May 14, 2009

The Reason Project

I have long been lamenting the lack of atheist think tanks, umbrella organizations to help unite the various atheist groups, and the like. It looks like a promising new foundation may help with some of this. In case you did not receive the same e-mail I did, I wanted to post a quick announcement about The Reason Project, brought to us by Sam and Annaka Harris. This sounds like an excellent idea and something which will be easy to support, as long as it does not devolve into a personality cult.
The Reason Project is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. Drawing on the talents of some 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 — all with the purpose of eroding the influence of dogmatism, superstition, and bigotry in our world.
Now that is something I can get behind! Not surprisingly, they are seeking donations. However, it also looks like there are opportunities to volunteer to help out in other ways. At this point, I suspect what they could use most is publicity.

And yes, the prospect of these things becoming more about the personality of their founders than any actual platform does concern me. I want to give the Harris' the benefit of the doubt and am happy to see that they have an advisory board. Perhaps it is just that we do not yet have many effective models of how to do this sort of thing without their becoming way too much about the founder.