The Top Ten Atheist Stories of 2009

The Friendly Atheist links to one such list:

1. The worldwide atheist bus ads
2. Obama’s ’shout out’ to atheists in the Inaugural
3. The March 29th vote in the French colony of Mayotte to become France’s 101st Department
4. Darwin Day
5. The Irish Blasphemy law
6. Berlin’s religious education referendum fails.
7. Renewed popularity of Ayn Rand.
8. An atheistic civil society
9. Science shows religion to be hard-wired
10. The rise of debaptisms.

What would you include?


AndrewG said...

All great stories, I particularly liked Ayn Rand's quote, and the discovery of a genetic predisposition to religion. Hey, maybe we could cure it in the future!

(That was sarcasm btw, not in the slightest bit serious, we've already got a cure for it, its called reality :) )

Merry Christmas John!

Harlan Quinn said...

The "religion is hardwired" story is highly dubious, and in my opinion, a misrepresentation of the research. All it really shows is that people are hardwired to reason poorly, and religion is one result of it. The reasoning schemes that religion depend on pop up defending all types of poor conclusions.

Religion is a result of an infrastructure of a common dysfunctional use of logic, just like every other crazy thing in world.

Our brains are poor computers outside the scope of day to day survival. They are best at driving the body around, creating copies, eating and defecating. Everything else take discipline and training.

Once common principles of reasoning are applied from other 'domains' or 'fields' religion is shown to be incoherent. Religion is incoherent even within its own domain. Look how many denominations there are within a religion and how they bicker about the fundamentals.
I am reading an article right now on muslims debating child brides.
As if there is any debate to be had, but within the framework of faith, you say it came from god, any criticism is unjustified especially if it is based in logic and empiricism.

Over at QuIRP there are all kinds of crazy recent news stories about how faith based thinking impacts our society.

Vinny said...

The renewed popularity of Ayn Rand has much more to do with her putrid economic and social theories than her atheism.

Mark Plus said...

Gregory S. Paul's research throws considerable doubt into the idea of "hard-wired" religiosity. Paul argues that religious belief has imploded for unintended reasons in most of the world's developed democratic countries because of the conjunction of a social safety net, affluence and the infiltration of scientific thinking about origins.

And then we see people who just "organically" reject religious ways of thinking even when their culture tries to indoctrinate them into it. I grew up in a Southern Baptist household, but prayer always struck me as weird and creepy. The christian theory of life's alleged meaning and purpose also didn't make any sense to me, and the idea that I got here as the result of the random and haphazard copulations by uncounted generations of ancestors never bothered me.

The Ayn Rand revival amuses me, because the more I read about her, the crazier she sounds, especially her blatant inconsistencies. Her philosophy teaches mind/body integration and engagement with nonhuman nature to extract wealth from it, hence the depictions of granite cutting, steel making and railroad building in her novels, not to mention a level of sexual activity suggestive of good health. Yet she seldom bathed and never exercised; went to Hollywood to write screen plays and novels; married a failed actor; poisoned her body with tobacco and amphetamines; and essentially hired her fanboy/lover Nathaniel Branden to construct a cult around her to support her magical thinking.