Yesterday afternoon, the new Austin chapter of the Center for Inquiry had a meet-and-greet brunch at the Iron Cactus downtown. I'm happy to see them come. They're true movers and shakers in the arena of promoting naturalism, science, rationalism, and in fighting religious ignorance and extremism. I've always found it interesting that, in the public "culture war" (which, incidentally, has solely been agitated by religious right ideologues hungry for power) between faith and reason, reason has a tendency to win out. The pseudoscience of "Intelligent Design" creationism almost always fails in the courts and school boards (and in the rare cases it succeeds, that success is fleeting and soon overturned), despite the fact that fundamentalist anti-science organizations draw millions upon millions of dollars in funding, while groups like CFI and the NCSE subsist on only a tiny fraction of the money. As the Talking Heads song goes, fundies are learning that "facts don't do what I want them to."
Austin-area atheists looking for an organization of friendly folks who are determined actually to be active in standing up for reason in our unreason-besotted national climate ought to consider coming on board. I also understand that a Houston chapter is in the works. For my part, since I left ACA, I've been hankering for a way to get involved again, and ACA, as much fun as I had being a member and hosting the TV show, simply was not equipped to do things on the scale of CFI. I welcome CFI to Austin and can't wait to get involved in their programs.