Vintage tripod loupe

The Freethinkers’ Political Textbook – Logos, Ethos, Pathos

Aristotle’s On Rhetoric was one of the first explicit attempts to analyse the methods of effective persuasion. One of his most significant insights was that effective persuasion depends on establishing a sturdy tripod of three components: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos. Here are tips on how to incorporate each component into your persuasive efforts. Continue reading

Duelist's Sword

The Freethinkers’ Political Textbook – Steel, Velvet, and the Honorable Duelist

Disagreements over how to challenge religious claims, confront religious practices, and relate to religious people are common in the freethinking community, sometimes becoming acrimonious and personal. This post seeks to use evidence to deconstruct the simplistic categories of “firebrand” and “diplomat”, opening the way for a more nuanced and accurate perception of what makes for an effective persuader: the honorable duelist. Continue reading

Wall of Separation

The Freethinkers’ Political Textbook – Mr. Jefferson, Reframe that Wall!

The separation between church and state: perhaps no other issue unites the freethinking movement more readily. The newest of atheists, the most ardent Humanists, the freest freethinkers all support the idea that we should, as Christopher Hitchens put it – “build up that wall!” However, I believe that the language we use to frame this issue central to our movement could be much improved by a consideration of framing. Here I suggest how. Continue reading

Gilt Frame

The Freethinkers’ Political Textbook – Framing for Freethinkers

Thinking is fundamentally metaphorical. We understand the world through various “frames”, conceptual metaphors which guide how we perceive things. How we understand the world affects what we choose to do. And therefore, by choosing the wayy we describe our goals carefully, we can activate frames which are likely to make us more persuasive. Find out how. Continue reading


The Freethinkers’ Political Textbook – Go for the Gut

If we want to win in the marketplace of hearts and minds, we have to speak to hearts as well as minds. The choice freethinkers face is not between emotional appeals and rational appeals, but between effective appeals which intelligently harness human emotions, and ineffective appeals which do not. We need to go for the gut. Continue reading


The Freethinkers’ Political Textbook – Setting the Stage

What the Humanist movement needs is a Freethinkers’ Political Textbook – a series of articles on all the latest findings relating to how to move people to your position, specifically designed to help Humanists and freethinkers effectively appeal to the public on issues that they care about. This introduction is the first post in such a series. Continue reading