Sunday, January 1st

Do your New Year’s Resolutions include creating atheists? Join Dr. David Cole for a discussion of Peter Boghossian’s 2013 book on how to do that and hear a Five-Minute Reflection from our own Bill Guse this Sunday, New Year’s Day. The doors of Somers Lounge on the campus of the College of St. Scholastica will open at 9:30 am and the formalities will begin at 10:00. The student cafeteria will not be available but, afterward, some of us will retire to a nearby eating spot to discuss what we’ve heard and to celebrate the beginning of yet another revolution around the sun.

A Controversial Author

According to his byline at the bottom of A Manual for Creating Atheists, Peter Boghossian was expelled from the doctoral program in philosophy at the University of New Mexico. Instead, he did an Ed.D. at Portland State and lectured there for many years. His book was published by Kurt Volkan’s Pitchstone Publishing, which produces “books that promote secular principles, scientific literacy, humanist ideals, and liberal ethics,” according to its website. The success of this book launched Boghossian’s public career.

In 2017, he co-wrote knock-offs of Alan Sokal’s famous hoax article* and submitted them to open-access journals. Some were accepted and published, but the Institutional Review Board at his school banned him from doing further research. A recent review of this whole exercise said it actually “showed that in the long run, the scientific community will uncover fraudulent practices” (Lagerspetz, 2021).

Boghossian resigned last fall, citing Portland State’s lack of support and attempts to silence him–despite its having renewed his teaching contract every single year for over a decade (Powell, 2021). His book encourages readers to confront believers and show them that their faith lacks the support of any logical evidence: not a surprise to people familiar with the meaning of the word faith.

Nonetheless, Boghossian occupies a special place in our hearts–and not just because he is an avowed atheist. He has been going around town doing his Street Epistemology, which consists of repeatedly asking people to justify steps in their logic until they run out of reasons. Isn’t that what got Socrates into so much trouble? We applaud Peter’s common sense, his ridicule of political correctness, his willingness to go into prisons to advocate clear thinking, and his commitment to using logic to dismantle people’s deeply held (but ill-considered) beliefs.

The Institutional Research Board that sanctioned him was inundated with letters of support from Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Jonathan Haidt, and Jordan Peterson. They see Boghossian as a forward thinking iconoclast known for giving guest speakers, including everyone from flat-earthers to climate change deniers, a platform in his “Science and Pseudoscience” and “Critical Thinking” classes.

So, what do you think? Is he just a silly attention-seeking hack, or a modern day Socrates? Come and decide for yourself, this Sunday at 10:00 am.


  • In 1996, NYU physics professor Alan Sokal read Higher Superstition (Gross & Levitt, 1994), which claimed that the some humanities journals would publish anything so long as it expressed the proper leftist ideology and quoted well known leftist thinkers. Sokal wrote and submitted a jargon-filled journal article that was nonsense and should have been recognized immediately and rejected. Instead, it was accepted by Social Text, a respected journal with knowledgeable editors such as Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross.

Boghossian, P. G. (2013). A manual for creating atheists. Pitchstone.

Gross, P. R., & Levitt, N. (1994). Higher superstition: The academic left and its quarrels with science. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN: 9781421404875

Lagerspetz, M. (2021, March 1). The grievance studies affair project: Reconstructing and assessing the experimental design. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 46(2), 402–424.

Powell, M. (2021, September 9). Longtime PSU instructor quits, citing harassment, lack of free speech. Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Christmas Eve with the Grinch

Looks like it will be cold and windy on Saturday, but with no new snow. Why not come out for the Fourth Saturday Pavilion Party at the lovely home of Our Flounder, Bill van Druten? Bring something to share: perhaps a snack or an interesting drink. We will settle political and philosophical controversies once and for all. Be there at 1:00 pm on Saturday, December 24th. As always, we can park anywhere on Greysolon Road, but not on 30th Avenue!

2931 GREYSOLON ROAD in DULUTH. (218) 724-4176

Sunday, December 4

The Other Virus: Fake News


We are challenged daily with news reports and social media that make it difficult to determine the accuracy and intent of that information. This presentation will define fake news, briefly describe its history, explain its effects on democracy and our institutions, what drives it, how to distinguish real and fake news, and have an open discussion on its effects on ourselves.

David X. Swenson PhD LP is Professor and former Director of the MBA in Rural Health at the College of St. Scholastica and a forensic psychologist in private practice. He has been in the field for 50 years and is a consultant to health and human service agencies, law enforcement, and emergency services with an emphasis on crisis management and leadership.


On Sunday, December 4, 2022, we will gather in person at Somers Lounge within the campus of the College of St. Scholastica. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. The meeting will begin at 10:00 with some announcements and a Five-Minute Reflection from one of our members. After the main presentation, we will move downstairs for brunch and further discussion. We’ll save you a seat!

Monday, November 28

Today’s dusting of snow is over! Starting at 5:30 pm, we will be celebrating the dual birthdays of Our Flounder Bill van Druten and our Social Director Sue Anderson, each of whom will be somewhat over 21 years of age (in fact, if they were eight people, their average age would still be over 21). For 25 years, Lake Superior Freethinkers have been thwarting efforts to characterize this as a Christian society. From removing the Ten Commandments from their perch at City Hall to removing Jesus, I Trust In You from the top of a city bus, the organization has worked to protect us from proselytizing. Now is our chance to thank the folks whose fortitude and perseverance have kept the group alive all this time. Bellisio’s is in Canal Park at 405 Lake Avenue South, Duluth MN 55802. (218) 727-4921. See you there!