Monday, December 26, 2016

The Reason Review 1-7

 The Reason Review - Volume 1 Issue 7 


Editorial Message

Dear Readers,

Welcome to The Reason Review 1-7.

It's the end of our first semester of publication, and therefore of our first volume. As might be expected for this time of the year, we have numerous news links to stories from the purported "War on Christmas", as well as a dissection of the very concept linked in the Reports section. On the local "front line", I joined Boston Atheists in installing a banner in Boston Common. It was a pleasant little outing, although the mood was dampened a little by what was going on at the State House in the background: a nativity scene set up for the afternoon, complete with a clerical blessing ceremony, inside the State House itself (the first link in the News section). This breach of a longstanding informal truce over expression or symbol display of religion AND irreligion was sprung on the secular community with practically no notice (and therefore no opportunity to respond in kind), engineered on behalf of Rep. Lyons (R-Andover) by the right-leaning Thomas More Society. This is a society that claims to stand for "religious liberty" while being named after a statesman who had people arrested and burned at the stake for heresy; it's rather appropriate, then, that they would assist in whittling away at the religion-state barrier. Hopefully, this incident will be used as precedent for a "complementary" installation by the secularist movement next year.

Since the last issue, I also finally completed the bi-weekly "Islam and the Modern Worldview" lecture series conducted this past semester by Brandeis professor Sharif El-Tobgui for the MIT Muslim Student Association. From having the cosmological argument casually lobbed at me in the first lecture, to having to defend the scientific theory of human evolution against persistent faith-based opposition, to constant sneers at the ideal of state secularism, it was a somewhat frustrating experience to endure. Of course, these sentiments would not be out of place in the worldview of a conservative Jew or Christian, and Dr el-Tobgui did indeed express agreement with and admiration for these other regressive strains of shared Abrahamic origin. Secularists, take note: the values we guard must be guarded consistently, against threats from ALL quarters.

In other news, we have an event lined up for the IAP period, described and linked in the Announcements section. There's supposed to be a Christian apologetics course during the IAP period as well; I plan on attending and reporting from there too. We also have a bunch of novel and awesome events lined up for next semester, catering to interests in skepticism, counter-apologetics, apostasy, and biological evolution theory. We therefore look forward to the new year with special excitement, and wish you all happy holidays until then.

Hope you enjoy the issue.


Sohan Dsouza
Editor of The Reason Review
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2017/FEB/01 -- Bon Voyage: Leaving Faith on Good Terms

In this special IAP event, the Secular Society of MIT will offer a warm welcome into community to those exploring secularism while one of MIT’s Christian chaplains will offer parting words of blessing and affirmation to those whose authentic journey is leading them out of Christianity. There will also be a time for sharing stories of leaving faith and offering support for those who are in a spiritual transition or contemplating one. Dinner and dessert will be provided.


Nativity gets place at [Massachusetts] State House

“We are prepared to litigate this case for you if those in charge of the Bureau’s role as (a) supposedly neutral gatekeeper to this traditional and designated public forum do not promptly fulfill their constitutional duty,” the society’s lawyers wrote. Lyons said he promptly won approval the next day, and the Nativity scene will be on display from noon to 3 p.m., with clergy on hand at 2 p.m. to bless it.

Atheists now legally protected in US under religious freedom bill signed by Barack Obama

"That non-theists are now recognised as a protected class is a significant step toward full acceptance and inclusion for non-religious individuals, who are still far too often stigmatised and persecuted around the world."

Shelton Resident Wins Right to Place Atheist 'Winter Solstice' Sign at City Park

"We'd prefer to keep public parks and government buildings free from religious divisiveness," said FFRF Co-President Dan Barker in a statement. "But if a devotional nativity display is allowed, there must be 'room at the inn' for all points of view, including irreverence and freethought."

Anti-religion banner posted next to nativity scene in a Manassas park

“The goal is not to offend. It's to maybe cause somebody to think,” he said. “[Nelson Park is] a public forum,” he added. “Anybody has the right, the ability, to file for a permit and put up a display here.”

Satanists Declare They Are Religiously Exempt From Heartbeat Bill

“Our tenets assert bodily autonomy and uphold science as the arbiter of claims over what is true, to which we give deference in our decisions. As the Ohio Bill is imposed for no medical purpose and presents no compelling state interest, it is simply a violation of our free exercise, we will fight back against it, and we will very likely prevail,” Greaves added.

Noted atheist Rob Sherman dies in plane crash: 'He was dedicated to his causes'

"I've known Rob for all my 20 years as an activist. He was a proud fighter for religious freedom and the separation of church and state. He was a great activist and a great person," Silverman said in an email. "I've flown with him in that very plane when he gave me a tour of Chicago. He loved that plane and loved flying it."

Sean Hannity Teams With Kevin Sorbo for Faith-Friendly Movie

"It's been likened to Ghost meets Heaven Is for Real, with a dash of God's Not Dead," Sorbo said of the film, which was made on a $3 million production budget. Sorbo is still working on a distribution deal but he expects the film to open in November 2017.

