Newsweek Reports on Atheist “Controversy”

Lisa Miller of Newsweek is reporting in the upcoming issue that there’s a controversy brewing in the atheist community.

… what’s happening in the “atheist, humanist, freethinkers” community is more like what happens to any ideological or political group as it matures: the hard-liners knock heads with the folks who want to just get along, and the cracks are beginning to show.

The article focuses on Harvard’s Humanist chaplain, Greg Epstein, and the (misquoted) comment he made way back when referring to Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, etc. as “atheist fundamentalists.”

This was sort of news back in early April (my posting is here), when the whole issue blew up in the blogosphere. But after several criticisms of Epstein by bloggers and atheist leaders, and several attempts by Epstein to explain what he meant, it looked like it was all taken care of.

When the Harvard Humanist conference finally happened in late April, it all looked like water under the bridge. No one that I spoke to at the conference even mentioned the topic. It was old news. And while there were some minor criticisms of the conference, they had nothing to do with the “fundamentalist” comments and the conference was considered by most to be an overall success.

Then, a Washington Post article came out a couple weeks ago and the controversy started up again:

Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein went so far as to use the (other) f-word in describing his unbelieving brethren.

“At times they’ve made statements that sound really problematic, and when Sam Harris says science must destroy religion, to me that sounds dangerously close to fundamentalism,” Epstein said in an interview after the meeting. “What we need now is a voice that says, ‘That is not all there is to atheism.’ ”

(Dammit, Greg. You’re not helping those of us who support what you do.)

Still, his point was clear. There need to be atheists who can communicate more powerfully about what we do believe in rather than what we don’t believe in.

“My problem with the atheists,” [Epstein] told NEWSWEEK, “is not that they’re saying God doesn’t exist. What I’m saying is we’ve got to build something.”

Touché. The problem is that a lot of atheists aren’t convinced we need to build something until the old building has been demolished first. But these don’t have to be separate events. We can do them at the same time.

Some atheists believe it should be the bestselling authors (who already have the mics and loudspeakers) who should be advocating the positive aspects of atheism. Personally, I think that message can come from anywhere. If it’s good, it will spread. The “marquee” names of atheism are doing plenty in trying to explain why religious beliefs should not be taken seriously; we can’t rely on them to do everything. Believe it or not, there are other atheists out there, in leadership roles, who can spread a positive message.

As E.O. Wilson said of religious people in the Post’s article:

“[They] are more likely to pay attention to that hand of friendship offered to them . . . than to have suggested to them, let us say, Richard Dawkins’s ‘The God Delusion,’ which sets out to carpet-bomb all religion.”

Jeff Nall, whom I respect greatly, gets some space in the Newsweek article as well. He agrees wholeheartedly with Epstein:

“The polemicists are interested in nothing more than selling,” says Jeff Nall, a peace activist and grad student in Brevard County, Fla., who wrote a piece on this issue for The Humanist magazine. “The danger is in this ridiculous star status—they’re seen as representative of the broader atheist community.”

I’d like to think there’s more to the atheist authors than just caring about the numbers of books sold… But I do agree that it’s a problem to pin all of atheism’s hopes for the future on a few guys who have written popular books.

This wouldn’t be a controversy if there were more atheists (and atheist organizations) who were spreading the positive message about what atheism offers. It’s not enough to do it once or to have one link on a website that explains as much.

Every time there is media coverage, we need to be speaking about what atheism has to offer, not just what religion gets wrong.

(On a side note, anyone else surprised that Newsweek’s poll said only 3% of respondents called themselves atheists? That number seems remarkably lower than I expected.)


[tags]atheist, atheism, Lisa Miller, Newsweek, humanist, freethinker, Harvard, Greg Epstein, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, atheist fundamentalists, Washington Post, The God Delusion, Jeff Nall[/tags]

  • http://globalizati.wordpress.com globalizati

    Hurray for Epstein, Wilson, and Nall (the last of whom who I had never heard of before).

    “At times they’ve made statements that sound really problematic, and when Sam Harris says science must destroy religion, to me that sounds dangerously close to fundamentalism.”

