Sioux Falls Free Thinkers is Home for all those of Free Thought with Open Minds! This group includes Atheists, Agnostics, and Humanists, those interested in science and Scientists, those who love animals and Zoologists, and Feminists and those wanting to help abused women, but all those with open minds are welcome. Free Thinkers are those that want a world without rules and controls on thought, without mental borders and boundaries. A world where anything is possible.
Free Your Mind! There Is No Spoon!
(From the movie, The Matrix)
The one thing the writers of the Freethinker definition seem to have forgotten is the idea of having an Open Mind, the basic concept behind what made Freethinking possible in the first place. We at Sioux Falls Free Thinkers reject this closed-minded rigidity of thought, so, even though we agree with and endorse much of the Freethinking definition, we took the word Freethinking back to its original roots and call ourselves "Free Thinkers" to symbolize Open Minds, Free Thought, and true Free Thinking once again.
Our meetings and social gatherings are posted at Sioux Falls Free Thinkers on Meetup.com. Sioux Falls Free Thinkers Upcoming Events can be seen on the Meetup.com Calendar.
The Sioux Falls Free Thinkers group will never have any dues. Membership is not required to attend our meetings. This group will probably never have any formal rules except treating other members and their opinions with respect, and giving everyone equal time to speak. This group will never purge members for expressing their opinions or for forming their own group of open-minded people. The only loose requirement is that members, and those attending our meetings, have an interest in one of the subjects of our five websites.
Sioux Falls Zoologists Billboard Campaign
"Animal Intelligence is Awesome!"
Starting November 9th and lasting through December 20th.
Of Special Interest
11-25-15 HIV pill in 5,000% price rise storm will be made cheaper in US
HIV pill in 5,000% price rise storm will be made cheaper in US
The company that sparked an outcry by raising the price of its HIV drug in the US by 5,000% says it will cut its price for some users. Martin Shkreli's drug company Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to 62-year old drug Daraprim and increased the price per pill from $13.50 to $750. Turing said it will cut the price by 50% for hospitals and offer financial assistance to individuals. However, the company will keep its list price at the new higher level. In September Turing promised to reduce the price. The pill costs around $1 for patients in Europe. (Webmaster's comment: He only cares about his profit. Human lives mean nothing to him. "If you can't pay, to bad, you die." A Capitalist Pig to the core!)
11-23-15 100 Women Live: Is news failing women?
100 Women Live: Is news failing women?
Email stories and comments to BBC100.Women@bbc.co.uk on Monday 23 November 2015. Research found women only make up 24% of people heard about in the news. Experts say it will take "at least three quarters of a century" to reach parity between the genders. Women are most visible in the news in North America and least visible in the Middle East.
11-22-15 George Nakashima: Artisan imprisoned in US internment camps
George Nakashima: Artisan imprisoned in US internment camps
This week, one US mayor lauded the Japanese internment camps which imprisoned US citizens and residents during World War 2. A family that lived in such a camp responds. Mayor David Bowers of Roanoke, Virginia, doesn't want any Syrians resettled in his community. He even lauded the internment camps many Japanese Americans were confined to during World War 2. "President Franklin D Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real," he wrote in a statement. Numerous people have decried the mayor for his words - including the fact that the Japanese interred in camps were US citizens, not foreign nationals. On Friday, Mr Bowers apologised. (Webmaster's comment: Just as I said only two days ago. Identified, labeled, and IMPRISONED, and all that follows. We have already moved from identifying and labeling to discussing putting innocent men, women and children in prisons based on their country of origin, race or religious beliefs. This is right out of the Nazi playbook. The Neo-Nazis, Klu Klux Klan, and other white supremacist hate groups must be getting ready to dance in the streets and start the killing. Many Americans seem to have no concept of human rights whatsoever.)
11-20-15 College protesters aren't the real threat to America's liberal values. Rabid Islamophobes are.
College protesters aren't the real threat to America's liberal values. Rabid Islamophobes are.
