Christian Responses to the Reason Rally

My Google news alert has been flooded with stories about the Reason Rally this week, and quite a few of them come from religious organizations expressing their own viewpoints about how they saw the Rally and what they thought it was intended to achieve. For reasons of political strategy, it's worth knowing what our opponents are thinking and saying about us, and so I present the following compendium: Dan Delzell, The Christian Post, "Atheist Rally Rejects Reason in Favor of … [Read more...]

More Elucidation of Mansplanation

My previous post on the term "mansplaining" was turning into a zombie thread, so I had to drive a stake through its heart. But there's more that needs to be said on the topic, and today it comes in the form of this study covered by Scientific American. (HT: Justin Wolfers, via Michelle Goldberg on Twitter. The original article is also available online, but requires free registration.) Researchers trained four actors, two male and two female, to give the same short physics lecture to 126 … [Read more...]

Reason Rally Wrap-Up, Part 3

Read Part 2 here. I've talked about the weather, the crowds, the protesters and the speakers, and I wanted to end up with some overall impressions. One of the things about the Reason Rally that made me happiest was how young and diverse the crowd was. I've been to atheist conventions that were overwhelmingly populated by old white guys, and this was a big step forward. A major part of this, I'm sure, was the enormous student involvement, and it's that more than anything else that makes me … [Read more...]

Reason Rally Wrap-Up, Part 2

Read Part 1 here. Before I deliver my recap of the speakers at the Reason Rally, I need to give a shout-out to the people who accompanied me for the weekend. On my first day in town, I met up with Rieux, who was a fearless scourge of trolls in Daylight Atheism's early days on Big Think, and who first enlightened me to the prejudice against atheists within Unitarian Universalism that I'm still sorting out. I also met Leah Libresco - transhumanist, virtue ethicist, Bayesian conspirator, and the … [Read more...]

Reason Rally Wrap-Up, Part 1

It's Sunday morning, and I'm writing this on the train from Washington, D.C. back to New York. I'm exhausted, washed out, and my calves are two knots of pain from all the standing and walking I've been doing these past two days. But I feel like a live wire, buzzing with energy and happiness. I'm returning home from the Reason Rally, and it was tremendous. It was everything I had anticipated and more. When the history of the atheist movement is written, this is going to go down as a defining … [Read more...]

The Religious Demand for Obedience

My latest column has been posted on AlterNet, How Religion's Demand for Obedience Keeps Us in the Dark Ages. It's about the religious worldview that sees human existence as a strict hierarchy of commandments and submission, how this belief has been used by tyrants and autocrats throughout the ages to justify unaccountable power, and how it continues to oppress human beings today even as the monarchies that once enshrined it have crumbled. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the … [Read more...]

Your Daily Dose of Mansplaining

Sometimes, when a comment thread bogs down in a long and protracted debate, highly enlightening comments can get lost in the heap. In the cause of preventing one such comment from being lost to obscurity, I'm giving it its own thread so it can receive the degree of respectful attention it clearly deserves. There's a term coined by the feminist movement that's very useful in contextualizing what you're about to read, which is "mansplaining". Mansplaining occurs when a man explains to a woman, in … [Read more...]

Things That Aren’t Said Often Enough

Bloggers like me are faced with an eternal dilemma. When we write something controversial, people who disagree usually let us know loud and clear, and often with creative speculations about our mental state, dubious parentage, and so on. On the other hand, people who agree rarely speak up in similar numbers - and I don't blame them; how many permutations of "I agree" can you write? This means it often transpires that the majority of our feedback comes from the vocally ticked-off minority. After … [Read more...]

Politics Is the Art of the Possible

After writing my previous post chastising the National Atheist Party, I thought (and hoped) that I'd be done writing about Reason Rally drama. Alas, it was not to be. Apparently, the organizers are now getting an earful of complaints about the speakers list: partially with reference to Bill Maher (who's supported deplorably irrational anti-vaccine kookery), but more specifically about Senator Tom Harkin, who'll be greeting the Rally in a brief videotaped message. The complaint is that Harkin … [Read more...]

Creating a Safe Harbor for Nonbelievers

In my essay "Into the Clear Air", I wrote about how people leaving religion often go through a stage of profound darkness. In the end stages of deconversion, there's acceptance and peace - even a sense of joy at rediscovering the world. But to get there, people from intensely religious backgrounds often have to leave behind everything they knew and believed, deconstructing their own value system down to the foundations. To people who have to make this journey on their own, it's an emotionally … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X