Cameron Diaz and the Unbelievers – Scientific American

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Via https://twitter.com/amhaunted/status/320241115783647232


March 29th was Good Friday, and it was no coincidence that Lawrence Krauss, author of “A Universe from Nothing” and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, chose the date as the test screening of the feature film documentary The Unbelievers, starring Krauss andRichard Dawkins, author of “The God Delusion” and founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Art and Science.

The sold-out, 3,000 seat, Gammage Memorial Auditorium at the ASU campus, concentrated a distillation of militant skeptics from the area. As we drove to the event, Good Friday “festivities” were in full force across Tempe. From my car window, I saw a young man drag a life-size wooden cross with surprising ease and at a good pace, while engaging in lively conversation with two friends (perhaps named Peter and John?). Closer examination revealed a pair of training wheels at the foot of the cross. On the other side of the road, another young man vociferated salvation through a loudspeaker.

Inside the Gammage, the atmosphere was equally celebratory of ungodliness. A quick introduction by Krauss launched the film, which followed Krauss and Dawkins through lectures, debates and book signings across the globe, battling religion and making an unequivocally strong stand for atheism, skepticism, and critical thinking.

Written By: Susana Martinez-Conde
continue to source article at blogs.scientificamerican.com

36 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      militant skeptics? WTF is that?

      Well, I assume they are just like the rest of us skeptics, with the exception being that they are armed, combat trained, and live in one of those compounds like some religious nuts and extreme right wing activists do…

    • In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      militant skeptics? WTF is that?

      If I’m not mistaken, it is a reference to the position of ‘militant atheists.’ This is the kind of offensive (as opposed to defensive) skepticism that describes Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Richard does a TED talk by that name. It makes perfect sense to me that the author would play off of this moniker by saying ‘militant skeptics.’

      I don’t know why there are issues with women populating the ‘front lines’ of the secular military, but I would like to know why and would be glad to see it change. I’ve known as many atheist women as men, so through personal experience I don’t think it’s numbers. Maybe they aren’t being invited to theistic trenches? I’m sure they could hold their own in a skirmish. One thing is for sure, Cameron Diaz is not the woman to have on the front lines of this war. Lets get a super squad of lab coat rockin’, book-havin’, free-thinkin’, good-model-for-young-women ladies that can put the opposition in the ground! Any suggestions?

      • In reply to #35 by Mr. Meredith:

        In reply to #1 by aquilacane:militant skeptics? WTF is that?If I’m not mistaken, it is a reference to the position of ‘militant atheists.’ This is the kind of offensive (as opposed to defensive) skepticism that describes Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Richard does a TED talk by that name. It makes perfect sense to me that the author would play off of this moniker by saying ‘militant skeptics.

        ‘I don’t know why there are issues with women populating the ‘front lines’ of the secular military, but I would like to know why and would be glad to see it change. I’ve known as many atheist women as men, so through personal experience I don’t think it’s numbers. Maybe they aren’t being invited to theistic trenches? I’m sure they could hold their own in a skirmish. One thing is for sure, Cameron Diaz is not the woman to have on the front lines of this war. Lets get a super squad of lab coat rockin’, book-havin’, free-thinkin’, good-model-for-young-women ladies that can put the opposition in the ground! Any suggestions?

        Yes lots!

        I also haven’t found any gender imbalance outside of here in the numbers or atheist women to atheist men, but not here in the atheist organisations. And I would honestly say that is because a lot of the men I’ve found here taking leading roles in ‘new atheism’ are very behind the times when it comes to attitudes to women. Not Islamic/catholic misogyny by any stretch of the imagination, just a surfeit of very old fashioned men who were raised in the ‘trendy’ 60s and 70s and don’t seem to have moved with the times. It isn’t an issue for women it just isn’t appealing or relevant.

        Out in the real world I work in a male environment (where admittedly at the moment women are still rare) and my industry is bending over backwards to correct massive shortages of qualified employees by trying to attract more women in. And the answer they found was very simple, just assume they are people the same as men and treat them accordingly with respect and react to their opinons on how they should be treated, not gender or appearance. An attitude I tend to find in all my male friends or boyfriends.

        Look around and there are women in medicine, science, journalism, sports reporting and all flavours of politics and so on. Trying very hard to get accepted for what they DO rather than their gender or their looks.

        Here however, women are portrayed in one of two ways, either as victims of religion or as totty to be ogled. There is very rarely mention of the many brave women risking life and limb by DOING things like blogging or protesting at the barricades, Malala being the exception tho she escaped mention until she was shot (and I can’t help feeling she was only included because she was to big name to ignore). We have topless non story protests but nothing about the brave muslim women who came here for the olympics and so on. We have the exhibitionists, the victims but never the real relevant doers.

