Non Sequitur, With Prominent Thumb


I saw an actual hitchhiker a few days ago! A young woman stood on the side of the highway entrance ramp holding a sign that said NORTH. I was in my company van and couldn't offer a ride, but I rolled down the passenger side window and yelled "Good luck!"Talking to a friend later, we compared notes on how rare it is to see hitchhikers these days, and yet how much safer the country is today than, say, 40 years ago when I was doing so much of it.In my hitchhiking days, I compiled 26,000 … [Read more...]

Did God Mess With Biology’s Roots?

Tito & Hank

I've said many times that the true, full effect religion has had on human society is not something any of us is really equipped to notice. It's so ... everywhere ... that we have little to contrast with it in order to clearly see the damage.Even science, which escaped the grasp of religion and went off to change the world in ways religion could never have managed, still -- in my view, anyway -- suffers aftereffects.  For instance:Here's a pretty good article about something humans and … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Dealing With Conservatives

Had a little epiphany today about the sense of humor, and why ultra-conservatives don't seem to have much of it.Humor requires a certain flexibility of mind, a capacity to quickly change mental directions. The lead-in to a joke sets up a certain expectation, then the punchline forces a radical departure from that expectation. The unexpectedness makes us laugh. A Hasidic Jew walks into a New York City bar with a frog on his shoulder. The bartender says "Where the heck did you get THAT?" The … [Read more...]

One Billion Atheists: The Army of the Other Side

Look at this:AdvertisementEvangelicals Aim to Mobilize an Army for Republicans in 2016 One afternoon last week, David Lane watched from the sidelines as a roomful of Iowa evangelical pastors applauded a defense of religious liberty by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. That night, he gazed out from the stage as the pastors surrounded Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana in a prayer circle. For Mr. Lane, a onetime Bible salesman and self-described former “wild man,” connecting the pastors wit … [Read more...]

One Billion Atheists: Two Additional Ideas

As the name of the hoped-for movement states, my interest in the free-thought spectrum is this one specific thing: Atheism. Everything else flows from that, in my view, and a coordinated effort to empower and expand atheism will throw off benefits to every one of the sub-genres of the larger field of free-thought.Regarding which, here are a couple of ideas I'd toss into the mix for One Billion Atheists by 2025: Atheist Leadership Academy Years back when I was working on a magazine in … [Read more...]

One Billion Atheists

When I started as an atheist activist 15 or 20 years ago, one thing was clear to most of the atheists I talked to: Every person had to get here on his/her own.In other words, it was decidedly wrong to proselytize. The thought was that atheism -- the good, solid, workable kind -- was this conclusion reachable only after much personal introspection and observation. That merely getting people to say "I'm an atheist" was empty and useless. Such an atheism would be no different from religion -- a … [Read more...]