming Troy’s own personal power from religion. It metaphorically breaks down his construct of god and sends Troy on a quest of discovery... more.
...on YouTube

Jan 8, 2005: Kent Griffiths - "Intelligent Falling": A Theological Alternative To The Theory Of  Gravity. Kent joined our group in 1988. At that time, he worked with Chris Allen and Rich Andrews to get the churches in all of Utah to stop using their buildings as polling places. They were successful in this very important work to separate religion from political activities. In the mid-nineties he met his wife Sarah at one of our brunches.

January 11th, 7pm.  Main Topic For Discussion: The Christian crosses which the Utah Dept of Transportation has allowed the Utah Highway Patrol Association to install on public property (at the sides of Utah highways and roads). We will discuss the pros and cons of this decision. Three members of our group, as well as the national office of American Atheist, are litigants in a lawsuit to require the govt. to remove Christian memorials from government property. We feel it is a violation of the principle of separation of State and church.  How do you feel about this issue? Some members of our group think that we atheists should focus on more important issues, and that this lawsuit
will make us more unpopular with the public than we already are.

April 9, 2006: Professor Deen K. Chatterjee : "The Rhetoric and Substance of Human Rights".  Our speaker teaches philosophy at the University of Utah and is the Editor-in-Chief of the forthcoming, multi-volume Encyclopedia of Global Justice...  Keeping in focus the role of rights at the normative foundations of justice and democracy, the forum will explore some of the myriad problems and challenges of human rights through an examination of such topics as individual and group rights, rights and culture, sovereignty and international law,  humanitarian intervention, and terrorism.
Speaker-Suggested reading: Amartya Sen, Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (2006)

2006, 2008?
After pursuing education and adventure on the West and East coasts, David returned to Utah to teach Philosophy at Utah Valley University where he is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics.  Off campus, David enjoys exploring the soaring peaks of the Wasatch Mountains and the red rock canyons of the Colorado Plateau in all their surprising sublimity.
Apr 4, 2010  Richard Andrews -- Founder of Utah chapter in 1979, National Board Member of American Atheists.

May 2, 2010  Melissa Bird -- Vice President of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Action Council.

June  6,2010 Susan Harrington, Idaho Director of American Atheists -- We found out if praying works! Her topic: How I took the Idaho Capitol steps from the religious right on the National Day of Prayer and held an Atheist rally.

Evolve Beyond Belief...
Pick one up for a friend!

Jul 4,2010  Atheists know that god doesn't bless America. The Pulitzer Prize winning author Jared Diamond of GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL examines what caused some great civilizations and cultures like Polynesian Easter Island, Anasazi, Maya and the Viking colony on Greenland to collapse. What part did religion play? Diamond traces the patterns of environmental damage, climate change, population growth and unwise political choices. He also tells how other societies found solutions and persisted. So on this 4th of July lets reflect on what America needs to do to avoid committing ecological suicide. The video is an hour and 19 minutes long.

 Pulitzer Prize Winner! 
Guns, Germs, and Steel:
The Fates of Human Societies

by Jared Diamond

Aug 1,2010  Richard Dawkins --Video: Dawkins discusses Darwinism, creationism, and the controversy over the "African Eve" hypothesis in which Dawkins shows that Homo Sapiens evolved in Africa over 100,000 years ago and that our ancestors' genes survive in us today.  This lecture is part of the Skeptics Society distinguished lecture series and based on his 1995 book RIVER OUT OF EDEN. Dawkins new book is THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.  Discussion to follow...

Sep 5,2010  Brain Barnard  VICTORY -

State of the Church-State address: The case of American Atheists vs. the Utah Highway Patrol Christian crosses case has been decided by the Denver-based 10th Circuit IN OUR FAVOR! Brian Barnard, who carried the water for this cause will speak at the Salt Lake Valley Atheist brunch to tell us about this important victory. See the sad-sack article in the Salt Lake City Tribune here.