        And when the women here say something is inappropriate, or a non story or irrelevant they aren’t listened to they are shouted down.

        But if atheism wants to attract more real women it has to listen to real women who may not agree with the leaders – rather than the female lackeys it has at the top that pander to the leaders old fashioned attitudes – like the Namazies of the world. Which means taking on board simple little facts like femen which RD thinks is great, is neither feminism or relevant to most women. That the girl guides are far more in tune with real women than the ones RD is admiring and lauding. Or that seeing the RDnet board with only four men and one woman and then finding she is in charge of childcare is alarming and speaks volumes as well.

        In short, all RD, Namazie and co need to do is decide whether they are a serious organisation dealing with real issues, in which case they need to get out and read a newspaper and start finding more intelligent women who expect to be dealt with on what they have to say to invite to conferences. They have plenty on th forum after all. Some of the best posters are women. Or if they would prefer to deal instead in their old fashioned stereotypes of women who have no opinions and become an old boys club.

        But the lack of relevance to real women will spill over into a lack of relevance to real families and real men. In short this whole organisation is rapidly becoming a clique with no real relevance to anyone in the UK, and probably elsewhere. But I doubt anything will change because atheisms leaders are simply unprepared to move from their comfort zones. And I suspect they will censor this as well for being critical

    • In reply to #1 by aquilacane:

      militant skeptics? WTF is that?

      Presumably the small, well known band of self-styled ‘career skeptics’ who attack controversial areas of research without having bothered to study them, as a matter of principle.

  1. I think the reason why there are fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument is due to fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument. Not sure if they are being held back, pretty sure it isn’t a man’s job to push them forward. I don’t know anything about Diaz.

    • In reply to #3 by aquilacane:

      I think the reason why there are fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument is due to fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument. Not sure if they are being held back, pretty sure it isn’t a man’s job to push them forward. I don’t know anything about Diaz.

      I understand completely, why there are fewer women prepared to champion the atheist cause. It has to do with the nuances of female interaction. It’s not considered polite to even bring up the topic unless you know that you are on very safe ground. Perhaps one can gingerly comment that one is “not religious”, but to use stronger terms is very, very risky. If you are midst a group of science teachers , it’s probably worth the risk, but anywhere else , it’s more prudent to hold back for a while and wait for the clues.

      This is in Australia , mind you, where being an atheist is not seen as being in league with the devil.

      • In reply to #7 by Nitya:

        In reply to #3 by aquilacane:

        I think the reason why there are fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument is due to fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument. Not sure if they are being held back, pretty sure it isn’t a man’s job to push them forward. I don’t know anything about Diaz.

        I understand completely, why there are fewer women prepared to champion the atheist cause. It has to do with the nuances of female interaction. It’s not considered polite to even bring up the topic unless you know that you are on very safe ground. Perhaps one can gingerly comment that one is “not religious”, but to use stronger terms is very, very risky. If you are midst a group of science teachers , it’s probably worth the risk, but anywhere else , it’s more prudent to hold back for a while and wait for the clues.

        This is in Australia , mind you, where being an atheist is not seen as being in league with the devil.

        As a woman, I have a definite opinion as to why there are so few women in science and atheist causes, but I tend to get slammed when I express these views – from men and women. There are very few women here on RD.net and the reason is simple – we have a different personality type compared to most women. I’d go into the details but surely the mods would have to edit the resulting fiasco.

        If Cameron Diaz would like to make a stand pro-science then I say let her. I’m sure someone like Jodie Foster would be a better choice, but she hasn’t stepped up.

        • In reply to #18 by QuestioningKat:

          There are very few women here on RD.net and the reason is simple – we have a different personality type compared to most women. I’d go into the details but surely the mods would have to edit the resulting fiasco.

          I wonder if we have any info on breakdown of website members by sex. I often can’t know this from the amount of info in the profiles. Of course, some commenters don’t want to include this in their profiles and that’s up to them. What if we have here a huge group of female lurkers who, for whatever reason, don’t comment and don’t get noticed. I wonder if guys are more likely to just jump right in when they come across a discussion that interests them but women might find the discussions too antagonistic for their liking. Or maybe it’s true that there just aren’t many out there at all. I wonder what would happen if they ran a thread here with a special invite for lurker women to get started and give it a try. A meet and greet thing.

