Monthly Archives: November 2012
I don’t particularly mind that Christians like to ironically celebrate the supposed birth of their savior on a Pagan holiday. In fact, I rather like Christmas.
I don’t believe in Santa Claus either, but as one humanist told me once, I believe that Santa exists in the “example of Saint Nicholas” and “the spirit of anonymous giving.”
I’m also not a big fan of rampant, irrational consumerism.
So why do I like Christmas? Tim Minchin’s song below pretty much captures why.
Here are some of the lyrics to the song “Gratitude” by Shelley Segal.
“And while it is hard to define the transcendence we feel… I don’t believe in a great power to say “thank you” to… But it won’t take away from my gratitude…”
Last week’s Carl Sagan Day celebration, organized by secular students from Northwestern, UChicago, and DePaul was simply unbelievable.
Professor Vandervoort talked about his early academic relationship with the young, audacious, and visionary Carl Sagan. He was brought to tears on the stage as he was talking. Professor Olinto amazed us with the newest discoveries in space science and physics, from the discovery of thousands of planets to dark matter/dark energy and detection of high energy particles bombarding Earth. And Professor Beck-Winchantz reminded us that we all have an eagerness for scientific discovery, and that science is not just an ivory tower profession, but that it should and does belong to all of us. He encouraged us to participate in citizen science projects, and showed us an inexpensive, awe-inspiring way of sending a camera into near-space and back.
More importantly, events like these outline the incredible work that secular students can do to inspire others and to promote the wonderful tradition of humanism and scientific skepticism, a tradition that Carl Sagan championed throughout his life.