Episode Thirty-Six – On Skeptical Activism And Creationism – An Interview With Jayson Cooke Of Griffith University Skeptics And Freethinkers
Welcome back to more regularly scheduled programming post-Dragon*Con’s SkepTrack!
I’d like to say some very big thanks to the people I hung out with in Atlanta this year, especially Derek and Swoopy of Skepticality, KO Myers and Desiree Schell, Barbara Drescher, Daphne Ross, Heidi Anderson, Daniel and Cheryl Loxton, Ben Radford, Donna Mugavero, Jenna Griffith, the Skeptic Zone team, Laurie and Rob Tarr, Colin Thornton and the rest of the Podcast Beyond Belief (now Parenting Within Reason) team, Jennifer Haythorn, Josh Meyer, Abe the Alien – and especially the wonderful members of the SkepTrack team: Mykel Alvis, Ann Gillett and Mark Distler of Abrupt Media and his audio team.
To people I only met for the first time, it was wonderful to see you in person – to the people who saw me running around and only got in a brief word or two, I really hope to spend more time with you next year! I hope all the little videos on Token Skeptic somehow make up for it!
I was contacted late last week by Jayson Cooke of the Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers in Queensland, about his efforts to raise awareness about a Seminar that was planned to be held at the University of Southern Queensland’s Hervey Bay campus, by Creation Ministries International:
Stop press! A concerted campaign of vitriolic and deceptive opposition from persons outside the University of Southern Queensland has resulted in the USQ Fraser Coast campus no longer sponsoring the seminar.
I happened to be looking at my inbox on Friday afternoon, September 17, 2010, when I received my regular email update from Creation Ministries International (CMI)… It wasn’t until I glanced at the subject line of the email that my jaw dropped involuntarily and uncomfortably to my desk: “University–Sponsored Creation Seminar at Hervey Bay, University of Southern Queensland.”
Your enquiry regarding the creationist ministries event scheduled for 13 November at Hervey Bay has passed on to me. As part of the USQ Fraser Coast’s community engagement activities the campus has always been available to provide facilities whereby various community groups and members of the public might meet around various discussion points.
In this case however in making our facilities available it may be perceived that USQ is giving tacit approval to the Creative Ministries discussion titled, Creation and Evolution – scientific evidence, myths and challenges. This is not true and the University has moved quickly to withdraw whatever assistance it was giving with room bookings and that the organisers make alternative arrangements through other community groups better represented to promote and support such activities. The Vice Chancellor of USQ Professor Bill Lovegrove has sent an email to all Fraser Coast staff advising of this decision.
As you can appreciate while the University supports its role as a leader in community debate which will at times confront contentious issues it does so in the belief that any consideration and deliberation of issues are balanced, impartial and unbiased. In its efforts to encourage community engagement USQ will continue to consider requests from all sections of the public to engage in dialogue on issues of mutual interest. In doing so however all requests will be considered on merit and where equitable, balanced and unprejudiced comment can be given.
Dr Aidan J Burke|Director Corporate Communication
University of Southern Queensland|Toowoomba 4350 |AUSTRALIA
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