Who I Am

Professionally

  • Excellent researcher.
  • Published on the subject of prophetic atheism.
  • Recently (August/September 2014) completed graduate internships in the fields of mental health and alternative transportation. (Social change is not focused on just one issue; neither is atheism.)

Philosophically

  • I believe that the atheist movement is rightly characterized as a social justice movement, and that to address societal inequality is anything but “mission drift.”
  • I believe that research is an underutilized tool for social justice. Through research we gain a greater understanding of the complex dynamics at work in our world. To me, this sounds like a good first step towards fixing our problems.
  • I believe that I am uniquely situated to offer assistance in the fields of mental health, women’s issues, and animal rights specifically because of my (non)beliefs.

Personally

  • I like desserts with inordinately high sugar content, particularly if there are sprinkles on top. My favorite Voodoo Doughnut is Miami Vice Berry.
  • I identify very strongly with geek culture, and I’m proud to call myself a Nerdfighter!
  • I have 3 Essential Rules for Happiness. See below.

 

Amy’s 3 Essential Rules for Happiness

1.) Opt in. I’ve been known, in my flippant moments, to claim that everything in life is optional. Obviously, this is not true. Real options belong to the most privileged and/or entitled groups. (Nitpickers will also ask things like, “What about breathing? What about sleeping?” I don’t think I should have to spell out which biological functions are not included in this sweeping statement, but there you are.) I’ve learned that my intended message is better received when I say “opt in” — sometime all the choices are terrible, but when you have to pick between the devil and the deep blue sea, pick it with your whole heart.

2.) Fail spectacularly. Failure is inevitable. Life is long and complicated, and sometimes, things just don’t work the way you plan. Yoda’s famous dictum — “To or do not; there is no try” — seems inverted to me. Try and fail or try and succeed, but there is no mediocrity. When you must fail, fail spectacularly. It’s the best way to be sure you left it all on the field.

3.) Hiss. I don’t know where this parable comes from. It really struck a chord with me the first time I read it (in a book that didn’t cite its source; shame!). The monk teaches the cobra that it is evil to bite people. The cobra is repentant and swears to never bite again. Realizing that the danger is gone, the village children torment the cobra. Beaten and bruised, the cobra goes to the monk and says, “Is this what you wanted? My life has gotten so much worse.” The monk replies, “I didn’t tell you not to hiss.”