I’ve spent most of my life to date in academia, first as a student (BA in psychology and computer science, PhD in quantitative psychology), then as an assistant professor, and then as a student again (MA in mathematical statistics). I’m now an independent stats consultant. So, I’ve gravitated toward intellectual pursuits that rely heavily on critical thinking and empirical evidence.
I grew up in rural Wisconsin and was raised in the Apostolic Christian Church, in the sense that for much of my pre-adult life my family and I attended Sunday services several times per year (at my mother’s insistence); this usually involved my sitting in bible-study class for a couple hours. People at this church were nice enough and served great lunches, but I had the feeling I wasn’t getting the whole story. Shortly after entering college I began to identify as an agnostic, especially after learning a good deal about human psychology and scientific methodology and a bit of philosophy and sociology. Over the past decade-ish I’ve shifted further toward atheism, and during the past few years I’ve become more interested in associated worldviews (e.g., skepticism, secular humanism, freethought) and movements (e.g., brights).
I’ve never been much of a joiner or an activist. However, as I’ve become more aware of how faith in the supernatural, religious fanaticism, and neglect of scientific evidence influence politics and society—largely through listening to Point of Inquiry and podcasts of similar ilk and reading books by Dawkins, Harris, and others—I’ve grown more inclined to do things that promote worldviews I think are more beneficial to humankind and encourage people to question those that probably aren’t.