4 Hardworking Atheists You Will Love

Steven here…

I am putting this together while at the Kansas City Regional Atheist Meeting, so this week’s post will be a little shorter than usual. One of the lovely things about events like this is how invested the attendees and organizers are in this movement. This is something we should all be striving for. In that vein, here are a few people who are fighting the good fight and doing so with everything they have.


1. Bridget Gaudette

The atheist movement has a lot of advantages. We have the scientists, we own the Internet and we’re winning the debate about gods with young people. But we have some weaknesses too, like the fact that women are underrepresented. Both in our speakers bureaus of our conferences and in the audiences of those same conferences. This is improving, but only because smart and dedicated people are working to change it.

Bridget founded Secular Woman with Kim Rippers and Mary Ellen Sikes in June of 2012 to “amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women.” In her time with Secular Woman, Bridget was the Vice President of Outreach and took the lead with their newsletter, BLASfemme, and their 2013 calendar, Atheists Breaking Through: The Reveal.

Bridget does more than amplify the voices of atheist women, she also has an impressive voice in her own right. She writes on EmilyHasBooks about subjects such as church/state separation, equal rights and most notably the issues facing black atheists. As atheists we deal with religious privilege all the time, but it can feel like a kick in the teeth to see what it’s like to deal with more levels of discrimination at work all at once. More than a little depressing actually. But Bridget herself is a shining example of why it’s worth it to care about more than just the white, male atheists. If we don’t reach out to minorities, we ignore a treasure trove of talent.

Since stepping down from Secular Woman, Bridget has dedicated her energy to volunteering for the Foundation Beyond Belief and doing administrative work for the United Coalition of Reason.

2. Emily Dietle

You can’t mention EmilyHasBooks without highlighting the eponymous writer who started it all. My first interaction with Emily was when we were both quoted by the Springfield News-Leader regarding our take on the owner of GelatoMio’s exclusion of the mostly atheist attendees of Skepticon from his business because he is a Christian.

I met Emily in person at last year’s Reasonfest and was very impressed with her. She is extremely intelligent, thoughtful and adept at the use of social media. She has a good eye for talent as well, and was smart enough to populate her blog with other great writers like Zach Lorentz, Homer Carroll, HypoChristi along with Bridget Gaudette. If you’re any good, you can apply to be a contributor yourself.

She has been a guest writer on Martin Pribble’s blog, a guest on The Angry Atheist, spotlighted on the aforementioned Secular Woman, posed for Nude Photo Revolutionary and has written book reviews on The Friendly Atheist. Oh yeah, she’s really fun to follow on that bird-thing too.

3. James Foutch

Back when I was the president of the Springfield Freethinkers, James was one of the people who stepped up to become an officer and help me herd cats. And the man is damn good at it. He took over the Skeptics in the Pub meetup I had been running and my fears about the meetup not flourishing in my absence were abated immediately.

James is a extremely valuable asset to freethought organizations, but he also is a powerful blogger whose words should be read by far more people. Social Context deals with atheism, politics, social justice and the areas where these subjects meet. One of my favorite recent entries is The Myth of the Ice Cream Social dealing with criticism of Atheism+. Subscribe to his blog or follow him on Twitter and it’s very likely he will make you think about a subject you’ve taken for granted in a new way.

He’s also a grad student looking at ways to study atheists as a social movement. This is in the preliminary stages of planning now, but he will need help on this in the future so shoot him an email at digitaldrake at gmail if you’d like to help out.

4. Alan Melikdjanian

Captain Disillusion is some kind of cyborg from the future or something who deconstructs and debunks viral Youtube videos. And his creator is Alan Melikdjanian.

The Internet has given skeptics a myriad of tools that we can use to address truth claims and to persuade people. Sadly, purveyors of woo have also managed to utilize these tools. As a result there is a brand new genre of nonsense that is native to Youtube. The Captain Disillusion videos tackle everything from viral marketing campaigns to extra-terrestrial pareidolia. Here is one featuring a needy, omnipotent control freak…damn, that sounds familiar for some reason.

Alan is also an accomplished visual effects artist and independent filmmaker having directed Citizen Mavzik and The Realm. Captain Disillusion’s closing line is one that should resonate with fans of WWJTD: “Love with your heart, but use your head for everything else.”

If you have someone you’d like me to mention, just send an email telling me who they are, what they do and how to contact them to geekysteven at gmail.

I write a lot of jokes. Some of them are in this book.
I also host the podcast of the Skepchick events team, Some Assembly Required, and cohost the WWJTD Podcast.
You can also follow me on Facebook or that bird thing.

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