From the archives: the vanguard fallacy and embattled purview

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I've stumbled on another great piece, this one by friend of the blog, Marcus Mann:A lot has been written lately on sexual assault and Islamophobia within organized atheism, and I’ll leave it to those better educated, well-versed and with more personal experience regarding those issues to comment on them. My point is more general and perhaps more obvious: a group that perpetuates the idea that they are being cornered, or that they are at war, or that disunity of voice portrays weakness which m … [Read more...]

From the archives: are we “getting” Islam?

More forgotten content from the archive, based on a comment by Sean Faircloth: It's worth noting that I largely agree with Faircloth here, but the small bit where we disagree matters a lot and largely colors our respective attitudes towards Islam. There's a subtle shift in Faircloth's language throughout the piece, and I think this is rather emblematic of this difference. Faircloth says: If liberals can – with great vitriol – condemn the Christian Right (as they do constantly), then liberals ca … [Read more...]

From the archives: Humanism as community, not philosophy

Another post I stumbled on and liked: I think Humanism works best as a community label, not a philosophical label. It strikes me as a potentially effective banner for political organization and social action, rather than a description of specific moral commitments. Otherwise, if we entangle Humanism with, say consequentialism, what of sympathetic members like me who might have strong consequentialist tendencies but ultimately lean Kantian? We can try to convince each other out of bad moral … [Read more...]

Remember when Sam Harris said religion was worse than rape?

There have been some issues on Patheos involving image use and attribution. Now that NPS is on Patheos, what images we're allowed to use is different---we generate (very, very modest) ad revenue, so we can't use images that are for noncommercial use only. This means I've been going through all of our old posts that well predate me to make sure we're all good in that department (because if we get sued then it's me, not Patheos, that is fucked).The upside, though, is that I've been finding some … [Read more...]

From the archives: the case for affirmation and accommodation

Philippa Feet haha get it?

NonProphet Status goes much further back than my involvement. I've been looking through our archives and stumbled on this great piece by Andrew Lovley. It seems like the accommodationist debate has popped back up in recent months, and this is a thoughtful and relevant take to add to return to:Generally speaking, the attitudes that shape the interactions between atheists and theists are characterized by mistrust, mockery, and vilification. Yet these attitudes do nothing to further our cause … [Read more...]

Is atheism about Civil Rights?

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My latest for The Daily Beast went up yesterday. Is atheism about Civil Rights? In part because of horrors that atheists experience in the rest of the world, and in part because of gross abuses experienced by other minorities in the West, I tend to roll my eyes at rhetoric often used by the public faces of atheism in America. My close friend Chris Stedman has catalogued a few examples: according to Bill Maher of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, atheism is the new gay marriage; Todd Stiefel, a pr … [Read more...]

Happy Good Friday

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Psychology is complicated and other reasons anti-theism doesn’t work

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Because I've been working on a paper where this is relevant and it's fresh in my mind, let me start with an illustrative example (which you can probably skip past the line-break if you're lazy). I don't talk about this very often, but I work with Dan Ariely at Duke University, which is fucking dope because Dan Ariely is fucking dope and my lab is smart and great and we work on awesome projects. I try to avoid wearing I-work-for-Dan-Ariely on my sleeve because it's not (usually) relevant to this b … [Read more...]

Why men don’t touch each other anymore

via the art of manliness

I've been thinking about friendship and male intimacy for a few years now, prompted by a talk I saw as an undergrad and further developed by reading Catholic writers like Patheos's Leah Libresco and Eve Tushnet (I've always liked to read Catholic writing on friendship; I suspect it's because they trace their views through Aquinas to Aristotle, but this is admittedly a bit outside my expertise). My latest for The Daily Beast on the topic went up this morning. Men don’t touch each other anymore, a … [Read more...]

The CNN atheist special covered American Atheists more than atheism in America

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Last night, two friends and I watched the CNN atheist special, and I spent from about 10-2 AM writing up my thoughts. They went up this morning at The Daily Beast:  One couldn’t help walking away from the program with the sense that atheists are a roughly unified group. They might have a lot of different labels, but they’re alike in what matters. Phillips spoke with Greg Epstein, a humanist chaplain at Harvard and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Good Without God, and when she aske … [Read more...]


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