Video! My Speech at the 2012 Secular Student Alliance Convention

This past July, I had the privilege of being one of the keynote speakers at the Secular Student Alliance's annual convention in Columbus, Ohio. I've been promising video, but until now, I've only had this teaser photo. Well, I'm happy to say your waiting is over, because the SSA has just posted the full talk on their YouTube channel. Here it is:(Most of my slides are visible in the video, but I can also provide the full set on request.) Thanks to the SSA for inviting me! It was an honor to … [Read more...]

German Catholics, It’s Time to Quit the Church

I've been writing a lot lately about reasons to quit the Catholic church, and judging by the demographic trends in many Western countries, there are a lot of people whose thinking runs along similar lines. I didn't think the church would ever deign to acknowledge its apostates, but it appears that I was wrong. I found this out from reading this story out of Germany, which taught me something I didn't know: in that country, if you officially record your religious affiliation as Protestant, … [Read more...]

Hear Me on Freethought Radio!

Over the weekend, I was interviewed by Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor from the Freedom from Religion Foundation for their Freethought Radio show. That episode is now available for download and podcast, so if you'd like to hear me talk, give it a listen! In the interview, we talk about my new book, Daylight Atheism, and several of the arguments advanced in it: including the basis of atheist morality, religion as a fossil fuel, the bad moral teachings of the Bible, and why atheism makes life … [Read more...]

Blogging Better Angels: The Escalator of Reason

In my last post, I talked about some of the cultural factors Steven Pinker identifies that have led to a reduction in violence. There are two other major forces he discusses which are worthy of note. The Flynn Effect The first of these is a truly strange phenomenon. If you go by the results of IQ tests, average intelligence has been steadily rising for decades. This is called the Flynn effect, and it's been found consistently in countries all around the world since IQ tests first started being … [Read more...]

See You At Skepticon!

Just a brief announcement: The weekend of November 9, I'll be in Springfield, Missouri for Skepticon 5. Since I had such a blast at Skepticon 4 last year, there's no way I couldn't go back. And though I don't want to reveal any spoilers, there's a distinct possibility that I'm not just going to be in the audience this year. Further updates on that, possibly, as the time draws nearer. If last year was any guide, there will be ample opportunity over the weekend for carousing and meetups. If … [Read more...]

How Do You Start an Islamic Reformation?

Since my post on the U.S. embassy riots had so many good comments, I thought I'd write a sequel and continue the discussion. I'd like to offer some further thoughts about Ayaan Hirsi Ali's article in Newsweek, on the mindset of "Muslim rage" and what this violence means for the future of Islamic and Western civilization. In general, I agreed with the article (its awful, lazily prejudiced title aside [would anyone ever write about "Christian rage"?]), although there are some points where I think … [Read more...]

Update on Chase Giving and SSA Donation Drive – Thank You!

Back in July, I wrote about how the Secular Student Alliance's website had been targeted by denial-of-service attacks. In that post, I called on Christians and other theists to donate to the SSA to help them recoup the costs they spent on erecting defenses, and to show solidarity against people who would silence others' views through illegal means. That campaign closed at the end of August, raising a total of $615. I've just donated that money to the SSA, and here's a screen grab of the receipt … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: The Dark Side of Interfaith

My latest column has just been posted on AlterNet, Right-Wing Religions of the World Unite to Oppress Women and Gays More Ruthlessly. In it, I write about the strange phenomenon of churches that were once bitter historical enemies now working hand-in-hand to fight the expansion of human rights, and demand the continued oppression of women, GLBT people, atheists, and other groups that are increasingly claiming the equality long denied them in the name of religion. Read the excerpt below, then … [Read more...]

Last Chance to Help the SSA and Camp Quest Win $5 Million!

Here's the summary of this post: If you have a Facebook account and just a few minutes of spare time, you can help some hardworking atheist organizations win tens of thousands of dollars! All it takes is a few clicks, and this is your last chance. If you're willing to step up, please vote for Camp Quest here and vote for the Secular Student Alliance here. And here's the longer version: The Chase Community Giving program I wrote about earlier this month is still going on, but not for long. … [Read more...]

Thoughts on the Embassy Attacks

As you've no doubt already heard, American embassies throughout the Middle East have been attacked by violent mobs in the last few days, ostensibly due to outrage over a YouTube video called "Innocence of Muslims" that lampoons the Prophet Mohammed as a blundering, deceitful fraud. At least one of the attacks, on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was apparently an organized assault by Islamic militants who wanted it to seem like a spontaneous mob action. But the violence has been too … [Read more...]


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