God Is a Sadistic Internet Troll in the Delightful French Satire ‘The Brand New Testament’

Dormael’s fable is emblazoned with CG-heightened colors and a sugary uplifting score, rife with interconnecting storylines that speak to a grand unifying design, marked by an overarching belief in people’s inherent goodness and universal desire for togetherness, and chockablock with random flights of fancy.

Church, State See Eye to Eye in Putin's Orthodox Russia

The moral authority of the Orthodox Church has grown steadily under Putin, who sides with the church in promoting traditional family values and opposing gay rights. He, in turn, cites Russia's Christian roots to justify the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, noting that a prince of medieval Russia was baptized there more than a millennium ago.

Death Penalty Looms For Mauritanian Blogger Accused Of Insulting Islam

The bloodthirsty protest in November was the latest instalment in a case that has become a source of national fury in Mauritania, a conservative Islamic republic and one of just eight countries where apostasy is a capital offense.

Saudi Arabia to 'inoculate' children against Westernisation, atheism and liberalism

It states that Saudis must be brought up on the basis of Islamic faith and that the state will accordingly strive to maintain the country’s Arab and Islamic values and “protect Islam”. The constitution stipulates that education will “aim at instilling the Islamic faith in the younger generation” and mould children to be “useful” in society.

Pakistan International Airlines goat slaughter mocked

n Pakistan killing a black goat is supposed by many to ward off evil. But the move by ground staff in Islamabad prompted hoots of incredulity once it was established the images were genuine and had not been photo-shopped.

Indonesia blasphemy case: Emotional scenes as Ahok trial begins

The case is being seen as a test of religious tolerance in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation. The prosecution said Mr Purnama insulted Islam by misusing a Koranic verse which suggests Muslims should not be ruled by non-Muslims, to boost public support ahead of February's governorship election.


How Fox News Created the War on Christmas

Over the last decade, many Americans changed their minds about the greeting they want to hear, and the question of what to say to customers and neighbors became fraught with social meaning. This change — and the very idea of a war on Christmas — seems to be the result of coverage on one channel: Fox News.

Where is the world's most 'godless' city?

Meanwhile, the author and biopsychologist Nigel Barber has argued that as cities become more stable and prosperous, their inhabitants are less likely to feel the need for religious belief.

Virgin Mary, Career-Killer

Salome is a fictional character, but real human beings have also paid a price for questioning the details of the nativity story or the status of Mary. In the fifth century, Nestorius, the archbishop of Constantinople, argued that Mary should be called “mother of Christ” rather than “mother of God.”

Sarah Haider On Leaving Islam, Changing Liberals’ Minds, And Ex-Muslims Of North America

I thought I just needed better teachers, books, and resources so that I could understand it correctly. In that sense I didn’t know I was on the path to leaving religion. I thought I was on the path to better understanding it.


Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins -- Why Steve Bannon wants to destroy secularism

Instead he references none other than Julius Evola – one of the intellectual godfathers of European fascism who promoted a spiritual type of racism – whose reception in Russian under Putin has inspired a traditionalist movement from which Bannon believes there is much to learn.

Hiba Krisht -- Women’s Rights vs Anti- Muslim Bigotry: An Unfortunate Tension

‘Hojabi’. Slut-shaming. Blatant denial and disingenuous rationalization of manifest sexism and inequality. Violence and cruelty hidden and obscured and dressed in the comfortable trappings of respectable conservatism.

J. H. McKenna -- Little Things Can Make An Atheist

Unbelief is a false crime, and belief is not meritorious. God can neither be injured by the one nor boosted by the other.


Polite Conversations -- 12 Days of Haraam-mas

A very haraam Xmas song by Eiynah and Dylan Beck, with vocals by Eiynah, Ali Rizvi, Maryam Namazie, Sarah Haider, and Faisal Al Mutar

MassLive -- WATCH: Atheists Put Up Holiday Sign on Boston Common

While a Nativity scene was on display at the Mass. State House, local atheists put up a holiday sign on Boston Common.

A Fox News Host Invited an Atheist to Church As He Promoted His Group’s Latest Billboards

Last week, American Atheists announced their latest billboards, urging non-believers to skip church over Christmas. One of them even made that point by riffing on Donald Trump‘s campaign slogan.

Ex-Muslims of North America -- Sarra: Life Beyond Faith

She began to doubt her faith when she discovered philosophy and began studying history and logic. By the age of 21, she no longer considered herself a believer. Since leaving the faith, Sarra wants to use her freedom and skills to help others. She started an online group for Tunisians who are struggling with Islam to connect with each other and offer support.

Atheist Experience -- 20.49 with Matt Dillahunty and Jen Peeples

The Atheist Experience episode 20.49 for December 11, 2016, with Matt Dillahunty and Jen Peeples. ACA Position Statements. Matt and Jen defend our apparent "liberal" views, both in the ACA and the show.

