Cyber Think Tank  
2017, 2016, 2015, 2014

December 13, 2015

AHA to sponsor conference on Secular Social Justice at Rice Univ. Jan. 30. read

Herb Silverman: Theological Terrorism. “Both left and right agree that ISIS is so appalling and indescribably cruel it even gives terrorism a bad name.” Good summary of apocalyptisms. read

Christel Manning, new book, Losing religion: how are ‘nones’ raising their children? read

Austin Cline on atheism and skepticism in primitive cultures. read

Stephanie Zvan on “codes of conduct.” read

Barbara Walker: Reason for [Christmas} Season predates Jesus. read

IHEU’s Freedom of Thought 2015 Report. read

Atheist Republic analyzes reports that religion is “dying.” read

Richard Carrier: Atheist Dudebros Don’t Know What Cultural Appropriation Is. “Coyne’s ridiculousness in not getting any of her actual points, and imagining she said completely different things, is typical of reactionary and conservative mythmaking.” [Query: Does Carrier’s attach herK on Coyne and Dawkins further the humanist cause?] read


December 2, 2015

Jeffrey Tayler on David Brooks’ “sanctimonious piffle.” read

Sam Harris’ continuing feud with Noam Chomsky. read

PZ Myers on Sam Harris. read

Hiram Crespo on The Epicurean Revival (“That Old Time Secularism”). read

Greta Christina’s Thanksgiving memo. read

Richard Carrier;s new Patreon page and birthday wish for support. read

Secular Policy Institute’s World Future Guide 2016. read

Greta Christian on supporting Foundation Beyond Belief. read

Tim Whitmarsh reminds us that atheism is not new. read


November 21, 2015

Clay Farris Naff: Terror, Religion, and Islam. “History’s lessons are clear: Terrorists aim to provoke overreaction, so that their numbers will swell. If you don’t fall for the illusion, they remain puny. Dedicated intelligence and policing can dismantle terrorist networks.” read

John Dietrich and Carl Storm papers/speeches now archived by Minneapolis First Unitarian Society. read

Personal pathways to atheism. read

Pew Report: Americans becoming less religious. watch


November 14, 2015

David Breeden on the problems of “spirituality” and it’s Platonic associations. “Reinforcing that body/soul dichotomy is why the early Christians worked so hard to stamp out the philosophy of Epicurus, whose philosophy would nowadays be called secular moral realism, a naturalistic worldview. “ read

Dean Van Drasek: “Why Sex Can be Better for Atheists.” read

David Breeden on Curtis Reese’s humanist “religion” of the future. read

Pew: Do religion and science conflict? read

Istvan Zoltan, first Trahshumanists presidential candidate, interviewed by Andrew Aghapour.. read

Humanist Learning Systems: Secular Meditation. read

Videos/Movies

Belief and the Gods. John Milbank, Stephen Law, and Madawi Al-Rasheed debate. watch

Richard Dawkins and Herb Silverman discuss the new book (50 min). watch

Neil DeGrasse Tyson debates Carl Lenz on “intelligent designer.” watch

Terry Eagleton: The death of god and the war on terror. watch


August 1, 2015

David Breeden on UU eclecticism. read

Francie Diep on how satire, e.g. Jon Stewart, has helped younger viewers become more critical of MSM news. (Should humanists use satire more?) read

Austin Cline’s article on atheistic religions is useful and has many links. read

Albert Einstein on an “afterlife.” Many useful quotes. read

Austin Cline contends that, deep down, he differences between liberal and fundamentalist Christians are few. read

Affirming vs. swearing in a court. (once in a British court that was trying the man who had stolen my briefcase, I asked to affirm. The judge said only if you are a Quaker. Since I was neither that nor a Christian, I asked for a Hindu Bhagavad Gita and the arresting officer convinced the judge to let me affirm on that) read

Austin Cline on how science allows us to say “god” does not exist. read

Massimo Pigliucci and Dan Kaufman discuss strong artificial intelligence (AI). read

