A Response to "The White Stuff"

Earlier this week, I posted a piece by Sikivu Hutchinson, "The White Stuff", about the legacy of racism in science and to what extent issues of race affect the atheist movement. Today, I want to write a response to that piece and venture some of my own thoughts on the subject.To begin, I want to echo one of the more common objections raised in the comments: this piece was long on criticisms, short on suggested solutions. Granted, it's not the responsibility of every woman or member of a … [Read more...]

The White Stuff

A note from the editor:Hi folks,Before I get to today's post, a guest essay by Sikivu Hutchinson, I want to preface it with a few remarks.I've posted guest essays on Daylight Atheism from a variety of viewpoints, not all of which I personally agree with (as I hope should be obvious). I ask readers to keep that especially in mind with this post. I realize there's little probability of a visitor confusing a Christian guest viewpoint with my own, but since Sikivu Hutchinson and I agree about … [Read more...]

The Weakening Pull of Orthodoxy

The researchers behind the ARIS, which is the gold standard for American religious demographics, have released a new study that builds on their 2008 results with an in-depth look at one group that's near and dear to our hearts: "American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population". (HT: Friendly Atheist)As always, there's plenty of interesting data here to contemplate. Although "nones" show a decided gender imbalance - 60% of them are male, while the general population is 51% female - … [Read more...]

There Is No God-Shaped Hole

In A Shattered Visage, a book-length emotional rant against atheism, Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias puts forth the following assertion:The words of Augustine are most appropriate: "You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee." Or, as Pascal put it, "There is a godshaped vacuum in the heart of every man, and only God can fill it." [p.89]Although they probably don't realize it, apologists who say this have committed themselves to a … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Astroturfing Science

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 4Lee Strobel's usual interview technique is to ask softball questions that are carefully phrased to make it as easy as possible for his interviewees to "refute" them. But credit where credit's due - in the next section of chapter 4, he actually asks a good one. In talking to ID advocate Stephen Meyer, he brings up the evidence I discussed in my previous post:"If the scientific evidence for theism is so compelling... then why don't more scientists believe in … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Why Cosmologists Are Atheists

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 4Strobel's next interview is with Stephen Meyer, a philosopher who's also one of the cofounders of the Discovery Institute. Strobel and Meyer touch on several topics (fine-tuning, irreducible complexity) that will be discussed in more detail in later chapters, so I'll defer responding to those arguments for now. Amusingly, Strobel also gives Meyer credit for contributing to Of Pandas and People - the textbook which provided one of the crucial pieces of evidence … [Read more...]

The Science Gap

While we're on the topic of science and the public, I came across another opinion poll worth mentioning: a survey released this month by Pew, Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media, which analyzes how the public views scientific achievement and what professional scientists think of how their work is covered in the media (HT: Obsidian Wings). There's lots to chew over in this report, but I want to focus on this section, which shows how many ideas that are accepted by an … [Read more...]

The Case for a Creator: Steve Statistics

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 3Chapter 3 of Case, which interviews the creationist Jonathan Wells, haphazardly mixes together claims from many different scientific disciplines and will probably take the most installments of any chapter to fully refute. But we'll begin with a simpler claim. As I mentioned previously, Strobel seeks to create the appearance of a scientific controversy raging over evolution. His primary piece of evidence is the Discovery Institute's infamous petition, "A … [Read more...]

Hold and Build

Although there's been plenty of good news for atheists in recent weeks, stories that showcase our growing influence and assertiveness, this is no time for us to become complacent. We still have significant work to do to shore up the foundations of our movement, as this Times op-ed by Charles M. Blow explains:...a study entitled "Faith in Flux" issued this week by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life questioned nearly 3,000 people and found that most children raised unaffiliated with a … [Read more...]

The 2008 ARIS: Atheist State of the Nation

As you've surely heard by now, the landmark 2008 American Religious Identification Survey has just been released. The ARIS is an enormous study that questioned over 50,000 respondents to assemble a broad picture of religious belief and disbelief in the United States, building on previous surveys from 1990 and 2001.The 2001 results showed that nonbelievers had made incredible gains, rising from 8% to just over 14% of the U.S. population in just ten years - a genuine demographic boom. The new … [Read more...]