Jeff Hawkins Joins Secular Coalition for America Advisory Board June 22, 2010

Jeff Hawkins Joins Secular Coalition for America Advisory Board

Jeff Hawkins, the inventor of the PalmPilot and Treo, is the latest addition to the Secular Coalition for America Advisory Board.

“The separation of church and state, a cornerstone of our government, is one of the main reasons the United States has led the world in science, technology, and personal freedom,” said Hawkins. “The Secular Coalition for America is the leading organization working to maintain those freedoms and advocating for the rights of Secular Americans. I am happy to help them in this important task.”

“We are proud to welcome someone of Jeff Hawkins’ caliber to the Secular Coalition for America Advisory Board,” said Sean Faircloth, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. “Jeff Hawkins has deep expertise in business and science, and has played a transformational role in the world of technology. Jeff is a visionary leader, both in Silicon Valley and in the field of neuroscience. His intellect, imagination and tremendous skill at strategic thinking are now poised to help return America to our secular roots.”

One reason I like this addition is because the current Advisory Board has a lot of “atheist luminaries.” We have famous authors and activists — people known quite well within our movement (and a few, outside of it). It’s fantastic they’re willing to lend their support to the SCA, but I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see their names on the list.

Hawkins stands out, though. While we often see the “Four Horsemen” together, it’s a bit of a shock to see a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. And that’s a good thing — Hawkins has the ear of a lot of the tech industry. I would think a lot of people in that world share our views on issues like church/state separation and support the rights of atheists — I’m sure many are atheists themselves — but they would never pay much attention to us.

With Hawkins on the Advisory Board, you can bet they’ll be paying attention to what we do.

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  • Makes me proud to have a Treo 650 in my closet and an active Palm Pre. Sniff sniff.

  • Bob

    IMHO, the ‘they’ that thinks America needs to be made over into some kind of evangelical Christian nation will only be paying attention to Hawkins to demonize him along with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.

    Reality has nothing to do with the type of thought being pushed by the religious.

  • Rob H

    The Silicon Valley thing got me thinking… Does anyone know of a study or poll that looks at level of religious belief within different occupations? I know there are a few that deal specifically with different types of professors, or with level of education (i.e., you are more likely to claim no religious affiliation if you have a PhD compared to a BA/BS, and you’re more likely to claim no religious affiliation if the PhD is in physics as opposed to English). If there were such a study comparing levels of religiosity between different occupations, I would guess more “tech-savvy” categories, like engineers and computer programmers, would have fewer religiously affiliated members–but maybe not?

  • False Prophet

    I’m inclined to think maybe fewer, but probably not overwhelmingly so.

    In this video, Neil DeGrasse Tyson talks about religion with some Brigham Young students. The stats he cites say about 60+% of mathematicians and engineers are religious. Which I can accept: people who constantly look for order and patterns in the universe are more likely to accept a designer.

    Also, computer science and IT used to be associated with the pocket-protector nerd stereotype and the long-haired hippie/anarchist stereotype. But IT and computers are ubiquitous now: everyone uses them and everyone needs them. I’m inclined to think the profession is more diverse as a result. My dad used to work in the auto service industry, and I would help him some summers, and I noticed auto service is second maybe to the food service industry for cultural and ethnic diversity. Most people in North America drive and a lot of ethnic groups would rather trust their car with “their” people. I expect IT is heading in the same direction, if it’s not already there.

  • Loren Petrich

    I don’t know how Neil DeGrasse Tyson counted “religious” ones; he may have been trying to assure those Brigham Young students that his profession is not heretical.

    Will he next be trying to assure those Mormons that genetic evidence clearly shows that Native Americans came from the Middle East about 2500 years ago? And that there are oodles of archeological evidence for the flora and fauna and technologies that the Book of Mormon describe?

    I will concede that efforts to be conciliatory about religion annoy me.

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