Always Read the Fine Print

From the Richard Dawkins Foundation Newsletter. Subscribe here.


As any good skeptic or scientist will tell you, the details always matter. No matter how exciting or alarming or enticing the headline may be, it’s almost inevitably the fine-grain details that matter most.

I was reminded of this by two recent stories that we’ll explore in detail here. The first relates to the very welcome and widely reported “rise of the Nones.” The portion of the population that identifies as atheist, agnostic, or nonreligious has grown steadily over the past several decades. The last year has seen a significant jump in analysis of what that may mean in both political and social terms and questions about why Nones aren’t already more of a unified political force.

New data from the Pew Research Center sheds light on some of those questions. They point out that Nones aren’t all nonbelievers; many believe in a “higher power” (if not the biblical God), or cling to some other notion of spirituality. It’s a useful reminder that, though the hype might suggest otherwise, we still have work to do as advocates for a secular worldview.

The second story involves the disturbing revelation that the Biden administration has been working to formally embrace so-called “indigenous knowledge” in public health and science-related policy making. This is a dangerous notion that would inject non-scientific approaches to evidence gathering into data analysis. What a disappointment from an administration that has loudly touted its commitment to “following the science.” 

Fortunately, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science was created by—and continues to enjoy support from—people committed to promoting real science and the positive impact it’s had on humanity over centuries. I’m delighted to be able to share with you the video of Richard Dawkins’s keynote presentation at CSICon 2023, “Science, the Poetry of Reality, Jewel in Humanity’s Crown.”

After that, I invite you to watch the video of Richard’s conversation with Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” which was also recorded as part of CSICon. Richard is awarding Bill the annual Richard Dawkins Award – an honor richly deserved by Bill. Also see his discussion with CFI’s Bertha Vazquez, which he recently posted on his YouTube channel.

I hope the first several weeks of the new year have been treating you well. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to defending science.

Robyn E. Blumner,
CEO and President, Center for Inquiry
Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science

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