Atheist Experience -- 20.50 with Jen Peeples and John Iacoletti

The Atheist Experience episode 20.50 for December 18, 2016, with John Iacolettii and Jen Peeples. Some Pre-Christmas Thoughts. Jen and John talk about a few Christmas-related items.

Atheist Debates -- Alex Malpass on epistemology and presuppositionalists

Alex Malpass ( sits down for a long conversation about philosophy, epistemology and presuppositionalists.

Atheist Debates -- Street Epistemology

Anthony Magnabosco drops by to talk about the pros and cons of Street Epistemology

Mythicist Milwaukee -- Dr. Bill Zingrone: On Human Uniqueness

Dr. Bill Zingrone is a college instructor and secular activist with a PhD in developmental psychology and research interests in cognitive development and evolution, with a driving motivation to dispel outdated religious based ideas about human nature that are ingrained in the folk beliefs of our modern culture. He is a very active member of the secular movement in Illinois.

GSPodcast -- Taking The Myth – December 2016 Edition

This week on Taking The Myth, Stephen Knight (@Gspellchecker) and Iram Ramzan (@Iram_Ramzan) discuss the big topics. We talk about the Amazon ‘Allah doormat’ controversy, Cryogenics, ‘Muslims like Us’ TV show, Berlin and Ankara terrorism, the case of ex-Marine Alexander Blackman and much, much more!

Dogma Debate -- #290 - Christian Blogger vs. David Smalley

Jeremy Christian - yes, that's his real name, joins David Smalley in studio to take questions from listeners.

Atheistically Speaking -- AS300: The Scathing Atheist, Plus A Personal Message And Announcement!

Joining me first to kick off my extra special 300th episode, 3 part, 3+ hour extravaganza are none other than Noah, Heath, and Eli of the Scathing Atheist and God Awful Movies! Oh right, and the Skepticrat … I interview the guys on a few different topics related to their particular approach to atheist activism and spreading knowledge while also being entertaining.

Atheistically Speaking -- AS303: Doing Charity Better, With Foundation Beyond Belief

Joining me for today is Noelle George, Executive Director of Foundation Beyond Belief! Since the holidays have rolled around again and you’ve likely started to hear the annoying, holier than thou jangle of constant Salvation Army bells outside of every grocery store and mall, I thought it might be a good idea to talk with someone doing charity without strings attached! Noelle and I talk about her background and atheism for a bit, and then we go on to discuss the exciting and important work the foundation does!

The Thinking Atheist -- One Nation: Divisible

The original U.S. Pledge of Allegiance calls the USA, "one nation...indivisible."  Yet it remains a nation splintered and divided, with many of those divisions fueled by religious ideas.  This broadcast welcomes several special guests to talk about America, the rise of secularism, the influence of the Religious Right, and the future of a country that seems unable to agree about anything.

The Thinking Atheist -- Christmas Music by Secular Artists

It's surprising to many, but a lot of atheists and non-Christians enjoy Christmas music...even the tunes that talk about angels singing and the Bethlehem star.  We speak about this (supposed) contradiction, and several special guests join host Seth Andrews for a casual round of holiday songs around the hearth.

The Thinking Atheist -- Heathen Holidays

How do atheists handle religious holidays (and religious families) every year, and how do many atheists mark an occasion with Christ in the title?  This show features the perspectives of our listeners, advice on how skeptics can (if they choose) enjoy the holiday season and navigate the often turbulent waters stirred by fundamentalist families, and a few holiday anecdotes.

ScathingAtheist -- 200: 200th Edition

In this week’s episode, we finish the Quran and definitely do NOT burn our copies (please don’t murder us), we learn -- unrelatedly -- that you shouldn't burn a Kindle inside your house, and we’ll go long by thirty minutes, so hopefully there’s traffic.

ScathingAtheist -- 201: Lump of Coal Edition

In this week’s episode, all three of Eli’s hobbies become legal as an early Christmas present, abortion abortionists in Oklahoma fail to recognize that abortions are corporations just like people, and Bryce Blankenagel of the Naked Mormonism podcast will be here to tell us about more people that Mormons killed.

The Friendly Atheist -- 139: The Year In Review (Red Wine Edition)

We (Hemant and Jessica) sat down to discuss all the big stories from 2016. By which we mean whatever stories we could cram into two hours. Those topics included atheism, our future traveling roadshow, and Donald Trump.

The Friendly Atheist -- 140: The Producers Of The Documentary "We Believe In Dinosaurs"

Monica Long Ross and Amy Ellison are two of the producers at 137 Films, a non-profit production company based in Chicago that promotes science through storytelling. (Another producer, Clayton Brown, couldn’t join us for the interview.) Their next project, currently in post-production, is called We Believe in Dinosaurs, all about Noah’s Ark, Creationism, and America’s troubled relationship with science. I spoke with them about Ken Ham‘s reaction to their project, whether Ark Encounter has led to an economic boom in the community it’s in, and why the word “Believe” is in the title of the film.