Brian has earned his "tuition"!

The state of the unholy union of church and state was given at the SLVA Sunday brunch on Sept 5 2001.  Brian Barnard explains his recent victory in the Tenth Circuit Court: The Utah Highway Patrolmen's cross case. 
Listen to the speech here. YouTube here.

Oct 14,2010 In the Utah Highway patrol case:
Our response to the rehearing petition by the state
Our response to the rehearing petition by UHPA

Oct 3,2010  Jared Diamond --

DVD: Great Leap Forward. Humans and Chimpanzees share 98% of genes. How is it that we developed complex verbal skills, writing. art, science, and culture and our cousins did not? Further, Why is it that Cro-Magnons succeeded and not Neanderthals? Diamond's theory is that 30,000 to 40,000 years ago Cro-Magnons developed language and an advantage while Neanderthals had only tools. Dr. Jared Diamond is Professor of Physiology at UCLA Medical School and the author of THE THIRD CHIMPANZEE, and GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL, and Collapse.

Nov 7,2010  Feature film presentation:  AGORA

A new film which encapsulates the facts available in the context of a triangle of rivalry between Judaism, Christianity and Paganism and also a struggle between the State and church.

Set in ancient Egypt under Roman rule, AGORA follows the brilliant and beautiful astronomer Hypatia (Weisz) who leads a group of disciples fighting to save the wisdom of the Ancient World, as violent religious upheaval spills into the streets of Alexandria. Among these disciples are two men competing for her heart: the witty, privileged Orestes (Isaac) and Davus (Minghella), Hypatia’s young slave, who is torn between his secret love for her and the freedom he knows can be his if he chooses to join the unstoppable surge of the Christians.

Dec 5,2010 Troy Williams spoke on "Can Gays Save the World from God?"

Troy holds bachelor degrees in Film Studies and in Anthropology from the University of Utah. He is currently the public affairs director of KRCL and the executive producer of RadioActive. Troy's activism has been featured in The Nation Magazine, Interview Magazine, Huffington Post, The Gay Times and OUT Magazine. Troy is the co-writer of the one-woman show, The Passion of Sister Dottie S. Dixon. In 2011, Troy will be appearing in the new Errol Morris documentary, Tabloid.

Troy Williams' to speech on YouTube:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Jan 2,2011
 DVD: Dr. William Lobdell How I lost my faith while reporting on religion for the LA Times and found unexpected peace.



February 6, 2011
Melissa Bird, CSW is the Vice President of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Action Council. Melissa received her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Utah in 2003. After working as a therapist with abused children and women who were victims of domestic violence, she transitioned into political activism as the former program coordinator at Equality Utah, Utah’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender political action group.

A lifetime political junkie, Melissa is dedicated to enriching the lives of women and children in her community through grassroots activism. In 2003, she conducted research regarding homeless youth and as a result drafted Emancipation Legislation that was signed into law in 2006.

Melissa is a member of the Junior League of Salt Lake City and the League of Women Voters. She enjoys gardening, is an avid reader and is the proud author of “Because We Chose To Love You” a children’s book for all families.

Sunday, March 6, 11:30am - 2:00pm
Video: Why do half of Americans reject evolution? Dr. Michael Shermer discusses science, theory and the method of testing evolution.  Dr. Shermer is a columnist for Scientific American magazine, the publisher of Skeptic magazine and oft-recurring speaker at the Amazing Randi's TAM conventions[2006], [2005], [...2010].

April 2, 2011:  DVD: Dr. Daniel C. Dennett, one of the great thinkers of our time asks how belief in god shapes our lives. Is religion a blind compulsion or a rational choice? History, philosophy and psychology explore how folk beliefs evolved into a potent force.