Reality check: America's insane debate over Syrian refugees this week really ought to put these complaints about liberal students in perspective. Since the attacks in Paris, America has broken into a frenzy of Islamophobic political hysteria. The leading Republican presidential candidate has proposed a raft of literally Nazi-esque policies, and tiptoed up to even more. Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill ordering a "pause" in the admittance of new refugees. (President Obama has promised a veto.) Donald Trump is the worst offender, of course. Mainstream pundits have been predicting his demise for months now. But as Greg Sargent points out, it's pretty clear what's driving his support: anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim bigotry. And in the last couple days, he has wildly ratcheted up the proposals for political repression of refugees and American Muslims, and simultaneously increased his lead in the polls: What's really striking is how the ante keeps getting increased with abandon. First Trump said he would "strongly consider" closing some mosques in America in response to the attacks. Then that morphed into the suggestion that we would have "absolutely no choice" but to take such steps. Trump continues to say that President Obama wants to bring 250,000 Syrian refugees to the United States, and when pressed to justify this claim, he brushes off such queries by attributing the number to a "pretty good source." Trump also says Republicans should be willing to stage a government shutdown fight to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees here. Yahoo's Hunter Walker published an interview with Trump in which the candidate promised to deport any Syrian refugees currently in-country (about 2,000, mostly children and elderly people), and would not rule out the idea of forcing all American Muslims to wear special identification or be registered in a nationwide database. (Webmaster's comment: This is right out of the 1941 Nazi requirements for Jews.) "[S]ecurity is going to rule...we're going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago." That would be violently unconstitutional. And it's reminiscent of some very dark times. Close their religious institutions, force them to wear special identification? I think I've heard of that before somewhere. (Webmaster's comment: This is exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews. We are moving towards a Religious-Nazi State where members of disapproved belief systems are identified, labled, imprisoned, and soon enough tortured and even worse. Atheists would probably be next. YES, it can happen here! Just listen to the hysteria on social media!)
11-21-15 Is America still No. 1?
Is America still No. 1?
Most Americans think their country is the best in the world — but global studies paint a murkier picture. In terms of overall well-being, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development organization found, the U.S. is not No. 1. In fact, it's not even in the top 10, coming in at 15th. Full-time American employees work longer hours than those in any other developed nation — an average of 46.7 a week, according to a recent Gallup report — and take fewer vacation days. They also generally enjoy less sleep and leisure time — an hour a day less than the Germans, for example. Our wealth is distributed very unevenly; as a result, we have high rates of childhood poverty, and the third-highest birth rate among 15- to 19-year-olds, behind Mexico and Chile. America's murder rate — about five per 100,000 people — is the second-highest in the OECD, behind only Mexico's. The U.S. fell from 12th to 23rd in Gallup's most recent well-being index, which found far more happiness in many Latin American nations, including Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize. The U.S. comes in just 11th on the U.K.-based Legatum Institute's annual prosperity index, which rates Norway and Switzerland at the top. In that survey, U.S. crime rates pushed us down in the rankings: Some 17 percent of Americans said they'd been a victim of theft — comparable to Nicaragua, Panama, and Brazil — while only 74 percent said they felt safe walking alone at night, a level of insecurity comparable to Egypt's and Serbia's. (Webmaster's comment: Americans are also more ignorant, more arrogant, and kill more innocent people in their drive for world domination than anyone except terrorists. As a result many of the world's people hate us. Can we blame them?)
11-11-15 Could an atheist win the White House? It's not as crazy as you might think.
Could an atheist win the White House? It's not as crazy as you might think.
These are pretty good times for non-believers. Our ranks are growing rapidly, with nearly a quarter of Americans now claiming no religious identification. Even if most of those don't emphatically declare themselves atheist, but say their religion is "nothing in particular," there are surely plenty of people who call themselves Catholics or Jews or something else but whose belief in an all-knowing, all-seeing god is tenuous at best. The number will keep growing, because religiosity and age are strongly correlated today, with older people being the most religious while a full third of millennials claim no religion. It's no longer considered scandalous in many, if not most, places to say that you aren't a believer.
11-4-15 Here's a psychological profile of conspiracy theorists
Here's a psychological profile of conspiracy theorists
The research looks at two elements that have been cited as playing a role in conspiracy beliefs: unstable self-esteem (the uncomfortable state of feeling unsure about one's abilities, attitudes, or value to society), and a strong sense of belongingness (which leads to intense identification with some social group). The study finds that these two factors are indeed strong predictors of such a mindset — when they interact in a specific way. The self-uncertainty inspires a strong desire to make sense of an often-random world; the feeling of solidarity means you want to protect not only yourself, but "your people," from outside menace. Put these elements together, and you get not garden-variety paranoia ("He is out to get me"), but rather its larger-scale version ("They are out to get us"). (Webmaster's comment: In addition they tend to be life's losers. They're looking to blame anybody but themselves for their lack of accomplishment. Working hard and learning skills other than drinking beer, watching sports, breathing and screwing never occurred to them.)
