When I posted Inaccuracy, Eurocentrism, and Antitheism in Carl Sagan’s Cosmos last month, it caused a bit of a stir among Carl Sagan fans (especially on Reddit). Not the least constructive of the criticism was the point that Carl Sagan was not even an atheist. Of course, I already know that he did not identify as an atheist, and in that post I never said he did. I suppose that people who used that as a rebuttal were assuming that one can’t be antitheistic without even being an atheist.Read more
Evolution by natural selection is the amazing, vast, but surprisingly simple mechanism that explains the magnificent diversity of life on Earth. That’s why I love it. But through no fault of their own, so many people absorb misinformation about evolution in daily life, in and out of the classroom. I believe that evolution is a phenomenon which is only not accepted when it’s not understood. Even worse, many of us know it to be true, but don’t know enough about it to be able to defend it against someone who’s been wrongly taught about it.
That’s where this post will help. The good news is that most of the misunderstandings about evolution boil down to a handful of different objections which can be easily corrected with the right context. As you apply this advice in the real world, keep in mind that most people don’t choose to be misinformed. If you are polite and gracious in your explanation, it will go a long way.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
As you likely know, I recently finished reading Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark after it was suggested to me by many. For most of the book, I found myself making underline after underline, as Sagan (and in some cases, his beloved wife Ann Druyan) once again captured the awe one feels at the beauty of science and Nature. Additionally, everyone saying that his “foreboding” quotes are so applicable to modern times are correct as well; Sagan explains how only when a society is dedicated to science and skepticism can it stave off the grasp of authoritarian leadership. His stance is so eerily relevant that it feels appropriate for me to be re-reading these quotes on Halloween.Read more
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.Read more
Earlier this week, I saw a video from a Christian YouTuber, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I almost didn’t click on it, because I thought it would be the same old Christian talking points that we hear all the time. But I’m glad that I watched it, because I was unable to stop thinking about it for days after—not because I was persuaded by it, but because I felt that it got so many things wrong.Read more