          I do often wonder why more women don’t just abandon religion. But how to present the case is unknown to me. I do this on an individual level in a non-confrontational way whenever I get the chance, but certainly, it’s not enough. And I agree about the fiasco.

        • In reply to #18 by QuestioningKat:

          In reply to #7 by Nitya:

          In reply to #3 by aquilacane:

          I think the reason why there are fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument is due to fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument. Not sure if they are being held back, pretty sure it isn’t a man’s job to push them forward. I don’t know anything about Diaz.

          I understand completely, why there are fewer women prepared to champion the atheist cause. It has to do with the nuances of female interaction. It’s not considered polite to even bring up the topic unless you know that you are on very safe ground. Perhaps one can gingerly comment that one is “not religious”, but to use stronger terms is very, very risky. If you are midst a group of science teachers , it’s probably worth the risk, but anywhere else , it’s more prudent to hold back for a while and wait for the clues.

          This is in Australia , mind you, where being an atheist is not seen as being in league with the devil.

          As a woman, I have a definite opinion as to why there are so few women in science and atheist causes, but I tend to get slammed when I express these views – from men and women. There are very few women here on RD.net and the reason is simple – we have a different personality type compared to most women. I’d go into the details but surely the mods would have to edit the resulting fiasco.

          If Cameron Diaz would like to make a stand pro-science then I say let her. I’m sure someone like Jodie Foster would be a better choice, but she hasn’t stepped up.

          I have noticed that men can be more confrontational and this is a form of confrontation.

    • In reply to #3 by aquilacane:

      I think the reason why there are fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument is due to fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument.

      WTF? Is this irony, or a lack of proof-reading?

      • In reply to #10 by OHooligan:

        In reply to #3 by aquilacane:

        I think the reason why there are fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument is due to fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument.

        WTF? Is this irony, or a lack of proof-reading?

        I assumed aquilcane was say that this was entirely a matter of choice by women. But I could be wrong.

        Michael

      • In reply to #10 by OHooligan:

        In reply to #3 by aquilacane:

        I think the reason why there are fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument is due to fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument.

        WTF? Is this irony, or a lack of proof-reading?

        No, it is exactly how it reads. Dawkins is at centre stage because he took centre stage; he is also a man. Which means a man is at centre stage. It is not so much that women are being held back than it is they are not putting themselves forward.

    • In reply to #3 by aquilacane:

      I think the reason why there are fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument is due to fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument. Not sure if they are being held back, pretty sure it isn’t a man’s job to push them forward. I don’t know anything about Diaz.

      I think it may have something to do with that sexism thing I’ve been hearing about, since that seems to be what women themselves are attributing it to.

      It’s not anyone’s job to push anyone forward who is not willing. What an absurd thing to say (red herring or something, yes?). However, as a community we should be concerned that there’s seems to be a clear gender gap and take appropriate measures to rectify that.

      E.g. http://atheists.org/open-letter-secular-community

      • In reply to #15 by Serdan:

        In reply to #3 by aquilacane:

        I think the reason why there are fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument is due to fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument. Not sure if they are being held back, pretty sure it isn’t a man’s job to push them forward. I don’t know anything about Diaz.

        I think it may have something to do with that sexism thing I’ve been hearing about, since that seems to be what women themselves are attributing it to.

        It’s not anyone’s job to push anyone forward who is not willing. What an absurd thing to say (red herring or something, yes?). However, as a community we should be concerned that there’s seems to be a clear gender gap and take appropriate measures to rectify that.

        E.g. http://atheists.org/open-letter-secular-community

        Certainly it is not anyones job to push anyone forward who is not willing but If the accusation is that it is somehow the fault of men that there are less women, are they not saying it is up to men to solve this problem? I think not. I think there will be more women taking centre stage when more women chose to take centre stage. Many have done, just not as many as on the man side of the argument. If there are going to be more female voices in the mix they will have to step up or get pushed because I don’t believe they are being held back. Nice try with the red herring.

    • In reply to #3 by aquilacane:

      I think the reason why there are fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument is due to fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument. Not sure if they are being held back, pretty sure it isn’t a man’s job to push them forward. I don’t know anything about Diaz.

      I think the reason there are fewer women taking centre stage in the atheist argument is due to atheist men – simples. Women tend to be living in the 21st century whilst RD and co inhabit the 1980s.

      I supect Ms Diaz was there as she was unlikely to argue and is very, very decorative.

  2. A bit of a PR cock-up perhaps. I think this is a good example of the lack of publicity savvy among the science community.

