Those who have that kind of leverage

Paul Fidalgo blogs Melanie Brewster’s talk which also sounds terrific, on the subject of why there aren’t more women in atheism. Brewster is an assistant professor of psychology and education at Columbia.

She cited many older studies that asserted some kind of biological or psychological traits of women that prime them for religious belief, but then revealed that these studies were done with no actual examination of the biological components, and often they came from sociologists working from explicitly religious universities such as Baylor, Brigham Young, and Holy Cross.

But these dusty studies still serve as the foundation for popular understanding of these perceived differences, even among seculars, and she cautioned us to bring our own prized critical thinking to this question. “It’s lazy,” she said, for our own community to glom on to these incomplete studies, and we can do better.


She’s showing a slide of Sam Harris looking (as usual) smug, with a cartoon bubble of that ludicrous “estrogen vibe” explanation that annoyed so many of us a couple of years ago.

Also incredibly important, Brewster noted that the media only presents an extremely narrow view of atheist thinkers and leaders, almost all male, and the vast majority are white. “We need to start asking people in power to start forcing representation in the media,” she said, asserting that those who have that kind of leverage should insist that women and people of color get the air time they might have gotten themselves.

Or we could just wait a few more generations, by which time the planet will be under water.

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