Ten is the new thirteen

The Freethinker has an atheist blog challenge in which it tapped me, so I’ve obliged.

How would you define “atheism”?

Non-theism; no belief in any gods.

Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?

Very vaguely and nominally, and less and less so over time. And it never took.

How would you describe “Intelligent Design”, using only one word?


What scientific endeavour really excites you?

Several do – but I’ll go with cognitive science. But there’s astronomy, too. So I’m a cheater.

If you could change one thing about the “atheist community”, what would it be and why?

Well to start with I would never call it a community! I feel fully entitled to be an atheist without being a member of any poxy community – which is not to deny that I feel a certain commonality with other atheists, especially vocal ones. But I still don’t think of atheists as enough of a community for it to be meaningful to want to change something about that community. All I know about atheists as such is that they are atheists, and I have no desire to change that.

If your child came up to you and said “I’m joining the clergy”, what would be your first response?

It was nice knowing you.

What’s your favourite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?

Oh, there are so many…One fave is the ‘science can’t explain why we are here’ type. I don’t exactly refute it, I just say neither can religion.

What’s your most “controversial” (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?

Er, er, er. I’m not sure I have one – possibly because I’m not sure what general attitudes among other atheists are. There are a lot of other atheists! The only general attitude I’m confident they have (excuse repetition) is non-belief in gods, and I uncontroversially share that one. Come on, try. Er, er. Well I’m not a humanist (except in the minimal sense of not being theist); that will have to do.

Of the “Four Horsemen” (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favourite, and why?

I don’t have a favourite. They’re all fine upstanding members of the atheist community.

If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?

The Saudi king.

Now name three other atheist blogs that you’d like to see take up the Atheist Thirteen gauntlet.

The New Humanist. Um…that will have to do; I’m too shy to name anyone else.

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