Griffith University Society for Skeptics and Freethinkers

My name is Jayson Cooke and I am a Psych Science student at Griffith University Gold Coast campus in Queensland Australia. I am in the process of starting an on-campus cultural group "Griffith University Society for Skeptics and Freethinkers." I was hoping you may be able to help out in some way, any way really. I really believe we can contribute towards something great here and any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

The Centre for Inquiry On Campus group ( ) has kindly provided promotional and educational material which has been a great help but in order to achieve our goals of not just preaching to the “converted” I will need all the help I can get. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated and I have just finished setting up a myspace group page to be found at

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this and for the inspiration.

Jayson D Cooke

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Stevie said...

As another Gold Coast Griffith Uni student I have to say this is an excellent initiative. Publicize the meetings and I'll be there.

eel_shepherd said...

Some random thoughts:

- always have your website address clearly visible; at your publicity booths, on all your brochures, on free buttons, and, well, everywhere.

- as well as the positive-message brochures of your own topics, check out the hand-outs of the religious organisations on campus, and meet their points, point-for-point, but without making reference to their material, as material (i.e. just the content of their material, not the fact of their material), with whatever you consider to be the best and shortest argument refuting their points. Actually, as Sam Harris correctly points out, it's dogma that's the main worry.

- have a display entitled "Which Type Of Christian/Muslim/Jew Are You?" with a questionnaire/flowchart outlining various traits and beliefs of the wide flora and fauna of religionists out there (like us, they come in all flavours). I recommend the essay "To The Passing Christian", seen at this site, as a starting point.

- have printed lists of stuff, such as books, videos, movies, etc. that people can refer to. There are some excellent YouTube videos by a guy with a name like "sdk007", describing the scientific method and evolution, and meeting anti-evolution arguments head-on in an entertaining way. (If that's not his YouTube username, maybe someone here with a better memory knows who I mean.)

- not to be a fearmonger, but if you can afford it, and can do it discreetly, you might want to videotape the crowd at your installations/presentations; maybe Down Under, the believers are a bit more civilised than they are here in North America (up here, all bets are off...). If nothing untoward happens, erase the tape for that event; if it does, it's evidence.

- go the extra mile to be nice to excitable religionists; they are labouring under a toxic load, and might understandably not be at their best on any given day.

- consult Axelrod's book "The Evolution Of Cooperation". It might give you some ideas for a presentation of how cellular automata and societies evolve a morality/moral code without having it handed down to them from the sky pixie. There's an example of an interactive experiment on this subject near the end of one of Richard Dawkins' videos, reachable from this site, and if I can find out what thread it's in later, I'll cite it farther down the scroll.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear that your organizing a group. You're doing what I did around your age in 1975. I had the pleasure of meeting with and working with Madalyn Murray O'Hair as a result.

Good Luck with your venture!

aka Chucky Jesus

Stevie said...

> not to be a fearmonger, but ...
> discreetly, you might want to videotape
> the crowd

Our religious elements aren't likely to present any physical threat. I'd also think most Aussies wouldn't like to be video-recorded at such events.

I've done stalls at Griffith orientation week before and was sited next to the xtians stall (political and religious groups can't have stalls at the main site because of the constitution). The xtians were well-behaved and happy to discuss so no need to worry on that score.


Anonymous said...

In case the Griffith Society will come to Manila, I hope that I will be informed so I will try my best to persuade four universities here to open their campuses for the freethinkers to air their ideas.

Prof. Menrado D. Martinez

Unknown said...

my name is Adam and i too am starting up a student group. We are the UQ Secular Freethinkers, and we are going to be at The University of Queensland. If anyone goes to that campus, they can email uqfreethinkers(AT)gmail(DOT)com, because we'd love to hear from you. Also, i've met Jayson already and i'm aware of his group at Griffith - hopefully we'll have some fruitful collaboration :-)

Is there anyone else at an Australian Uni thinking/wanting to start up a group, or has already done so? i'd like to hear about it.


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