    Regardless of whether they are the f-word or not, can anyone dispute that saying “science must destroy religion” sounds like it? (And, at least here, that seems to be what Epstein is saying.)

  • Darryl

    Hemant, your comments were all quite good, especially this one:

    Touché. The problem is that a lot of atheists aren’t convinced we need to build something until the old building has been demolished first. But these don’t have to be separate events. We can do them at the same time.

    Some atheists believe it should be the bestselling authors (who already have the mics and loudspeakers) who should be advocating the positive aspects of atheism. Personally, I think that message can come from anywhere. If it’s good, it will spread. The “marquee” names of atheism are doing plenty in trying to explain why religious beliefs should not be taken seriously; we can’t rely on them to do everything. Believe it or not, there are other atheists out there, in leadership roles, who can spread a positive message.

    I think that most atheists have been doing just what Epstein suggests needs be done–they have been busy building. We atheists have for the most part been keeping a low profile. We have been living, and working, and raising families, and trying to contribute to the betterment of our communities. Except for blogs like this that permit us to vent on the latest topics, and to unleash the pent-up frustrations that we have about religion, we have not been in-your-face atheists. I think that is part of why this sudden wave of atheist books and events has become newsworthy.

    Harris and others, and blogs like this, speaking at least for myself, have not emboldened me (I’ve never had a problem with that), but they have caused me to consider that it may be time to speak out; it may be time to go public with what I have learned. I, for one, have learned much about religion, and I have learned that I don’t need it, and that it can be detrimental to a free and good society. This is an important lesson, and important lessons need to be passed on.

    Epstein is right. We need to build. It’s easy to shoot down religion, and this is a necessary task. But, let us build. I’ve been living quite well without religion for years now. Perhaps it’s time to share with others how to live without religion and to be happy in the process. Jesus said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” Indeed.

  • http://globalizati.wordpress.com globalizati

    What now shall we build?

  • Ash

    can we use lego?

  • http://mollishka.blogspot.com mollishka

    Yes, we can use Legos, but only the big ones because we don’t want anyone to choke.

    It’s almost funny that there are articles like this one talking about “cracks” in a group that, frankly, isn’t well-defined. Yes, there are “atheist” organizations, but they are by no means as organized as the church infrastructure, and a good number of atheists don’t even know about them, let along belong to one. Something about herding cats …

    Are there any atheist books out there that lay out what atheists believe in a positive light (beside yours, Hemant, which, granted, is in a different context)?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    Are there any atheist books out there that lay out what atheists believe in a positive light

    There are many books that never really saw the light of day (except in random Humanist organization libraries) that are very positive about atheism, but they didn’t make it to the mass public.

    Carl Sagan wrote some very positive things about atheism in his books and about the awe of science and what it holds in store for us. Dan Barker spoke positively about atheism in his book.

    And, of course, Nica Lalli’s entire book is about exploring what she *does* believe in as an atheist.

  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com The Exterminator

    And exactly why must atheism “offer” something? Subscribing to such a ridiculous idea assumes that religion “offers” something that must be replaced. But why should we accept that? I, for one, am not peddling my atheism as an all-consuming lifestyle. Yes, I’d love it if more people were atheists, but only to keep supernatural silliness out of the public discourse.

  • http://globalizati.wordpress.com globalizati

    Subscribing to such a ridiculous idea assumes that religion “offers” something that must be replaced.

    Well, if we can’t agree that religion offers “something,” this conversation would be difficult to have. My religious friends certainly get a lot from their religion–meaning, hope, purpose, etc. I acknowledge that they receive these things, and have a hard time thinking of life without their religion. That in no way means I think their hope is realistic, or that they have good reasons for their beliefs. But I can at least acknowledge that if they’re going to give up religion for some of the many forms of atheism, they’re likely to have to get over two things:

    First, they must consider that their religion is neither unquestionable nor completely fulfilling (especially intellectually). This is where rational argument is important. Second, they must realize a lot of their misconceptions about atheism are wrong (like it being a purposeless, meaningless, depressing, evil existence). And that’s where the ‘building’ comes in. Not saying that all atheists need to unite behind a single, positive message (that would kind of ruin the point, eh?), but that the more people speak out about their positive, atheistic worldviews, the easier it will be for people to reject religious dogma.