The Friendly Atheist -- 141: Ryan Mcknight, Founder Of MormonWikiLeaks

This past week saw the launch of a website called Mormon Wikileaks, a “safe, secure, and anonymous way to submit documents, videos, or any other information regarding the Church.” The site was created by Ryan McKnight, a former Mormon. I spoke with Ryan about why he left the Mormon Church, why he hopes to achieve by exposing the Church’s secrets, and what the ultimate secret would be.


How the Atheist Stole Christmas - The Atheist Experience #762

This Atheist caller has a five month old Baby. He wants some advice on raising children without Religion. He states he's not raising an Atheist, but a free thinker. He asks specifically about Christmas. He wants to know if it's wrong for Atheists to still celebrate Christmas or is it a kind of hypocrisy?

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Discuss in the comment space below.
Email the editor with any questions or feedback.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Reason Review 1-6

 The Reason Review - Volume 1 Issue 6 


Editorial Message

Dear Readers,

Welcome to The Reason Review 1-6.

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and/or Friendsgiving.

As the year draws to a chilly end, we approach the days of the Winter Solstice and Festivus, with upcoming local events for both. Naturally, this also means "War On Christmas" news articles will be making the rounds, and we have a couple of those.

In other news, Ali A Rizvi's book, The Atheist Muslim, was recently released. Those of you who attended our inaugural Out And Out event may remember us raffling off a pre-ordered copy of it. It features thrice in this issue -- once as an op-ed by the author himself, and twice in podcasts by other atheist activists.

We also have an opinion piece by local Zouhair Mazouz on critiquing religion, a report and an opinion piece on the Black atheist experience, and a video conversation between counter-apologetics maestro Matt Dillahunty and renowned atheist author Richard Dawkins. A cringe-worthy video of a visit to a creationist "museum" as our classic feature rounds off this one.

Hope you enjoy the issue (and our new banner -- let me know what you think of it).


Sohan Dsouza
Editor of The Reason Review

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Sign up for SSOMIT Announcements (includes The Reason Review):


Boston Secular Solstice 2016

MIT Chapel
The Boston Secular Solstice will be celebrated at 8pm on Friday in the MIT Chapel. The event traditionally consists of speeches and participatory siinging.

HCHAA Festivus

The Humanist Hub, 30 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA
The Harvard Community of Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics will be hosting Seinfeldesque Festivus festivities at The Humanist Hub, complete with a traditional pole.

The Disproof Atheism Society: Disproofs of God from the Free Will Defense

WED DEC/07 7:30PM
Boston University Photonics Center, Room 442, 8 St. Mary’s St, Boston, MA
At this Disproof Atheism Society event, Dr Hugh LaFollette will be presenting his paper "Plantinga on the Free Will Defense" for a discussion about why the free will defense to the logical problem of evil not only fails but also disproves God. Recommended primarily for those interested in philosophy.


Judge Rules Against Christian Teacher Who Displayed Bible Verses in Classroom

FFRF said they had learned about the classroom displays from an anonymous student and were acting on that student's behalf. "Teachers should strive to conduct their classes in an inclusive manner so that students can participate fully without compromising their own personal beliefs," wrote FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert to Superintendent Kane.

Documentary on “ex-Muslims” sparks contentious debate at Portland State

Sadia sent Freethinkers of PSU a written statement. It read in part, “Islam’s Non-Believers was such an important documentary because for the first time ex-Muslims have been given a face and a voice. It has made us human.”

Oil City VFW Just Says 'No' to Atheists

The bench in question, the Tyrants Bench, contains the quotation “Men Who Aren’t Governed By God, Will Be Governed By Tyrants.”  The atheist group felt the wording on a public park likely violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and does not fairly consider veterans who are also atheists.

Falwell Jr. says Trump offered him education secretary job

Falwell told The Associated Press on Saturday that Trump offered him the job last week during a meeting in New York. He says Trump wanted a four- to six-year commitment, but Falwell says he couldn't leave Liberty for more than two years.

Meeting with Trump emboldens anti-vaccine activists, who see an ally in the Oval Office

Wakefield and a small group of like-minded activists spent nearly an hour with Trump in the closing months of the presidential campaign. “I found him to be extremely interested, genuinely interested, and open-minded on this issue, so that was enormously refreshing,” Wakefield said.

Kenai borough Assembly votes — again — to change invocation rules

The change would return the Assembly's policy to what it looked like earlier this year — a first-come, first-served system that allows anyone to sign up to give an invocation before a meeting. That was how it worked before an atheist and, most notably, a satanist delivered invocations over the summer, leading to conversations about whether there should be a stricter set of rules.

