Name Our Group! (Fame and Wealth awaits!)

Back in January of 2003 I took over the Fresno Atheist Meetup Group on I had become tired of waiting for the group to actually meet, so I became the organizer and put out an email that there would be a meeting at the local diner, even if it was only me there reading “Atheism” by S.T. Joshi. I was as surprised as anyone that people actually showed up.

Since then, the membership of the group has grown and shrunk several times, but it seems as if we've finally started to define our focus and to attract a core group of members. Now we wish to expand our member base and become more active in our community. We've made plans.

But we still don't have a name for our group, so we're asking for your help. Here is your chance to gain (a modicum) of fame and wealth!

Well, an Gift certificate at least. Keep reading...

Our group is actually 3 groups on We combine the Fresno Atheists, the Fresno Skeptics, and the Fresno Secular Humanism groups. Our most famous member doesn't identify himself as an Atheist, but instead as a rational thinker and promoter of science. The consensus of our group is that if you put your beliefs up for discussion, you had better be able to offer sufficient evidence for them!

We agree that the “Atheist” label is only a small part of what defines a person, specifically it defines what a person is not. We define our group more broadly to include Freethought, Skepticism, and the promotion of science, rational inquiry, and human rights. Separation of Church and State is also a core value. Our membership is made up of those who can accept having their beliefs scrutinized. By itself, that is a pretty tall order.

We've defined two primary goals for our group to start out – with the agreement that other goals may come later.

First, we want to become a “presence” here. Fresno is located in the center of the San Joaquin Valley, and all through this valley there is no appreciable organization that supports non-believers or skeptics. We want to change that.

Every Halloween the local media gushes about ghosts. They happily quote religion during other holidays. The Fresno mayor (Bubba) has no problem with holding religious events at City Hall. We're the headquarters for the Freeper community who has no problem with linking patriotism to Christianity.

We would like to be that little voice of reason in our community that speaks up to remind these people that they do not speak for everyone. We want to be in the Rolodex when a reporter looks for “a local skeptic” to quote, even if we're merely a 30 second sound byte in opposition to a 10 minute news story. That will still raise awareness. We want to use our voice to promote rational inquiry and science.

Second, we wish to grow and become better organized. There is a great opportunity for growth in today's marketplace of ideas and our group wants to capitalize on that. Our first steps in growth will be to create a real web-presence for ourselves and leverage that with better local advertising.

We have tenuous links to the other Skeptic and Freethought groups in California that we would like to strengthen. There have been local Freethought groups on the city and state campus and we would like to see if we can support them, or arrange for mutual support. We would like to be able to invite speakers, give demonstrations and educate the public about rational thought, skeptical inquiry, and the methods of science.

So now that we have a stated philosophy and a couple of goals, we need a name that embodies these. And this is where you can help, hence the contest to get things started. And every contest needs:
Contest Rules
  1. Although you are welcome to discuss possible names in the comments section of this blog (or elsewhere online) first preference will be given to naming suggestions that are emailed directly to me at: So if you come up with a name that's sure to win, email it!
  2. The name should be URL friendly or have a URL friendly acronym, and be at least somewhat easy to remember. Joke acronyms are funny, but we don't want one. (Yes, we've already heard of the Fresno Atheist and Rational Thought Society - creating these generates seriously bad non-Karma, and everyone knows that's much worse than the regular kind of Karma.)
  3. Preference is given to those names that includes or refers to our group definition and indicates our goals.
  4. This contest will end on August 31st, at which point I'll gather all the suggestions into one email that will be sent to all of our group members.
  5. Our group members will discuss and vote on the best name at our meeting on September 6th . The winner will be announced September 7th.
  6. We reserve the right to make changes to the winning suggestion, or to create a name based upon or inspired by the suggestion.
  7. The winner will receive an emailed coupon for a $25 gift certificate from, paid for by myself.
  8. Enter as often as you like, with a different suggestion each entry, or multiple suggestions on one entry. I'll acknowledge all entrants to let you know I received the email.
  9. Spamming my email box gets you sent to Google's spam, and suggestions from spammers won't be considered!
This is your chance to help us out. Frankly, we're stumped as to what we should call ourselves. It seems like all the “cool” names have been taken. Help us out, and I'll send you a coupon to get something off of your Amazon wish list.

6Aug 0900 - Update - Thanks Mike for pointing out that I do allow multiple suggestions per entry. So I made a slight revision to rule 8.


Anonymous said...

How about:

"Fresno such thing as God"?

Unknown said...

I would suggest "Fresno's Little Voice of Reason", but the acronym is "FLVR", which looks a lot like the text version of "flavor." Getting rid of "little" might help with that...?

Mike Fox, directed over from PZ Myer's blog

Calladus said...

Just a reminder, the name doesn't NEED to be an acronym. We just need a way to show that we are not just skeptics, not just atheists etc.

"The Sagan Society" is a great name for a group - but it's taken.

Maybe someone will come up with the exact right name that we're looking for, maybe it will inspire us to name-creating greatness.

