Oh, they didn’t…


CNN has followed up on their documentary about atheists with a set of interviews. The money quote:

The biggest misconception about atheism is that atheists are a just a bunch of angry white men who want to destroy religion and who don’t have high opinions of most religious people. A relative handful of atheists fit that description, and they make a lot of noise, but that’s not representative of atheists.

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Icelanders are awesome


It’s not just because they are lucky enough to live in one of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet. It’s also because they’re great model organisms, guinea pigs — the zebrafish of humanity. They represent a small, isolated population with a well-documented history and excellent medical records, so they’re just the people you might want to do in-depth genetic studies on.

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Good news from Barna

They’ve released their latest analysis of the demographics of American ‘skeptics’ (they use the word “skeptic” to refer to the combined group of atheists and agnostics). It’s a somewhat confusing report, because they insist on looking at us through the lens of religion — we’re “unchurched”, they use a set of metrics designed for assessing the religious, they refer to Christian and “post-Christian”, and other annoyingly pointless divisions that only matter to Christians), but in all the clutter, there was something that stood out.

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How not to build a coalition

I’m beginning to think that one of the big problems facing atheists is … incompetence. A representative from the Secular Policy Institute approached another organization and tried to convince them they ought to sign up with SPI. In the back and forth that followed after the organization expressed their lack of interest, the representative said a few things.

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I’m happy to be a member of the “SJW Glittery hoo ha crowd”

Some guy named William Lehman has written an essay, Destroy the myth, destroy the culture, that starts off with a reasonable premise and then goes totally off the rails, in an entertainingly oblivious way, and as it’s crashing, invents a new label: the “SJW Glittery hoo ha crowd”. I love it, even though I don’t have a hoo ha, glittery or otherwise. I’m still happy to be associated with glittery hoo has fighting for social justice.

Anyway, the part I agree with is the importance of foundational myths to a culture — we need aspirational ideas, and something to give us a worthy cause. Where Lehman goes wrong is that he identifies with science fiction culture, and proceeds to regale us with a completely nonsensical vision of our foundational myths. Read and be astounded.

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Hectored by an NDE kook

Yesterday, I was rudely confronted on Twitter by a fellow going by the moniker @DConRadiolo who was insistent that he had proof of Near Death Experiences (NDEs). I have no problem believing that people near death have experiences, but I do find it improbable that they represent minds existing outside the body. But this guy was adamant that Life Reviews are “the holy grail of NDEs” and prove that there is something miraculous going on.

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