Michigan town removes nativity scene due to sustained FFRF effort

The Freedom From Religion Foundation had initially sent a letter to the city in 2007 objecting to the nativity scene. It was taken down briefly, then was put back up in 2009 as part of a new City Council policy. Since then, FFRF had been doggedly persistent, writing several letters over the years pointing out the constitutional problems with the display.

It’s blasphemy to oppose having prayers in meetings, blasts councillor

"I was very disturbed to discover that at the commencement of the meeting all those present were asked to stand and share a moment of prayer." Mr Addis said it was a "huge presumption" to assume that "every person in the room subscribes to the same religious viewpoint.

Florida Atheist Sets Up Anti-Trump Festivus Pole At City’s Christmas Display

“Wrapped with an upside-down American flag (acknowledging the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for the Pumpkin In Chief), this year’s pole is shorter, a shout-out to Donald’s tiny hands,” Stevens said via email. “We’ve donned Distresstivus with the infamous Make America Great Again red cap, and fastened it all together with a big ol’ safety pin.”

Bangladesh arrests killer of secular blogger, publisher

Khairul had started to collect information about the duo since January 2015 and provided it to the outfit's Askari section (armed wing) to carry out the killings, he added. "Seeing CCTV footage, Khairul has identified four people involved in blogger and secular writer Avijit's killing and we are analysing the information," Baten said.

Atheists protest after being barred from visiting children's home

The President of Atheists in Kenya, Harrison Mumia, in the letter to the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs alleged that the department has banned them from visiting NEST Children’s Home in Limuru.


Why female genital mutilation still exists in modern Singapore

Most Singaporeans have little idea of the procedure's existence in the city-state, but it is observed, typically among Malay Muslims, who make up some 13% of the total resident population. Sunat Perempuan, as it is known in Malay, is usually carried out on girls before the age of two, who normally have the tip of the clitoris cut, with a tiny piece of skin sometimes removed.

Black atheists matter: How an increasingly vocal group of freethinkers is taking on religion

New black atheists are not content to personally reject religion but instead have a goal of spreading freethought to the broader black community. For example, the author Sikivu Hutchinson and the founder of Black Nonbelievers, Mandisa Thomas, argue that religion hurts the black community by promoting sexism, patriarchy and homophobia.

How I turned my back on Islam and became an atheist campaigner

"We wanted to change the conversation around apostasy which was highly politicised and remained within the remits of what theologians think about it. "We wanted to define our own experiences and make the institutions which seek to protect us, aware of the challenges affecting apostates in Britain today."


Zouhair Mazouz -- Getting It Wrong About Islam: Check Your Secular Privilege, Liberal America

Such is the pervasiveness of America’s polarized political discourse on Islam post-9/11. Whatever stances the right-wing espouses, liberals are compelled to advocate for the total opposite. What is lost in between is a crucial discussion on the role of religion in perpetuating injustice and violence in countries governed by Islamic law. As Republicans and Democrats settle their scores, nuance and context take a backseat.

Ali A. Rizvi -- ‘Atheist Muslims’ could be the key to defeating Islamic terror

Both of these narratives miss the mark. One assumes that Muslims are inherently violent because Islam is inherently violent. The other paints the act of criticizing Islam as bigotry against all Muslims. The key distinction both sides miss is that Islam is an idea. Muslims are people.

Brandon Withrow -- What It’s Like to Be Black and Atheist

“Unlike atheists of yesterday, we’re for the most part… vocal. Exodus focuses on African Americans and their exodus-exit from the church. It’s honest, raw, and intimate.”

Shamila Ghyas -- Why the world needs secularism

If we don’t want extremists to take over our country and turn it into their own personal kingdom, if we don’t want them to sit on thrones shouting “off with their heads” every time someone opens their mouth, if we don’t want to see the literal version of Game of Thrones around us, secularism is the only way to ensure that does not happen.


Richard Dawkins and Matt Dillahunty In Conversation

One of the most respected scientists in the world and the biggest draw in secularism, Richard Dawkins always generates impressive crowds when visiting North America. Secularism is sweeping America as a movement, and Richard Dawkins is the catalyst who galvanizes it. Matt Dillahunty is the current host of the webcast and cable access television show "The Atheist Experience," and from 2006 to 2013 served as the president of the Atheist Community of Austin. He is also a founder of the comprehensive counter-apologetics Wiki "Iron Chariots."

Atheist Experience -- 20.46 with Russell Glasser and Phil Session

The Atheist Experience episode 20.46 for November 20, 2016, with Russell Glasser and Phil Session. Recovering from Religion. Russell and Phil chat with author Darrel Ray about Recovering from Religion.

Atheist Experience -- 20.47 with Matt Dillahunty and Don Baker

The Atheist Experience episode 20.47 for November 27, 2016, with Matt Dillahunty and Don Baker. Troubling Theology. Don and Matt discuss some troubling theological questions and athests' responses to them.