Dennett at the Amaz!ng Meeting-4 in Las Vegas

You Tube - Daniel Dennett and Robert Wright discuss direction and "purpose" in evolution...
(Not for the faint of heart:)

May 1,2011 --  Jared Diamond --

DVD: Natural Experiments of History --
Can the scientific method be applied to the social sciences? The author of GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL and COLLAPSE has a new book. Diamond presents eight studies drawn form history, archeology, economics, geography, and political science. The studies range from a simple two way comparison of Haiti and the Dominican Republic to a comparison of 81 Pacific islands and 233 areas of India. He also talks about the effects of religion.

June 5, 2011 --
In his role as a highly sought after professional hypnotist, Jake routinely mesmerizes his clients, and as host of Mental Self Defense Radio (630 AM Monday thru Wednesday 1 PM to 3 PM) he breaks listeners free of the trance of helplessness foisted upon by big government and big business.

Jake is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Utah and the author of 'Anomaly: Revolutionary Knowledge in Everyday Life', 'TEA-O-CONNED: The Hijacking of Liberty in America', 'Say Uncle! Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling & Roots of Ultimate Fighting, Pro-Wrestling, and Modern Grappling', and 'The Hypnotist: Healer, Head Hacker, & Headliner'.

Summer Solstice Party   Map
Saturday, June 25 · 7:00pm - 11:30pm

Solstice Party, joint with SLVA and A of U will take place on Saturday, June 25th. BYOB and please bring a snack to share. AofU will provide pizza.

They will be conducting a bit of AofU business. There will be voting for a new board member. All paid members as of May 25th who are also in attendance are eligible to vote. If you are interested in running for the open board position..., please contact Lizel Allen or Tracey Snarr.

*PRIZE DRAWING* We will have fabulous PRIZES to be won. Bring a bottle or six pack of your favorite libation to donate to the BUCKET O' BOOZE, the GRAND PRIZE. Free ticket to those who donate booze. Addtional tickets available at $1 each or 7 for $5. Join or renew your AoU membership that night and get 30 additional tickets!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

If you're not going out of town on the 4th of July weekend, please join us at the Salt Lake Valley Atheist Brunch. We have purchased a copy of the new BOOK OF MORMON Broadway Musical CD and will be playing some of the songs at the brunch. The songs contain frank language (swearing) and sexual content. If that offends you, DO NOT COME!

 Sunday, Aug 7,2011
 Brain Barnard -

UHP Christian Crosses Case now before the Supreme Court of USA

The Atheists' response to the writs of certiorari by Utah State and the UHPA were due on July 26.2011 and will be filed at that time. Acclaimed civil rights attorney, Brian Barnard, the lead attorney in the Utah Highway Patrol Christian crosses case will be the speaker for the Salt Lake Valley Atheists brunch.

He brought us up to date on how the case will proceed and how the response will set the tone of the case, now before the Supreme Court of the United States of America. You don't want to miss this speech and the inside information you will receive! He will tell us how he and other attorneys have responded to the state, UHP, and amicus briefs. He will tell us the issues and about how this will affect state-church separation in the future. This is news!

Sep 4,2011 Jason Cooperrider

Savant Syndrome: Neuroscience Behind It & Relationship with Autism

A link to the .pdf for this talk

Jason is a research fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Janet Lainhart, his advisor, studying the developmental neuroscience of autism and the brain basis of exceptional abilities in autism, which is his dissertation topic. In May 2009, Jason co-founded the University of Utah student group SHIFT (Secular Humanism, Inquiry and Freethought), first serving as its vice-president (May 2009-December 2009), later as its president (January 2010-December 2010), and currently as its treasurer (January 2011-present). Jason has also served as a founding board member of the Utah Freethought Society (June 2010-present), founding board member of the Utah Coalition of Reason (July 2010-present), and secretary and board member of the Humanists of Utah (January 2011-present). In the future, Jason hopes to become a research professor at a university, studying the brain basis of exceptional abilities in both developmentally disabled and typically developing populations.

