Why Are Secular Skeptic Communities Failing To Address Sexual Crime? — My Latest for The Establishment

CN: Sexual assault

It’s no secret that Christianity has a history of mishandling sexual misconduct allegations. From the Catholic Church’s well-documented pattern of silencing child abuse victims, to evangelicals brushing aside allegations against both Roy Moore and Donald Trump, there’s a common theme that one should not touch God’s anointed, no matter what they do. One would think secular communities that promote skepticism — a method of determining truth where beliefs are questioned until sufficient evidence is presented — would do a better job of handling sexual misconduct allegations. Yet, a recent BuzzFeed article documenting the many sexual misconduct allegations against famous physicist Lawrence Krauss, taken with the attendant responses from the atheist community, demonstrate how even skeptics have a long way to go.

To be fair, several prominent atheist organizations and activists severed ties with Krauss shortly after the article’s publication. The American Humanist Association released a statement on March 9 saying they would no longer invite him to speak at any upcoming conferences, and they are considering rescinding his 2015 Humanist of the Year Award. The Center for Inquiry likewise announced that they were suspending their association with Krauss “pending further information,” as did evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne after doing his own investigation.

However, author Sam Harris, whose 2004 book The End of Faith first launched the so-called New Atheist movement, voiced his doubts about the accusations against Krauss on his “Waking Up” podcast, saying “there were many things obvious about [the BuzzFeed article] that suggested that we shouldn’t rush to accept all of these allegations,” and that he hoped Krauss “finds some way to redeem himself.”

Read the rest here.

Bi Any Means Podcast #146: The Trans Podcaster Visibility Initiative with Callie Wright and Marissa McCool

Today’s episode is the audio from an online panel discussion Callie Wright, Marissa McCool, and I did about the Trans Podcaster Visibility Initiative during last week’s online OrbitCon. OrbitCon was a three-day online conference organized by the bloggers at The Orbit featuring panels and talks livestreamed on YouTube about atheism and social justice. Benny Vimes introduced us and asked us a few audience questions near the end, but mostly it’s the three of us talking about what the Initiative does, as well as talk about trans visibility in the atheist movement.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #146: The Trans Podcaster Visibility Initiative with Callie Wright and Marissa McCool” on Spreaker.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via Stitcher

Subscribe via Spreaker

Support the show on Patreon

The Biskeptical Podcast #46: Scientific Racism and Atheist Movement Drama

On today’s episode, we’re going to first talk about the recent debate between Sam Harris and Vox writer Ezra Klein about Harris’ interview with Charles Murray, co-author of the infamous book The Bell Curve. We’ll talk about what both Harris and Murray got wrong, and go a little bit into the science behind intelligence and genetics. For the second half of the show, we’ll talk about how stress from all the atheist movement drama led me to a suicidal episode last week, and whether or not being part of the movement is worth it.

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #46: Scientific Racism and Atheist Movement Drama” on Spreaker.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via Spreaker

Subscribe via Stitcher

Support the show on Patreon

Bi Any Means Podcast #144: Atheism, Bisexuality, and Activism with Amanda Scott

My guest for today is Amanda Scott. She’s a fellow bisexual atheist activist whose first foray into activism was speaking out against having an “In God We Trust” display being installed in a Mobile, Alabama government building. She’s currently a Georgetown University student studying government and American history, and continues to put her humanist values into action through political activism. Today I have her own the show to talk about her story and her activism.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #144: Atheism, Bisexuality, and Activism with Amanda Scott” on Spreaker.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via Stitcher

Subscribe via Spreaker

Support the show on Patreon

The Atheist Movement’s Future — My Latest for Splice Today

CN: Sexual misconduct

I have a love/hate relationship with the atheist movement. On one hand, I’ve experienced more grace, fellowship, and healing among my close-knit group of atheist podcaster friends than in a church. On the other, many prominent atheist activists have either been outed as sexual predators or tried to deny any problems within the movement. The latter has only intensified with the recent BuzzFeed article detailing the sexual misconduct allegations against Lawrence Krauss. While some organizations, like the American Humanist Association and the Center for Inquiry, have cut ties with Krauss, others feel most prominent atheist activists aren’t doing enough to address this issue.

