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Misogyny and the Atheist Movement

Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement? "The continuing debate over a murky sexual encounter at a 2008 convention for cheekily anti-establishment skeptics underscores a broader dilemma: How can a progressive, important intellectual community behave so poorly towards its female peers?"
posted by homunculus on Sep 12, 2014 - 305 comments

"So help me God."

An airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada has allegedly been denied the ability to re-enlist after he refused to use the words "so help me God" in his oath. On September 2, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter (pdf) on his behalf. Up until last fall, Air Force Instruction 36-2606, which spells out the active duty oath, had a provision where an airman could omit the words, but that was dropped last October.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 5, 2014 - 74 comments

The Original Tea Partier Was an Atheist

Politico: "Young called his creed 'the religion of nature' and 'the religion of nature’s God.' And he made abundantly clear that, in his own mind, this radical philosophical religion was the axis on which the Revolution turned. For him, the project to free the American people from the yoke of King George III was part of a grander project to liberate the world from the ghostly tyranny of supernatural religion." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Sep 2, 2014 - 26 comments

A less intellectually lazy atheism?

Atheist bashing or tough love? A thought-provoking review by Michael Robbins of Nick Spencer's new book on the history of atheism in Slate magazine. It reads like an autopsy of the recently murdered religious/atheist dialogue, with the "intellectually lazy" new atheism atop the list of suspects. [more inside]
posted by cross_impact on Jul 9, 2014 - 369 comments

Prayers get a new blessing

The Supreme Court ruled (PDF) this morning that the town of Greece, New York did not violate the Constitution by starting its public meetings with a prayer from a “chaplain of the month." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 5, 2014 - 167 comments

Saudi Arabia declares atheists and political activists “terrorists”

The Sunni Islamic monarchy/theocracy's restrictive laws on political expression have become even stricter this year. This is in response to potentially dangerous dissidents returning to Saudi Arabia from the Syrian civil war. But the categories of offenses are so broad as to define virtually any non-Muslim as a terrorist, and to ban all independent political expression. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 2, 2014 - 48 comments

What is it like to be an African-American atheist

In this short documentary, filmmaker Darrin Johnson explores the status of atheism within African-American families and communities, and meets some non-believers from California about their experiences with breaking from religion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 19, 2014 - 27 comments

Gods of the Godless

An interview with world-renowned Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi on Lovecraft, atheism, weird tales, and cosmicism.
posted by Pope Guilty on Jan 17, 2014 - 5 comments

"My desire is, as always, to pursue the truth."

"I'm making it official and embarking on a new journey. I will "try on" atheism for a year. For the next 12 months I will live as if there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else's circumstances. (I trust that if there really is a God that God will not be too flummoxed by my foolish experiment and allow others to suffer as a result)."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jan 15, 2014 - 130 comments

Does God Exist?

Do we have good reason to think God exists? We do, says William Lane Craig. Craig has debated several high profile atheists, including Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.
posted by shivohum on Jan 15, 2014 - 516 comments

Good alternatives for an ethical secular family

Is your family looking for an inclusive alternative to the Boy Scouts of America? Lance Finney posts a rundown on the Skepchick parenting blog Grounded Parents. The list is based on research he did when working to start a group with families from the Ethical Society of St. Louis that was “fully inclusive of religious belief, ethnic background, sexual orientation, and gender.” [more inside]
posted by audi alteram partem on Jan 10, 2014 - 22 comments

A source for 531 excellent FPPs

531 of the most interesting articles on Wikipedia covering everything from the linguistic (self-contradicting words in English) to the philosophical (The Ultimate 747 Gambit); from the only German military landing in the Americas (Weather Station Kurt) to the world's only Bigfoot Trap; to oddities both geometric (Gömböc ) and mathematical (Tupper's self-referential formula); great lists of various things (Bible errata, unsolved problems, camouflage patterns, blurred spots on Google Maps, lost art, the last monarchs of the Americas) to things that will make great band names (Orbiting Frog Otolith). [prev, shorter lists]
posted by blahblahblah on Dec 14, 2013 - 17 comments

America's last political taboo

We were left wondering why a man who served 16 terms in Congress and who bravely came out as gay all the way back in 1987 felt the need to hide his atheism until he was out of office. Was it really harder to come out as an atheist politician in 2013 than as a gay one 25 years ago? Incredibly, the answer might be yes. For starters, consider that there is not a single self-described atheist in Congress today. Not one.
posted by Chrysostom on Dec 10, 2013 - 165 comments

I contradict myself

"I am an atheist and a Quaker."
posted by anotherpanacea on Nov 7, 2013 - 79 comments

Reason is larger than science.

