Thursday, December 04, 2008


Gob Smacking

Some things in life just have to be filed under "Huh?"

James Madison University has a campus club of Freethinkers that meets Wednesday night. Nothing very surprising there. Okay, the fact that a staff member of the JMU Campus Crusade for Christ chapter regularly attends is perhaps a little unusual but if freethinkers can't tolerate opposing views, who can?

"I think it's really good that they come," said [Shannon] McKernin, the Freethinkers secretary. "Otherwise, it could just be a bunch of atheists sitting around saying 'Hey, we agree with each other.' "

Now, this might be considered a bit strange:

At one point, more Christians than atheists were regularly attending Freethinkers meetings, said Melody Matheny, a founding club member who graduated in 2003.

But the real "huh?" moment is this:

On Oct. 29, the Freethinkers helped sponsor an on-campus lecture on intelligent design by Salvador Cordova, a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University applied physics laboratory.

That's right, Bill Dembski's chief sycophant is welcomed with open arms at a freethinkers meeting and has been coming for some time without wearing out that welcome:

Cordova, an evangelical Christian who spends much of his spare time advocating for intelligent design theory, has had a several-year friendship with the Freethinkers and made a similar presentation several years ago, also sponsored by the club.

"It's kind of a relationship that no one would have expected," said Cordova, who found the Freethinkers and began attending some of their meetings a few years ago, while he was in flight school at the airport in Weyers Cave.

A hint at Sal's real attitude may shine through with this comment, however:

"The animosity you would expect [toward Christians] just isn't there," Cordova said.

But the take-the-cake quote from the article is this:

"[The Freethinkers] have shown great integrity by giving the opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard … and have followed the highest traditions of open inquiry, fair debate and healthy skepticism," he said in an e-mail.

Yup. Just like they do at Uncommon Descent.

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