    I suspect that Ms Diaz will gain some kudos among her fans for appearing, but her contribution to the proseedings would seem to have been a little suspect; could she be a Templeton Foundation plant perhaps?

  3. I would have been seriously annoyed if I went to an atheist presentation and one of the most well-known guests blathered on about “her” god. I’ve had quite enough of that crap in my many Facebook discussions/disputes. So many no-agey theists think THEIR theism is exempt from all criticisms of illogic and infantilism because — somehow — they have a more intelligent take on the transcendent than all those other believers.. In a recent discussion of that sort, I got the response that “my God is beyond all that, greater than all that.” Imagine that, HER god was greater than the Judaic/Islamic/Christian Almighty. Is that like “SUPER-MEGA-ULTRA-almighty”?

    • In reply to #14 by justinesaracen:

      I would have been seriously annoyed if I went to an atheist presentation and one of the most well-known guests blathered on about “her” god. I’ve had quite enough of that crap in my many Facebook discussions/disputes. So many no-agey theists think THEIR theism is exempt from all criticisms of illogic and infantilism because — somehow — they have a more intelligent take on the transcendent than all those other believers.. In a recent discussion of that sort, I got the response that “my God is beyond all that, greater than all that.” Imagine that, HER god was greater than the Judaic/Islamic/Christian Almighty. Is that like “SUPER-MEGA-ULTRA-almighty”?

      No, it’s ALMIGHTY VANITY AND EGO, projecting onto an imaginary friend in whose image the projector fantacizes that shehe was created.

      S G

    • In reply to #17 by jjbircham:

      Ditzy blonde?
      How dare you use that term, how many men with non scientific credentials are refered to as ditzy blonds? Shame on you scientific America.

      Reading those 2 words in isolation does make it appear a little insensitive but reading the entire paragraph puts it in the proper context. The points the author was clearly trying to make was:

      1. Why were there so few (only 1?) women present?
      2. There are so many women – scientists, skeptics – who are infinitely better qualified than Diaz to speak about the subject. Why not somebody like Caroline Porco, LIsa Randall, Susan Blackmore, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, …?
  4. Fair play to Diaz. Obviously out of her depth in terms of intellectuality but gave it a go. She brings a certain amount of publicity to the event , has her theist views , likes science , was obviously invited to the event. I welcome her.

    Looking forward to this documentary.

  5. but women might find the discussions too antagonistic for their liking.

    I do often wonder why more women don’t just abandon religion. But how to present the case is unknown to me.

    In response to Laurie B:

    I have spent most all of my life in female dominated situations – family, professions, socially, etc. and women do interact with other people differently than men. Women generally have different priorities than men too. To avoid a fiasco (you touched one reason briefly) This will not change until atheism becomes more mainstream (and less high brow ) accessible to the average person. Atheism is still tied in with science which is considered technical, cold and impersonal. Until there is the “happy atheists” bake sale and “nonbelievers knitting for knowledge” I see women focusing their lives on what they consider to be more important endeavors.

  6. In reply to #25 by Pauly01:

    Fair play to Diaz. Obviously out of her depth in terms of intellectuality but gave it a go. She brings a certain amount of publicity to the event , has her theist views , likes science , was obviously invited to the event. I welcome her.

    Looking forward to this documentary.

    For the record, she was pretty funny as Sigmund Freud in (Graham Chapman’s) A Liar’s Biography. She seems to be publicly embracing the importance of science in society, and doing her best at representing that view in the limited fashion that a popular actor/actress could. This isn’t a bad thing in my opinion.

  7. I actually don’t understand why there aren’t more women involved in atheism. I am female and have always been very involved. Religion has never done anything for my sex except to oppress us at every turn. It seems inconceivable to me that women would continue to support an institution/ideology that tells us we are nothing more than brood mares and unpaid servants for men. I suppose it may be that many women are conditioned to be “polite” and so do not want to be disrespectful to others’ views. However, it seems like being in an abusive relationship to me. I, personally, love men and have many male friends, but I most certainly identify myself as an atheist and feminst. As someone with self-respect, I could not express myself any other way.

  8. I was in attendance at the event at the Gammage and I have to say that the article is quite kind to Cameron. She was in a word, awful. She was rambling, incoherent and contradictory. She was extremely poor at expressing her thoughts. When I saw her walk on stage I thought, “I’ll give her a chance”. I’m not sure she even understands what science is. As a woman, it was very disappointing that they could not have found someone who could at least articulate how they felt. This was the only negative part of what was otherwise a great experience.

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