How Not to Teach Children Critical Thinking

I found this series of comments on a post I wrote about atheist parenting a couple of weeks ago very interesting and thought provoking: Two Pi Man: [I]t's about allow[ing] other people to make their own choices and respecting their decisions if they make different ones. And for children, yes absolutely it's about passing on critical thinking skills so they can evaluate philosophies & religions for themselves. Teaching, for example, that "homeopathy is bad" as an article of faith, just … [Read more...]


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We Prosecute People for Actions, Not Beliefs

About a month ago, a blog post by Terry Firma titled "The Dishonesty of Some of Sam Harris’ Foes (Who Clearly Know Better But Smear Him Anyway)" went up on the Friendly Atheist. In it, Terry explained that some of Harris's opponents had been tweeting a specific quote from one of Harris's books and labeling him a "genocidal fascist maniac." Here is the quote: “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.” According to Terry, Harris's opponen … [Read more...]


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Science, Privilege, and Power

Organized atheism has a love affair with science. It's not just that science offers explanations for things that have often been explained supernaturally, it also provides many atheists with a sense of awe. But it's something more than that, too. For some, science seems to replace religion. I've had atheists tell me, for example, that science will show us the way forward, let us know how to live, and give us solutions to the world's problems---never mind that, as I have pointed out, science does … [Read more...]


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Why I Won’t Teach My Children That Religion Is Nonsense

I was raised an evangelical Christian. I went through a time of questioning while in college and I ultimately found myself an atheist. The hardest part of my deconversion was the way my parents treated me as a result. My parents could not say “We disagree with you and think you are wrong, but you are entitled to your own beliefs and we respect that.” Instead, my entire relationship with my parents imploded over their belief that their beliefs and their beliefs alone were acceptable. In other wor … [Read more...]


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“God” and the Borders of Belonging

Several weeks ago, five-year-old Sally spent a great deal of time making something for her teacher and then left it at home on accident. When I noticed she had left it, I took it to the school to give it to her. The busses had only just dropped the children off, and when I reached Sally's classroom students were still coming in, putting their lunch containers on the shelf and taking off their jackets. As I left the school after giving Sally the gift she had made, the school's intercom came on … [Read more...]


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Atheism and Me

An atheist friend of mine recently said that any time I blog about atheism, it is to badtalk it. I laughed and pointed out that I myself am an atheist, and he reminded me that being female does not guarantee one is not sexist. This is true. But in this case, I think what's going on is a bit more complicated.When I say I am an atheist I mean that I do not believe in God. We often talk about the "atheist movement," or online atheism, or New Atheists, but it's important to remember that most at … [Read more...]


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When Your Atheism Is Really about Attacking Minorities

Minneapolis, Minnesota, is home to at tens of thousands of Somali immigrants, the largest concentration of Somali immigrants in the country. The community was largely formed by the result of refugees from Somalia's civil wars. Relatively new immigrants with few preexisting networks, some 82% of Somalis in Minnesota live near or below the poverty level. They frequently have low levels of education, and have faced challenges integrating into American society made worse by the surge of Islamophobia … [Read more...]


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