Atheist Debates -- Debate Review vs Matt Slick

Part 1 of this debate review gives an analogy that covers the overview of this debate, followed by a discussion of how we decided on the topic. Why did I reject several suggested topics and why did I settle on "Is Secular Humanism superior to Christianity?"Part 2 of this debate review covers my thoughts on my opening remarks and begins to analyze Slick's opening remarks...did they address the topic? What's all this about brain fizz and certainty and truth...and is it relevant to which is the best strategy?Part 3 of this debate review covers the conclusion of Matt Slick's opening remarks and a very brief overview of the cross-examination (which isn't examined in full) as well as an answer to the burning question "What did you ask Matt Slick at the end?" ... As well as a final thought about this debate.
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Polite Conversations -- Episode 19 - Robert Spencer

Robert has tweeted about this as some sort of plot to edit him to look bad... I can assure you that the content is pretty much unedited. I usually obsessively remove umms and Ahs.. but i even let most of those be for this episode. I may have taken out some dead air or repeated words, but thats about it.

Friendly Atheist Podcast -- Ep. 137 - Ali A. Rizvi, Author of The Atheist Muslim

We spoke about whether someone can be culturally Muslim, whether there's something uniquely problematic with the doctrine of Islam, and what people like Reza Aslan get wrong about the faith.

ScathingAtheist 198: Secular Activist Edition

In this week’s episode, Dolores Umbridge gets appointed secretary of education, Heath consumes five leftover sandwiches during the recording, and Dan Arel joins us from the pre-nation of California to talk secular activism.

Godless Spellchecker -- EP#93 – ALI RIZVI – THE ATHEIST MUSLIM

It’s a great pleasure to welcome the return of author Ali Rizvi (@AliAmjadRizvi) to The #GSPodcast. Ali will be talking about his excellent new book ‘The Atheist Muslim’. We also discuss Donald Trump, liberal complacency, the left/right divide and much, more!

Dogma Debate -- #280 – Atheists vs. Christmas

Taking calls from atheists celebrating Christmas; a moment of prayer with David (yes, he prays with you), the Salvation Army & Target.

Dogma Debate -- #281 – Christian Listener vs. David Smalley

Daniel Ray has been a listener of Dogma Debate for 2 years, and is a devout Christian. David and Daniel discuss demons, angels, talking animals, the bible, special revelation, depression, childhood, and the firmament in the sky. Daniel believes the universe points to Jesus, and that evil is NOT just the result of “free will.”

The Thinking Atheist -- Our 300th Show!

This very special 300th broadcast was recorded in Dallas, Texas on November 19th in front of a live audience at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dallas-Richardson.  Special guests include: Matt Dillahunty, Sarah Haider of Ex-Muslims of North America, David Smalley of Dogma Debate, Aron Ra, and Recording artist Shelley Segal

The Thinking Atheist -- Movie Review: The Atheist Delusion

The hosts of God Awful Movies join Seth Andrews for a review of Ray Comfort's new film, "The Atheist Delusion."  They watched the you don't have to.


Atheists at the Creation Museum

On October 5th, 2012, Seth Andrews joined a group of skeptics for a tour of Kentucky's infamous Creation Museum. These are the Top Ten Lessons he took away from that experience.

Feel free to share this issue and blog far and wide.
Discuss in the comment space below.
Email the editor with any questions or feedback.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Reason Review 1-5

The Reason Review - Volume 1 Issue 5


Editorial Message

Dear Readers,

Welcome to The Reason Review 1-5.

I hope everyone is coping well with the aftermath after one of the most contentious American presidential elections in living memory. The stakes being as high as they were, we will need to find a way forward from this great setback, to protect the civil rights of both disbelievers and people of all beliefs, and to buttress the wall of separation between religion and state. Our first post-election secular forum focused on this issue, and it will surely appear on the agenda again, as the challenges will.

Consequently, a great majority of our content this cycle has to do with the implications of the elections on secularism and science in America. The Media section, in particular, includes a number of great podcasts by atheists discussing precisely this.

A silver lining is the success of a growing number of liberal disbelievers in local elections, including many from gender and/or ethnic political minorities. We have mentioned a couple of the latter, and for those interested in learning about more, The Friendly Atheist has covered them extensively. Hopefully, this will put a little wind in our sagging sails, and encourage more of the activism that can still make a difference.
Hope you enjoy the issue.


Sohan Dsouza
Editor of The Reason Review

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Openly Atheist Politician Juan Mendez Has Won His Race for Arizona State Senate

Secular politicians Salman and Mendez
Picture credit:

Mendez has long been on our radar, having served as a legislator in the Arizona State House since getting elected in 2012. He memorably delivered a godless invocation on the House floor and gave up his seat for this chance to run for the State Senate.

Ben Carson will not take position in Trump administration

Carson business manager Armstrong Williams tells The Associated Press that Carson has opted out of being considered for any cabinet or other administration positions, including leading the Department of Health & Human Services and the Department of education.

