Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. He is a former National Board Certified high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago, where he taught for seven years.
Hemant has appeared on CNN and FOX News (really). He has served on the board of directors for Foundation Beyond Belief (a charity organization targeting non-theistic donors) and the Secular Student Alliance (which creates and supports college atheist groups nationwide).
Yesterday, I posted about how it puzzled me that Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, would support Donald Trump. He seemed to say as much last month during an interview with KCRW, an NPR affiliate in California. He was introduced as a Trump supporter and said nothing to counter that, and then he gave reasons for why he liked the candidate. It wasn’t quite an endorsement, but that seemed like a distinction without a difference. Other websites certainly ran with it. But was the characterization accurate? I asked Shermer directly and he rejected it, saying this in an on-the-record email: Read more
Get this: At Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School For Innovation in Lynchburg, Virginia, a white teacher interrupted a Black History Month assembly and told the kids to leave the auditorium with him! A letter was sent home to all parents explaining the problem: During the assembly, an employee interrupted the program by going to the microphone on the stage during the singing performance to express his offence with this portion of the program, and offered the students an opportunity to leave the auditorium with him. It appears that the teacher, Jason Tyree, may lose his job over this, given the community reaction. Even former Lynchburg Mayor Carl Hutcherson Jr. asked the school board to fire him: “To the community at large… we would ask that the Lynchburg city school board summarily dismiss this person who committed this grievance,” said Mr. Hutcherson Jr. It all makes sense… until you realize that the adults in this situation have it all wrong. Read more
A couple of weeks ago, I posted an important update on what’s happening with the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education (in California). This is the school district that was indistinguishable from a church service, with members frequently leading explicitly Christian prayers and reading Bible verses. A judge ruled last month that these prayers were unconstitutional and ordered the School Board to put an immediate stop to them. It was a good thing he did that, too, given that the Board was already on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which brought this case forward. But at least the problem was solved, right? Of course not. These are Christian martyrs we’re talking about! Read more
I’m not a hair expert. My only conversations about hair boil down to, “Please cut it short.” But I’m pretty damn sure that there are no demons in anyone’s weave. That, apparently, puts me at odds with several women in Memphis who believe that hair extensions are cursed and that explains why thieves have been killing people in stores that sell hair products. Read more
Somehow, a scientific paper was published on PLoS ONE — an “international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication” — that suggested our hands were created by a Higher Power. The paper was all about how are hands (wait for it…) are really good at grasping things. Along the way, however, the authors said this evidence pointed to a divine “Creator.” Three different times. Read more