Susan Jacoby int. by Bill Moyers (2008) (24 Min). watch


August 1, 2015

Austin Cline on the importance of knowing the book of Genesis. read

Richard Flory surveys ambiguities in current discussions of the Nones. “most scholarly categories are at least once-removed from real life……Rather than imposing a category that forces a multi-dimensional reality into a dichotomous measure of religious or not, or thinking about religion as a purely numbers game of what group has the most adherents, we might shift our attention to focus on how religion, values, relationships and meaning really operate in the lives of individuals and communities—religious or not.” read

Jerome Stone’s minimalist view of transcendence. read

James Croft on Meditation: from UCB’s Greater Good Science Center. read

Edward Simon onLeaves of Grass:“I would argue thatLeaves of Grass is the first great work of scripture to be penned since modernity killed God. Copernicus and Newton, Nietzsche and Darwin signed the Lord’s death certificate, but our most American of sages, Whitman, arranged the funeral service.”read

Austin Cline on the place of “the absurd” in existentialist thinkers. read

James Croft on lessons from his work with interfaith clergy. read

Austin Cline on whether there are any “spiritual atheists.”. read

Robert Zaretskyon Denis Diderot. His conclusion: “that human beings are basically good, that free discourse is essential to democracies, that skepticism towards established authority is a good and great thing, and that rational behavior makes for human happiness.” read

The Cubit explores “blame.” read


July 26, 2015

Harvard’s Humanist Hob exploring “identity.” “How do we strike the right balance between secular and humanist? Between being a safe space for atheists, or agnostics, or our religious allies? How political should we be? How much should we emphasize ritual? How do we effectively welcome people from a huge range of different backgrounds… and personality styles? In other words, how do we decide when to connect, when to act, and when to evolve — not to mention, when to criticize religious beliefs or stand up for the rights of the nonreligious?” read

wiseGEEK, a useful site to check information. read

David Breeden on “integrity” as the linking of inner and outer. read

Dying Without Deity conference being posted. watch

Austin Cline on why atheists discuss religion so much. “…the role played by religion in American politics, culture, and society means that it’s a topic that can’t easily be avoided. It just isn’t possible to talk about politics, culture, or social issues in America without religion coming up at least occasionally – and, depending on the specific topic, religion might in fact be a central issue. read

Austin Cline on why atheists should be “intellectualos.” read

The Russell-Einstein Manifesto after 60 years. read

GodBlock is an internet filter “to protect children.” read

UUA 2015 General Assembly Social Resolutions. read

Gallup shows “a socialist” is even less likely than “an atheist” to be electable as president. read

Top 10 quotes of Pope Francis in Ecuador. “The cry of freedom that was heard just over 200 years ago, lacked neither conviction nor force, but history tells us that it only became convincing when it set aside personalities, the desire for single leaderships, lack of understanding of other liberation processes with different but not antagonistic characteristics. Evangelism can be vehicle for the unity of aspirations, sensibilities, hopes and even certain utopias.” [Is he endorsing the Enlightenment here — enemy of kings AND priests??]. read


July 04, 2015

Austin Cline on whether it is OK to mock religions. read

Pew: In many countries, Nones are the second-largest religious group. read

CFI sees papal encyclical hampered by continuing populations policies. read

George Carlin has been a favorite comedian of humanists, and Allen Roland’s memorial is a fit summary-reminder. read

David Niose: Anti-intellectualism is killing America. read

Lydia Saad on how religious identity affects willingness to support atheist candidates. read

Betrand Russell, Why I’m not a Christian (3 min). Open Culture has many such items — see links. listen

Bertrand Russell’s 10 commandments for living in a healthy democracy. read

Noam Chomsky: 9 free ebooks plus other items. read

LeRon Shults, Norwegian Christian theologian now humanist has useful blog. read

Bob Seidensyicker’s blog Cross Examined. read

Penn & Teller success — and atheism. read

Richard Dawkins’ tweeting. Ruining his reputation? Sophi Elmhurst. read

New site: Theopoetics. read

Jennifer Hancock’s list of essential humanist books. read

Videos and transcripts of the UUA 2015 General Assembly. read

Albert Einstein: thoughts on the state of humanity. read

Rational Doubt, site of The Clergy Project (for former clergy). read

For believers, fear of atheists related to their fear of death. read


June 25, 2015

The School of Life. (be sure to scan extensions) . watch

Carl Sagan, Wanderers (4 min). watch

Nietzsche biography by Austin Cline. read

The Openly Secular site is developing Toolkits to make the coming-out process easier. read

