The Wall of Silence Around Michael Shermer

Earlier this month, I wrote about the serious allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault made against skeptic "thought leader" Michael Shermer by three women, who agreed to be named in an article published by Buzzfeed. That article, as you'd expect, has provoked an enormous amount of controversy and outrage.But what I find more surprising is who isn't discussing it. Some prominent individuals in the atheist and skeptical community are either minimizing this story, treating the … [Read more...]

Speaking at Sunday Assembly NYC

SunAssembly

I'm very pleased to announce that next Sunday, October 5, I'll be speaking at Sunday Assembly NYC! This month's topic is mythology: why we create it, what purpose it serves, and what (if anything) it's good for. Do humans still need mythology? If so, how does it fit in the modern world; and if not, what can we put in its place?The Sunday Assembly, as I've written previously, is a global humanist congregation focused on doing good and living a better life without supernatural beliefs. Its New … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Ad Baculum

Fist

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter VHank and Dagny are returning to New York after their trip to Colorado. Hank's wife Lillian, by now, has come to suspect that these "business trips" are about more than just business, so she arranges to be waiting for him on the platform:Her first sight of Rearden in the crowd came as a shock: she had not seen him step out of a car, but there he was, walking in her direction from somewhere far down the length of the train. He was alone. He was walking … [Read more...]

Weekday Coffee: September 25

Coffee

I've been taking a breather this week, but never fear, my Atlas Shrugged series will resume tomorrow. In the meantime, some quick links:• Help atheist blogger and ex-Quiverfuller Vyckie Garrison save her house! She's in financial trouble caused largely by her divorce from an abusive husband, which in turn happened because she lost her faith. She needs to raise $23,000 to save it. If you need more incentive, here's her outstanding speech from the 2014 American Atheists national … [Read more...]

Summer Twilight: A Humanist Sermon

Fireflies

On a night earlier this summer, a humid blue twilight in July, I stepped out of my home to run an errand. It was sweltering and heavy after the day's heat, but it must have been the perfect temperature for fireflies. There were hundreds of them, swarming in the air and the grass, glimmering and flashing like motes of gold in the gathering dusk.Through some means I can't imagine, it seemed as if they had agreed to synchronize, so that no two of them lit up at the same time. As soon as one … [Read more...]

Richard Dawkins’ Reasonable and Proportionate Response to Criticism

Fig. 1: Me (artist's impression).

As I've mentioned previously, Jerry Coyne of Why Evolution Is True wrote a post this weekend in which he let it be known that he was very upset with me and my article in the Guardian on Richard Dawkins. Well, you'll never guess who showed up to post this unbelievable comment:Thank you, Jerry.I long ago declared that I would not wish to go on living if I found myself in a world dominated by people who no longer care about what's true and express open contempt for factual evidence. … [Read more...]

Dawkins Needs Better Defenders

This week, I published a column in the Guardian arguing that Richard Dawkins' sexism is overshadowing his contributions to the atheist movement. It got, shall we say, a large reaction. But not all negative, I hasten to add! I was very pleased with the amount of praise and compliments it attracted - I heard from a lot of people who told me that I said exactly what they've been thinking (including this piece by Allegra Ringo in Vice, published the same day as mine).As it turns out, the man … [Read more...]

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...]


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