Category Archives: atheism

David Attenborough: an atheist or an agnostic?

As sometimes happens when one is surfing around on YouTube, I came across two videos of David Attenborough discussing his beliefs in God. Although I don’t have a dog in his fight with belief, I was curious to see whether a man who’s spent his life touting the marvels of naturalism (e.g., evolution) had any […]

Thoughts and prayers: what are they worth?

Everyone knows about the “thoughts and prayers” sent out after tragedies as a quotidian feature of the daily news. And all of us nonbelivers disparage not only the use of prayers (shown in a Templeton-funded study to not have any effect on healing after surgery), but also the uselessness of thoughts—unless conveyed directly to the […]

In a Channel 4 interview, Richard Dawkins describes his new book

Although I heard rumors that Richard Dawkins was publishing a new book, I wasn’t aware that it was already finished and scheduled for publication. But Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide is will be out October 8. I haven’t seen it, but it’s apparently intended for young people. And I’ve put below a 45-minute video interview […]

Gregory Paul on the rise of nonbelief in the U.S.: it’s happening faster than you think

This article by Gregory Paul in the new journal Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism (click on screenshot for pdf) argues, based on polling data, that the proportion of Americans who are atheists is rising by 5-10% a decade, leading to the conclusion that within a century America will comprise mainly nonbelievers. (Note that the […]

A woman who lost her faith deals with the death of her son

This piece by Amber Scorah in today’s New York Times tore at my heart, arousing all sorts of emotions that I’d prefer would stay dormant. Fear of mortality, fear of loss, frustration at not being able to believe what might make me feel better, and so on. This is the gamut of emotions that Scorah […]

The New Yorker praises atheism (sort of)

UPDATE: James Wood has responded politely to this piece in a comment below, which you can find here. ************* The article below (click on screenshot), by New Yorker literary critic and Harvard English professor James Wood, is a review of Martin Hägglund’s new book, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, but also a paean […]

How many atheists are there in the U.S.? A new paper says about 26% of the population

The estimate given in the title suggests a much higher number of American atheists than estimates from other studies relying on self-report (e.g., “Are you an atheist?”). Those self-report estimates range between 3% and 11% (the authors of the paper below define “atheists” as “people who disbelieve or lack belief in the existence of a […]

The U of C discussion on religion with Reza Aslan and Dan Dennett

In January I attended a four-person discussion on the “place of faith in our changing world”, featuring Reza Aslan, Dan Dennett, religious ethicist William Schweiker, and moderator David Nirenberg, interim chair of our Divinity School. To me it was frustrating, as speaker after speaker (except for Dan) mouthed Deepities about religion without once laying out […]

Kate Cohen: Don’t mix religion, morality, and politics

There are two things that most of us have learned about religion and morality: 1.) People don’t really get their morality from religion—or at least most of it. That is, people don’t judge what is moral versus immoral behavior solely from the dictates of their faith, but rather from extra-Biblical sources that are antecedent to […]

An ID advocate, lacking scientific arguments, claims that atheism saps life of meaning

Intelligent Design (ID) advocate David Klinghoffer, an Orthodox Jew, spends a lot of time attacking me on the Discovery Institute Website Evolution News. It’s almost an obsessive animus, for he regularly trawls this site looking for ammunition. But I pay little attention to the man. First of all, his criticisms of me have nothing to […]