Simone Campbell (Nuns on the Bus) describes her stamina. watch

James Quandy on scientists and religiosity. read

Susan Neiman’s book on maturity, rev. by A, O. Scott. read

Austin Cline on Hitler’s linkage to German Christians. read

Austin Cline on civil vs. religious marriage. read

Thms Farrell wants liberals to be wary of papal intentions with climate encyclical. read

John Shook “Freedom is as freedom does.” read

Obama on his family and marriage. read


June 12, 2015

The American Values Atlas provides mappings of religious and unaffiliated groups. read

Unitarian Universalist demography from Pew Survey. read

Gleb Tsipursky creates a humanist site. read

Alan Wolfe on the erosion of secular revolutions. read

Letters on Worthen article by john Rafferty, Phyllis Jamison, Margaret McGirr, Bob Fliegel, Robert Silverman, Joseph Chuman, Mark Jones. read

Paul Farmer at 2015 Duke Graduation. watch

Ashley Horan interviewed on ow she was motivated into UU social justice position. read

Deepak Chopra on 7 reasons people aren’t listening to you. read

Sam Harris defends his role in the Chomsky correspondence. read

Michael Shermer describes and welcomes the decline of religion in US society. read

Barbara Ehrenreich on her “nonbeliever’s mystical experience.” read

Sophie Elmhirst worries that Richard Dawkins is destroying his own reputation. read

Mark Zuckerberg ants to read about Islamic history. read

Barna Group studies on decline of religion in America. read

Austin Cline on the ethics of Paul Kurtz. read

Austin Cline on “substantive’ and “essentialist” definitions of religion. read

Johnny Selman: “WanterD a theology of atheism.” read

David Hoelscher criticizes Atheists+ for classism. read read Jonathan Miller’s “rough history of disbelief” ( (59 min). watch

David Breeden weighs in on the “science/religion” discussions. read

Rob Kall sees creationists destroying the past in a way paralleled by ISIL. read


May 10, 2015

Nancy Ellen Abrams (2 parts on NPR) on a god that could be scientifically real. read

Alva Noe disagrees. read

Massimo Pigliucci on his misgivings about the present ‘SAM’ (skeptical and atheist movements). read

Joseph Hoffmann on historic views of abortion and marriage. read

John Fugelsang monologues on Christianity. watch

Bruce McIntyre on 6 reasons why religion does more harm than good. read

Gregory Paul and Phil Zuckerman: (Edge) “Why the gods are not winning.” read

Superscholar: (2011) “The 25 Most Influential Living Atheists.” read

The Best Schools: “50 Top Atheists.” read

Joseph Campbell, interpreted by Maria Popova. His classic “Hero with a thousand faces” helped many move beyond their tribal religions. read

Cynthia Ozick rev. Harold Bloom’s “The Daemon Knows.” “For me, Emerson is the fountain of the American will to know the self and its drive for sublimity.” read

Bernie Sanders and Michele Bachmann “debate” on CNN (15 min). watch


May 10, 2015

David Breeden commends a new adjective: “congregational humanism.” “Now, humanism has a whole new world to dwell in. A world in which religions are interesting antiques and we humans can finally get around to exploring ways to make life better . . . here and now.” . read

Tom Krattenmaker on 5 challenges facing the secular movement. read

Eric Dolan: poll shows dislike of atheists related to the fear that there is no afterlife. read

The Future of Religion, Pew study (1 hr, 29 min). watch

Adam Lee summarizes the new Barna report on US atheists growing and growing in diversity. read

Richard Dawkins on Edge: This is my vision of :life: (36 min). watch

Baylor symposium on the end of faith. Videos of Gordon Melton, Rodney Stark, Philip Jenkins, Byron Johnson, Jeff Levin. watch