 Lecture: Saturday, September 10 · 2011
Dr. Victor Stenger, physicist and author of God: The Failed Hypothesis, The New Atheism, and several other books, will be giving a talk for SHIFT on the UU campus, partly based on his latest book, The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning. His talk will be followed by interaction with the audience and a book signing, at which SHIFT will be selling a few copies of the 3 aforementioned books. The event will be free and open to the public, with free parking available in the visitor parking lot just east of the Union building, which is adjacent to (just north of) Orson Spencer Hall. Seating will be first-come-first-served. The doors to the auditorium will be opened 30 minutes before the event.

Created By Jason Cooperrider for SHIFT - Secular Humanism, Inquiry and Freethought

Sunday, November 6 · 2011
What Darwin Never Knew (DVD)
NOVA presents stunning new breakthroughs about evolution based on scientific research at the the genetic level. This new science, nicknamed "evo devo", is unraveling one of nature's great mysteries, the development of embryos. This program goes beyond Darwin's "natural selection" to explain other factors that drive evolution.


1945 - 2012

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Video of Brian Bardnard's speech to Atheists of Utah on 11/3/11 about the UHP Christian crosses case:  Part 1  2   3   4 more: Crosses Case

Brian Barnard represented atheists and polygamists,  panhandlers and prisoners.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Stephen Clark, board member and President from '04 to '08 , moderated a lively  discussion of 2 questions:
    A. Should the State of Utah legally pursue individual families that practice polygamy - including Kody Brown & his 4 wives of "Sister Wives" fame?
    B. Should the State of Utah legally pursue the leaders of polygamous institutions such as the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints (FLDS)?

It was worth noting a few facts in this controversy:
  (1) Bigamy is still against the law in the United States.
  (2) The Attorney General of Utah has stated that he will not pursue those who practice polygamy, but only those who marry underage girls or otherwise commit sexual abuse of children.
  (3) Canada's Supreme Court ruled last month that polygamy will remain against the law throughout Canada.

Sunday, Feb 5, 2012
The Evolution of Non-Theism in Utah –
Atheists, and Unitarians, and Free-Thinkers! Oh, My!

Elaine Ball is the Executive Director of the burgeoning Utah Coalition of Reason, the group which put up the billboard on I-215 this past year that reads, Don't Believe In God? You Are Not Alone – She was certified in May 2011 as a Humanist Minister, enabled to officiate at non-religious and inter-religious weddings, commitment ceremonies, child welcoming celebrations, memorial services, and more. In May 2009 she co-founded the University of Utah student group, SHIFT – Secular Humanism, Inquiry, and Freethought. She is also on local Steering and Planning Committees for the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union. Elaine holds a BA in French from the University of Utah, and teaches Beginning French at Salt Lake Arts Academy. She lives in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Salt Lake with her partner of nearly three years, and their two cats, Colonel Pendleton and Thai.

Mary Schultz received an award from the NAACP on behalf of herself and her husband, Bill.

Sunday, March 4. 2012

The video Inside The Milky Way will be screened. It's excellent. National Geographic uses a 3-D state-of - the - art CGI model of our galaxy to look at its amazing features and its history. Other galaxies are also looked at, and its all done in fantastic color. Most of the scenes are photographs taken by the Hubble Telescope, but "special effects" are also used to enhance this scientific adventure. The DVD was produced in 2010, so it's up to date information. 


Sunday, April 1 2012 - Two Speakers:
Lori Howard, President of Idaho Atheists. Her topic: Religion in Idaho Charter Schools; Case Study: Nampa Classical Academy. Lori has a unique insight to charter schools in Idaho as she was with the charter school office at the Idaho State Department of Education for the past 5 years.
US Supreme Court declines to hear ex-Idaho school's case -  Lori Howard is a charter school expert for the Idaho Department of Education and will speak on the Nampa Classical Academy Bible case on Sunday at SLVA atheist brunch at the Sizzler at 11:30AM.