This is our way of brainstorming. Or the "Random Mutation" phase of evolving a new name. The "Selection" phase comes next.

Anonymous said...

The Tri-Skeps: Strong in Reason

Get it?

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Didn't read far enough to see the part about the email. Just sent the email entry.

Anonymous said...

Fresno Atheist, Skeptic and Humanist Society

or Fresno ASH Society

As all Fresnoans know Fresno is the Spanish for .....

Anonymous said...

Fresno Freedom From Faith Folks (F5).

Anonymous said...

To wrinkle up slxpluvs' idea a bit, "Fresno Area Voice(s) of Reason". The acronym "FAVOR" might be useful.

Anonymous said...

Occam's Outpatients?

Unknown said...

I was moving some stuff around and thinking about this and thought of: "Fresno society for evidence based reasoning." If you don't mind pretension, you could use ratiocination - a more exact and less accessible word.

I also have been throwing around the term "for an evidence based world"

Anonymous said...

I suggest "Free Thinking Fresno" or "Free Thought in Fresno"

Will email also, look for sawells dot 2007 at

Blader said...

"Pull UP A Chair And Chat With Us About Stuff" people


It will sound very 'native' and intriguing. I bet people coming for the first time will bring feathers and incense, and things like that until they figure you're just 'normal'.

And because it is so foreign sounding, the acronym will create instant friction with the locals, including fear-based violence and horrific acts of slander and dehumanization. It will be exactly like The Legend of Billy Jack, almost, except for the soundtrack, which I hope will be much, much, much better.

I just hope there won't be any U.S.E.'s, that certainly isn't part of my vision for this. Just a little club-jacking mayhem, stitches, busted lips, and whatnot.

Good Luck!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't have a name for your group, but I live in Bakersfield and have attempted to start an atheist network here.

PZ Myers said...

Getting away from the acronym stuff is a good idea -- acronyms tend to be cryptic or cute, and neither is useful.

Since you're trying to encompass a wide range of freethought values, why not just "Fresno Freethinkers"?

For a Sagan reference...the Candlelighters.

"The Enlightenment Society" would be cool, but it's used in a few other places -- including a UN group that has the mission of bringing spiritual messages to the meetings.

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

The Falsifiability Society

Skeptics R Us.

Skepticked Off.


(with apologies to Alexander Pope) The Skeptic's Side.

Free To Think.

Faith Naughts

Love That Skeptic!

Beyond Belief

Questers. Questioners.

Quest Truth Pays.

(sorry, must be that fluoridated water...)

The Claim's Sake.

Erasmus Darwin and others were members of the Lunar Society, so-named because they met on nights of a full moon so that they could make their way home in the dark safely.

I mention it because I think some consider me 'loony' for supporting this effort.

Though, actually, Erasmus would be a good name, because of it's multiple associations.

I like 'Candlelighters', actually, if only because I'm a Sagan fan. But I'm reminded, somehow, of religion and I'm not sure that's the flavor anyone wants.

It's a pity that David Hume isn't better known by the general public. We could be the Department of Hume Land Defense. Or, if our meetings dwindled in size once more, Hume Alone.

I don't know if these comments are helpful but I'm reasonably certain that I perceive them as playful.

Anonymous said...

Although non-theism may be a common factor among your group's members, the common thread is that you are all people who believe in science, evidence, rationality, reason and that non-belief and skepticism are the proper default position for claims of the paranormal.

I'm suspecting you want a media friendly name that emphasizes the reason over the non-theism since you are an amalgam of different groups and that should be one thing you can all agree on when someone speaks on behalf of the group to the media.

Anonymous said...

...Just not anything with that annoying term, "Brights" in it.

I don't think anyone is going to actually going to be convinced into calling atheists and humanists "Brights." Plus, it is presumptuous. Not all atheists are bright. Anyways, its the kind of thing theists would do, "The Chosen People," "The Enlightened," and what not. I can't criticize them for it and then do it myself.

Calladus said...


I agree with the position that The Brights have taken. But I, like you, dislike the term "bright".

Oddly enough, I seem to remember back in the late 70's that there were homosexuals who were 'out' and who happened to hate the term "Gay".

R. Moore said...

Just short and to the point:

Central Valley Atheists and Skeptics.

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

How about 'Beyond Belief'? The more I think about this one, the more I like it. It doesn't criminalize belief/faith, but it says we have to go beyond it. And it evokes both extraordinary claims and the sort of incredulous response the inanities of faith often provoke.

Plus, there is a series of conferences on science and faith, dominated by skeptics and critics of religion, that uses this title. You can read about their first conference here:

(In fact, you can view it, because there is a hellacious amount of video)

Even if this isn't a good title, the concept's the kind of tent that could hold a large party. In my father's house are many mansions...:)

On a more serious note, I'm sorry you had to enable comment moderation. What a sad commentary on the vipers of religion.

R. Moore said...

Central Valley Horsefeathers Society

Our motto::
"Whatever it is, I'm against it!"