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The Atheist NetRoots and What It Means to Live Without Religion

One of the topics I will be covering at Age of Engagement is the growth and impact of what has been called the New Atheist movement, a collection of authors and bloggers who argue that science undermines the validity of religion and even respect for the religious.


The principal driver of the New Atheist movement's growth has been the interaction between traditional media in the form of best-selling books such as Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and the rise of atheism-focused bloggers such as PZ Myers.

As I describe in the Big Think interview below, much like in politics more generally, this symbiosis between the publishing industry and the atheist blogosphere has challenged the ability of long-standing organizations focused on the promotion of secular values--such as the Center for Inquiry--to continue to set the agenda for what it means to live without religion in American society.

While the addition of more voices and participants to the secular movement have many positive benefits, as the founder of the Center for Inquiry Paul Kurtz has warned, the New Atheist mix of pundits and bloggers is now overly focused on attacking religion, at the expense of other goals."It's become fixated in recent years on atheism, the criticism of religion," Kurtz told the Buffalo News earlier this year. "And I think that's a strategic blunder." 

What's missing argues Kurtz is a focus on positive values. "Let's say the atheists are successful, and religion continues to decline, so what do you have, a vacuum?" he said. "That's really the burning issue in America today: How shall I live? What should I strive for?"

For more discussion, see the video below.  What do readers think?

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Sexual arousal and orgasm increase the number of white blood cells in the body, making it easier to fight infection and illness.

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
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Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

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