  • Maria

    Every time there is media coverage, we need to be speaking about what atheism has to offer, not just what religion gets wrong.

    I agree very much. I would like to know more about what it has to offer. As I said before, I know were religion went wrong.

    As to religion offering something, whether you think it does or not, many of us have become dependant on it, whether we know it or not, so we feel as if it does. It’s become a “need”. I had a pretty loose religious upbringing. Recently I haven’t become and atheist, but I have become nonreligous/deistic. Part of me keeps feeling like something is missing, even though I find myself increasingly disgusted with organized religion. Makes sense? Many people who are “spiritual but not religous” do need something to fill the gap, that is why you have things like the New Age movement. I know some people can go from religious to non-religious pretty quickly. But most of us aren’t like that and can’t do it all at once……I hope that makes sense

  • Maria

    Regardless of whether they are the f-word or not, can anyone dispute that saying “science must destroy religion” sounds like it? (And, at least here, that seems to be what Epstein is saying.)

    It does sound like it, and it does turn a lot of people off. I think there may be better ways to make the point.

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  • Mriana

    This wouldn’t be a controversy if there were more atheists (and atheist organizations) who were spreading the positive message about what atheism offers. It’s not enough to do it once or to have one link on a website that explains as much.

    You know, as I was reading this, I thought IF I were to write my book, it could help with this, but there is just one problem, while I am a Humanist, I consider myself a non-theist too. I feel I am to the left of Spong and the right of Secularist, possibly where Epstein is, but that maybe what we need. Someone who is a middle of the road Humanist to get the word out via a book. Who knows.

    This was the article that had that one paragraph that upset me: http://www.uuworld.org/ideas/articles/27173.shtml

    Thing is, I’m part of this school of thought:

    Not Spock
    Gene Roddenberry is one of the saints of humanism, but he saddled the movement with its most difficult-to-shake stereotype: Spock. Smart, logical, honest, and well intentioned, but self-righteously clueless about the unquantifiable side of life, Star Trek’s Spock epitomizes both the positive and negative sides of the old humanist image.

    It is apparent that this author does not have a clue about the Roddenberry philosophy. Not that I know it all, I would not presume to know it all. However, I have a fairly good idea of what it is and what it is not. It’s not how this writer is protraying it. They believe in an open-society. They believe everyone is entitled to follow their own path- as long as it’s not harming anyone, of course. They believe everyone should strive to better themselves. They believe in education and above all to think for ourselves. It is hardly clueless.

    I could probably go on, but you get the idea. They are not the stoic Vulcan, but rather about reason and compassion.

    I did not hear Spock’s name during the three-day conference, but much of the program seemed designed to banish his ghost.

    I hope not. :( I’ll end up sounding like Scotty, “My God! What happened here?” Just kidding, but maybe something that is middle of the road is what is needed to show there is more. Something that is less militant- not that I think Harris and Dawkins are, but they have been called that too.

  • Richard Wade

    (On a side note, anyone else surprised that Newsweek’s poll said only 3% of respondents called themselves atheists? That number seems remarkably lower than I expected.)

    Whenever you see statistical information or poll results that seem unlikely you should treat them the way cops treat the neighborhood hoodlum:

    “Okay, you know the routine, Nuzwieky. Spread ‘em! How big is your sample? What’s your sampling method? Is this a random national sample or a pre-selected group of your readers? What’s the respondent’s method of responding? Is it only one medium like email? Keep your hands where I can see ‘em! What is the exact wording of the questions? Are there ambiguities? Were there other responses that they also used that are essentially synonymous with atheist? Did you count those too? Huh? Did ya? Look at me, punk! Don’t give me your excuses, answer my questions!”

