On Being a Humanist

For most of the time I’ve spent as an atheist, I’ve also identified as a secular humanist. However, the label of “humanist” has spent most of that time in the backseat. Even though I was a humanist, I preferred to use descriptors like “skeptic” or “curious atheist”. While I am still all of these, I’m beginning to really embrace my identity as a humanist for the first time.

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How Should Skeptics Approach Pseudoscience?

If you have been following my blog for the past few months, then you know that one of my favorite YouTubers is Progressive Christian Brenda Marie Davies. I feel like I’m talking about how great her channel is in every other post. So you can imagine that when she posted a podcast episode this week all about astrology—interviewing full-time “astrologer” Aliza Kelly—that I was frustrated because belief in the pseudoscience of astrology is my #1 pet peeve.

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Why Atheists Revere Carl Sagan

Since I was a kid, I’ve had a tendency to get “obsessed” with various things. I think “obsessed” might be a harsh word for it, but it’s not entirely inaccurate: over the years I have become enamored with different book series, TV shows, and musicians in the sense that one could have thought that my being a fan of that thing was my main personality trait. As I’ve grown older, this zeal has gone more towards things like atheism, paleoanthropology, and most recently, everything Carl Sagan has ever written.

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The End of My Atheist Blog

I would say that 2020 has been a roller coaster for me, but honestly, the entire life of this blog feels like a roller coaster. This is because what I write about (which is all this blog is) changes and evolves as I change and grow up. I began The Closet Atheist Blog in November of 2016 with slight apprehension that I might one day run out of things to talk about in my specific niche of atheism, and I wondered what I would do then. Should I just end the blog? No, I would first change it—the content, maybe even the name?—instead of leaving it behind altogether.

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Is Astrology Really Harmful?

One of my favorite things about my blog has always been the ability to sit down on the weekends and write about whatever topic it is that plagued my mind all week. Sometimes it’s paleoanthropology or progressive Christianity, and this week it’s been astrology. I’ve written about astrology before (why it is pseudoscience, and why mercury retrograde is strictly an astronomical rather than astrological phenomenon), so one might wonder why I can’t just let it go. The fact is, something about astrology really rubs me the wrong way, and anyone close to me knows it.

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Book Review: The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan’s 1996 book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark has gained popularity in recent years as Sagan has been crowned a sort of prophet of science. I learned this while watching this video where Drew McCoy explains Sagan’s most famous “prediction” and raves that his viewers ought to read this book. I had been having difficulty choosing which Carl Sagan book to read next, so the video convinced me that it ought to be The Demon-Haunted World.

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Why I Am Not a Progressive Christian

I grew up steeped in conservative Christianity only to make a 180° turn to cold, hard atheism in college. I took no detours in progressive Christianity, but I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be both a Christian and an open-minded, accepting person. Luckily, I’ve lately been enjoying Brenda Marie Davies’ YouTube channel, which is a glimpse into the lifestyle, opinions, and beliefs of a progressive Christian. If you can achieve a messy but confident faith in God and a loving call for equality and recognition for all, then why not embrace both?

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Praise Be Unto Darwin?

A couple days ago I was flipping through a creationist book from my shelf, and I couldn’t help but notice that the author rarely ever used the word “evolution” when describing the theory of evolution by natural selection. Instead, he almost always called it Darwinism. Of course, we know what someone means when they say Darwinism, and even evolutionists often call it Darwinian evolution or Darwin’s theory of evolution. But I think that creationists have a very specific reason in using the term “Darwinism” instead of the word “evolution”. That is: they want to equate believing that evolution is true with belonging to a religion that worships Charles Darwin.

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Book Review: The Reason for God by Tim Keller

Last night, I successfully completed Presbyterian pastor Timothy Keller’s apologetics book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. I find it fascinating to read through various apologetics books (like The Case for a Creator, Emails to a Young Seeker, and this), and see how they differ and how they don’t. There were a lot of topics in The Reason for God that were familiar, but as with most apologetics books, the author tweaked a thing or two to try to refresh the tired arguments and make them his own. Read more

Is Atheism a Choice?

I know that one can control their being an atheist more than they could control being gay. We don’t have any control over our sexual orientation. But the control that we have over what we believe is more complex than “none at all”. In my opinion, I can control what I read and what information and arguments I choose to expose myself to. I can deliberate on what makes the most sense, or if I see some sense in both sides of an argument, I will usually choose to dig deeper on the topic until I find a more concrete answer. What I can’t control is what conclusion I come to.

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