Feedback for American Atheists

So I kept reading the transcript of the chat room during yesterday’s “Brave Hero” radio show. I know. I know. But that sort of thing is hard to look away from once you’ve looked, like any traffic disaster.

I found something I wasn’t expecting.

DaveMuscato: Hey folks, I just wanted to mention that I’m here (Public Relations Director for American Atheists). I did not catch Dave on the air but I caught some of the calls at  the end. I’m happy to do what I can do listen to your feedback if you

DaveMuscato: have something you want me or Dave to know

Color me impressed.

So what did Dave and Dave get for feedback? It’s a bit hard to tell, because PZ was also in the chat room at the time having all sort of accusations thrown at him. Here are the bits I think were probably meant for American Atheists. Continue reading “Feedback for American Atheists”

Feedback for American Atheists

For the Movement!

By now, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard a bit about Dave Silverman’s appearance on Vacula’s “Brave Hero” show last night. If you want to see how “Brave Hero” fans took what Dave had to say, there’s a transcript of the chat room available.

If you look at the transcript, you’ll find that they start well before the show, by listening to the interview I did with Dave for Atheists Talk a couple of weeks ago. I grabbed the relevant bits of transcript here. The punchline comes at the end. Continue reading “For the Movement!”

For the Movement!

Saturday Storytime: The Brides of Heaven

N. K. Jemisin has been featured on this blog before, but today I feel like featuring her again. No particular reason.

No one realized the extent of Dihya’s madness until she was caught sabotaging the water supply. Even then the madness was difficult to see as she sat in Ayan’s office with her hands tied and her headscarf still askew from the struggle. She did not wrap her arms around herself and rock back and forth. She did not talk or weep incessantly, or fidget. Indeed, Ayan observed, to judge by her calm demeanor and the odd little smile on her face, Dihya might have been saner than any woman in the colony. This irritated Ayan to no end.

“You never attend the evening storytellings,” Dihya said. She had kept her silence up to that point. “Why not? Don’t you like tales?”

“Only true ones,” Ayan replied. “For example, the tale of why you broke into the purification facility.”

“To save us.”

“I cannot see how it saves anyone to be robbed of our only source of clean water.”

Dihya shrugged. “What good is water, to us?”


“Water makes no difference. Illiyin is covered in life. Everything grows on this planet except us.”

Ayan leaned her elbows on the arms of her chair and steepled her fingers. “And that very fertility is why we purify the water, Dihya, and take other precautions. But then, you would know better than I how dangerous this world can be.”

Dihya flinched, her smile fading at last, and some of Ayan’s irritation turned to shame. She had meant only that Dihya was the colony’s sole xenobiologist, but her words inadvertently recalled Dihya’s son Aytarel, who had been the first of the children to die on Illiyin. Ayan had seen Aytarel when they’d found him, after he’d slipped out of the house to play in a disused area of the colony compound. Animals had been at the corpse, but the greater desecration lay in the contaminated puddle-water he’d drunk, and the microscopic worms in it. They had not stayed microscopic.

Dihya’s eyes turned inward. Seeing Aytarel, perhaps. “Death holds no fear for the faithful,” she murmured. But abruptly her expression hardened. “At least, not when the dead are respected.”

Ayan shifted in her seat. “Cremation was the only way to contain the organisms, Dihya. They had already destroyed the body.”

You destroyed the body.” Dihya’s lip curled. “But I expected nothing better from a woman like you. You pray, you recite the hadith when it suits you, but you have no true faith. You ignore tradition–”

“Tradition?” Ayan uttered a single bitter chuckle. “Tradition is the cause of our troubles, as far as I’m concerned.” Then she shook her head, rejecting that notion. It was not tradition itself that she blamed, but the decision to appease a few zealots in tradition’s name.

“Were you so eager to expose yourself to strange men?” Dihya raked her a contemptuous glare, her eyes settling last on Ayan’s unveiled head. “I see. No faith and no modesty.”

“It was coldsleep, Dihya. Even the most proper woman would find it difficult to feel immodest in a coma.” And only the most self-righteous woman, she almost added, would continue to veil when there was no one left to veil for. But to say such a thing would touch on a point of pain that no woman in the colony acknowledged if she could help it.

Abruptly she realized she had allowed Dihya to distract her. “Enough. Why did you do this?”

Keep reading.

Saturday Storytime: The Brides of Heaven

A Crisis of Professionalism

That is what the secular and skeptics movements face right now: a crisis of professionalism. We’re not the only ones, of course. The gaming industry faces one. The industry of science fiction and fantasy publishing is facing one. Several disciplines of science face them.

What we all have in common is that we used to be relatively exclusive clubs. As the world in which we exist has grown, we can’t be that anymore, not if we want to thrive, possibly even not if we want to survive. We have to change.

We are relatively young movements, at least from where I sit here in the U.S. We’ve barely grown past the point where a few charismatic figures have an idea or two about what we should do and convince others around them that this is a good idea. We even still have some of those leaders in place. Paul Kurtz we only lost last year, though his leadership role had been sharply curtailed for a few years before that.