Susan Harrington was the founding president of Idaho Atheists, Inc.and has served on the board for 14 years. She has also served as American Atheists, Inc. Idaho State Director, national board member, and Youth and Family Program co-director. Susan was raised in a non-religious family and pursued a career in mathematics and science education, both as a classroom teacher and as a Idaho state department administrator. Her major interests have always included state/church separation and atheist civil rights. Her topic: Atheism in your sister state of Idaho.

 Sunday July 1, 2012

Joe Andrade's Citizen Candidate site - for Utah's Second Congressional District. I am running as an independent,
unaffiliated candidate.   Contact Joe at:

Joe Andrade is an engineering professor and a scientist at the University of Utah in The Department of Bioengineering, who has also served in several administrative positions, including Dean of Engineering. He has books, patents, and scientific publications in his name and is also interested in science education and literacy. Joe is one of the major drivers and planners for The Leonardo. A fuller bio is at:  Joe is an unaffiliated candidate running for Congress in District 2. He'll be speaking on his dissatisfaction with the political process on science education and literacy.

Sunday August 12, 2012

Lee demonsted the Burka 
 (it's actually chādor)

at the
Salt Lake Valley atheists'
Sunday brunch in January 2007 (left).



Dinner at Nancy Lee's house in Tucson AZ, January 2008. Left to right:  Lee, David, Richard, Harald.

Nancy Lee shares he experiences in Afghanistan, Sunday brunch in Aaug 2012.

Nancy Lee Hendricks was here again.

YouTube video of this talk - (coming soon)
The Bonn Accords, Rebuilding the Afghan Government
Working for the United Nations Mission to Afghanistan

David Fitzgerald is a writer and historical researcher who has been actively investigating the Historical Jesus question for over ten years. He has a degree in History and was an associate member of CSER, the former Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion.

David serves on the boards of San Francisco Atheists and Center For Inquiry-SF, and is founder and director of both the world's first Atheist Film Festival and Evolutionpalooza, San Francisco's oldest Darwin Day celebration. He lectures around the country at universities and national secular events and is best known for his popular multimedia presentations "The Ten Thousand Christs and the Evaporating Jesus" and "The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion."

David is a writer and public speaker who has been called both “The Ferris Bueller of San Francisco” and "one of the busiest atheist activists in the Bay Area." He is the Action Coordinator for San Francisco Atheists and serves on the board of the Center for Inquiry-San Francisco; Co-founder & Director of both the world’s first Atheist Film Festival and San Francisco's oldest annual Darwin Day celebration, "Evolutionpalooza!"

He is on the Speaker’s Bureau of both the Secular Student Alliance and Center for Inquiry, and lectures around the country at universities and national secular events, including national conventions of American Atheists and the American Humanist Association, and an audience favorite at Skepticon.

David is also a historical researcher who has been actively investigating the Historical Jesus question for over ten years. He has a degree in history and was an associate member of CSER (the former Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion). His most recent book is NAILED: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All, which critically examines the historical evidence of Christ.



God's Brothel
Andrea Moore-Emmett


Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 -  Joanne Hanks

Joanne Hanks isn’t your average ex-Mormon, ex-polygamist, ex-wife.
She’s an accomplished portrait and landscape artist (view her work at, an expert interior designer (she earned her design degree at Mormon Church-owned Brigham Young University), and a woman who learned the hard way to stand on her own feet after being raised to let others make her life decisions.

Most recently, Joanne has written “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass, a riveting account of her experiences as a “First Wife” in the Mormon-based polygamist cult that she and her husband joined after seven years of marriage.

In “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass, Joanne tells her crazy story with humor, satire and insight. She levels about husband-sharing, “sister wives,” the TLC “prophet” James Dee Harmston (who called himself a “celestial stud service” and sought divine guidance on threesomes), racism, sexual abuse, fraud and manipulation. And she reveals how Harmston wiggled out of his failed prophecy that the Second Coming of Jesus would take place on March 26, 2000.

Feb 3 2013 - The February SLVA brunch featured special guest speaker, Kirk Robinson, who spoke about whether or not atheism is just another type of religion. He'll also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of atheism.

