Welcome to Where We Ask You to Question Before You Believe

An interview with CW Brown – Founder and CEO of Philosophical Atheism, and Executive Director of the Atheist Alliance of America

By Angelos Sofocleous

CW, you are the CEO and Founder of the Philosophical Atheism online community. How did this idea come about?

I wanted to create a forum for people to discuss complicated philosophical concepts based in reason, evidence, understanding, and proper argumentation. We also joke, laugh, and educate ourselves as we go. I am excited that it has become so popular. We have a lot of fun and learn a lot about life while doing it.

How do you believe the two relate? Is there a need for atheists to be philosophical and for philosophers to be atheists?

To be without religion is a beginning, but to better navigate life without a god or gods, we need a decent philosophy to live by. Some atheists are nihilists, while others are humanists. I prefer to say that we all create meaning for our own lives, as we see fit. To do this, we need good philosophy and there is plenty for us to learn. Philosophical Atheism helps people do this.

Secularism is the Future. The Present Still Kind of Sucks.

by Justin Clark

A recent piece by noted-skeptic Michael Shermer in Politico, “Who Cares if Trump is Religious?,” underscores how all is not lost in the age of Trump. As Shermer writes:

I’m not saying Trump is a closeted atheist, but he’s no evangelical. As a self-proclaimed Protestant, or Presbyterian, or something he describes as “a wonderful religion,” Trump nominally attends the nondenominational Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. Marble Collegiate was the one-time pulpit for the self-help evangelist Norman Vincent Peale, author of the mega best-seller The Power of Positive Thinking, an amalgam of pop psychology and cherry-picked scripture (without the guilt and sin), who presided over Trump’s wedding to Ivana. In other words, at most this is Christianity Lite, or Cafeteria Christianity, where one orders only the most appealing items on the menu.

Shermer argues that Trump was easily the most secular candidate on the Republican side during the 2016 election and that the U.S.’s demographics are moving toward a more overall secular polity. “It looks like the U.S. religious reawakening from the 1950s through the 2000s, then, might have been an anomaly. The long-term trend is certainly toward secularization,” Shermer noted.

Modeling An Honest Investigation

by Daniel Reynoso

In the grand divide between philosophical positions of theism and atheism, we all make a variety of claims about our world and the nature of reality. These claims can be true, false, or ultimately unknowable, but we make them nonetheless; furthermore, we usually string claims together to form arguments about the best way to interpret the evidence at our disposal.

Whether we’re looking to persuade, debate, or just make sense of our worldview for no one else but ourselves, we’re always busy reasoning about our lives and our world by means of arguments. Arguments are nothing more than a set of reasons—known as “premises”—that leads us to form a judgment—known as a “conclusion”—about a given subject. But arguments can be tricky

Aron Ra Resigns as President of Atheist Alliance of America, Focuses on State Senate Run

by Justin Clark

Aron Ra, the atheist activist and science communicator, has resigned as President of the Atheist Alliance of America, according to an article from his blog. He has decided to move on from the organization to focus on an increasingly busy schedule related to his Texas State Senate run. “So in an effort to minimize distractions, I have resigned as President of Atheist Alliance of America to concentrate on my increasingly busy State Senate Campaign. Yes, I’m really doing this despite how much of a long shot this is,” Ra noted.

 

History of Freethought: W. H. LaMaster, Midwestern Iconoclast

by Justin Clark


I have written elsewhere about Indiana’s contribution to the “Golden Age of Freethought” during the late nineteenth century; in particular, iconoclastic author Ambrose Bierce, the Vonnegut’s, and Robert Ingersoll and Lew Wallace’s “legendary train ride.” This blog covers another another Hoosier freethinker, W. H. LaMaster. His freethought newspaper, the Iconoclast, became a staple of Indianapolis thought through the 1880s and he continued his column writing until his death in 1908. LaMaster advocated for religious skepticism, scientific advancement, and was a staunch anti-temperance advocate. LaMaster, alongside notable freethinkers like Ambrose Bierce, Clemens Vonnegut, and Robert Ingersoll, helps us understand the rich religious diversity in the Midwest during the late nineteenth century.

Evangelicals, Trump, and Women

by CW Brown

“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”

 1 Timothy 2:11-12 ESV

The United States’ Women’s March on January 21nd certainly animated a variety of responses from both its participants and its onlookers. So much so that it became difficult to understand its importance. As such, I’m trying my best to unpack why I think it happened and why it’s relevant to many women whose voices are desperately needed in these uncertain times.

Is A Miracle Empirical?

by Steve Miller
I’ve recently been asked by several people, “if God isn’t real then how do you explain miracles? There must be some sort of higher power. And that higher power evidently approves of the practices of my religion because those miracles are occurring to people of my religion. And many times it even happens as a direct result of my religion’s prayers or practices.”
 

Where Are The Scientists In Congress?

by Justin Clark

A few years ago on Real Time with Bill Maher, astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson brought up a very interesting point about the United States Congress. “I wonder what profession all these Senators and Congressmen are? Law, law, law, law, business man, law, law. . . . There are no scientists? Where are the engineers? Where is the rest of life?,” quipped Tyson. The rest of life, indeed. According to a report released last year by the Congressional Research Service, there were only 11 members of Congress (out of 535) that were scientists or engineers; all of them were in the House of Representatives, with the exception of one engineer in the Senate. This is the very definition of disproportionate, seeing as by 2010, one in every 18 jobs in the United States was in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM). By 2018, it is projected to be nearly one in five. If our congressional representation kept a parity with the private sector, there should be 30 scientists, rather than merely 11. By 2018, it should be closer to 91.

Blog

Why Atheism Nowadays

Why Atheism Nowadays?

by Daniel Reynoso

 

Scrolling through my Facebook feed is always a two-edged sword. On the one hand, I’ve got access to some of the most creative, insightful, and all-around amusing content to be found on the internet. On the other hand, I’m taken aback by some of the most ignorant, childish, and counterproductive approaches to important ideas that I’ve ever seen!

 

Our “deep” discussions often devolve into a chaotic back-and-forth of anecdote, alleged evidence, and rejections of various sources of so-called authority. Just try to salvage a coherent, level-headed argument in the minefield of the comments section of any given post! It can make you swear off social media—at least temporarily.

 

Of course, some topics tend to evoke this kind of erratic behavior more so than others. Few of us ever become emotionally embroiled in a charged debate about our favorite Netflix series, but controversial claims about the nature and meaning of our existence will always find stalwart soldiers on all sides of a debate.

Without the Net: Depression and Anxiety as an Atheist

by Justin Clark

Content Note: This article is about my experiences with depression and anxiety. I’m not a medical professional or psychologist, so if you’re worried about your own condition, I strongly advise you to visit your doctor. This article is not intended to be medical advice.

*

I often wonder what it feels like to die, to give up on everything; to finally feel the release of this tortured frame of my body and be free. It’s a thought I’ve had many times in my life. Despite my successes, my family and friends, and the passions that animate my curiosity, the creeping darkness of my own mind still haunts me.

To know these feelings is to know depression, at least how it manifests in me. I’ve lived with clinical depression for over ten years, and clinical anxiety for three. Alongside the darkness and thoughts of death, I also experience episodes of intense worry, regret, and self-destruction. These moments paralyze me, make me feel the urgency of my body. The constant wrenching in the stomach, the deep and stentorian beats of my heart. This combination makes it very hard for me to relate to people, especially ones whose easy-going nature and calm demeanor often aggravate my own intensity.