[Pinker] conflates scientific knowledge with knowledge as such. In his view, anybody who has studied any phenomena that are studied by science has been a scientist...If they were interested in the mind, then they were early versions of brain scientists. If they investigated human nature, then they were social psychologists or behavioral economists avant la lettre. Leon Wieseltier pens a response to Steven Pinker's essay on scientism, both in the pages of the New Republic. Others, including some prominent atheists, have taken issue with Pinker as well.
posted by shivohum on Sep 5, 2013 - 79 comments

I am willing to perform work of national importance

Margaret Doughty is a 65 year old UK citizen, and founder of Literacy Powerline, recently applied for US citizenship after living in the United States for more than 30 years. When she noted in her application that she has a moral objection to taking up arms for her new country, the USCIS asked for a letter on official church stationery. But Ms. Doughty is an atheist. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 19, 2013 - 158 comments

"We perceive the world through metaphors"

Why I Am No Longer A Skeptic
That's right: the nerds won, decades ago, and they're now as thoroughly established as any other part of the establishment. And while nerds a relatively new elite, they're overwhelmingly the same as the old: rich, white, male, and desperate to hang onto what they've got. And I have come to realise that skepticism, in their hands, is just another tool to secure and advance their privileged position, and beat down their inferiors. As a skeptic, I was not shoring up the revolutionary barricades: instead, I was cheering on the Tsar's cavalry.
Referenced in The Cult Of Bayes' Theorem [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 16, 2013 - 205 comments

"family, nationhood, verbal imperative, and accountability"

"Trading Faith for Wonder: On Judaism's Literary Legacy". The LARB reviews Jews And Words, by Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 29, 2013 - 6 comments

Is the "New Atheism" movement Islamophobic?

Glenn Greenwald thinks so. Noted atheist Sam Harris recently made some inflammatory comments about Islam and Muslims in his twitter feed. This is not a new development. Is this a defining characteristic of New Atheism?
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Apr 4, 2013 - 412 comments

So much talk of the god-shaped hole

"Most of us are introduced to God at about the same time as we hear about Santa Claus, but over the years our views of Santa mature and change, while our notion of God often gets stuck at an infantile level."

The NewStatesman asks "After God: What can atheists learn from believers?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 31, 2013 - 228 comments

Nagel on the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature

Andrew Ferguson explains and defends eminent philosopher Thomas Nagel, who has been stirring up outraged refutations (e.g. here or here) with his new book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. Also in the defense column is philosopher Edward Feser's extensive series on Nagel's book.
posted by shivohum on Mar 19, 2013 - 163 comments

Atheists going to church

Sunday Assembly: an atheist service run by two comedians, Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans. [more inside]
posted by dilettante on Mar 8, 2013 - 66 comments

Paul Kurtz dead at 86

Paul Kurtz, noted secular humanist, has died. Kurtz was a philosophy professor who was instrumental in the founding of a number of skeptical and humanist organizations. These include the Committee for Scientific investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (publisher of Skeptical Inquiry), the Council for Secular Humanism (publisher of Free Inquiry magazine), and the Center for Inquiry. [more inside]
posted by TedW on Oct 23, 2012 - 27 comments

"I went from God loves everybody to God saves everybody to God is in everybody."

From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader. Jerry DeWitt is a former Pentecostal pastor in the evangelical parish of DeRidder, Louisiana who slowly lost his religious faith. Last Fall, he went public with his atheism, committing what he calls "identity suicide," and instantly becoming "the most disliked person in town." Since then, Mr. DeWitt's lost his job, his wife, his community and may be losing his house, but is still persevering and working to help others who find themselves in similar circumstances. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 27, 2012 - 163 comments

A Woman's Place

"A Woman’s Place? The Dearth of Women in the Secular Movement" by Susan Jacoby
posted by brundlefly on Aug 26, 2012 - 121 comments

