Friday Night Music: Quiet Company

Over the summer, Chris Stedman published a list of his 20 best atheist or agnostic anthems. I've been listening to his choices and found a few artists that I like quite a lot.One of the groups that was new to me is Quiet Company, a formerly Christian band from Austin, Texas. Their 2011 album We Are All Where We Belong is explicitly atheist; the lead singer, Taylor Muse, described it as "a break up record, only the romance that's ending was between myself and religion."Check it out (and … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Make the Trains Run on Time

AtlasLocomotive

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter VThe band of crossties swept in wide curves around granite corners, clinging to the mountainsides of Colorado. Dagny walked down the ties, keeping her hands in her coat pockets, and her eyes on the meaningless distance ahead; only the familiar movement of straining her steps to the spacing of the ties gave her the physical sense of an action pertaining to a railroad.Dagny and Hank have traveled to Colorado. Ostensibly it's to buy and ship out any … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Atheism Doesn’t Need Richard Dawkins

It had to be said.My newest column on the Guardian is titled "Richard Dawkins has lost it: ignorant sexism gives atheists a bad name". It's about Richard Dawkins' indefensible regression to gross and ignorant sexism, after a brief period in which it seemed he was flirting with enlightenment regarding the treatment of women in society generally and the atheist community specifically. I used to consider him a hero and an exemplar, but no more. Here's an excerpt:The atheist movement - a … [Read more...]

There’s Nothing About Abortion in the Bible – So How Do Right-Wing Christians Justify Their Crusade Against Women?

BibleText2

This article previously appeared on AlterNet.While America languishes in an economic depression, Republican officeholders are bending all their efforts... to banning abortion. In the last few weeks and months, we've seen a blizzard of anti-choice legislation in Texas, in Ohio, in Wisconsin, in North Carolina, and many other places: laws that stall women seeking abortion with mandatory waiting periods, that brutalize them with invasive and unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds, that force … [Read more...]

The Shermer Affair Erupts

VolcanicEruption

The allegations against one of our Big Names that have been simmering in the atheist community for more than a year have erupted into the public eye, with the publication of a long article by Mark Oppenheimer on Buzzfeed, "Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement?"Oppenheimer's article is largely about the serious accusations made against Michael Shermer, which I referenced last year in "Disillusionment". For the first time, the woman who accused him of raping her after getting her too … [Read more...]

I Get Religious Mail: Help Us Solve This Problem We Created

As I've written before, I get a huge quantity of junk mail from charities begging for money, some of which are religious. (Poor targeting.)Lately, I've gotten several of these come-ons in a row, and most of them are either ironic, galling or both. Here's an example, a solicitation from a group called the Catholic Medical Mission Board. Take a look at what they have the chutzpah to ask:Dear friend,I wish I could send you a box of greeting cards or some personalized … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Homo Economicus

NYCSkyline

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter VI've said that, in the name of being fair to Ayn Rand, I'll point out the passages in Atlas that struck me as good, effective writing. This part has one of them, a suitably moody and atmospheric description of what's happening to New York City:In the second week of February, for the purpose of conserving copper wire and electric power, a directive forbade the running of elevators above the twenty-fifth floor. The upper floors of the buildings had to be … [Read more...]

Book Review: Nature’s God

NaturesGod

(Editor's Note: This review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.)Summary: A dense philosophical-historical synthesis that rewards the diligent reader by opening up a new window on the beliefs of America's founders.Matthew Stewart's book Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, like Susan Jacoby's Freethinkers or Jennifer Michael Hecht's Doubt: A History, plumbs the freethinking ideals that played an outsize role in the … [Read more...]

The Mabus Problem: Fighting Anonymous Harassment on Social Media

Gargoyle

I'm not much of a video gamer (I spend my free time writing!), but I've been following the work of Anita Sarkeesian, a media critic whose non-profit group Feminist Frequency critiques sexism in popular culture, with a special focus on video games. Her series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games points out lazy, sexist clichés that game designers resort to repeatedly: damsels in distress, women in refrigerators, scenes of sexual violence just to make the game world darker and "grittier", and so … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: September 6

Coffee

• This week, Bob McDonnell, a.k.a Virginia's former "Governor Ultrasound", was convicted by a jury on multiple counts of corruption. The schadenfreude-y part is that McDonnell ran for office as a religious-right, pro-marriage, Christian-family-values candidate, whereas his defense at trial basically consisted of arguing that his own marriage was a shambles and that everything he said on the campaign trail was a lie.• In weird and cool biology news: two unclassifiable animal species … [Read more...]


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