Atheist Alliance International

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Atheism is in decline worldwide, with the number of atheists falling from 4.5% of the world's population in 1970 to 2.0% in 2010 and projected to drop to 1.8% by 2020.[1]

Atheist Alliance International (AAI) is a global federation of atheist organizations and individuals. It was founded in 1991. A majority of individuals involved with AAI are men. AAI has called the gender imbalance in its ranks “a significant and urgent issue.”[2] See: Atheism and women

Among atheists, AAI has a low degree of awareness in terms of its existence. For example, Tanya Smith, a director of Atheist Alliance International, spoke at the 2012 Global Atheist Convention. Smith stated: "Many of you may not have heard of Atheist Alliance International".[3]

In recent years, international cooperation among atheists has been low and there is much infighting within the atheist movement (see: Atheism and international cooperation among atheists and atheist factions). In addition, numerous atheists have declared that the "atheist movement is dead" or that it is dying (See: Decline of the atheist movement).[4]

In terms of expanding global atheism as far as its percentage of world adherents, AAI has been unsuccessful due to a variety of factors (see: Decline of global atheism).

Atheist Alliance International: History and organizational structure

AAI was founded in 1991 under the name Atheist Alliance and was an alliance of four U.S.-based local atheist groups. Atheist Alliance expanded and added local/regional U.S. groups and international groups as members. In 2001, the organization renamed itself to Atheist Alliance International.

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins declared "Christianity may actually be our best defence against aberrant forms of religion that threaten the world".[5][6] See also: Richard Dawkins and Islam

In 2011, AAI announced concerning its organizational structure:

Atheist Alliance International (“AAI”), a global network of atheist and freethought organisations, launched today as prominent atheists, including British biologist Professor Richard Dawkins and Danish science writer Dr Lone Frank, gathered at the World Atheist Convention in Dublin, Ireland.

With membership comprising 19 atheist/freethought groups plus individuals from Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia, Atheist Alliance International will:

  • Strengthen co-operation between atheist and freethought organisations around the world;
  • Support the establishment of new atheist/freethought organisations, particularly in developing countries;
  • Publish Secular World magazine, with Atheist Alliance of America;
  • Co-host atheist conventions, continuing the success of international events in Australia (2010), Denmark (2010) and Ireland (2011); and
  • Act as an atheist spokesperson on relevant international matters.

The new board of Atheist Alliance International was elected today and is comprised of thirteen members from around the world, reflecting the diversity of Atheist Alliance International’s membership and its global activities.[7]

Atheist Alliance of America organizational structure

The United States group of AAI was renamed Atheist Alliance of America. In 2016, AAoA achieved autonomy from the decision-making Affiliate Council of AAI.

A press release indicated that Aron Ra was made president of Atheist Alliance of America (AAoA).[8]

Besides being a staunch advocate of evolutionary ideology and critic of creationism, he is also a feminist and considers the men's rights movement to be an extremist hate group.[9]

A press release announced the following organizational structure change for Atheist Alliance International in terms of the United States:

Atheist Alliance of America (AAoA) recently underwent the most significant changes since its inception nearly a quarter century ago. For those who are unaware, AAoA had historically been run by an affiliation of separate atheist organizations, which, as one might imagine, presented extra responsibilities for the affiliates and challenges for AAoA when it came to making substantive decisions in a timely manner. In early 2016, Mark W. Gura and the Board successfully petitioned the Affiliate Council to relinquish their decision-making authority so that AAoA could control its own future in a democratic fashion. This marked an enormous turning point for our organization, and we are deeply appreciative of the kindness our affiliates and collaborators have extended to us over the years, and for the gracious manner in which they supported our request for autonomy.

Daring to dream big and making the most of its opportunities, AAoA assembled a powerhouse team of secular activists, educators, editors, authors, producers, and artists including Aron Ra as President; Rob Penczak as Executive Director; John Loftus, Derek Colanduno, Adam Tilford, and Kristi Dale as Board Members; and David Tamayo, Phil Torres, Tombstone Da Deadman and Bill Flavell as Advisors—all this while retaining Mark Gura as Vice President and Dustin Kemper as a Board Member, both of whom played key roles in providing continuity and revitalizing the organization.

AAoA is especially pleased to announce that the creator of Street Epistemology, Dr. Peter Boghossian, has officially joined AAoA as an Advisor, and that AAoA is forming a new division specifically focused on the promotion of Street Epistemology, which will be led by the nationally recognized practitioner and teacher of the techniques, provisional Board Member, Anthony Magnabosco, who said he was, “Extremely excited to be part of an organization with the desire and reach to help educate people about Street Epistemology.”

