Archive for the ‘Reason’ Category

April 21, 2016


There are millions of   Americans–the majority of us–who recognize a great man when they see one. The guy with  pick and shovel,  The cashier behind the counter.

The farmer planting seed.   Young men and women dying in these senseless wars. But when greatness resides in the White House, in the most powerful office in the world, our chests swell.

He’s brilliant. No one needs a dummy.

His words are elegant.  A pleasure to the ears. He has manners  befitting royalty  hosting  guests at a courtly table. If he’s tall and slender and handsome with a family of equal  beauty  we’re even more proud. Please, at this moment, watch a FRONTLINE document: Inside OBAMA’S Presidency.

This young man made one grave mistake: He thought he could reason with his adversaries. He tried his best. He gave it all. But one cannot reason with rabid jackals. The best thing one can do with a rabid jackal is run.  He didn’t run. He held his ground.  He’d the courage  of a madman. Madman?  It goes beyond bravery to confront such a  dangerous animal.

Frothing with greed. For money. For power. Indulging in beliefs so ridiculous they’re an insult to human intelligence.  Rancor, vulgarity, and deceit are its nature. And this den of disease spawned the greatest frother of them all.

I beg you–all of you– don’t descend to his level. May that brilliant maligned woman and that elegant elder join forces. Together they can–we can–heal.




Je Suis L’Homme
March 22, 2016

But, by all means, come out of the closet, if you’re in one.

I’m an outspoken atheist, have been for years, but I don’t claim to have come out of a closet. I was in a big room. Just me. No religion. An only child. Playfully– one day–I  knocked down the walls and set myself free.

My father had sent me to the nuns to be raised and I loved them.  Wonderful teachers.  They were all in love with my father who brought them flowers and made them smile. They were happy women. About in the fourth grade all my  friends took First Communion. They wore white dresses and veils and married god or something–I never quite understood–and I felt left out. So I asked,  “Could I become a Catholic?” He answered. “Yes. When you’re old enough to find out what it’s all about.”

When I found out what it was ‘all about’, I said, ” I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.”  So off I went in a thousand different directions. Strangely enough, it was an Irish Priest, Father O’Connell who I met–befriended, shared a beer with on the porch of the Manila Yacht Club– who sent me on my way to freedom. He dubbed me a ‘free soul’–a phrase I liked– and knew nothing about, but the more I learned the more I loved the idea.

When the walls came down I found myself surrounded by other bipeds. Related to the apes.  Chimps. Monkeys without tails. Darwin got in the act.

I found human beings. So beautiful. Skin white and black and brown and yellow and pink and every color in-between. Eyes  blue and green and gray and brown, snapping and flashing with intelligence. Hair a vast assortment of shades.  Red. Yellow. Black. Brown. They painted.  They wrote. Composed music. Danced and sang.  Young and old and in-between.  Male and female and other preferences. Once I knew a homosexual stallion. (They’re unipeds.)  He liked boys not girls. Never bothered me.

Humans think, therefore we are. Carry no guns. Carry no flag. We’re citizens of the world.   “Breathes there no human with heart so dead who never to herself has said, This is my home, my planet earth.”

So, if you chose to be a Klansman–hide your face and wear a white robe–burn a cross.  Come out.  We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch you pass.

If you’re a witch who needs to be exorcised, talk to Sarah Palin. She’ll arrange one. We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.

If you ‘re a nazi, wear a brown shirt– easy to find–and goose step. Tattoo a swastika on your forehead for all we care. We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.

Strap on a bomb and blow yourself and others to smithereens. Why not start with each other? We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.

I’m proud to be related to the Chimp. Wonder if she’s happy to be related to me?


Dawkin’s Foundation
December 23, 2015

Hi ,
In the United States a ridiculously large percentage of people don’t believe in evolution (more than 4 in 10 adults). We have an interesting study that shows the “evolution” of strategies employed by those opposed to the teaching of evolution and other scientific truths. When the courts stand with settled science — as they routinely do — creationists adapt new ways to keep American students scientifically illiterate.
America’s Religious Right isn’t just trying to misrepresent science in the name of pushing Christianity. NPR explains how it tries to marginalize secularists and our unbending support for church-state separation by arguing that we are simply followers of a competing religion trying to foist our beliefs on others. Sigh.
Foreign Affairs magazine takes a long look at legal and political efforts to return Turkey to its modern secular roots and halt the practice of compulsory religious education of many of the country’s children.
Captive parrots in a United Kingdom wildlife park have startled and intrigued researchers by using pebbles to grind at seashells. Read the leading theory on what they are up to.
Finally, don’t miss our video of the week, a special Openly Secular tale told by a former nun, our Question of the Week asks you for your secular New Year’s resolution, and Richard’s Paragraph of the Week asks for your scientific knowledge, intelligence and wit.
Robyn Blumner
President & CEO
Richard Dawkins Foundation

Evolution Helps Track Pernicious Legislation

A researcher used the principles of evolution and his training in scientific sleuthing to trace the origin and spread of destructive legislation seeking to make it easier to question the validity of evolution, climate change and other principles of science.
Is Secularism a Religion?

As part of their continuing campaign to portray themselves as under attack for their beliefs, conservative Christians are using the argument that those trying to enforce the principle of separation of church and state are followers of a competing religion trying to stomp on their rights. NPR took a long look at this spreading bit of propaganda.
Openly Secular Video of the Week: Mary Johnson

As a nun, Mary Johnson had a long career that included serving beside Mother Theresa. However, she eventually realized that her life wasn’t based on fact or reason. Don’t miss her story of becoming Openly Secular.

Fighting Back Against Turkey’s Religious Public Schools

There’s a growing movement in Turkey to force the end of the practice of sending students who don’t make it into high-level schools to ones that put a heavy stress on Islamic education — even Jewish students. European Union courts and Turkey’s own high court have ruled that the practice is violating the rights of Turkish children. But the president is vowing not to stop it.

Parrots Use Tool to Improve Nutrition?

A researcher observing captive greater vasa parrots at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park in the United Kingdom noticed the males doing something odd: They would rub pebbles against seashells. Clearly they were using a tool to grind the shells, but to what end? The leading theory is the birds need the added calcium to strengthen their eggshells. But then why the males?
Question of the Week — Special Holiday Edition

New Year’s resolutions are a time-honored tradition. This year, Openly Secular wants to hear about your secular New Year’s resolutions! What will you do to make the world a better place from a secular perspective? Our favorite answer will win a copy of Richard Dawkins’ “An Appetite for Wonder.” The best answers also will be featured on Openly Secular’s website and over social media.

Last week we asked: When, if ever, is heckling a legitimate form of free speech? Are there speakers who are too inflammatory or controversial to speak at universities? Where do you draw the line?

The Winner is Phil.
Runners-up: Miriam, Dan.
Debate Richard’s Paragraph of the Week

Welcome to our new feature, Richard’s Paragraph! This is a chance to read, consider and discuss an idea that Richard has plucked straight from one of his books or from the book of a colleague, to spur exploration and debate. This week ‘s paragraph is from the second edition of “The Selfish Gene.”

This email was sent to
why did I get this? unsubscribe from this list update subscription preferences
The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science · 1012 14th St NW, Washington, DC, United States · Suite 209 · Washington, DC 20005 · USA