American Atheists

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David Silverman took feminist Rebecca Watson off the speakers list for the Reason Rally after Richard Dawkins objected to her speaking at the event.[1] See: Elevatorgate Wikimedia photo, see license agreement

American Atheists is an American militant atheist group founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O'Hair. David Silverman currently serves as the President of the American Atheists organization.

Though officially supporting the "civil liberties of Atheists" and the "total, absolute separation of government and religion,"[2] material found on their website suggests that they are hostile to religion and may be more anti-religion than pro-atheist (see 'Excerpts' section below).

Excerpts from the American Atheists' Website

For more information please see: American Atheists - Excerpts from their website

In order to remain objective, this section of the article contains only direct quotes cited and taken from www.atheists.org. The following quotes may serve to display the general beliefs of the organization.

  • “One might naturally suppose that low intelligence is the main cause of religiosity. After all, thinking is so much harder than believing - hence the great preponderance of believers over thinkers in all ages and cultures. But what can one say when members of that small coterie we identify as thinkers are also believers? Low intelligence is not necessarily the problem.”[3]
  • “The moment of silence idea is a method to inject forced prayer into the classroom.”[4]
  • “It’s not the Christmas season, it’s the solstice season. And that’s why it’s not a war on Christmas. It’s a war on the solstice, and the Christians started it.”[5] Note, this is not not a quote from the website, it is a direct quote by David Silverman, President of American Atheists.
  • "...The rebellious churches don't want to hand over their share of the taxes. They just want to intrude even further into our political process."[6] From an opinion article on the "politics in the pulpit" issue.

Silverman's inaccurate reporting on the effectiveness of firebrand atheism

See also: Decline of militant atheism in the West and Atheism and public relations

In 2015, in an article entitled The Case Against In-Your-Face Atheism, the Daily Beast reported about David Silverman, the president of the American Atheists organization:

Like any good marketer, Silverman says he has sales figures proving his approach is working. In a talk he gave about firebrand atheism, he claimed that his data, based on an analysis of Google searches for the word “atheist” performed over the past several years, shows that his in-your-face approach is working.[7]

However, according to Google trends data for the USA/world, searches for the word "atheist" have been plunging since April 2012 and continue to plunge downwards (See also: Google trends - Atheism and agnosticism terms).[8][9] Silverman still does not recognize that New Atheism was merely a fad and now a more docile atheism has taken its place.[10][11][12]

In addition, since its 2012 high point due the 2012 Reason Rally, the number of Google searches in the United States for the term "David Silverman" has gone down significantly (The 2016 Reason Rally was a failure in terms of it attendance).[13] In July 2016, worldwide Google searches for the term "David Silverman" is nearly as low as it was in June 2006 which was its lowest point in recent history.[14] See also; Decline of global atheism

Incident relating to Richard Dawkins/Rebecca Watson

See also: Feminist quotes about Richard Dawkins

An article by Sarah posted at Skepchick about a conversation between Richard Dawkins and David Silverman which took place during the planning phrase of the Reason Rally:

Richard was standing behind the podium, and he asked Dave something along the lines of, “What exactly is the Reason Rally?” Dave started explaining it, and as he did, someone who was waiting in the line outside opened the door to peek inside and we could all hear a lot of noise. I rushed up the aisle and made frantic “shut the door” gestures at the people peeking inside, and they did. As I walked the ten feet back, I couldn’t hear everything Dave was saying, but I heard the name “Rebecca Watson.” Richard suddenly had a very angry look on his face and I heard him almost shout, “No, absolutely not! If she’s going to be there, I won’t be there. I don’t want her speaking.” and then Dave immediately replied, “You’re absolutely right, we’ll take her off the roster. It’s done.” Richard huffed for a moment, Dave continued to placate him, and then he made the video.

I was crushed.[15]

For more information, please see: Elevatorgate

American Atheists and two of its public relations problems

Most secular organizations avoid using the word atheist/atheism in their organization name

With the exception of a minority of atheist/agnostic organizations (Atheist Alliance International, Atheist Center, Atheist Foundation of Australia, The Atheist Agenda, Seattle Atheists, etc.), most secular organizations do not use the words atheism/atheist within the name of their organizations.[16][17] Instead they use the words such as secular/skeptics/humanist/rationalist/ freethought, etc. The reason is twofold: it enables the organizations to appeal to both atheists/agnostics and the words atheist/atheism have a bad reputation among the general public (see: Views on atheists). The new atheist Sam Harris said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."[18][19]

The American public has a very negative view of atheists (see: Views on atheists). Thus, the American Atheist organization has a branding problem in terms of the name of its organization.