Charismatic leaders like Kurtz and O’Hair can start a movement , but they leave particular marks when they do. Continue reading “A Crisis of Professionalism”

A Crisis of Professionalism

"Mr. Paul Aints and Regional Atheist Conference" on Atheists Talk

The first half of this Sunday’s program, we will be joined by Scott Bush, Saint Paul Saints (Mr. Paul Aints) Assistant General Manager and talk about A Night of Unbelievable Fun, The Second Coming. This will the second Mr. Paul Aints game sponsored by Minnesota Atheists, on , Friday August 9, 2013. While this is also a baseball game, it is really a means for friends, family and neighbors to get together and enjoy each other’s company and forget about the hassles of life for an evening.

The Saints or Aints offer parking-lot tailgating before the game, then perhaps one of the only ballgames one might go to the bathroom during the game so as to watch the between-innings entertainment and after fireworks. Aints custom merchandise is available, including an auction of the players jerseys and family-friendly entertainment for an evening. It will be a memorable and unbelievable event!

Saturday, August 10, will be a one-day Regional Atheist Conference, featuring Susan Jacoby, author of several books, including Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, The Age of American Unreason and The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought. Other speakers include Greta Christina, Hector Avalos, Amanda Knief and PZ Myers. We will have interactive workshops and breakout sessions highlighted at the end of the day with an all-star panel.

Join Eric Jayne, Steve Petersen and Stephanie Zvan this Sunday morning as we talk about the game and conference.

Related Links:

Listen to AM 950 KTNF this Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call in to the studio at 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail to [email protected] during the live show. If you miss the live show, listen to the podcast later.

Follow Atheists Talk on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates. If you like the show, consider supporting us with a one-time or sustaining donation.

"Mr. Paul Aints and Regional Atheist Conference" on Atheists Talk

Republican Legislator Demonstrates "Men's Brains" Bad at Science and Math

Yesterday, Maine’s house of representatives voted on whether to accept money from the federal government for the Medicaid expansion provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Before they did so, House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, representing a chunk of Penobscot County, had this justification to give for not wanting the money (transcript follows). Continue reading “Republican Legislator Demonstrates "Men's Brains" Bad at Science and Math”

Republican Legislator Demonstrates "Men's Brains" Bad at Science and Math

Just a Few Loud Voices

This is a long post. It’s a very, very long post.

There’s this meme going around that it’s really just a handful of noisy bloggers who are talking about sexism in the secular and skeptical movements. So I took about a dozen threads where I’d seen women in these movements talk about the sexism and harassment they’d experienced and observed and often how that affected what places in these movements, online and off, in which they were willing to participate. I grabbed the relevant excerpts of those comments to put in one place.

This is a very, very long post, with roughly 90 women represented.

What it is not is comprehensive. It is, however, a good start at answering that little meme. Continue reading “Just a Few Loud Voices”

Just a Few Loud Voices

Nontheist Chaplains Coming to a Vote

From the Secular Coalition for America:

Tell the House: Respect Nontheistic
Military Service Members

We just learned that an amendment crucial to our nontheistic service men and women is getting a second chance. We need your help once more!

Thursday morning, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on an amendment that would allow nontheistic chaplains in the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces. The amendment to H.R. 1960—which would fund the military for fiscal year 2014—is crucial to the roughly 23 percent of men and women in the armed services who are religiously unaffiliated “nones” or atheists.

Although it fell short of the votes needed to pass the House Armed Services Committee, your overwhelming response was heard throughout Congress’ halls. With more co-sponsors and more support, the amendment will be introduced once more, this time for consideration by the full House.

Why are chaplains so important to nontheistic service members? Why don’t they just talk to a psychiatrist or counselor? The answers may surprise you:

  • Military psychiatrists and counselors are an inadequate substitution for chaplains because information discussed in sessions with a counselor or a psychiatrist can be shared with military personnel and possibly harm a service member’s future military career.
  • The chaplain-patient relationship enjoys more confidentiality then the psychiatrist or counselor relationship does.
  • Studies indicate that service men and women fail to seek the needed help from psychiatrists and counselors because of the stigma that doing so makes them weak.

Our nontheistic service members sacrifice for all of us daily—now they need you to sacrifice just a minute of your time to write your representative and urge them to support this amendment.

The vote is THURSDAY morning – write your representative NOW!


Edwina Rogers,
Executive Director

The SCA is making this one easy. Click here to contact your representative.

Nontheist Chaplains Coming to a Vote

Blogging Isn't Activism

Yesterday, I tweeted a link to Miri’s open letter to CFI from Women in Secularism and got this response:

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I hazarded a couple of guesses, of the sort that fit in a tweet:

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When I looked at my mentions today, lo, who should appear? Continue reading “Blogging Isn't Activism”

Blogging Isn't Activism