Skepticism: Then and Now

In the May/June 2012 issue of The Humanist, Brian Trent‘s cover story explores “the Forebears and the Vanguards of the New Skepticism”:

In an earlier age, skepticism was not so much a movement as a pastime for older, male, upper-crust academics. It was spirited discussion over cigars and brandy. Today, the new skepticism is a grassroots revolution. Its adherents are media-savvy, and they use memes, humor, Photoshop, YouTube, and social networking to wage a bold offensive against the prevailing belief culture. They are ardently pro-science, descending like a phalanx of logic on creationists, homeopathic practitioners, faith healers, psychics, truthers, birthers, anti-vaccination crowds, and generally anyone else whose position isn’t supported by logic. Skeptics champion reasoned methodology, not blind belief. They respect critical thinking, not emotional reactionism. They are factual heavyweights, and now, after decades of polite disagreements with true believers, young skeptics are ready to take off the gloves.

In short: The Internet is our friend. Social media is amazing. We have no fear of being confrontational.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Bug_girl

    Where is Greta on that boat? And any one with some melanin?

    • Terabyte06

       I agree.  I would gladly take Greta Christina, Eugenie Scott, Hirsi Ali, or Ashley Paramore over Skepchick.  And how about a non-white atheist or two?  Neil D. Tyson comes to mind.  Greydon Square, even.

  • Renshia

    Well I for one love them all even if I disagree with some of what they say or do. If they promote skepticism, stand on the side of reason and challenge prevailing beliefs. I say more power to them and lets keep the conversation going… 

  • techlady4160

    Three women? Seriously?

  • Renshia

    All the other women are in the lower level having a beer and discussing their tactics for world domination. Give them a break for Pete’s sake.

  • Reason_Being

    I wish there was more diversity represented on the cover as well.  However, I am happy that such an article was written.  It is true that we, and I mean all of us–of all sexes, races, ethnicities, etc, have a much larger voice than ever before.  It is nice to see that celebrated and it is encouraging for us all to continue blogging, commenting, writing, etc.

  • http://somewhatabnormal.blogspot.com/ Robert Oerter

    “They are ardently pro-science, descending like a phalanx of logic on
    creationists, homeopathic practitioners, faith healers, psychics,
    truthers, birthers, anti-vaccination crowds, and generally anyone else
    whose position isn’t supported by logic.”

    Except for Jesus mythicists… (*facepalm*)

  • J S Brown

    I’m surprised to see some of those people on a magazine cover. Either they don’t fit, or I didn’t realize their impact / celebrity.


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