That’s embarrassing

In writing the earlier post about the Freedom From Religions Foundation’s lawsuit, I happened to browse their site and looked up the Honorary Board of that organization and came across this photograph of them, along with their names: Jerry Coyne, Robin Morgan, Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Ernie Harburg, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Susan Jacoby, Mike Newdow, Katha Pollitt, Steven Pinker, Ron Reagan, Oliver Sacks, M.D., Robert Sapolsky, Edward Sorel, and Julia Sweeney.


The order of the names did not correspond to the order of the photographs so I tried to match them. I was embarrassed to find that while I could easily identify nearly all the men (except for Edward Sorel and Ernie Harburg, though I think I can guess the former), the only two women I could identify were Katha Pollitt and Julia Sweeney. Although I have heard of and read Susan Jacoby, I do not know what she looks like. I had not even heard of the other three women, while the only unfamiliar male name was Harburg’s.

What this suggests to me is that women atheists are not given nearly as much prominence as the men and that I really should become more familiar with the writings of a wider and more diverse spectrum of atheists.

Anyone able to identify the entire set?


  1. Scr... Archivist says

    I only recognized four of them, two men and two woman. And while Ron Reagan looked so very familiar I couldn’t figure out why until you mentioned the name.

    I was able to recognize Rebecca Goldstein because some FTB bloggers wrote about her this past May. She spoke at Women in Secularism 2, and Ophelia, Jason, and Miri wrote about her presentation, the latter two liveblogging it. You can find video here:

  2. mattyarbrough says

    I did worse (better?) than you, as the only ones whose faces I recognize are Dawkins and Sweeney. I recognize all the names except Harburg.

  3. lpetrich says

    Here’s who I recognize, in order in the picture:

    ?, Richard Dawkins, Rebecca Goldstein, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Daniel Dennett, Katha Pollitt, Steven Pinker, Jerry Coyne

    ?, ?, ?, ?, Robert Sapolsky, ?, Susan Jacoby, ?

  4. says

    Ron Reagan, Richard Dawkins, Rebecca Goldstein, Julia Sweeney, Daniel Dennett, Katha Pollitt, Steven Pinker, Jerry Coyne

    Oliver Sacks, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Edward Sorel, Mike Newdow, Robert Sapolsky, Ernie Harburg, Susan Jacoby, Robin Morgan

  5. Kevin Schelley says

    Not that this is super surprising, but I’m noticing that the board has no obvious people of color.

  6. sosw says

    It seems the only one under 70 years old I immediately recognized is Pinker.

    Of course my original familiarity with those I could name easily (Dawkins/Dennet/Pinker/Sacks) is from documentaries from the 90s unrelated to atheism. The others I’d first heard of much more recently, and rarely with associated pictures/video. Still, after checking Jörg’s list, I certainly felt “I should’ve remembered” quite a few times…

  7. nathanaelnerode says

    Dawkins is apparently the only one I’ve ever seen a photograph of. And I think I only matched him up because it seems to be exactly the same publicity photograph I saw.

    I could have sworn I’d seen a photograph of Pinker, on one of his book cover jackets, but I can’t pick him out of the rows of pictures at all.

  8. Ant (@antallan) says

    Goldstein is Pinker’s wife. Among many other things (which I haven’t read), she has written the novel, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God.


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