With its expanded audience reach, connections, and experience, AAoA can now offer exciting new deliverables to its members while serving as an incubator for secular activists and community organizations at all levels of maturity to achieve their own objectives.[10]

Vision, goals and community building of Atheist Alliance International

Vision of Atheist Alliance International

The atheist Stephen Hawking supported the multiverse hypothesis despite the fact that the universe exhibits a significant amount of fine-tuning.[11] See also: Anthropic principle and Atheism and the origin of the universe

According to its website, "AAI’s vision is a secular world where public policy, scientific inquiry and education are not influenced by religious beliefs, but based upon sound reasoning, rationality and evidence, and where individuals who lack religious beliefs enjoy free speech, freedom of association and freedom to participate in public life."[12]

See also:

(To see Christianity's influence on the Western World and world at large, see Impact of Christianity and How Christianity changed the world).

Goals of Atheist Alliance International

According to its website, the goals of Atheist Alliance International are:

Facilitate and support project/events that demystify and normalize atheism, promote critical thinking and counter religious dogma in government and public policy.
  • Combat discrimination and injustice against atheists around the world.
  • Support the establishment of new atheist organizations, especially in places where atheists are at risk, victimized and discriminated against.
  • Strengthen global cooperation between atheists.[13]

See also:

Community building efforts of Atheist Alliance International

See also: Atheism and loneliness

Atheists have higher suicide rates than theists. See: Atheism and suicide and Atheism and loneliness

According to an international study done by William Bainbridge, atheism is common among people whose interpersonal social obligations are weak and is also connected to lower fertility rates in advanced industrial nations (See also: Atheism and loneliness and Atheism and fertility rates).[14]

Atheism is not a movement which tends to create community as most atheists are apathetic when it comes to such matters (see: Atheism and apathy).

According to Atheist Alliance International's website:

AAI recognizes the value of social communities and the importance of providing a strong and protective foundation for individuals, families and groups. In addition to promoting and encouraging the formation of new atheist organizations, AAI supports international outreach and community-building programs. The organization supports its affiliates and other groups through local campaigns, conferences and other projects.[15]

UN consultative status

In 2013, the AAI was granted special consultative status by the United Nations. Having this status allows the AAI to better be able to serve atheists facing persecution from their governments (many Islamic governments are oppressive towards atheists. See: Atheism vs. Islam).[16][17]

David Silverman indicates that Secular Woman and its president Monette Richards is trying to get the United Nations to revoke AAI's special consultative status with the UN in order to punish AAI for hiring Silverman.[18]

Atheist Alliance International gave its annual Richard Dawkins award to Bill Maher who has publicly stated that atheism is irrational

In his 2008 feature film Religulous, Maher self-identifies as an agnostic.[19] He rejects being grouped with explicit atheists, saying in 2002, "I'm not an atheist. There's a really big difference between an atheist and someone who just doesn't believe in religion. Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don't need, but I'm not an atheist, no."[20]

Freethought Blogs states:

Atheist Alliance International will be giving this year’s Richard Dawkins award to Bill Maher…and some people, including me, are pretty annoyed.

PZ Myers has weighed in and this is one of the rare times when I find myself in disagreement with him.

According to AAI (emphasis mine):

The Richard Dawkins Award will be given every year to honor an outstanding atheist whose contributions raise public awareness of the nontheist life stance; who through writings, media, the arts, film, and/or the stage advocates increased scientific knowledge; who through work or by example teaches acceptance of the nontheist philosophy; and whose public posture mirrors the uncompromising nontheist life stance of Dr. Richard Dawkins.

I stopped by the AAI convention page and used their contact form to send the following:

Setting aside his anti-science views on health and vaccination, I fail to see how Maher qualifies for the RDA. He’s repeatedly stated that he’s not an atheist, implicitly or explicitly asserting that atheism is as dogmatic and irrational as the organized religions he rejects...[21]

Lack of significant global outreach by atheist organizations

See: Lack of significant global outreach by atheist organizations

Onur Romano and Turkish politics

See also: Atheism vs. Islam

As of 2016, the president of AAI is Onur Romano.[22] According to AAI website, he was raised a Muslim and he "evolved into a militant atheist".[23]

Romano wants to establish the first atheist political party of Turkey and the Middle East.[24] Turkey is experiencing Islamic revivalism and Turkish public institutions, once previously staunchly secular, are shifting in favor of Islamists.[25]

