This is our last newsletter of 2017, and in a way, it's a relief. In one sense, of course, the year 2017 is simply a set of dates on a calendar marking one revolution of the Earth around the Sun. But then again, it's difficult to look back on the events of 2017--especially those involving the challenges to science and reason--and not feel a little bit dizzy from it all.
Think of it. Donald Trump in the White House, religious zealots tearing down the wall of separation, climate change deniers taking over the EPA, an Education Department that wants to fund private religious schools, and the isolation of the United States from the world community as we reject the Paris climate agreements. And that doesn't even get into the explosion of propaganda and misinformation that has run rampant through our televisions and web browsers and the never-ending tide of false gurus and miracle cures that do nothing and siphon money from consumers' wallets.
And yet, for all that, it hasn't been nearly as bad as many of us feared. That's in large part because those who believe in the central importance of facts, evidence, and science and in the equal dignity of all people, people like you, have pushed back. This week, we'll see how the pressure put on Congress by secular and religious groups alike have saved the Johnson Amendment from repeal (for now) and how reports of the CDC obfuscating on science caused an immediate and considerable counter-response.
We'll also get some tips from Richard Dawkins on how to be more persuasive (incredibly valuable in times like these) and check in with a visitor from another solar system.
Finally, while most of us don't believe in the myths surrounding the holiday season, many of us will be celebrating with friends and family all the same. We'll hear from one atheist about how she grew up to love Christmas without its religious aspects, and we'll send off the year with a holiday-themed song from the incomparable Tim Minchin.
The year isn't quite over, of course, which means there's still time to double your impact in the fight for reason, science, and humanist values. Until December 31, Louis Appignani is generously matching every gift to the Center for Inquiry and the Richard Dawkins Foundation, all the way up to a quarter million dollars! Please give today.
What better way to kick off 2018 than to know our movement is ready to take on all the challenges ahead?
From all of us at CFI and the Richard Dawkins Foundation, please have a safe and happy holiday season and a wonderful new year.
Robyn E. Blumner
President & CEO, Center for Inquiry
Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science