Monday, May 11, 2009

The Reason Project - Splinter or Umbrella?

A promising new organization has sprung into existence:

The Reason Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. Drawing on the talents of the most prominent and creative thinkers across a wide range of disciplines, The Reason Project seeks to encourage critical thinking and wise public policy through a variety of interrelated projects. The foundation will convene conferences, produce films, sponsor scientific studies and opinion polls, publish original research, award grants to other charitable organizations, and offer material support to religious dissidents and public intellectuals — all with the purpose of eroding the influence of dogmatism, superstition, and bigotry in our world
Founded by Sam and Annaka Harris, its advisory board includes the following:
Clifford S. Asness, Peter Atkins, Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Brent Forrester, Rebecca Goldstein, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christopher Hitchens, Lawrence Krauss, Harold Kroto, Bill Maher, Ian McEwan, Steven Pinker, Salman Rushdie, Ryan Scott, Lee M. Silver, J. Craig Venter, Ibn Warraq, and Steven Weinberg.
I love the vision and I love the list of names on the advisory board; what I hope is that the organization will be an umbrella rather than a splinter by forming productive partnerships with existing organizations with compatible missions, such as the Richard Dawkins Foundation, the National Center for Science Education, the American Humanists, the British Humanists, the Council for Secular Humanism, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the Military Religious Freedom Organization, and arguably too many more.

I think we have plenty of organizations -- the trick is to coordinate the efforts and resources to do the best by reason, science, critical thinking, and human liberation.

The Reason Project has an RSS feed; I'll be following with high hopes.

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