Not having the word atheist in the name of secular organization and using words like humanist/rationalist/etc. instead poses a branding problem as well since many people are not familiar with words such as humanism, rationalism, etc.[20] David Silverman is a proponent of nonbelievers using the word "atheist" to describe themselves.[21]

Bad reputation of Madalyn Murray O'Hair

Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the founder of American Atheists, was a mean-spirited woman who led an immoral life (see: Immoral life of Madalyn Murray O'Hair).

For example, when her son became a Christian and decided to be an evangelist, she said: "One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I guess; I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times. ...He is beyond human forgiveness."[22]

The public has a tendency to particularly remember an organization's beginnings and its recent actions. So the bad reputation of Madalyn Murray O'Hair is a branding problem for American Atheists.

American Atheists organization's performance in debates against Christians

Madalyn Murray O'Hair debate with Dr. Walter Martin

See also: Atheism and debate

Madalyn Murray O'Hair did particularly badly in her debate with Dr. Walter Martin.[23] For example, when she claimed there were supposedly were contradictions in the Bible, Dr. Martin asked her to provide an example of one and Ms. O'Hair did not and could not offer even an alleged example of a Bible contradiction.[24] In addition, Ms. O'Hair was ill prepared in terms of defending against the issue of atheism and mass murder.[25]

Frank Zindler Versus Dr. William Craig Debate

see also: Frank Zindler vs. William Lane Craig debate

Frank Zindler is currently the editor of American Atheist Magazine and Director of American Atheist Press. In addition, Frank Zindler serves on the board of directors for the atheist organization American Atheists plus served as an interim president of the organization.[26]

The website TrueOrigin declares concerning the debate between atheist Frank Zindler and Christian philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig:

A leading light in the American Atheists. Isn’t it amazing how so many atheists love evolution and appear to be threatened by the massive scientific evidence for creation? Zindler took the atheism side in an Atheism v. Christianity debate in front of 7,500 people at Willow Creek Community Church, USA. His opponent, Dr William Lane Craig, tore his ignorant arguments to shreds so effectively that many atheists in the audience realised that Zindler had lost the debate. It was presumably to this debate that John Snowden was alluding when he wrote that a representative of the American Atheists, whom he used to support, lost a public debate to a “fundamentalist” (Skeptic 18(3), 1998).[27]

Embarrassing incidents concerning the website of the American Atheists

See also: Atheism and the internet and Embarrassing incidents concerning the website of the American Atheists

A Question evolution! campaign blog declares:

The popular Christian YouTube video creator Shockofgod just released a hilarious video entitled Proof atheism & evolution are stupid.

On the video, he first did a Google search at Google USA for the word "atheism". The #1 search result for atheism was for the website of the American Atheists organization and they misspelled the words "separation" and "church" on the main page title tag for their website. The title of their website reads: "Supporting Civil Rights for Atheists and the Seperation of Curch and ...". Did the American Atheist organization's webmaster go to one of the many evolution indoctrinating public schools with a high drop out rate? It appears so!

Is it any wonder that the American Atheists organization has been silent concerning the 15 questions for evolutionists of the Question Evolution! Campaign? Besides being poor spellers the American Atheists organization's staff is probably poor when it comes to science as well![28]

On October 17, 2014, Shockofgod's blog declared:

In the United States, due to more women and southerners attending college/universities, atheism is now negatively correlated with education. Also, given the significant high school dropout rates of many evolution indoctrinating public schools, this negative correlation is not entirely surprising.

As a result, American atheists contribute some of the most ill-informed/uneducated commentary on the internet.

Alexa is a popular web traffic tracking company. Below is a portion of Alexa's site overview for the website of the American Atheists organization and notice that 5.01% of their search engine traffic comes from the keyword "athiest" which is a misspelling of the world atheist.

From the Alexa website on October 17, 2014:

Site Overview

atheists.org

Top Keywords from Search Engines Which search keywords send traffic to this site?

Keyword Percent of Search Traffic

  • 1. atheist 52.97%
  • 2. atheism 14.80%
  • 3. american atheists 8.97%
  • 4. athiest 5.01%
  • 5. atheists 3.82%[29]

Controversial Billboard

The American Atheists organization sponsored an aggressive and controversial billboard and an interview with Fox News occurred as a result of the billboard VIDEO. The president of American Atheists David Silverman has a degree in marketing. But despite his degree in marketing, according to fellow atheist and evolutionist PZ Myers, Silverman was stuck defending a "badly designed, ugly" sign.[30]

American Atheist organization and Christmas

See also: Atheism and Christmas

CNN reported about an America Atheists billboard during the Christmas season:

However, American Atheists has rankled some churchgoers with billboards in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Raleigh, North Carolina, that say, "Go ahead and skip church! Just be good for goodness sake. Happy holidays!"