Most Turkish atheists are closet atheists.[26] Atheists in Turkey belong generally belong to far-left movements.[27] See also: Atheism and politics and Secular left

Atheist Alliance International's hiring of David Silverman and his subsequent resignation

See also: Atheist Alliance International's hiring of David Silverman

In October 2019, he was hired to be the Executive Director of Atheist Alliance International (AAI)[28] In December 2019, the atheist blogger David G. McAfee reported that David Silverman has been suspended by AAI pending an investigation into an alleged inappropriate touching incident.[29] See: Atheist Alliance International's hiring of David Silverman

David Silverman resigned his position as Executive Director of Atheist Alliance International in December of 2019.[30][31][32]

The atheist Sikivu Hutchinson wrote about the hiring of David Silverman the organization Atheist Alliance International:

The recent decision by Atheist Alliance International (AAI) to hire the former leader of American Atheists, David Silverman, to its executive director position is yet another indication that this business-as-usual rehab strategy also applies to movement atheism, which can be just as corrupt, cronyistic, and swaggeringly hostile to women as corporate America.[33]

There were atheist feminists/progressive atheists attempting to get Atheist Alliance International to fire Silverman.[34] David Silverman indicated that Secular Woman and its president Monette Richards were trying to get the United Nations to revoke AAI's special consultative status with the UN in order to punish AAI for hiring Silverman.[35]

See also

External links

Notes

  1. Global Study: Atheists in Decline, Only 1.8% of World Population by 2020
  2. The World's Newest Major Religion: No Religion, National Geographic
  3. Tanya Smith - Atheist Alliance International: How Do We Change The World?
  4. Richard Dawkins says Christianity is world's best defence against radical Islam, Christianity Today, January 2016
  5. Professional Atheist Dawkins Says Christianity ‘Bulwark Against Something Worse’, by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D, Breitbart News Network, Jan 12, 2016
  6. 2011 AAI press release
  7. AAI press release
  8. Aronra drinks the feminist coolaid by Thunderf00t
  9. AAI press release
  10. Universe or Multiverse. p. 19. ISBN 9780521848411. "Some physicists would prefer to believe that string theory, or M-theory, will answer these questions and uniquely predict the features of the Universe. Others adopt the view that the initial state of the Universe is prescribed by an outside agency, code-named God, or that there are many universes, with ours being picked out by the anthropic principle. Hawking argues that string theory is unlikely to predict the distinctive features of the Universe. But neither is he is an advocate of God. He therefore opts for the last approach, favouring the type of multiverse which arises naturally within the context of his own work in quantum cosmology."
  11. Atheist Alliance International - About us
  12. Atheist Alliance International - About us
  13. Bainbridge, William (2005). "Atheism" (PDF). Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. 1 (Article 2): 1–26.
  14. Atheist Alliance International - About us
  15. Template:Cite press release
  16. Template:Cite press release
  17. David Silverman (Former President of American Atheist) talks to us about allegations against him., Silverman starts mentioning this matter at the 51:29 point of the video
  18. Holden, Stephen (September 30, 2008). "Believers, Skeptics and a Pool of Sitting Ducks", The New York Times
  19. Thompson, Stephen (October 9, 2002). "Is There a God?". The A.V. Club.
  20. Atheist Alliance International – Epic Fail
  21. About AAI Board of Directors
  22. About AAI Board of Directors
  23. About AAI Board of Directors
  24. "In Turkey, Forging a New Identity". International Herald Tribune. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2016 – via The New York Times.
  25. Turkish Atheism Association starts petition calling for 'equal treatment'
  26. Turkish Atheism Association starts petition calling for 'equal treatment'
  27. David P. Silverman Appointed Executive Director
  28. David Silverman Suspended Pending Investigation Into Touching Incident
  29. After Misconduct Allegation, David Silverman Has Left Another Atheist Group by BY Hemant Mehta
  30. David Silverman Leaves Yet Another Atheist Group After Misconduct Investigation by DAVID G. MCAFEE
  31. David Silverman is out, again by PZ Myers
  32. Hiring of Accused Atheist Leader Is Reminder That #MeToo Is Still Needed in Organized Atheism by Sikivu Hutchinson, Rewire News
  33. David Silverman (Former President of American Atheist) talks to us about allegations against him.
  34. David Silverman (Former President of American Atheist) talks to us about allegations against him., Silverman starts mentioning this matter at the 51:29 point of the video