Barbara Ehrenreich takes a critical look at the marketers of “mindfulness.” read

Al Jazeera interviews Richard Dawkins (2014). watch


April 30, 2015

Amanda Marcotte: 10 myths about atheists (reposted from 2011). read

Jessica Mebdoza reviews many stories suggesting that US becoming more accepting of atheists. read

New Barna study ranks US cities by numbers of “unchurched” adults. Are these the most likely places for humanism to expand? read

Christian Platt sees theology of atonement as a Christian Ponzi scheme. read

David Niose, Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason. 2015 info

Martin Marty on blasphemy and freedom. read

Daniel Dennett sees the decline of religions as almost inevitable. “What is particularly corrosive to religion isn’t just the newly available information that can be unearthed by the curious, but the ambient knowledge that is shared by the general populace…..If this trend continues, religion largely will evaporate, at least in the West.” Humanists should read his final 2 paragraphs carefully. read

Three scholarly groups on comparative religion: American Society for the Study of Religion (ASSR), North American Association for the Study of Religion (NAASR), International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR


April 18, 2015

Sunday Assembly. The London atheist church service, founded by Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones, is on YouTube. Search: “Atheist Church First Sunday Assembly – Don’t Panic‬.”(5 min)

Tuomas Holopainen and Troy Donockley, from the band Nightwish, promote Openly Secular Day on their North American tour (2 min). watch

Emily Cassel on sexism and humanism. read

Greta Christina on “controversies” among atheists. read

Reasonable Doubts, “Your Skeptical Guide to Religion.” read

Sam Harris and Jonathan Gottschall discuss martial arts. read

Jennifer Hancock’s Humanist Learning Systems. read

Recovering From Religion site. read


March 28, 2015

JP Sears, the “Ultra Spiritual,” int. by Andrew Aghapour. read

Humanist Hub’s new website. watch

Neil deGrasse Tyson int. by Marlow Stern on Scientology and other beliefs. Link to 35 min video of StarTalk. read

Vaclav Havel, by Michael Ignatieff. read

Ashley Makar int. on her impending death by Stephen Prothero. read

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, now an atheist, was rejected by liberal thinktanks, thus American Enterprise. read

Richard Carrier argues that feminism is essential for humanism. read

Richard Carrier on the dangers of relying on “cultural knowledge,” specifically that many atheists are thus incorrectly stereotyping feminism. Many links to materials on Fourth-wave feminism. read

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s list of the 8 (free) books everyone should read. read

Noam Chomsky with John Nichols on how democracy disrupts any power system (1h 24 min). watch

Michael Shermer on moral progress. read


March 28, 2015

John Donovan interviewed by Soli Salgado on his interviews with Intelligence Squared. read

Jay Cornell reviews impacts of the technology that emerged from industrial revolution and Enlightenment – all the way to a projected “Transhumanism.” Many important links. read

Yuval Noah Harari and Daniel Kahneman discuss transhumanism (41 min). watch

Jess Peacock on the powers of myths to alter historical memories. read

Sasha Bronner: “12 Myths About Meditation We Have To Stop Believeing.” read

Austin Cline: Atheists should learn from Saul Alinsky how radicals can and should act. read

Amanda Marcotte: White Christians now a minority in 19 states. “ ‘Christian’ is a group that is less white and less Protestant than it has been at any time in history.” read

Austin Cline on Ethical Culture. read

Austin Cline on the difference between Disbelief and Denial. read

Intentional Insight, new site by Gleb Tsipursky. read

James Haught’s updated site for humanist articles. read

National Secular Society (UK) Newsline. read


March 17, 2015

John Donovan interviewed by Soli Salgado on his interviews with Intelligence Squared. read

Jay Cornell reviews impacts of the technology that emerged from industrial revolution and Enlightenment – all the way to a projected “Transhumanism.” Many important links. read

Yuval Noah Harari and Daniel Kahneman discuss transhumanism (41 min). watch

Jess Peacock on the powers of myths to alter historical memories. read

Sasha Bronner: “12 Myths About Meditation We Have To Stop Believing.” read

Austin Cline: Atheists should learn from Saul Alinsky how radicals can and should act. read

