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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Response to: Atheism a 'delusion' - John Lennox

The Captcha at this site is broken so I couldn't post my comment, since I've written it, here it is in response to this article:

Atheism a 'delusion' - John Lennox

Which view of God would the good professor like the media to discuss? We know the answer to this but it begs the question. What makes Professor Lennox think that his God deserves greater media coverage? Would he be happy if it was the Hindu pantheon or godless Buddhist doctrine or perhaps Scientology that was given preference? All of these are recognised religions in at least some countries. Surely if the media is to promote religion they should promote all recognised religions in a particular country. In Western countries this would mean time for a large number of religions. My preference is the current secular neutrality, but it is up to Christians to decide. You don't get to enter the public sphere alone any more, if you go in you hold hands with your co-religionists, no matter how you feel about them.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A reply to: The search for Islamic solutions
by Shafiul Huq

*The comments section for this article is still empty, even after I posted my reply...So I will post it here in its original form.

*Edit: The comments have since been approved. I will leave this here to acknowledge that I was wrong about the comments.

I would never allow women and men to be separated in Australia, I would fight it with everything I had. I would also support the right of any person in any country to do so. Everyone should have the right to criticise anything that they feel it is fair to criticise, even if I don't like what they are saying. Blasphemy? What is blashpemy exactly? Who gets to decide? What is blasphemy to one person may not be to another and it's particularly difficult  to decide in the very interpretable field that is religion. Does the Shia blaspheme against the Sunni because of the their differing interpretations of the succession to Mohammed. Does the Protestant Blaspheme against the Roman Catholic because they do not follow the rituals of the church or believe the Pope is the head of the worldwide church? These are questions that have come up many times in history and caused many deaths. This is Muslims forcing their beliefs on other Muslims, Christians forcing their beliefs on other Christians. That is what secularism is really about. Stopping any one group from forcing their ideas on another. As a consequence some people will also be free to stop believing, in whatever tradition they started in. You live in Australia at the moment, surely you've noticed that you are as free to follow your religion as a women is to uncover her head. What if Australia was a strict Christian or even Atheist country, and we told you that you had to mix with women, drink alcohol and eat bacon to prove your loyalty to the Australian Christian or Atheist way of life, by law, not just some yobbo yelling at you, but law. I'm guessing you would think that wasn't ok. Whether Islamic Bangladeshi's like it or not, there are people in their country who do not believe that Islam is the correct way of life, and they have a right to be accommodated. That is why secularism is necessary. That is what Secularism is about.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Contemporary Atheism As Hyper-Real Irreligion: The Enchantment Of Science and Atheism In This Cosmos

Chapter in the Brill Handbook of Hyper-real Religions

"A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge" (Sagan 1994: 52). 

Beginning in 2004 a spate of books appeared containing polemical discussion of the pathological acts of "Religion" and an admiration for an Atheistic/scientific worldview. These books achieved large sales and indicate a receptive public concerned about the public resurgence of religion and the erosion of scientific authority. In this chapter Possamai's (2007) hyper-real religions concept will be employed to gain an understanding of contemporary Atheism and its emergence in late modernity. Viewed through the lens of hyper-reality, Atheist materials and culture will be argued to support the individual ontological security of contemporary Atheists via an enchanted public image of scientific understanding and progress. These enchanted versions of science will be viewed as hyper-real in nature and as providing inspiration for the creation of meanings and identity supported by a naturalistic scientific cosmology.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wordle of AFA (@Atheistoz) Follower Descriptions

I used nodeXL ( to gather the twitter account descriptions (the part underneath the username on a profile) of the followers of the AFA (Atheist Foundation of Australia; @atheistaus). I plugged 2491 follower descriptions into Wordle (, here is the result. I hope people find this as interesting as I do... I will edit later with some possible issues with this data and some possible interpretations. Until then I'd be happy to hear some comments.

Wordle: @atheistaus (Atheist Foundation of Australia) Follower's (2491) descriptions

and for comparison followers of @ACLobby (Australian Christian Lobby; 715 followers) 

Wordle: @ACLobby Follower's Descriptions (715)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Information Sheet

The Rise of the New Atheism?

Alan Nixon
PhD Candidate
University of Western Sydney                                               
Ethics Approval Number: H9065


What is this study about?

This study seeks to examine the importance of modern Atheism to people who are self-proclaimed 'Atheists'. It aims to explore how people gain meaning from their Atheism. It is especially concerned with how people integrate their Atheism into their sense of who they are or their self-identity, how this affects the feeling of being part of a group and how this affects their lives. The study hopes to give people who have been affected by Atheism or the new atheism a chance to describe their experiences. It also hopes to shed light on the relationship between the current society and Atheism from the perspective of participants.

Who would I like to contribute to it?

I would like to talk to men and women aged 18+ years who are self-proclaimed Atheists or New Atheists.

What’s involved if I agree to participate?

If you agree to participate, you will be asked to be interviewed on one occasion for about 2 hours. The interview will involve discussing (in text, voice or face to face) your experiences as an Atheist and how they have affected your life. With your agreement face to face interviews will be audio-taped and transcribed. The interview can take place anywhere that you feel comfortable to talk, such as in your home or other favourite location or online (e.g. Skype or e-mail).

Please let me know what your preferred interview method will be.

Please note: Details of any illegal activities that you or others may be involved in should not be discussed with the researcher

Will the interview be confidential?

Any personally identifying information you provide is treated confidentially. We will use an alternative name (Pseudonym) to record your contribution and will also change any details that could be used to identify you. Your contact details will be kept in a locked filing cabinet separate from the interview material. Although by default we will keep your information confidential, you can request to have your details (real name) printed in the final document.

Am I able to refuse or withdraw at any time?

Participation in this research is voluntary and you can choose to stop the interview at any time without giving a reason. You can also refuse to answer specific questions. There are no consequences for withdrawing from the interview.

People to contact for information or complaints

If you have any questions about the study, you can contact the researcher, Alan Nixon on or +61406652329.

If you have any concerns or complaints about the study, please contact the University of Western Sydney Human Research Ethics committee on