Why Is America’s Most Progressive Voting Block Often Overlooked?

This article was originally published on AlterNet. The renowned physicist Max Planck once said, "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." And this isn't just true of science: the same principle holds true in the political arena. Most progressive advances don't come about because vast numbers of people are persuaded to drop their … [Read more...]

Winning the Culture War on Two Fronts

The big news this week, as well it should be, was a new survey from Pew showing that America's religious "nones" continue their demographic ascent:The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. [That works out to 46 million people! —A.L.] In the last five years … [Read more...]

How Religious Liberals Harm Their Own Cause: A Response to James Rohrer

Last month, AlterNet published a column by James Rohrer, a history professor and self-identified progressive religious believer who had some unkind words for the New Atheists. I'd like to take the opportunity to respond here and to show how his essay partakes of many of the same fallacies that have ensured the religious right's dominance in the American culture wars for the past several decades. Rohrer begins:Lately the progressive blogosphere has been filled with pieces by humanists who … [Read more...]

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...]


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