Christianity for Atheists

The Human Bible is a podcast by Robert M. Price, professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute, and author of a number of books on theology. Though an atheist -- and skeptical of the very existence of the Jesus portrayed in the Gospels -- Price's great knowledge of (and love for) the Scriptures is evident throughout. No matter what you believe, you won't regret listening to these podcasts.
posted by Pararrayos on Aug 24, 2012 - 15 comments

Global trends in religiosity and atheism

Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious persons or a convinced atheist? [.pdf of survey results] The WIN-Gallup International ‘Religion and Atheism Index’ measures global self-perceptions on beliefs, based on interviews with more than 50,000 men and women selected from 57 countries across the globe in five continents. The survey also provides trend data for shifts in attitudes since 2005.
posted by wilful on Aug 8, 2012 - 121 comments

The voice of reason... in Washington, DC?!

Organized irreligion! This weekend , Washington, D.C. will be invaded by the voice of reason. A free rally featuring Tim Minchin, Paul Provenza, Richard Dawkins, Eddie Izzard, Adam Savage, James Randi, Bad Religion, and many others, in what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of non-believers in America.
"If we don't organize, we will be the only ones not organized. Religion will be organized. We won't be organized. That means we lose... and they win."
posted by markkraft on Mar 23, 2012 - 489 comments

The Case of the Zombie Mohammed

Pennsylvania judge Mark W. Martin dismissed assault charges against a man who attacked an atheist dressed as a zombie Mohammed in a Halloween parade, calling the victim a 'doofus.'
posted by Laminda on Feb 27, 2012 - 303 comments

The Sins of the Fathers

Richard Dawkins on the surreal experience of being the subject of a Sunday Telegraph "gotcha" article.
posted by Artw on Feb 19, 2012 - 167 comments

A glimpse into the future.

Eight Net Generation norms. Some statistical fingerprinting. Digital natives in the workplace. Changing faith. Socialism loses its stigma. Adapting in the wake of the Great Recession.
posted by I've wasted my life on Jan 24, 2012 - 24 comments

"a killing spree of staggering proportions"

Amnesty International believes that Iran has executed at least 600 people in 2011 in what it calls "a killing spree of staggering proportions". [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 22, 2012 - 67 comments

Religions without gods?

Atheism 2.0: Alain de Botton reviews some of the often-overlooked values that religion can have for secular society. [more inside]
posted by Misunderestimated on Jan 18, 2012 - 187 comments

For Atheists, this life is enough.

The challenge of life is to be present for it while it is happening, in this moment, to be aware of it in a way that is both wide in perspective and deep in understanding. If you pester priests to know about a second life after this one, I must ask if you are using this one. Whoever is spending this life walking back and forth from the computer to the refrigerator, it is worth wondering how many thousands of years of this would be enough. This life is enough, if you are here for it. The people worried about death are the ones not truly living. They are the ones who know in their hearts that they need more time. Jennifer Michael Hecht explains why For Atheists, this Life is Enough. And here, she talks about the history of doubt.
posted by storybored on Dec 20, 2011 - 79 comments

RIP Christopher Hitchens

In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011
posted by naju on Dec 15, 2011 - 491 comments

You can't stop Katy Perry

Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election. [SLYT] Via BigThink, "A knowledge forum featuring the ideas, lessons, stories and advice of leading experts from around the world."
posted by furiousxgeorge on Dec 4, 2011 - 103 comments

"P.S. I would like to start with 'The Myths' by Robert Graves."

Christopher Hitchens responds to a nine-year-old's question: "What books should I read?"
posted by overeducated_alligator on Oct 12, 2011 - 92 comments

Now Robert Buckman, there's an atheist I could never get tired of hearing from!

Robert Buckman, Oncologist, Comedian, Good Without God, died this weekend at age 63.
posted by Chuckles on Oct 11, 2011 - 15 comments

So It's OK If I Stone My Kids?

A couple of Jehovah’s Witness' knocked on the door of secular parenting advocate Dale McGowan. What happened next is both funny and instructive, without being disrespectful or confrontational. Part 1 Part 2
posted by COD on Sep 27, 2011 - 209 comments

One Religion coming up. Would you like God with that?

