A new app is rolled out for atheists to use. Its called Atheos and it made its debut in August of 2016. Atheos is about street epistemology and teaches you how to engage religious people and have conversation. Today’s post is about the new app and my review of it.
“Faith taints or as worst removes our curiosity about the world, what we should value, and what type of life we should lead. Faith replaces wonder with epistemological arrogance disguised as false humility. Faith immutably alters the starting conditions for inquiry by uprooting a hunger to know and sowing a warrantless confidence.”
Recently a new app called Atheos was rolled out for atheists and secularists to use and it is the brainchild of Peter Boghossian. This app is designed to help atheists and secularists hold conversations with people about God, theology, faith, religion and superstition. But before I continue I imagine you are probably asking…who is Peter Boghossian?
An Overview of Peter Boghossian
Peter Boghossian today is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Portland State University. His primary areas of teaching are critical thinking, philosophy of education, and moral reasoning. His thesis was actually funded by the State of Oregon and looked at the way prison inmates used the Socratic method for critical thinking and moral reasoning with the goal of reducing ongoing criminal behavior. Boghossian was the Chairman of the Prison Advisory Committee for the Columbia River Correctional Institution. In addition he is also a fellow at the Centre of Prison Reforms.
In addition to being a philosophy professor Peter is also a social activist, author, speaker, and atheism advocate. He is a speaker for the Center of Inquiry, the Richard Dawkins Foundation (quick side note those two organizations are currently merging) and the Secular Student Alliance. He is also a member of the Global Secular Council. In 2013 Boghossian published, “A Manual for Creating Atheists. ” This book appears to be about street epistemology also. Here is how the book is described at Amazon:
For thousands of years, the faithful have honed proselytizing strategies and talked people into believing the truth of one holy book or another. Indeed, the faithful often view converting others as an obligation of their faith–and are trained from an early age to spread their unique brand of religion. The result is a world broken in large part by unquestioned faith. As an urgently needed counter to this tried-and-true tradition of religious evangelism, A Manual for Creating Atheists offers the first-ever guide not for talking people into faith–but for talking them out of it. Peter Boghossian draws on the tools he has developed and used for more than twenty years as a philosopher and educator to teach how to engage the faithful in conversations that will help them value reason and rationality, cast doubt on their religious beliefs, mistrust their faith, abandon superstition and irrationality, and ultimately embrace reason.
The Atheos App
The Atheos app was created by Peter Boghossian who also was the Content Manager. You can listen to more about the app here and the role Christine Vigeant and Sarah Paquette played in testing the app. In the credits section of the app the following people are given credit for working on this project. The project manager is Adam Bond, Dustin Sanow, and Allison White. The content manager is Anthony Magnabosco who is known for his Youtube videos if I remember correctly. Team members in the Atheos project are Anton Emery, Ben Crockett, Buck Bowen, David Hancock, Hunter Ferreiro, James Funston, Brendan Brown, Brian ‘ Rat’ Allen, Kaitee Okel, Larry Mendoza, Lauren Kelleher, Paul Wiren, Reid Nicewonder, Renee Barnett, Rob Penczak, Ryan Marquez, Tombstone Da Deadman, and Travis Elder. Brian Walsh is the Technical Director and Christine Vigeant is the Public Relations Manager. Cole Kaynor did the analytics and appears to the a gem when it comes to statistics! (Speaking of statistics do you know that is the only class I ever failed in my academic career? Yup..I failed that in college, I would have loved to have been tutored by Cole! 🙂 Corey Van Hoosen is the Art Director for the project and Dan Dredger of the Secular Student Alliance from Duke is the intern that was involved in this project. The Tech Manager in this project is Justin Thurer while the Marketing Director is Kenneth Alexander. The Post Release Manager is Sarah Paquette.
The Atheos app is designed to help atheists have conversations with people about doubt, pseudo-science, supernatural, science, religion, faith and other topics. It includes a number of things from information about Scientology (which I honestly know nothing about) to how to dialog with Mormons who show up at your door. There are 10 levels in this app which starts at the Cave, The first level is called “The Journey Begins” and the last level is called “Freed from Delusion.” The first level is free and then to progress through the remaining levels you have to spend $4.99 and purchase the premium content. Here are a couple of articles about this new app. Let me close out this post by discussing my thoughts and review on it.
My Review of Atheos
I had a couple of ideas for an atheist post when I saw the video from Seth Andrews which leads this post. I listened to most of it and was intrigued, and I decided to look into this. As you no doubt know I love to write about atheism and secularism because of my faith crisis that I had from 2009 until 2013. So over dinner the other day I downloaded the app and started to play around with it on my Android. I really enjoyed the crisp and sharp graphics. I sat down and worked through “Expect Curveballs” on the first level. I actually scored a 94% and got my little cap and gown. It was pleasant and enjoyable. I went to the second level and discovered that you had to get the premium content on the app to do the quizzes. So there were a few things that I had hoped to do but did not. If I may suggest I believe that the $4.99 is going to be a barrier. For me the money is not an issue but for some people it can be. For example what if you were a college student and money is tight? I noticed on the Atheos team that it appears as if many people were either grad or college students. $4.99 could also go toward buying a beer or something else and in that stage of life that is just how it is. My recommendation is if one of the major secular groups took on more of the financial costs and if there could be other ways to offset the cost. For example when I attended The Reason Rally to write about it for this blog the app for that was 100% free. And to be upfront I honestly thought it was one of the better apps I used. Maybe that’s me, and maybe that is picky. But I am thinking of my time in college and how I pinched pennies. Aside from that issue I found the app interesting. It will be interesting to see how this is received and what the reaction will be from both the atheist and religious communities. That’s it guys, this is a quick post, but I saw and wanted to write about this as well. Take care and know that I love you!