The Atheist Movement… Post-Reason Rally

Dave Silverman, the president of American Atheists, gave a talk at the 2012 Secular Student Alliance conference answering the question: “Now what?” This was shortly after the Reason Rally and Silverman was telling the crowd what the Rally accomplished and where we can/should go from here:

As always, leave the timestamps of your favorite moments and the summaries in the comments!

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.

  • ConureDelSol

    …so can we have another Reason Rally?  I missed this last one…

  • Mike Brownstein

    Dave Silverman needs to learn how to interpret polling data before I will take him seriously again.

    No preferences does not count as no. No preference means that someone could still hold a religious belief but not express it in a traditional avenue.

  • Ruyler

    I don’t want to speak for him, but what I get from him is that people who hold a religious belief but not express it in a traditional avenue are atheists in his eyes.  They just haven’t fully accepted it yet.  I’m just saying I think David understands that no preference doesn’t mean no, but to him it might as well.

  • Dave Anderson

    Which brings up the $64,000 question;
    Why haven’t “they fully accepted it yet?”
    How much of this is due to religious propaganda? and
    How much of this is due to atheists who are NOT friendly?

    How many atheists here have been told by Christians that
    “inside, they really know there is a God.” (Rather arrogant, right?)
    Is a good response to tell them
    “inside, they really know there isn’t!”?

  • Ruyler

    I don’t not accept God because people tell me that I really know he’s real, so I don’t think that us telling people they know he isn’t real is what’s stopping them from accepting it.  But it prolly doesn’t help much in getting them to accept it.  idk I wish I knew how to get them to accept it.  Just takes time and constant criticism in my experience with my friends

  • Ubi Dubium

    Sure, but odds are pretty good that most of the “no religious preference” group will be people who do not appreciate the agenda of the religious right.  People who won’t be voting based on how much a candidate trumpets their religious affiliation.  People who are more likely to support the separation of church and state.  They might not all be atheists but they are our natural allies.

  • Arthur Byrne

    My suspicion is that such people tend to have lower self-confidence (correlated with tending lower SDO); the expressed confidence from the religious propoganda may tend to leave them less willing to commit. It may also involve a larger fraction of people who don’t considered religion particularly important one way or the other. The more aggressive atheists seem likely to more influence the former toward atheism, and unlikely to impact the latter either way.

    For the “inside” issue, you might bring up the data in Altemeyer and Hunsberger’s “Atheists” study, where the empirical data suggest
    only perhaps one in twenty atheists tend to have secret doubts but circa one in three of the religious do, which implies that the assertion thus is more likely to be come as an attempt at self-reassurance over their own doubts than it is to be correct about a particular atheist. “It’s empirically six times more often the other way around” is a hair less directly confrontational.

    The more confrontational approach seems more likely to trigger anger that overwhelms reflective consideration. The “angry atheist” stereotype leaves such confrontational behavior unsurprising. Trying to trigger curiosity seems preferable for encouraging rational thought; the tinge of shame at the implication of dishonesty may also provide a more reflexive motive.

  • Robin Lionheart

    If you can find the Reason Rally DVD somewhere, you can still watch it.

  • Arthur Byrne

    The GSS hints the Atheist/Agnostic/Nonparticular ratios may be relatively constant fractions within the wider “Nones”; so, the data on the Nones are somewhat penumbral, with growth in the larger suggesting proportional growth in the smaller. The 2012 Georgetown/PRRI study indicates there may be an anomaly on that with the Millenials, however; the Atheists and Agnostic levels each spiked, both absolutely and relative within the Nones.

  • Rob U

    Was anyone else disappointed by the Reason Rally like I was?

    It was, reportedly, the largest gathering of Atheists / Skepitcs in North America and there was no official live stream.  No professionally done video put up on Youtube just after the speeches.  Not even an official video done a few days after the event.

    There was nothing.

    Sure, if you scoured the net you could find a few crappy cell phone cams taken by someone a 1,000 feet from the stage or another person attempting to live blog it with grainy cell pics.

    But there was no “official” presence.  Even student run conferences, which are limited on funds and people, manage to put up videos of the event a few days afterward.  This was a large, well funded, event that was supposed to polarize atheists into action – why was I left feeling so disconnected and uninvolved?

    I went from being excited about it to being so incredibly underwhelmed, it was even more distressing when news came out that it wouldn’t be an annual event  - there was no opportunity for the organizers to correct the mistakes made from this one.

    Sure they released a DVD, unfortunately its some limited edition thing that cost a small fortune to buy.

    All in all I just felt so “meh” about the whole thing, it was supposed to jazz me up and make me feel a part of the larger community and it ended up just being a really cool party in Washington for the select few who could actually afford to go.

  • Franklin Bacon

    Mom!, the atheists are  arguing again!  This time it’s about who’s more secular than Thou. 

    In my locale, 47% of the county population were found to be “unclaimed” according to a local poll.  This means they are not members of any church and are basically living a secular lifestyle and choosing their lifestyles independent of church influence.  How much more could we ask?

  • Robin Lionheart

    Yeah, obtaining a legal copy of the DVD would be difficult, since it was a limited edition no longer on sale from the event website.

  • debbie

    Merry Christmas  & may God Bless each & everyone of you. I know he understands what you are trying to do ,I know my grandchildren couldnt put on a christmas play @ their school this year because it might affend someone,BUT YOU KNOW THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON CHRISTIANTY LONG BEFORE YOU WERE BORN OR CAME TO THIS COUNTRY. MY ANCESTORS  FOUGHT TO HELP MAKE THIS COUNTRY GREAT& WITH THAT ONE NATION UNDER GOD INDIVISABLE WITH LIBERTY&JUSTICE FOR ALL and most important its in  god we trust  thats what our flag represents