County officials again deny ‘Freedom from Religion’ banner 

Whitsett asked for equal access to courthouse display, placement where the banner would be easily visible; equal time with the traditional Nativity scene; and the banner being set up and taken down by county employees as the Nativity scene is. He claimed equal protection by the Constitution; and noted many dissenters, saying that requires more freedom of speech, not less. “Freedom of speech means nothing if it’s not applied to everyone,” Whitsett said.

Ten Commandments monument restored

The 3,000-pound monument was knocked down in August, setting off a new round of discussions as to whether or not the religious symbol violates the constitutional provision of separation of church and state.

Pasco considers religious freedom resolution for Arlene's Flowers case

The resolution notes that religious rights may come into conflict with other asserted rights at times and need to be balanced, and that "such conflict exists in the case of the state of Washington vs. Arlene's Flowers.

Germany Bans ‘True Religion’ Muslim Group and Raids Mosques

The True Religion is the sixth Islamist organization to be banned in Germany since 2012, under an effort to ensure domestic security and to prevent radicalized young people from leaving the country to fight for extremists abroad.

Jerusalem chief rabbi calls homosexuality an ‘abomination’

He also came out against rabbis trying to build bridges with the LGBTQ community: “There is no such thing, to show understanding or tolerance for this. A simple truth needs to be stated – there is a severe prohibition, and there is no allowance for it.” The rabbi emphasized he would not budge on his position, even at the price of estranging secular Jews from religious life.

Bangladesh considering dropping Islam as state religion, according to senior minister

“I have said it abroad and now I am saying it again that Islam will be dropped from Bangladesh’s constitution when the time comes. The force of secularism is within the people of Bangladesh. There is no such thing as a ‘minority’ in our country.”


Attorney Mark Naugle Has Helped 2,500 Mormons Leave the LDS Church, All Free of Charge

Two weeks ago, the LDS church introduced new policies that label same-sex couples as apostates and prohibit their children from being baptized into the faith until they are 18. Since the changes were announced, Naugle has flooded with requests.

How Evangelicals Helped Donald Trump Win

These advisors say that Trump’s commitment to evangelicals—and divine providence—put Trump across the finish line Tuesday night. It was a strategy Trump chose early.

Religious Right Believes Donald Trump Will Deliver on His Promises

There were prominent evangelicals publicly opposed to Mr. Trump — a phenomenon that Mr. Reed argued only brought more attention to those who supported him. But now that Mr. Trump is headed for the White House, some of those “Never Trump” evangelicals are coming around.

Dealt a body blow, atheists and humanists regroup

“Our eyes are now on the midterm elections,” said Sarah Levin, senior legislative representative for the Secular Coalition for America, a lobby that represents 19 atheist, humanist and freethought groups in Washington, D.C. “We are going to double-down. We really have to.”

Mike Pence Will Be The Most Powerful Christian Supremacist In U.S. History

Pence has been a reliable stalwart throughout his public life in the cause of Christian jihad — never wavering in his commitment to America-First militarism, the criminalizing of abortion, and utter hatred for gay people (unless they go into conversion therapy

Freethinkers make way to social media

"There is not a week that goes by when we don't come across the harms of religion. Honour killing over caste, caste discrimination, people fasting to death, absurd rituals that lead to the death of children and so forth. We are most bothered by this unnecessary suffering."

How Games, Piracy, and Religion Come Together in Saudi Arabia

"Inevitably, the other big part of my life at that time was religion. Religion is ubiquitous in Saudi Arabian culture. We had three or four religion classes a day in school, each focusing a different aspect. Nothing is excluded. Religion even influenced the way we played video games."

Celebrating the first atheist MP Charles Bradlaugh

A Victorian politician, who founded the National Secular Society 150 years ago, was the first atheist MP and paved the way for the separation of religion and public life.


Judd Birdsall -- Care about religious freedom worldwide? One of the candidates would be a disaster.

Second, for Clinton, religious freedom is more than a human right, it’s a social good. During her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton regularly reminded us that religious freedom is not just an American value and international norm, but part and parcel of “a climate of tolerance that helps make a country more stable, more secure, and more prosperous.” In other words, religious freedom is a strategic issue.

Sierra Norman -- I Did What I Had To Do

He called me “Satan” on Twitter and another commented that I would “fly back to the underworld.” Other various threats and comments were made on how much I was “hated”, should be “slapped in the face”, and just “leave” because it was my “fault” the community was breaking apart.

Herb Silverman -- Post-Election Healing: An Atheist's Perspective

A secular US Constitution helped make America great. When religion mingled with politics is no longer business as usual, then we together can make America even greater

Hiba Krisht -- That meme comparing hijabis to nuns needs to die in a pit of fire

I’m concerned not only with what a certain sect says about hijab, but with an epidemic crushing the lives of millions upon millions of women and girls worldwide, where modesty is the sole and final arbiter of everything they have and do in their lives, a phenomenon that is largely denied, downplayed, and obscured.