CNN affiliate KXRM of Colorado Springs noted that the billboard didn't go over well with some who saw it.

"It can be insulting to those who are religious and do celebrate it for Christianity and religion in general," one viewer said.

American Atheists' Randy Gotovich disagreed.

"We're trying to be inclusive of everyone in Christmas and saying that anyone can celebrate it. It shouldn't be viewed strictly as a Christian holiday," he said.

Such friction has long roots in American history, says Boston University religion professor Stephen Prothero. Christmas may be a religious holiday, but it's also deeply secular, creating a natural conflict.[31]

American Atheists and their challenges in terms of overweight leadership personnel

See also: Atheism and obesity and American Atheists and obesity

As of July 9. 2016, Matt Dillahunty was on the board of directors for the American Atheists organization. (photo obtained from Creative commons, see license agreement)

Madalyn Murray O'Hair was the founder of the American Atheists organization and she was overweight.[32] One of the last pictures taken of Madalyn Murray O'Hair features her standing before a cake as can be seen HERE.

As of December 28, 2010, the pictures of the members of the American Atheists organization's board of directors showed a significant portion of its members having excess body weight. Members of the American Atheists board of directors who were overweight as of December 28, 2010 included: Richard Andrews, Monty Gaither, Blair Scott and Ann Zindler. A picture of an overweight Richard Andrews can be found HERE.

On August 11. 2013, a new overweight member of their board of directors was listed - namely, Jamila Bey. A video of an overweight Jamila Bey can be seen HERE. As of June 8, 2016, she is no longer on their board of directors.

On July 9, 2016, Matt Dillahunty was on the Board of Directors for the American Atheists organization. Pictures of an overweight Matt Dillahunty can be found HERE and HERE.

Research suggests that extra pounds and large waists undermine perceptions of leadership ability.[33]

The current pictures of the American Atheists board of directors can be found HERE.

See also

Essay:

External links

Notes

  1. My Time With Richard Dawkins (Or, Why You Should Never Meet Your Idols) by Sarah at Skepchick, September 5, 2013
  2. http://www.atheists.org/about
  3. http://www.atheists.org/Why_is_Religiosity_so_Hard_to_Cure
  4. http://www.atheists.org/youth_%26_family/questions_and_answers
  5. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=385x529734
  6. http://www.atheists.org/Keep_Politics_Out_Of_The_Pulpit_or_Lose_Tax-Exempt_Status:_Opinion_
  7. The Case Against In-Your-Face Atheism
  8. Google trends - Atheist - USA
  9. Google trends - Atheist - Global searches
  10. The poverty of the new atheism by Scott Stephens
  11. Uproar Against Dawkins Is Sign of New Atheism Retrogression by Joshua Kelly
  12. Believe It or Not by David Bentley Hart
  13. Google trends - David Silverman - Google USA
  14. Google trends - David Silverman - Global searches
  15. My Time With Richard Dawkins (Or, Why You Should Never Meet Your Idols) by Sarah at Skepchick, September 5, 2013
  16. The Secular Directory
  17. Secular organizations
  18. Roberts, Jessica, et al. (June 19, 2007). "Interview with an atheist". News21. Retrieved on July 30, 2014.
  19. NEWSWEEK Poll: 90% Believe in God, Newsweek 2007
  20. Atheist, Humanist, Secular: Why Fight Over Labels?, Huffington Post
  21. Atheist, Humanist, Secular: Why Fight Over Labels?, Huffington Post
  22. Quoted without citation by Ted Dracos, UnGodly: The Passions, Torments, and Murder of Atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair (2003), on her son William's rejection of atheism, conversion to Christianity and calling as an evangelist.
  23. http://defendingcontending.com/2009/01/01/debate-walter-martin-vs-madalyn-murray-ohair/
  24. http://defendingcontending.com/2009/01/01/debate-walter-martin-vs-madalyn-murray-ohair/
  25. http://defendingcontending.com/2009/01/01/debate-walter-martin-vs-madalyn-murray-ohair/
  26. http://www.atheists.org/about/Board_of_Directors
  27. http://www.trueorigin.org/noaig.asp
  28. More proof that atheism is stupid. American Atheists organization badly embarrasses itself
  29. Uneducated and illiterate American atheists
  30. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/01/that_controversial_oreilly_int.php
  31. How do atheists celebrate Christmas? By Todd Leopold, CNN
  32. http://www.flickr.com/photos/alan-light/229583104/
  33. Want to Be CEO? What's Your BMI?