Next Meetup

Book Review and Discussion, Part I: "Enlightenment Now"
Join us for Part I of an educational book review and discussion of "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress" by Steven Pinker From "If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing. Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation. With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress." "My new favorite book of all time." —Bill Gates ****** NOTE: In fairness to everyone attending who expects to have a meaningful discussion and a productive learning experience, you must read the first half of this book (through Chapter 14) in order to attend this meeting. ****** "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress" by Steven Pinker hardback publisher: Viking February[masked] pages Also available on audio (19 hr 48 min) at: The actual Meetup location is posted for members at:[masked] ****** Book Reviews "Steven Pinker’s mind bristles with pure, crystalline intelligence, deep knowledge and human sympathy." —Richard Dawkins “Pinker is a paragon of exactly the kind of intellectual honesty and courage we need to restore conversation and community.” —David Brooks The New York Times “A meticulous defense of science and objective analysis, [and] a rebuttal to the tribalism, knee-jerk partisanship and disinformation that taints our politics.” —San Francisco Chronicle “[Pinker] makes a powerful case that the main line of history has been, since the Enlightenment, one of improvement.” —Scientific American ****** About the Author Steven Pinker is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of many awards for his research, teaching, and books, he has been named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World Today and Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers.

The Birmingham Atheist Center · Birmingham, MI


What we're about

Serious Learning for Serious Atheists

Atheist Scholars Meetup is a monthly book club for Atheists who are serious about learning from a free-thinking, post-religious, and atheistic perspective, while building long-term friendships. You are invited to apply for membership by clicking on the link below. All meetings are held in Birmingham on the 4th Tuesday of every month, from 7:00 to 9:30 pm. There are no membership dues, but donations to cover our direct costs are requested.

Our meeting format consists of a review and discussion of a selected book that has a strong appeal to Atheists in a rich context of science, philosophy, sociology, history, and/or psychology. This is not a science or philosophy book club. A book based solely on a scientific or philosophical topic might be interesting but does not serve the purpose of our Atheist Scholar Meetup. All books will have a distinct atheistic or free-thinking perspective, i.e., they were written by and for Atheists or “Nones”.

In fairness to everyone attending who expects to have a meaningful discussion and productive learning experience, you must have read the chosen book prior to attending each meeting. Most books chosen are available as audiobooks.

Please don't apply unless you plan on reading the book in advance and attending most meetings. Attendance at 4 of 6 consecutive meetings is required in order to maintain your membership.

The next book we read is chosen by consensus among those members attending the prior meeting.


Calling oneself an “Atheist” is just the beginning, not the end, of a life-long journey of learning, dialog and discovery. The Atheist Scholars Meetup group raises the standard among local Atheist groups by building a private membership focused on serious learning in a harmonious environment. By “Scholars”, we mean serious students of Atheism. Maybe you have been reluctant to join an Atheist group in the past or maybe you are just not interested in what the other groups in our area have to offer.

Atheist Scholars is for those who appreciate the value of exchanging ideas with a like-minded group and who enjoy asking “why” more than claiming to know “because.” It’s for committed life-long learners looking for an impressive group of smart friends to share in intellectual discussions in a supportive atmosphere.

If you call yourself an Atheist, are a life-long learner who is not gullible enough to believe in conspiracy theories, and you see the benefits of a Meetup group that offers serious book discussions with order and civility, please apply for membership in Atheist Scholars.


Before you decide to join, please note that attendance at 4 of 6 consecutive meetings is required to maintain your membership.

If you wish to apply to join the Atheist Scholars Meetup group, click on the button below or click here. If you have questions about our group, please visit our FAQ page (

Norm Cohen
Founder and Organizer

If you are interested in learning more about the many topics related to Atheism, ( is an excellent resource for you!

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