    Remember the thing about statisticians making great liars. A magazine referring to its own in-house “poll” should always be treated with suspicion.

    The Washington Post article linked above quotes this on the second page:

    According to the American Religious Identification Survey, conducted by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the share of American adults who do not subscribe to any religion increased from 8 percent in 1990 to more than 14 percent in 2001.

    This sounds more in line with other polls and surveys I’ve read, but of course the validity always depends on the things the stat cop was asking.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    There is no controversy. It’s a garbage story made up by the media. Just because we don’t all agree on everything, doesn’t mean there are “cracks.” The popular books have opened up society for a public discussion about atheism and about the criticism of religion in general. Nicer books wouldn’t get the same amount of press, and books like Hemant’s and Nica Lalli’s wouldn’t have gotten any press at all (and probably would not have even been published) if the “controversial” books from Harris and Dawkins hadn’t come out first. Like it or not, the US media is nothing but an infotainment circus and you won’t get attention if you don’t come off like an ass, if you won’t fight. That’s why everything is framed as a debate, even when both participants agree on 99% of what they are saying. That’s why Hitchens is all over TV and Hemant is doing small signings at local bookstores. But it doesn’t matter. Both are doing something important, and both are being themselves, both are contributing to a change in what we are “allowed” to discuss in public. It’s a win-win situation as far as I can tell.

  • http://atheistrevolution.blogspot.com/ vjack

    I just posted my thoughts on the Newsweek article here, and I was happy to see you do the same here. Now if only I could figure out why comments and trackback aren’t working on the Newsweek site.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    On a side note, anyone else surprised that Newsweek’s poll said only 3% of respondents called themselves atheists? That number seems remarkably lower than I expected.

    Rule For A Happy Life: Take anything in an American “news” weekly with more salt than is good for your health.

    Most atheists I know aren’t particularly interested in the issue, in this they are pretty much like the religious believers I know. I’m interested in protecting democracy and freedom and I see all of the fundamentalists, both religious and atheist as a present danger to that. Any on either side who are in favor of freedom of thought and belief, even to the most eccentric, though harmlessly wacky ideas is OK by me.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    What I think atheists have to offer is the kind of arguments that can keep religious believers humble and not too sure of themselves. I also think that this could be valuable for atheists who get too sure of themselves too, the ones who are too snobby to give non-atheists credit for having a working brain. Freedom comes from humility and not being too sure of yourself. Freedom and the mutual respect necessary for pluralism and equality are worth building.

    Fundamentalists are opponents of freedom and I do include atheist fundamentalists in that no matter how much some want to deny that those exist. You do know that there are religious fundamentalists who deny that they are fundamentalists, don’t you?

  • http://20gramsoul.com Richard

    While I’m not strictly an atheist (I’d consider myself agnostic), I do identify with many of the views of atheists – specifically that religion (or, blind faith) can be detrimental and in an ideal world religion would not exist at all.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but you (and others) seem to be suggesting that we need some kind of “church” (I use the word intentionally, but not in the strictest sense) to promote atheism. This seems to me to be simply creating a “new” religion. The point about looking at religion and spirituality rationally is that we don’t “believe” in anything, as such – we only believe in what rational thought and logic can tell us. If rational thought could tell us that Jesus was the son of God, and that through him we can reach heaven, then all Atheists would be Christian. Any attempt to “set in stone” the views of Atheists would simply result in an Atheist dogma, and Atheist dogma would still be dogma.

    I personally see atheism (and my particular agnostic views, though certainly not the views of all agnostics) as a rejection of religion, not an alternative to all the other ones out there.

    (by the way – nice blog theme! ;) )

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Richard, please notice the nice things I said about agnostics a few threads down. I need all the friends I can get.

  • Miko

    If rational thought could tell us that Jesus was the son of God, and that through him we can reach heaven, then all Atheists would be Christian.

    Not all atheists. :-) I wouldn’t be a Christian even if I did think it was true, since the Bible portrays their god as a monster. Worship goes a long way beyond mere belief of existence.

