New on Salon: The Rise of the New Atheists

Well, here's an announcement! My first-ever original article for Salon has just been published, "Rise of the new atheists: Should non-believers make an alliance with religious progressives?" In it, I discuss the meteoric growth of nonbelief in America, why the so-called New Atheists think it's a legitimate and useful tactic to criticize all religion equally, and whether and how we should make alliances with religious progressives to advance political goals we have in common. If you're a regular … [Read more...]

The Twitter Report: Nice Guys Finish Last

Once again, I've gotten enmeshed in a debate on Twitter. This time it wasn't with a theist, but with two atheists, Daniel Loxton and Reed Esau. It started with these two posts, which I happened to overhear:I'd support a focussed movement to counter bigoted "atheists as hostile outsiders" stereotype. That mvnt wld be useful for me as an atheist —@Daniel_Loxton, 2:27 PM - 18 Apr 12@Daniel_Loxton Taking atheism out of the nutty, angry fringe and into the no-big-deal territory can … [Read more...]

Objecting to Big Think’s Dawkins Test

As anyone who knows me is aware, I'm generally a peaceful and diplomatic fellow. I'm not one to pick fights just for the hell of it. But that said, I'm afraid I have to raise some objections to a recent front-page post by Mark Cheney here at Big Think: Are You a Believer? Take The Dawkins Test. Cheney's post concerns the seven-point scale that Richard Dawkins introduced in The God Delusion to categorize people's beliefs about God, ranging from strong theism at one end to strong atheism at the … [Read more...]

Shocking Newsflash: Infamous Atheist Wears Mismatched Socks!

LONDON, February 22 - It's been a rough week for Richard Dawkins, prominent evolutionary biologist and noted God-hater. Our reporters can reveal that on Monday, while Dawkins was ordering breakfast at a local shop, he received the wrong change for his coffee and muffin, but failed to count it and notice the error until he was a short distance away, when walking back would have been mildly inconvenient. Then, while consuming the items, he carelessly spilled a blotch of coffee on his pants leg, … [Read more...]

Another Day, Another Dragon

Some days, I hate writing about atheism. I want to tell you why. Two weeks ago, I was watching a PBS show called Inside Nature's Giants, about a team of biologists dissecting a sperm whale that died after beaching itself on a British coast (this involved heavy machinery and a chain saw, if you were curious). Richard Dawkins took part in the program, although he wasn't among the scientists wading in whale viscera on the shore. In cutaway shots, he explained the evolutionary significance of the … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Teaming Up with Liberal Theists

My latest article has just been published on AlterNet, Why Is America's Most Progressive Voting Block Often Overlooked? In it, I discuss the strong progressive leanings of American nonbelievers, what we could accomplish if we worked together with liberal religious believers on causes we held in common, and what the obstacles to that alliance are. (It's also been reprinted on Salon, if you'd rather comment there.) Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:In America, … [Read more...]

Storming the Ivory Tower

Since moving to Big Think, there's a viewpoint I'm encountering more and more often. This belief holds that the New Atheism is tilting at windmills, because most religion is moderate and harmless, and destructive fundamentalist beliefs are held only by an inconsequential minority. One commenter even absurdly accused me of "confusing fundamentalism with religion", as if those two things were completely unrelated phenomena with nothing in common. This ivory-tower view, if it was ever true, has … [Read more...]

The Grindstone of Persuasion

If you were a regular commenter on the old site, you've probably noticed a shift in the commenting community since Daylight Atheism came here to Big Think. The old site had a smaller, more homogeneous community, and as a result, there were a lot more "atheism 201" discussions - how we can organize and build a welcoming secular community, how we can overcome internal disagreement to unite in defense of our political rights, how we can phrase our arguments to be most convincing, and so on. But … [Read more...]

Victory By Adversarial Overreaction

You may have heard that another atheist billboard campaign has been censored, this time in Ohio. The Mid-Ohio Atheists had spent several weeks coordinating with the billboard company, planning locations and designing graphics, with no hint of a problem. Then, just days before the first billboards were to go up, they received an unexpected e-mail from the company's senior managers canceling their contract. According to a subsequent explanation, the company felt that running the atheist ads would … [Read more...]

Moving the Overton Window

When I tell people that I'm an atheist, I'm often asked if I think that fiery rhetoric and sharp critiques of religion, like the kind found in the writing of trailblazers like Richard Dawkins, is harming the cause by offending believers who might otherwise have been sympathetic. The implication is that, if we focus our attacks only on the worst fundamentalists, we'll gain public support and approval, but if we criticize faith in general, we'll never get anywhere. I don't believe this is true, … [Read more...]


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