Polite Conversations -- Episode 18 - Election rant with Eli Bosnick

@NiceMangos, @EliBosnick from Scathing Atheist, God Awful Movies & SkepticRat in a chat about the US election, America wtf have you done?!

Polite Conversations -- Episode 17 - Sam Harris

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of speaking with Sam Harris! We had an excellent, robust discussion on a variety of topics. We didn’t necessarily agree on everything, but even in disagreement Sam is an absolute pleasure to speak with. I admire his integrity, intellectual honesty and willingness to engage in difficult conversations.

Atheist Experience -- 20.45 with Matt Dillahunty and John Iacoletti

The Atheist Experience episode 20.45 for November 13, 2016, with Matt Dillahunty and John Iacoletti. How Trump will Impact SCOTUS. Matt and John discuss how the new president will impact the Supreme Court and its later rulings.

Godless Spellchecker -- Taking The Myth – 10 Nov 2016 Election Edition

This week on Taking The Myth, Stephen Knight (@Gspellchecker) and Iram Ramzan (@Iram_Ramzan) discuss the big topics. We talk about newly elected President Trump, how we got there and what it means for the future. We also update you on the Louis Smith saga, discuss national pride and gender segregation and much, much more!

Point of Inquiry -- Trump’s Victory and the Challenge to a Secular America, with Larry Decker

Larry Decker, Executive Director of Secular Coalition for America, believes that much of America’s core secular values are in grave danger with a Trump presidency. He asserts that SCA and its contributing members are preparing to fight relentlessly to make secular American voices heard in order to defend the wall of separation between church and state.

Atheistically Speaking -- AS292: President Trump, With Eli Bosnick And Andrew Torrez

It f*cking happened. President Trump. We elected President Trump. The first 12 minutes of this episode are my live reaction from Tuesday night when it happened. It may make you uncomfortable.

Atheistically Speaking -- AS293: President Trump’s Second Term, With Eli Bosnick And Andrew Torrez

Here is part 2 of my truly excellent recording with Andrew and Eli. We commiserate, we give our answers to a lot of the common questions, we laughed, we feared and I feel slightly better knowing I’ll still have these two amazing people and more to get me through this. I hope everyone else is as lucky as I am!

Friendly Atheist Podcast -- Ep. 135 - Sarah Levin, Secular Coalition for America's Senior Legislative Representative

Following Tuesday's elections, we spoke about what church/state separation advocates should be worried about over the next few years, the positive developments (and there were some!) from Election Day, and what atheists need to do to become more of a political force in the future.

ScathingAtheist 196: Full Pence-etration Edition

In this week’s episode, Donald trump announces a brand new skull-shaped White House, he also makes a few other decisions based on skull shape, and Reince Priebus finally gets to be on a list where he’s not the worst person.

ScathingAtheist 195: WTF Happened Edition

In this week’s episode, Lucinda invents a time machine made of rage and microwave parts, we hook up Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to a monatomic gold respirator, and the 2020 presidential election begins.

Dogma Debate / David Smalley -- #277 - Trump vs. Atheists: with Aron Ra & Rachel Nanon Brown

Liberal atheists react to a Trump victory, and Aron Ra & Rachel Nanon Brown discuss evolution vs. creation.

Dogma Debate -- #278 - Noah's Ark vs. David Smalley, Aron Ra, & Dan Arel

Eric Hovind took a group of atheists on a personally guided tour of Ken Ham's Ark Encounter. This is the full audio of what happened.

Friendly Atheist Podcast -- Ep. 136 - Dr. Steven Tomlins, Atheist Bus Campaign Researcher

Dr. Steven Tomlins is a researcher and graduate of the University of Ottawa who has just co-edited a new academic book called The Atheist Bus Campaign: Global Manifestations and Responses. It looks at the various atheist advertising campaigns -- billboards, bus ads, and the like -- all over the world. We spoke about how this idea went viral, which kinds of ads are more successful, and whether the media coverage matters more than the messages themselves.

Atheist Experience -- 20.44 with Russell Glasser and Jen Peeples

The Atheist Experience episode 20.44 for November 6, 2016, with Russell Glasser and Jen Peeples. Hacking the Election. Jen and Russell talk about what it would take to actually hack a presidential election.

The Thinking Atheist -- The Mystery Letter

In the spring of 2016, Seth Andrews received a strange letter in the mail...a letter which has roots dating back over three decades.  In September of 2016, he told his entertaining story about "The Mystery Letter" to a live audience in Riverside, California.


Ep#22 - Blasphemy - The Godless Spellchecker Podcast

Michael Sherlock returns, this time bringing Acharya and Michael Nugent to talk about the misery created by blasphemy laws. We talk about the consequences of these laws in the countries enforcing them & the potential consequences for countries not. Yet. They're spearheading a petition to have these oppressive laws abolished

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