11-3-15 The grotesque moral atrocity of blaming the poor for being poor
The grotesque moral atrocity of blaming the poor for being poor
The grotesque moral atrocity of blaming the poor for being poor. The Republican Party has long struggled with how to package its blatantly pro-rich policy portfolio of top-heavy tax cuts and deregulation. Such things are deeply unpopular — even self-identified Republicans are divided on whether the rich pay their fair share of taxes — but the GOP's wealthy donor class demands them. Thus far in the 2016 presidential race, candidates have basically landed on the George W. Bush formula: Sweeten your handouts to the wealthy with far smaller ones for the rest of Americans, and sell it with utterly preposterous promises of 50 zillion percent growth. Jeb Bush promises a growth rate not achieved since FDR started his term at the very bottom of the Great Depression and ended it at the peak of World War II mega-spending. Donald Trump promises half again as much as that.
10-30-15 Peak China: Beijing makes doomed attempt to boost birth rate
Peak China: Beijing makes doomed attempt to boost birth rate
Communist Party's decision to end the one-child policy won't prevent China having the world's most rapidly ageing population. The one-child policy, though brutal, was never universal. Only about a third of Chinese couples have been restricted to one child. Minorities in Tibet and elsewhere, as well as the ever-growing army of couples who are both single children, have been allowed two and sometimes more. As a result, the official fertility rate is 1.7 children per woman. (Webmaster's comment: The so-called China one-child policy was perfect for the world's right-wingers and conservatives and Republican haters of Communism and the Chinese. Never mind the actual facts presented in this NewScientist article.)
10-29-15 Face it: America is terrible at nation-building
Face it: America is terrible at nation-building
I've got a different idea: Since basically 100 percent of America's recent war-making efforts have not worked out, suppose we pivot away from nation-building and war? If we can't try hard enough to have a reasonable chance of success, it stands to reason that we shouldn't try at all. On the "more intervention!" side, Jared Keller wrote about a RAND Corporation study that examines the U.S. record of nation-building. The results are mixed. New, stable democracies were created in Japan and Germany, but efforts in Vietnam, Haiti, Iraq, and Afghanistan were disasters. Following RAND, Keller argues that the sucking power vacuum behind the rise of ISIS and other militant groups means that the U.S. will have to grudgingly commit itself to rebuilding Iraq again, only properly this time. Consider Germany and Japan, as the study notes, the two unquestionable successes of U.S. occupation and nation-building. They both took place at the same time, during a unique moment in international politics. Western powers, anchored by American economic power, had just defeated the most evil regimes in world history (though the Soviets had done much of the actual fighting).
10-20-15 Canada’s new government heralds freedom of speech for scientists
Canada’s new government heralds freedom of speech for scientists
The Liberal party won Canada's general elections this week and has promised to unmuzzle scientists as well as ending the country's inertia on climate change. Winds of change are blowing in Canada. The Liberal party has surged to victory in the general election, winning a majority in parliament. The result brings an end to 10 years of rule by the Conservative party, which drew criticism for its policies on science and the environment, most notably for muzzling publicly funded scientists and pulling out of the Kyoto protocol in 2011 as part of a rollback on climate action. New prime minister Justin Trudeau has promised to let scientists speak openly about their work. He plans to appoint a chief science officer to protect the independence of federal scientists and keep the discussions transparent. “Under the previous government, we saw a climate of fear where some government scientists were not allowed to talk to journalists about their research results,” says Rachael Jolley, editor of Index on Censorship magazine. “We hope that the new government will be more committed to making sure its citizens are fully informed about science and research.” Trudeau has also promised to take climate change seriously after years of inertia under the Conservatives. He has promised to establish a novel climate change framework by February 2016 that will include a plan to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. The Liberals have committed to investing $6 billion in green infrastructure over the next four years, and $2 billion in a low-carbon economy trust that will fund projects to cut carbon emissions.
Our "slogan" above comes from the following quote:
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!
But above all Be Your Own Heroine, Be Your Own Hero. You achieve nothing for yourself by living vicariously off the skills and achievements of others. It's What You Do That Matters. Cheer and applaud your own skills and achievements and be proud of them, Be Proud of Who You Are and What You Do.
Don't Just Think You Are Right, Know You Are. Don't hesitate, don't be unsure, don't let others doubts cloud your judgment, your power of reason. Others will constantly try to manipulate you, control you, dominate you, intimidate you, tell you that you must do this or can't do that, Ignore Them! Your mind, your own thoughts are the only thing you can be sure of, trust your thoughts instead of theirs.
Your mind, your conscious mind is the most powerful tool ever evolved.
Trust it, act on what it tells you. Be positive! If you think you're right
Then Know you're right and Follow What You Think is the best course.
Break Free! There Is No Spoon!
We look forward to seeing you at one or more of our events and meetings!
We have member websites for Atheists, Agnostics, and Humanists, for those interested in science and Scientists, for those who love animals and Zoologists, and for Feminists; for those who wish to help abused women, and for abused women themselves. Check out these other websites at Member Websites.
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Welcome Sioux Falls Free Thinkers!
Welcome Open Minds!