A Guy Thing? Secularism, Feminism, and a Response to Ophelia Benson

Michael Shermer


When I got involved in the skeptical, atheist, and secular movements in the 1980s, one looked out over the audience and saw mostly old white guys. Today it is a different picture entirely. At the last Skeptics Society lecture at Caltech on December 16, for example, an audience of three hundred was roughly fifty-fifty men and women, with a broad range of ages from college students to octogenarians. At the last several instances of The Amazing Meeting (TAM) inLas Vegas—the largest gathering of skeptics and atheists in the world—there have been almost as many women speakers as men and around 40 percent women attendees.

Prominent women atheists write powerful books, such as Greta Christina’s 2012 Why Are You Atheists So Angry: 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, which I just listened to on audio, laughing my ass off and wishing I had come up with such poignant arguments. There are notable women skeptics, such as CarolTavris, who has re-engineered introductory psychology textbooks to include skeptical principles throughout (see, for example, her own introduction to psychology textbook coauthored with Carole Wade).

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