Are Atheists Better at Blogging?
One of the richest sub-worlds of blogging is the Atheist NetRoots. As I described last week, popular atheist bloggers such as PZ Myers have developed a loyal and engaged following of readers. Like political blogs more generally, these online discussions offer valuable insight but also feature a dark underbelly of ideology. And for better or for worse, the Atheist NetRoots now shapes how issues at the intersection of religion and society are debated.
Which prompts the question, given their popularity and presumed influence, are atheists better at blogging than religious folk? It's a query that was posed to me in a video interview with Big Think. My answer was spotlighted yesterday by the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan. Below is the text of my reply taken from the transcript for the video interview.
What do readers think? Is there something unique about the atheist community that makes the world of blogging a natural outlet?
In part the new atheist movement is almost a social movement within the larger scientific community. Many of the people that are attracted to new atheist movement identify with science or are scientists themselves and certainly scientists have been online for a long time. In fact, many of the most prominent bloggers, new atheist bloggers, they came about… they came up and they kind of honed their skills in internet discussion groups, mostly around the debates about evolution. So they have that natural consistency and that natural… the pre-existing experience with using online organizing and reaching people online that maybe some of the religious organizations do not. The advantage that the religious organizations have though is they have real world communities. They have networks of interaction through mega-churches, through traditional churches and one of the things that I’ll be blogging and writing about and taking a look at, at the Age of Engagement is how are traditional religious organizations and movements now using the online world to foster the communities, to build their communities or is the online world actually taking away some of their followers and distracting people who otherwise might commit to that particular religious faith or even attend church on a weekly basis.
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We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
In the face of seemingly unstoppable gun violence, Americans could stand to gain by looking to the Swiss.
- According to a recent study, the U.S. had the second highest number of gun-related deaths in 2016 after Brazil.
- Like the U.S., Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership. However, it has a considerably lower rate of deaths from gun violence.
- Though pro-gun advocates point to Switzerland as an example of how gun ownership doesn't have to correlate with mass shootings, Switzerland has very different regulations, practices, and policies related to guns than America.
It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
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