Kirk Robinson's Talk to SLVA
Kirk's Views on Mitt Romney
March 3, 2013 -   This was the last meeting as SLVA.  The two groups, Salt Lake Valley Atheists -- SLVA, (formerly Utah Atheists) and Atheists of Utah -- AOU have merged into one organization, Atheists of Utah.  We will still hold the regular Sunday brunches.

April 7, 2013:
Professor Deen Chatterjee
returned as our speaker --

The title of the talk was "God, Fantasy, and Illusion".

God's Debris   by  'DILBERT's  Scott Adams
It's a Treasure! ...and  it's FREE
Imagine that you meet a very old man who — you eventually realize — knows everything. Imagine that he explains for you the great mysteries of life — quantum physics, evolution, god, gravity, light, psychic phenomena, and probability —  in a way so simple, so novel, and so compelling that it all fits together and makes perfect sense.

What does it feel like to suddenly understand everything? God's Debris isn’t the final answer to the Big Questions -- it might be the most compelling vision of reality you will ever read...  Still, God's Debris is emphatically not for everyone.

In the News --  


Lonely religionists demonstrating at the Mormon temple in SLC, UT in 2005.

SLVA Supports GAY Protest @ LDS Temple Oct 2010


"We know of no spectacle more ridiculous - or more contemptible - than that of the religious reactionaries who dare to re-write the history of our republic. Or who try to do so. Is it possible that in their vanity and stupidity they suppose that they can erase the name of
Thomas Jefferson..." continued

 "Allah honored wives by instating the
 punishment of beatings"
See it on [You Tube] !

"See how she is Honored... (But) he must not break her teeth or poke her in the eye... It is forbidden to beat her in the face or make her ugly... He can beat her with a short rod... Beatings are permitted only in this case (when she refuses to sleep with him), which the husband cannot do without."

 You can tell it's a genuine
 guarantee because of the
 gold seal.

  New     Idaho's National Day of Prayer Counter-Demonstration 2011  May 5, 2011 --
Idaho Atheists held a peaceful protest against another National Day of Prayer activities on May 5, 2011. American Atheists State Director Susan Harrington invited state-church separation activist to attend. They gathered across from the capitol steps ar 12 noon -- there was a pre-event meeting at the nearby Flying M Coffee House, 500 West Idaho St. in Boise.

The WHY: To protest government officials endorsing the National Day of Prayer and the entanglement of government and religion.



Ken's Guide to the Bible

"The world's most complete compendium of the Bible's most embarrassing passages. With hammerhead precision and pig-iron wit, this compact volume lays bare all the sex, gore and lunacy that the Bible has to offer."
by Ken Smith

 See the EVOLUTION of this page

Cover of American Atheist Magazine celebrating its 1981 Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, UT.
 Links -   Gays 2012  Westboro 2011  |  Idaho 2011  Gays 2010  Animals  |  Pope 1995   ERA  1982  Islam 

3-D: Cross your eyes. 
Interesting Optical Illusions.

Salt Lake City, UT The Unbelievers BBS
801 / 486-4261  1989-1998, Kevin Thomson, sysop
The first Athiest BBS in Salt Lake City was a major hub for news groups and email (using VBBS). At its peak it sported over 32 lines averaging 500 calls per day. It was supported by Novell Network backbone, on 3 servers; each line had it own computer so as to keep processing speed at maximum. (These also provided heat for the apartment in winter months :)  It was gradually taken offline due to hackers and mounting expenses. It was fun while it lasted!
Now see --
    - Kevin Thomson
Source: BBS_List: Area Code BBSes Through History

 A remnant of our old BBS:

Buy one get two free -- or just pray for one!


Most common Google keywords used to arrive at these pages

Trilobite, burrows, and Cephalopoda...

hen you understand why
 you do not believe in other gods, then you will understand why I don't believe in yours.


~ Stephen F. Roberts


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