Varieties of irreligious experience - modern believers "may not accept the idea of God as an actually existing entity, so arguments for atheism will not disturb them"
posted by Gyan on Sep 16, 2011 - 932 comments

"I suppose people can go through an entire lifetime without questioning God and a religion that they were born into"

A few months ago, The New Statemen asked a number of public figures "why they believe in god." Last week, they asked a number of public figures "to explain why they don't."
posted by bardic on Jul 31, 2011 - 194 comments

"the existence of greater crimes does not excuse lesser crimes"

"You know, I don't really know how else to explain how this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I'll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman, you know, in a foreign country, at 4 AM, in a hotel elevator, with you, just you, and - don't invite me back to your hotel room right after I finish talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner..." Rebecca Watson, founder of Skepchick, spoke in Dublin at the World Atheist Convention a month ago (video). Afterwards, in a video post (relevant part starts at about 2:30), she discussed an incident that occurred there. She received some dismissive responses. PZ Myers is supportive. Richard Dawkins is dismissive. Dawkins is called out. PZ Myers weighs in again. Dawkins still doesn't get it. [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 4, 2011 - 1266 comments

The man in the middle, Or, The Truth About the Muslim Plot Against Pea Soup

A bridge builder, a student of how societies hold together; an advocate of dialogue. Standing against polarized and simplistic styles of thought. Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor is Canada's best known and most widely read contemporary thinker. In books like Sources of the Self and A Secular Age, he has attempted to define the unique character of the modern age. He maps the fault-lines in our modern identity, and points to both the pitfalls and the promise of our condition. Learn about his life, history, upbringing, and... ideas. Now available, CBC IDEAS in five one-hour parts: the malaise of modernity (this special program has the same title as the 1991 Massey Lecture of the same name, but is not the same [MP3's, get them now, they will go away, and then you can only stream them]). One, Two, Three, Four, Five. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on May 20, 2011 - 4 comments

Spiritual Atheists, Humanist Chaplains, and FFRF Weddings

Currently making the rounds. A qualitative study in Sociology of Religion looks at "spiritual atheists" in science. A call for Humanist Chaplains in the U.S. armed forces. And The Freedom From Religion Foundation becomes certified to perform weddings in Tulsa.
posted by KirkJobSluder on May 7, 2011 - 50 comments

The Thinking Atheist: 'Nothing More To Talk About'

The Thinking Atheist: 'Nothing More To Talk About' (SLYT) - Many religious family members pray for their atheist and agnostic loved ones graciously, honoring personal boundaries and showing respect for the skeptic's right to form his/her own worldview... This video is not about them...
posted by MrBCID on Apr 20, 2011 - 381 comments

Why I'm a Good Christian by Ricky Gervais

On the cusp of Holy Week, Ricky Gervais enlightens with an essay outlining why he is a good Christian. [more inside]
posted by hugandpint on Apr 15, 2011 - 69 comments

"Have friends who are atheists? Agnostics? Into Wicca? Or New Age?"

Dare 2 Share Ministries offers profiles and tips on how to "share your faith" with fourteen different types of friends a teen Christian might have, such as Andy the Atheist, Marty the Mormon, Jenna the Jew, Sid the Satanist, Mo the Muslim and Willow the Wiccan. If none of those strategies work, they also offer articles on how to "use the buzz in current teen culture to initiate God-talk with your friends" by "sharing your faith" through Indiana Jones, Halo 3, Brokeback Mountain, Kung Fu Panda and The X Files.
posted by jardinier on Apr 8, 2011 - 299 comments

My Health Doesn't Depend on What I Believe about the Theory of Evolution

Ray Comfort calls the Atheist Experience. The Atheist Community of Austin run a live call-in show on public access. Over the years, they have challenged Ray Comfort to call in. This week, he finally does, and talks to AE hosts Matt Dillahunty and Russell Glasser. The only banana joke is visual. Ray reacts. Matt D reacts. AE fans react. [more inside]
posted by jenlovesponies on Mar 30, 2011 - 105 comments

Talking to the Enemy

Scott Atran, has appeared previously on Metafilter. He released a book a few months ago called, Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists. Atran has spent many years studying terrorists, particularly suicide bombers. His research disputes the assertion that terrorists are primarily driven by religious belief, but instead youth culture and group dynamics. [more inside]
posted by KaizenSoze on Mar 23, 2011 - 42 comments

Hitchens Harris Rabbis Afterlife Debate

Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris Debate Rabbis David Wolpe and Shavit Artson on the existence of an afterlife (video) [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Mar 9, 2011 - 92 comments

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