For example, Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist podcast, has received pushback for statements he made on social media regarding sexual misconduct in the atheist movement. While he did call Krauss’ behavior “inexcusable” in a Facebook post, he also referred to several friends of mine in the comment section as “extremists,” and claimed they believe in “a vast conspiracy of frontline male activists who don’t care about respect for and the safety of women.” One of these so-called extremists is Minnesota Atheist associate president Stephanie Zvan, who told me on my Bi Any Means podcast a few weeks ago about the history of prominent men in the atheist movement misusing skepticism as an excuse to not believe in women’s stories. While I’ve deliberately avoided online disputes with Andrews, I’m still disappointed at his poor response to those telling him misogyny in the atheist movement is a systematic problem.

The incidents involving Krauss and Andrews are just the latest examples in a long line of controversies—Elevatorgate, “Dear Muslima,” MythCon, etc.—that have stirred up heated debates about the atheist movement’s future. Some have left the movement altogether, some have formed smaller sub-communities, and others suggest the problematic elements of the movement are just a few bad apples. So where does the atheist movement go from here? Can the movement survive? If so, how?

Read the rest here.

The Biskeptical Podcast #45: NaNoCon ’18 Recap

Today on the show we take a break from the dumpster fire we’re all living in, and instead share our experiences attending NaNoCon a few weeks ago. We talk about our favorite sessions, all the cool people we met, and why you shouldn’t give me special Colorado chocolate.

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #45: NaNoCon ’18 Recap” on Spreaker.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via Spreaker

Subscribe via Stitcher

Support the show on Patreon

Bi Any Means Podcast #143: Going Godless with Max Tang

My guest for today is Max Tang. They were born and raised in a Chinese American Baptist church where they were taught that they must decrease while Christ must increase. After a four-year long process of deconstructing their faith in high school and a painful coming out process, Max is just now giving themself permission to be their true authentic self, and blogs about their experience at Max Goes Godless. Today I have them on the show to tell their story.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #143: Going Godless with Max Tang” on Spreaker.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via Stitcher

Subscribe via Spreaker

Support the show on Patreon

Bi Any Means Podcast #142: How to Avoid Activist Burnout—Live from NaNoCon ‘18

Today’s episode is my NaNoCon presentation “How to Avoid Activist Burnout.” The audio you are about to hear is the 20 minute opening talk and my closing words at the end. What you won’t hear is the discussion questions I asked the audience to discuss among themselves because I didn’t want to put people’s voices online without permission. But overall people said they enjoyed my workshop, and I hope you will do the same.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #142: How to Avoid Activist Burnout—Live from NaNoCon ‘18” on Spreaker.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via Stitcher

Subscribe via Spreaker

Support the show on Patreon

What Spirituality Looks Like For An Atheist — My Latest for Ravishly

When I was a Christian, I thought the biggest threat to society was secular humanism. All the preachers told me a life without God only leads to moral depravity, bleak nihilism, and Social Darwinism. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world,” the Bible told me, “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Eventually I did start testing God’s will, which is why I’m now an atheist.

I wanted to know if the unbelievers knew something I didn’t, so I began watching videos of Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Carl Sagan on YouTube to see what they had to say. It turns out the secular worldview was nothing like the preachers had described. In fact, I found more spirituality outside the church than I did within it.

There’s a lot of debate about whether one can be spiritual without religion, even among atheists. I can understand why because for many people, the word “spirit” in “spirituality” implies some sort of supernatural metaphysical soul that leaves the body at death. As someone who walks by sight and not faith, I, of course, don’t believe the soul exists because there’s no evidence that it does. However, some define spirituality as having a deep sense of awe and wonder about the universe, caring for one’s fellow human being, and maintaining inner peace. In that case, I am spiritual, because none of these require supernaturalism.

Read the rest here.

Bi Any Means Podcast #140: Secular Women Work with Stephanie Zvan

Returning to the show today is Stephanie Zvan. She’s helping put together the second Secular Women Work conference, which will be held in Minneapolis from August 24th to the 26th of this year. Today I have her back on the show to talk about the upcoming conference, plus how the mainstream atheist movement can create safer spaces for attendees in the wake of Lawrence Krauss.

As a head’s up, we will discuss rape and sexual misconduct in the atheist movement, so listener discretion is highly advised. But it’s a conversation that needs to be had besides just plugging awesome upcoming conferences.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #140: Secular Women Work with Stephanie Zvan” on Spreaker.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via Stitcher

Subscribe via Spreaker

Support the show on Patreon