What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Daylight Atheism in the News

May 17, 2008, 11:31 PM

I just have to boast: I'm on TV!

Well, sort of, anyway. Daylight Atheism commenter RiddleOfSteel has brought to my attention this clip, in which Richard Dawkins is interviewed for the Canadian TV program The Agenda. As we all know by now, my essay "The New Ten Commandments" is quoted in Dr. Dawkins' book The God Delusion, and about halfway through the clip (at around 4:10), the interviewer reads one of my ten commandments verbatim.

That being said, I have to raise a substantial objection to the way my work is actually used. The interviewer's line of questioning for Dawkins is the standard, tired "why are you atheists so disrespectful of other people's faith" strategy. To my dismay, he quotes my third commandment - "Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect" - and uses it to attack Dawkins in furtherance of this canard!

This is a serious misrepresentation of my views. I categorically did not mean by this that we should refrain from ever criticizing others or saying things that offend people's sensibilities. On the contrary, my ten commandments also include injunctions such as "Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you", and especially, "Question everything".

In fact, in my third commandment, I define precisely what I mean by "respect":

"Respect" mandates treating others as inherently valuable, not using them as tools or means to an end that may be cast aside and discarded once they have made their contribution.

There is nothing in there about not criticizing other people's beliefs, nor should there be. In fact, I would argue that it shows more respect for others - respect for their intelligence and their ability for independent thought - to speak our minds freely to them and let them evaluate our arguments, rather than censor ourselves out of some spurious idea of politeness.

Richard Dawkins is dead-on when he states that religious beliefs have historically been surrounded by an abnormally and unjustifiably thick wall of respect. We atheists ought to make it our mission to demolish that wall: to raise people's consciousness and cause them to realize that religious beliefs, no less than any other category of beliefs, should be open to inquiry and criticism.


Daylight Atheism in the News

Newsletter: Share: