Cyber Think Tank  
2018, 2017, 2016, 20152014 

March 2, 2018


Amy Couch, , Pursuing Truth with Anjan Chakravartty(new professor at Univ. of Miami) “The thing I’m most unsure about is what response we will get, in a society that is so polarized in so many ways, but I’m hopeful that everyone, whatever their personal view of the Chair for the Study of Atheism, Humanism, and Secular Ethics, will join me in thinking that the ideal of excellent education and research is crucial to our wellbeing as a society and to our collective future.”read

Bradford Richardson Atheists slam Trump for referencing only Christianity at prayer breakfast read

, The Improbable Friendship That Shaped a Generation of Literary Scholarship
Lionel Trilling and Jacques Barzun seemed an intellectual odd couple. What made their relationship last?
Colin Marshall, An Animated Introduction to Epicurus and His Answer to the Ancient Question: What Makes Us Happy? watch

Julian Baggini on Steven Pinker “In a work of such breadth and scope, small lapses like this are inevitable, but are far outweighed by the clarity, force and evidential weight of his central arguments.” read

Michelle Goldberg int. on Freethought Matters (28m) watch

Jay Cornell, Techno-Optimism: The World’s Transformation Since the Industrial Revolution (Transhumanism?) read

Michael Shermer, Heavens on Earth “For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, and though no one has ever returned from such a place to report what it is really like—or that it even exists—today science and technology are being used to try to make it happen in our lifetime. From radical life extension to cryonic suspension to mind uploading, Shermer considers how realistic these attempts are from a proper skeptical perspective.” read

Julie Zauzmer, The complicated history of ‘In God We Trust’ and other examples Trump gives of American religion read

Isabel Fattal, How Should Atheism Be Taught? read

Jennifer Szalai, Steven Pinker Wants You to Know Humanity Is Doing Fine. Just Don’t Ask About Individual Humans. “There’s a noble kernel to Pinker’s project. He wants to discourage the kind of fatalism that leads people to think the only way forward is to tear everything down. But he seems surprisingly blind to how he fuels such fatalism by playing to the worst stereotype of the enlightened cosmopolitan: disdainful and condescending — sympathetic to humanity in the abstract but impervious to the suffering of actual human beings
.” read

David Breeden, Socbots and the Three Poisons “Ah, American politics. Reminds me of the “three poisons” in Buddhism: anger, greed, and delusion. “ read

Clay Farris Naff, Enlightenment Wow: The Humanist Interview with Steven Pinker “I wonder whether you have plans to push these ideas out into the prevailing culture by other means.
Pinker: I certainly do. I’m participating in a large number of podcasts and web interviews. I endorse websites such as Our World in Data, Human Progress, and Gapminder, which provide interactive graphics that can tell a story in a way that sentences can’t. I give lectures that are distributed on the web. So I’m very much immersed in the new universe of electronic media.”. Why is Google/YouTube taking down these videos and threatening the sites that post them? read

Amanda Marcotte and Alternet, Atheism’s shocking woman problem: What’s behind the misogyny of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris? (issues raised in this 2014 post cvontinue to be debated) read

AEU Gun Control Statement read

David Breeden, Gods, Guns, and Gut Emotions ‘“Thoughts and prayers” is fast becoming the “let them eat cake” of our era. Even those who believe that prayer has some efficacy are finding the phrase risible in the face of constant mass shootings.’ ‘read



January 28, 2018


Meet the American Humanist Association’s new Education Assistant, Emily Newman read


Landon Schnabel and Sean Bock, The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion: A Response to Recent Research “If it is primarily moderate religionists and those with loose ties to their religions driving the decline in average American religiosity, then we may be seeing more of a polarization of religion than a pattern consistent with the secularization thesis.” read


Michael Shermer’s new book, Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia. (several videos) watch

Free Inquiry has published, in 3 issues, papers from a symposium Fight for Our Philosophy. Key terms are scientific and naturalistic and academic . Introductions by Judy Walker and Tom Flynn summarize the papers. read read read

Michael Shermer, Science Denial versus Science Pleasure “In other words, valuing science for pure pleasure is more of a bulwark against the politicization of science than facts alone.” read

Hemant Mehta, What’s the Main Source of Global Conflict? Survey Says: “Religious Beliefs” read

“The Greatest Showman”: A Nickell-odeon Review (Barnum was a Universalist) read

Rob Brotherton, Suspicious Minds read

Online Books by Free Religious Association (Boston Mass.) read

Leigh Eric Schmidt, Village Atheists: How America’s Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation read

Hemant Mehta, Atheists Support Abortion Rights More Than Any Other Group (Except One…) read

Michael Shermer, Science Denial versus Science Pleasure read

David Breeden Good Cat, Bad Person: the Human Intuition of Being “Wrong” read

FFRF, The (further) rise of Christian nationalism by Michelle Goldberg read

Rick Snedeker. Why Do We Believe in the Unbelievable? It’s Natural read

Michael Shermer, For the Love of Science “That liberals are just as guilty of antiscience bias comports more with accounts of humans chomping canines, and yet those on the left are just as skeptical of well-established science when findings clash with their political ideologies, such as with GMOs, nuclear power, genetic engineering and evolutionary psychology—skepticism of the last I call “cognitive creationism” for its endorsement of a blank-slate model of the mind in which natural selection operated on humans only from the neck down.” read



January 2, 2018

Gordon PennycookRobert M. RossDerek J. KoehlerJonathan A. Fugelsang, Atheists and Agnostics Are More Reflective than Religious Believers: Four Empirical Studies and a Meta-Analysis read


Neil Carter, Lies the Church Told Us About Sex read

James Croft, In Art, What We Like and What Is Good are Different read

Maria Popova, Walt Whitman on What Makes Life Worth Living “He recorded these reflections in Specimen Days (public library) — the sublime collection of prose fragments, letters, and journal entries that gave us Whitman on the wisdom of trees and music as the profoundest expression of nature” WW: “After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love, and so on — have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear — what remains? Nature remains; to bring out from their torpid recesses, the affinities of a man or woman with the open air, the trees, fields, the changes of seasons — the sun by day and the stars of heaven by night.” ….. read

Bart Ehrman (intro Dan Barker) on Bible (59m) watch

Annie Laurie Gaylor on ending of FFRR’s year )7m) watch

Mano Singham, The Cornel West-Ta-Nehisi Coates feud and the role of intellectuals read

Should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee? The Stoics and Existentialists agree on the answer read

David Breeden, What’s Miraculous read