Amanda Marcotte: White Christians now a minority in 19 states. “ ‘Christian’ is a group that is less white and less Protestant than it has been at any time in history.” read

Religion and Science. Keep an eye on The Cubit, new portal of Religion Dispatches, headed by Andrew Aghapour and Mchael Schukson. read

Rasmus Gronfeldt Winther has a useful article on multiculturalism and philosophy in Scientia Salon. read

R. Joseph Hoffmann sees many humanists as simply atheists who have no knowledge of, and therefore no regard for, the humanities – and they thus mirror the religious fundamentalists that they attack. Both sides are, regrettably, non-elitists. read

Secular Daily Digest now coming from Secular Policy Institute. read

David Keyes int. by Sam Harris. read


Febuary 19, 2015

Mark David Dietz replies to Massimo Pigliucci’s critique of the New Atheists. read

Bertrand Russell put major humanist positions in eminently-quotable form early in the past century. read

Blasphemy? watch

Excerpt: Dana Hunter’s “Really Terrible Bible Stories.” read

David Breeden on David Brooks’ recent column on secularism. read

Michael Ruse on what nonbelievers should teach their children – and how they should regard what believers teach theirs. read

Mikey Weinstein on the distorted critiques of Obama’s Prayer Breakfast speech. read

Frida Berrigan interviewed by Mark Karlin on her new book, and on raising children with a conscience. read

Leslie Salzillo on why new stories should label the NC killer as an “atheist.” read

Jacques Berlinerbau’s new book on secularism, reviewed by Liel Leibovitz. read

Phil Zuckerman on the morality of a secular nurse. read

openDemocracy is a valuable UK site. read

New Gallup data underscores the correlations of church attendance and conservative politics. read

Thurn: Well-adusted children more likely to come from non-religious homes. read

The SPI’s United Coalition of Reason. read

Mike Werner on dealing with attacks on humanism. read

Khaled Furani’s abstract reminds us of academic rhetoric stages. read

Richard Falk interviewed by Dan Falcone on the UNC killings, Islamophobia, and militant atheists. ”I think there is every reason to believe that the identity of the perpetrator influences the media response and approach taken by the public. If the actors are Muslim, whether linked or not to a political network, there is an aura of suspicion surrounding the crimes committed.” read


Febuary 7, 2015

Daniel Maguire interviewed on his new book “Christianity Without God: Moving beyond the Dogmas and Retrieving the Epic Moral Narrative.” Differing with new atheists, he still sees some values in older stories. “ “As a theologian and former priest who teaches ethics at Marquette University, a Jesuit school, Maguire fills a critical gap in a body of atheist literature that has frequently demonstrated its authors’ limited understanding of religious texts……I think the main passion of the conservative mind is fear and there’s no greater fear than that the universe is without meaning. That chaos is our destiny. So I think the God concept is very consoling.” read

Daniel Maguire critiques David Brooks limited view of secularism. read

Nathan Bupp’s blog “The Golden Mean.” read

Stephen Fry: any god who created this universe is a maniac. watch

David Brooks calls for an “enchanted secularism.” read

BHA and effort to end blasphemy laws. read

Amy Davidson on the new religious complications for conservatives created by the “new” Mitt Romney and the new pope. read

Michael Shermer on the influence of science and reason on moral progress. His new book is essential reading for humanists. read


Janurary 18, 2015

Kimberly Winston on Phil Zuckerman’s “aweism.” read

Courtney Martin: In praise of chosen family.” read

Parker Palmer’s 5 questions for the New Year. read

Laewrence Friedmann’s book on Erich Fromm is critically reviewed by Dinah Mendes. She describes at some length Fromm’s

transition from Orthodox Judaism to a secular humanism, and his incorporations of Freudian and Marxian ideas. read

Salman Rushdie: Religion is “a medieval form of unreason.” read

British Humanist Association on Paris massacre. read

Robert Zaretsky on the French tradition of satire. read

Emily Mace notes that the Nones preceded the New Atheists in time, and may have been something of a constant in recent US

history. read

David Breeden reminds us of the constricted connotations of “covenant” as voiced by the Pilgrims in 1620. read


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