  • http://globalizati.wordpress.com globalizati

    Richard,
    I certainly don’t want an atheist dogma, creed, etc. That’s what some people mean when they say religion, or building something new. But when others hear religion, they they hear ‘community’ or ‘fellowship.’ What we as people do need are secular forums in which to discuss, be edified, serve, etc. That could be any number of things–non-governmental charity organizations, book clubs at libraries, whatever–there just needs to be social organizations that serve the same purposes as churches for many people. And yes, organizations like that exist, it’s just that the secular institutions in the U.S. seem underdeveloped compared to many places. Of course, my perspective is likely skewed from living in the Bible belt.

  • Darryl

    Freedom comes from humility and not being too sure of yourself.

    Huh . . . I must have been sick the day they discussed this idea in my social studies class. I don’t recall ever hearing of this derivation of human freedom. I was always under the assumption that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty [it’s like ‘freedom’] and the pursuit of Happiness.”

  • Mriana

    Worship goes a long way beyond mere belief of existence

    It most certainly does. I’ve always believed that whatever you do (or believe) it must come from the heart. Not out of fear of punishment or guilt that you are a bad person if you don’t do or believe this or that nor should it be a desire for some reward. That type of belief is not true belief in anything IMHO. I believe in reason, love and compassion and for me it comes strickly from my heart. Beyond that, I am perfectly content to strive for somthing better in this life- the only life that I know for sure I am going to have.

    Of course, my perspective is likely skewed from living in the Bible belt.

    Global, the Bible Belt IS screwed up and backwards. A lot of the people here reject a REAL education. I should know, I live in the Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt and if I leave the city- like to visit relatives further south in the back woods, they and the people who live around them (like 5 miles apart) seem as intelligent as a donkey’s hind end and hellbent on saving everyone’s soul from or for something that doesn’t exist except here on earth.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Freedom doesn’t exist where a powerful elite believes they are a higher order of creation. Equality is as much a matter of everyone being taken down a peg or let up a few notches. It also comes from people realizing that they can be wrong and that other people have the right to present their thoughts even when those disagree. Maybe, Darryl, you missed class the day they discussed Benjamin Franklin, who Charles Beard called the most democratic of the founders, said that a government of wise men would be a very foolish thing.

  • Darryl

    Freedom doesn’t exist where a powerful elite believes they are a higher order of creation. Equality is as much a matter of everyone being taken down a peg or let up a few notches. It also comes from people realizing that they can be wrong and that other people have the right to present their thoughts even when those disagree.

    Where do you get this stuff?

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Where do you get this stuff?

    Oh, it just comes to me. Where do you get your stuff?

  • Darryl

    Izz,

    That was a figure of speech–I assumed that it just came to you.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Darryl, I’ve always had an allergic reaction to appeals to authority and try to avoid them. You want footnotes?

  • Tom

    Atheists have been excellent about showing people how to think. I think it’s about time that atheists show people how to live.

    Greg Epstein is one of the main voices out there who is doing just that. We need more of them. We atheists will gain the ear of moderate religionists by showing sensitivity towards what they believe, without losing the purity of our stance.

  • Darryl

    You mean you have sources?! Wow, I wasn’t prepared for that. Well, why not a reference or two? It would be enlightening to know where your ideas are coming from.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Just out of curiosity, Darryl, why “Izzy”? I don’t mind, as I’ve noted I adored Izzy Stone, the greatest American journalist of his generation and was very interested in the case of Izzy Zimmerman, who was framed for murder by Thomas Dewey and almost got the chair.

    It’s just that I’d hate you to think that some other Izzy is responsible for what I’ve been writing here and elsewhere, he might not be so honored to be associated wrongly with me. This someone who your friends don’t like?

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Nicer books wouldn’t get the same amount of press, and books like Hemant’s and Nica Lalli’s wouldn’t have gotten any press at all (and probably would not have even been published) if the “controversial” books from Harris and Dawkins hadn’t come out first.

    I’ve pointed this out before, but actually Hemant’s story came out first. He was getting a lot of press attention quite a few months before any of the most recent slew of “big-name” atheist books came out.

