The 2016 Reason Rally

This weekend was the second Reason Rally in Washington, D.C., sequel to the original 2012 event. I was in attendance for most of the day, so here's my report.In 2012, it was cold and foggy with drizzling rain all day. This year, it was swelteringly hot and muggy on the National Mall, and a threatened thunderstorm never arrived. If you had enough water and a spot in the shade, it was bearable, although I'll bet a lot of attendees came away nursing sunburns. The crowding and heat under the … [Read more...]

Who Died and Made You King of Atheism?

This video sums up everything that's wrong with the way the atheist movement presents itself:Bill Maher spilled the beans about a concept for a movie called The Kings of Atheism that Maher says he is creating with Michael Moore.... The Kings of Atheism movie will feature Maher and other famous atheists on a tour throughout the Bible belt.Bill Maher and Michael Moore, on Maher's show, announced their plan to collaborate on a comedy tour-slash-documentary that involves them and some … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Mistakes of the Atheist Movement

My latest column is up on AlterNet, 4 Things the Atheist Movement Has Done Badly (and How to Do Them Better). As you might guess, it's about some of the chronic blind spots of the atheist movement, together with my thoughts on how we can improve. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:Born in the shadow of September 11, the New Atheist movement took up the mission of pushing back against religious dogma and warning the world about the danger of unchecked fundamentalism. … [Read more...]

The Maturing Secular Community: Fewer Personalities, More Good Deeds

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Future of Faith in America: Humanism. Read other perspectives here.I've written about the future of religion and the coming secular era, but there's another side to that coin. Namely, if religion is declining, what will happen to the non-religious? How will the secular community change as it grows and matures over the next few decades? I don't have any special insight into the future, but we can make some educated … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Can There Be an Atheist Vote?

My latest column on the Guardian is up: "We atheists can use growing clout to beat evangelicals at their own political game".Trying to organize atheists politically is often compared to herding cats. The conventional wisdom is that, while evangelical Christians and other religious groups march in lockstep and can be counted on to vote as a bloc, atheists are all cussed individualists who argue constantly and will never speak with anything like a unified voice, so there's no point in … [Read more...]

Secular Students Week 2015: How to Win at Activism

It's Secular Students Week, when we old folk interview the next generation of secular activists and share stories of the fantastic work that they're doing. The Secular Student Alliance has a goal to get 500 donations this week, and if they reach this goal, they'll unlock a $20,000 challenge grant! Donate and help them reach their goal here.For this post, I spoke to Sarah McCarter of the Students for Free-thought at the University of Michigan-Flint, whom you may remember from my column in the … [Read more...]

If You Promote a Story That Turns Out to Be False, Don’t You Have an Obligation to Correct It?

In August 2013, almost two years ago, I wrote about a discouraging story in which skeptic Karen Stollznow wrote about years of harassment by a colleague, later alleged to be CFI's Benjamin Radford. Seven months later, in March 2014, I wrote an update when I heard that Radford was threatening to sue for libel and Stollznow was seeking help to put together a legal defense fund.That was the last I heard about this... until Wednesday of last week, when I got an e-mail from a friend alerting me … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Atheists Are Diversifying

My latest column on the Guardian is up: "Finally, atheists are no longer just old white men".The atheist community, in America at least, has long had a reputation for being dominated by geeky white men. I have no onus against geeky white men - I happen to be one myself - but the data suggests that if we stick with this strategy, we'll needlessly alienate potential allies and end up in a demographic cul-de-sac. If the atheist movement wants to succeed in the long run, it's essential that we … [Read more...]

The Atheist Community Is Diversifying

I was pleased to read about a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute on millennial views about sex. It confirms our generally pro-choice and non-judgmental attitude, with a few caveats:"What we see running through the answers is that where principles of fairness come up, millennials want to see equal access to health services, abortion and contraception. They think people should have individual freedom to make decisions," said [Robert] Jones [CEO of PRRI].For the most … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Beyond Debating God’s Existence

My latest column on the Guardian is up: "It's time for atheists to stop debating God's existence and decide what to do about it".In it, I argue that the atheist movement can't make critiques of religious belief its whole focus and should be doing more to create justice in this life, which is the only one we'll ever have. I also argue that the community is already moving in this direction, citing a new mission statement put out by the Secular Student Alliance that makes diversity and social … [Read more...]


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