1. says

    How big is that paper? This article is even more straightforward than the one in Texas the other day (which was kinda surprised that atheists do not have horns).

  2. says

    Ha, of course it’s in the St. Pete Times (one of the most dangerous US newspapers according to O’Reilly). The first part of the story mentions the weekly USF Bull Market held each week…I’ll have to stop by tomorrow and shake his hand.

  3. says

    Wow! A sensibly written article about an atheist, done without the usual apologetics or restrained disdain. I wish I could say it felt like the turning of the tide or something, seeing pieces like this, but I am so bloody skeptical nowadays.

    Still, perhaps we are beginning to see something of a turnaround, culturally, here in the states. Even if a few articles do not a pendulum swing imply, it is (I think) fair to say that Americans tend to tie things together into convenient societal bundles, and if the (so-called) president and his agenda are fairing so poorly then it’s possible that those who hitched their wagons to his star will follow him into the ignominious ditch.

    Hang in there.

  4. David Wilford says

    The St. Petersburg Times is a good paper, even in its dead tree form that I like to read when I visit my parents in Florida. Another underrated paper is the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. We should be thankful for all those old farts in Florida who still like to read the news.

    As an aside, I was surprised when on my last visit I found my parents liked to watch Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and the Colbert Report nearly every night. Not that I didn’t know my parents political opinions, but I had now idea they’d gotten so hip in their old age!

  5. lt.kizhe says

    Good article, except for the line about “…Young began to form his own dogma”. No: atheism is not a dogma in the religious sense of “true by definition, not open to question” — at least, not for me and a lot of atheists I know (though there are always exceptions). Putting it that way plays into the “atheism is just another religion” canard.

  6. says

    I’ve reprinted this article and the recent one from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ( ) and I’m going to give them to the religion reporter at my local paper, to urge him to do a similar story on atheists, on the religion page. Maybe with a couple of suggested themes, like “The Atheist Next Door,” or “How Non-Religious Parents Teach Morality.”

    I’d urge any and all of you to do the same.

    Based on my experience with the young people I’ve talked to, a fairly high percentage are receptive to the idea that there are no such things as gods, and that life’s answers are somewhere other than in religion.

    A couple of the kids I’ve met have even been eager to meet and talk to an atheist — they’d worked out most of it on their own already, it was just that they were afraid to share their thoughts with any of the goddy people around them. Finding someone to talk to was both a relief and a reinforcement of their own conclusions.

    I have this feeling that there’s a huge reservoir of potentially reasonable, humanistic, atheistic young people out there, unformed and untapped, and lacking only the smallest trigger to get them turning off religion, in public and in large numbers.

    That would be an extraordinarily GOOD thing. Atheists and agnostics have been historically quiet and inoffensive, and godders have been brainlessly aggressive, and after a few thousand years, don’t we all think it’s about frickin’ time things CHANGED?

  7. Dumb Biologist says

    Heh. First time posting here. Love the blog, btw!

    I’m always astonished by stories about erstwhile religionists who abandoned their faith for some purportedly rational reason. When I look at myself, I’d like to think I lack belief in the supernatural because of my incredible intellectual superiority, but the fact of the matter is the stuff just never made much of an impression on me. I can’t really remember the time when I believed any of it (and attempts, albeit stoicly half-hearted, were made to raise me in the Catholic faith). It’s like trying to remember when I couldn’t read. I’m not certain I had a choice in the matter, really, and now I’m simply immune.

    Meanwhile, I’ve got relatives of my in-laws who are some serious Bible-thumpers, and after having been cornered at various gatherings by about five of them, and being forced to debate them on subjects dear to their blessed hearts (a thorougly unpleasant experience), I am convinced these people could never stop believing in God, no matter what evidence (or lack thereof) they are presented with. Even more strange, when a couple black sheep have strayed from the straight-and-narrow path defined by traditional protestant Christianity, instead of adopting a more secular world-view, they’ve delved wholeheartedly into the most outlandish New Age mysticism I’ve ever encountered in a real-life human being. They deeply pondered the paradoxes of Christianity, found it to be lacking, and became hard-core Woo-Woos instead. The absence of the supernatural never occurred to them. Not once. They feel it, so they say, as surely as I feel the warmth of the Sun.

    This “spiritual heterogeneity”, if you will, keeps me up at night sometimes. WHY are we so different? What on Earth makes these people tick? What makes ME tick?

    It’s nice to see some folks are so truly malleable and rational, but I wonder how many of us really are.

  8. poke says

    I’m not sure how this is good PR. The point of the article seems to be that he’s still a religious zealot. The obvious line being: “Young began to form his own dogma.” But also the part about “more fire and brimstone” appears to be referring to Young’s characterisation of the situation with the religious right rather than the religious right itself. The quotes being examples of his atheistic “fire and brimstone.”

  9. says

    I think that there is a need for atheist celebrities communicating their views to regular people. People would then see that being an atheist is not so bad and would have curiosity about atheism. A good start

  10. says

    You guys seems someone ill-informed about the Tampa area. My parents went to USF, and I went to New College in Sarasota (likely the most liberal place on Earth no joke) which are both (IMHO) much more progressive than my current home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And THAT’s truly saying something! Florida as a whole (the full-time residents at least) is rather atheist/liberal especially in comparison to the rest of the South….its just those pesky snowbirds seem to have a penchant for voting Republican and generally overshadowing anything that resembles progressive social policy. Don’t be so quick on the trigger PZ! ;)

  11. spencer says

    The St Pete Times is generally a good, sensible paper – before clicking on the link, I figured it’d probably go to a Times page. It’s really the only newspaper in this state that might print something good about atheists.

    Now, the odious Tampa Tribune, on the other hand . . . well, the less said about them, the better.

    But I gotta disagree with Shelley above – I’m in grad school at USF right now, and it is by no means a liberal place. Tampa in general is pretty conservative, with some outposts of common sense here and there. And the New College campus may be the most liberal place on earth, but once you set foot in Sarasota itself . . . different story. Very different story – remember, Sarasota is the biggest city in the district that elected Katherine Harris to Congress.