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Darwin Day with Aron Ra
February 12, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm$10
Central Florida Freethought Community educational meetings are free and open to the public. This month there is a $10 suggested donation.
Enjoy thought-provoking speakers, local freethought news, state/church activism, volunteer opportunities, and socializing. Come out to meet old friends and make new ones. Coffee and water will be available with snacks served during the social hour after the meeting so plan to stay a while.
This month we celebrate DARWIN DAY!
February’s CFFC SPECIAL EVENT features Aron Ra, evolution debater, science educator, and host of the Ra-Men Podcast. Also Dr. Daniel Batcheldor, astrophysicist and author of “Astronomy Saves the World”; Brandon Haught, biology teacher, Founding Board Member of Florida Citizens for Science and author of “Going Ape;” and Valerie First, evolution educator and “Street Teacher.”
Aron Ra is the president of the Atheist Alliance of America, the host of the Ra-Men Podcast, a public speaker, video producer, blogger, and YouTuber. He is also the former Texas State Director for American Atheists. Aron was baptized as a Mormon. He says, as a child he never saw himself as a member of that faith, however, because he didn’t know enough about religions to make a responsible choice about what to believe. Aron is a vocal critic of creationism, and promotes the teaching of evolution and proper science in Texas schools. Aron has recently published a book entitled Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism.
Aron Ra spoke was featured in the 2014 documentary film My Week in Atheism. Together with Matt Dillahunty and Seth Andrews, they completed the Unholy Trinity Tour in 2014 which they took to Australia in 2015. Aron Ra traveled in Europe and spoke at several events including QED: Question, Explore, Discover in England, at De Vrije Gedachte in Utrecht, the Netherlands,and at Skepsis Norge in Oslo, Norway.
Dr. Daniel Batcheldor is the Department Head of Physics and Space Sciences at Florida Institute of Technology. Dr Batcheldor just published his first book entitled Astronomy Saves the World: Securing our Future Through Exploration and Education.
His research started with super-massive black holes. Those exotic objects, whose masses can reach billions of times that of the Sun, have been observed at, or near, the centers of galaxies. He uses photometric, spectroscopic, and polarimetric techniques to examine the role super-massive black holes may have played in the evolution of galaxies. How galaxies form and evolve is one of the greatest mysteries still remaining in contemporary astrophysics; do they coalesce from giant clouds of gas, or via huge cosmic collisions?
Daniel holds a BSc (Hons) Astronomy University of Hertfordshire and a Ph.D. Astrophysics University of Hertfordshire. He has been conducting research into the next generation of imaging devices which are theoretically capable of imaging Earth-like planets around other stars.
Brandon Haught is a high school biology teacher, Founding Board Member of Florida Citizens for Science and author of Going Ape which reviews Florida’s storied history in the teaching of evolution.
Brandon served in the US Marine Corps and trained to become a combat correspondent. He also served aboard the USS Bataan with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit while on deployment in the Mediterranean area. After leaving the Corps he found work as a graphic designer and as a weekly columnist for a small newspaper in western North Carolina. 52 columns later he moved to Florida where he was a sheriff’s office spokesman for a decade. While there he also took college courses to earn a degree in science education. Brandon then obtained certification to teach high school biology and middle school math in Florida and now works as a biology teacher in Volusia County, Florida.
Valerie First is an evolution educator. She refers to herself as a “Street Teacher,” a teacher whose job involves talking with people of every age and every level of education at informal settings. Officially, Valerie has been a docent; but instead of walking around with an animal or other portable exhibit she introduces people to her collection of animal skulls from both living and extinct species native to Florida.
As a member of the Florida Fossil Hunters, Valerie brings to life fossils for the young and old. The Orlando-based group is dedicated to “bringing about a greater understanding of prehistoric Florida and thus a greater appreciation of Florida’s unique environment.”
Valerie does her part giving talks as a volunteer at the Orlando Science Center and the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, educating the public about what can be found just beneath the surface of Florida. She especially enjoys showing off fossils of animals like mammoths, mastodons, saber cats, giant beavers, and giant ground sloths that shared the area with Florida’s earliest inhabitants.
Valerie’s desire to share her knowledge began when her daughter asked Valerie to talk to her sixth-grade class about fossils. That was 22 years ago, and Valerie has been giving volunteer presentations ever since.
“Valerie has been with us almost 10 years,” says Zack Lynn, the Science Center’s volunteer manager. “Her knowledge about fossils is contagious, and she keeps it up-to-date. She has her own prehistoric fossil collection, and without that, our visitors would miss out.”
Valerie has amassed a collection of replica prehistoric skulls of “long-ago humans,” as she calls them, and has two dinosaur bones on her exhibit table in addition to a variety of other ancient artifacts which she will be sharing at this event!
Since it was founded in 2012, the Central Florida Freethought Community has worked hard to keep religion out of government in Central Florida. As a chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and an affiliate of the American Humanist Association, we have accomplished a great deal and grown substantially.
As of 2015, the CFFC has formed our Board of Directors, drafted Articles of Incorporation, registered as a non-profit in Florida, received a sales tax exemption, and obtained our 501(c)(3) status from the IRS. We have also decided to expand our focus beyond state/church separation to include:
• Outreach to the greater Central Florida community
• Regular educational events for supporters
• Opportunities for volunteerism with non-profit charities which welcome the participation of non-believers
This expanded mission will serve to unite an already well-established community of freethinkers and organizations across Central Florida in a regular educational event where more work can be done to serve the needs of the freethought community.
We hope you’ll join us, see what you think, share your ideas, and help us build a community we can be proud of.
CFFC has no membership dues, but we do have recurring operating expenses that keep the organization running. The largest expense are these monthly meetings (venue, equipment, speaker fees, printing, etc.).
If you share our values, care about the work we do, and find yourself able to contribute, Click Here to Donate (https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=miKJuHediLzeY3f-70NX-RrVL1xzMS9Kp-52sQJBIS7TkKzaQnp6VnXouWu3N1ZkMjSFQm) . Your tax-exempt contribution will help assure the continued success of the CFFC, including continuing commitment to state/church activism and secular community building.
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.