    A brief timeline:

    March 9, 2006 – Wall Street Journal article about the eBay Atheist

    September 18, 2006 – The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins is released

    September 19, 2006 – Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris is released

    April 17, 2007 – I Sold My Soul on eBay by Hemant Mehta is released

    May 1, 2007 – God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens is released

    Hemant’s book may have followed a little later, but the media was already paying attention to him at least 6 months before these other atheist books made their big splash. He didn’t ride anyone’s coat tails IMHO.

  • http://20gramsoul.com Richard

    Globalizati: I certainly agree that book clubs and some forms of Atheist organisations could be productive, but I also think that the second you try to put forward any “official” Atheist position, you either start alienating Atheists, or reducing their capacity for individual rational thought. Also, if the wider community were to understand that atheists had some formal organisation, but there was some disagreement about the official position, then I’m sure that would be taken as a sign of weakness (“see, even the atheists can’t agree! So, how can they be right?”)

    olvlzl: I took a quick look at your blog, and I’m currently writing a comment on one of your posts.

    Miko: you’re certainly right, to worship the Christian god is huge step from simply believing. But from what I understand of Christianity, to be a Christian, all you have to do is believe that Jesus is the son of God, and that he died for your sins – you don’t have to “worship” to get into the Christian heaven (again, that’s what I understand, at least).

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    The problem is that a lot of atheists aren’t convinced we need to build something until the old building has been demolished first. But these don’t have to be separate events. We can do them at the same time.

    Personally I prefer coexistence to demolishing. I’m just no longer interested in any belief system that largely about tearing down the beliefs of others. Sorry, but I’ve been there, done that, have multiple t-shirts, and don’t really want to go back.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Richard, please do. As you can see there’s lots of unused thread on my blog. How am I going to get better unless people correct me?

  • Miko

    But from what I understand of Christianity, to be a Christian, all you have to do is believe that Jesus is the son of God, and that he died for your sins – you don’t have to “worship” to get into the Christian heaven (again, that’s what I understand, at least).

    So God prefers our thinking he’s a jerk over thinking that he doesn’t exist? ;-)

    Seriously though, from what I understand of Christianity, I somewhat doubt that there are half a dozen Christians on the planet that agree completely on what you have to do to be a Christian and get into heaven.

  • Darryl

    olvlzl, no ism, no ist, I was struck by your handle when I noticed your first posting. I assumed that olvlzl was some abbreviation of your name, but the “no ism, no ist” is what caught my attention. Excuse my boldness for dubbing you with the nickname Izzy–it’s from “ism”–I supposed that since we’ve been doing the back and forth for a while now that I could be a little looser with address. I meant no disrespect, and certainly no other reference.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    I assumed that olvlzl was some abbreviation of your name,

    “olvlzl” came up in the random charecter generator at Mercury Rising blog back when they were on Blogger. It means nothing.

    I wasn’t offended, just curious. If anyone else was confused I just didnt’ want them to think I was trying to hide my pseudonym.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    March 9, 2006 – Wall Street Journal article about the eBay Atheist

    When did The End of Faith come out? It was quite a quite a while before The God Delusion. Just curious, I don’t remember the exact date.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    March 9, 2006 – Wall Street Journal article about the eBay Atheist

    When did The End of Faith come out? It was quite a quite a while before The God Delusion. Just curious, I don’t remember the exact date.

    I didn’t mean to insinuate that Hemant was riding anyone’s coat tails. Just that the media pays the most attention to controversy and extremism. Nice guys rarely get their day in the sun.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    When did The End of Faith come out? It was quite a quite a while before The God Delusion. Just curious, I don’t remember the exact date.

    October 2005, so yes, a little bit before Hemant. However, I don’t seem to remember that book getting as much press as the more recent slew. With the exception of Hemant’s story, I didn’t start seeing front page articles on atheism on the news racks until The God Delusion came out.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    sorry, posted too soon…

    the media pays the most attention to controversy and extremism. Nice guys rarely get their day in the sun.

    This is very true.

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