Why Isaac Asimov?

Starting this year, we will be highlighting a well-known atheist or freethinker who embodies the philosophy and feeling of the Kentucky Freethought Convention. Our first selection is Isaac Asimov, who has been chosen for his achievements in literature — both in science fiction and non-fiction — and his outspoken atheism.

I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.

Isaac Asimov, Free Inquiry, Vol. 2, Spring 1982, p. 9.

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KFC2015 Speakers: Nicole Gugliucci

Dr. Nicole Gugliucci is an astronomer, educator, and writer currently living in the St. Louis area. While in graduate school at the University of Virginia studying radio astronomy, Nicole discovered a passion for science education and outreach and has been teaching in some way ever since. She has most recently worked at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as a postdoctoral fellow, instructor, and informal education lead for the citizen science project CosmoQuest. Nicole also blogs about science and skepticism for various sites, including Skepchick and School of Doubt, and she posts far too many pictures of her dog on Instagram.

KFC2015 Speakers: Rebecca Hensler

Following the death of her infant son, Rebecca Hensler discovered that most online grief support groups are dominated by religion and spiritualism. Alienated by talk of angels, heaven and signs, she conceived an alternative: secular peer-to-peer support, free of mythology and mysticism. In 2011, Rebecca founded Grief Beyond Belief, an online community devoted to faith-free grief support.

KFC2015 Speakers: Jim Helton

Jim G. Helton is the Regional Director for American Atheist. He is the Founder & President of the Tri-State Freethinkers. He is the Overlord for Hemant Mehta The Friendly Atheist overseeing legislation for OH, KY, IN, WY, & WA. Through his organizations he has adopted the highway in front of the Creation Museum, challenged Gideons bible distributions, and abstinence only programs in public schools. He believes in giving back to the community and helped organize over 50 community service projects last year.

KFC2015 Speakers: Matt Dillahunty

Matt Dillahunty hosts the Austin-based webcast and cable-access television show and podcast The Atheist Experience. He served as the president of the Atheist Community of Austin from 2006 to 2013, and formerly hosted the live internet radio show Non-Prophets Radio. He is also the founder and contributor of the counter-apologetics encyclopedia Iron Chariots. Matt is regularly engaged in formal debates and travels the United States speaking to local secular organizations and university groups as part of the Secular Student Alliance’s Speakers Bureau.

KFC2015 Speakers: Dan Barker

Dan became a teenage evangelist at age 15. At 16 he was choir librarian for faith-healer Kathryn Kuhlman’s Los Angeles appearances. He received a degree in Religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by the Standard Community Church, California, in 1975. (See ordination.) He served as associate pastor in three California churches: Arcadia Friend’s Church (Quaker), Glengrove Assembly of God (Hacienda Heights), and Standard Christian Center, an independent Charismatic church loosely affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ tradition) in Standard, California. Dan was a Protestant missionary in Mexico for a total of two years.

KFC2015 Speakers: Nathan Burns

Nathan was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1976. He grew up in Macon, Georgia after moving there with his family at the age of 10. He returned in 1997 to attend Speed School at the University of Louisville and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Nathan presently works as a software engineer at Intel Corporation in Louisville. Indoctrinated at a very young age, Nate was brought up black Baptist and was a devout believer in Christ. After being selected by the pastor of his church to serve as a deacon, Nate immersed himself into studying the bible as well as several supplemental texts to prepare for ordination and began to teach Sunday school. He was ordained as a deacon at his church in 2005. Continued study through out the years raised question after question regarding the validity of the bible and the notion of a loving deity. Unable to gain answers from the bible and church leaders, Nathan could no longer reconcile the numerous errors, inconsistencies and horrors he’d learned of in the bible. He eventually came to the conclusion that the evidence did not point to a god and he left faith and superstition behind in 2010. Nathan joined Louisville’s atheist community in 2013 and has enjoyed sharing his coming out of religion story as well as participating in numerous events to get the word out that it is ok to be a non-believer and it is ok to reject the unfounded claims. He currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife Monica and sons Aaron,  Jordan and Zion.

KFC2015 Speakers: Will Gervais

Will Gervais is an evolutionary and cultural psychologist at the University of Kentucky. Broadly, he is interested in why people believe what they believe about the world. His research focuses on the cognitive, evolutionary, and cultural forces that facilitate supernatural beliefs—and how these beliefs, in turn, affect cognition, evolution, and culture.