Board of Directors
Aron Ra - President
Aron Ra - formerly Texas’ State Director of American Atheists - was recently elected president of Atheist Alliance of America. He’s the host the Ra-Men podcast and director of the Phylogeny Explorer Project. Aron is one of the “YouTube atheists” and an advocate for rationalism in science classrooms. His videos promote secular education and skeptical thinking, often focusing on evolution and the evidence indicating an interrelated tree of life. His series summarizing the ‘Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism‘ among others have been mirrored, featured, referenced, and recommended by many professional scientists, secularists, and educators, and has attracted more than 130,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.
Mark W. Gura - Vice President
Mark W. Gura is the Vice President of the Atheist Alliance of America and co-presenter of the Richard Dawkins Award, which was recently given to Dr. Lawrence Krauss at “Reason Rally 2016” in Washington, DC. Mark is also the host of the “Blind Faith Vaccine” TV show, and the author of the book, "Atheist Meditation Atheist Spirituality." Throughout his life, Gura has lived in and explored more than 80 countries. He has over 20 years’ experience in practicing mindfulness meditation/Vipassana. He is also the Executive Director of the nonprofit Association of Mindfulness Meditation and Secular Buddhism (AMMSB).
Robert Penczak - Executive Director
Rob Penczak is a physician turned writer and secular activist. As a physician with undergrad training in cellular biology, he was exposed to the rudiments of statistical analysis and became well acquainted with the value of the scientific method and peer-reviewed journals. And as a writer, despite a passion for creating fantastical worlds, he never confused fiction for reality. Thus, as social discourse in America devolved to the point where revisionist historians could step from the fringe and political elites dared cast ‘reality-based- community’ as a pejorative, Rob decided to enter the public sphere as a secular activist in hopes of restoring some sanity to the world. In this capacity, he now serves as President of Richmond Humanists; Founder of SavedByScience; Host and Co-producer of Road to Reason; and Executive Director of the Atheist Alliance of America.
John W. Loftus - Board of Directors
John W. Loftus earned MA, MDiv, and ThM degrees in philosophy of religion, the last of which was under William Lane Craig. John also studied in a PhD program at Marquette University. He is the “Debunking Christianity” blog owner and author of “Why I Became An Atheist,” “The Outsider Test for Faith,” “How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist,” “Unapologetic,” and co-wrote “God or Godless” with Randal Rauser. He’s also the editor of “The Christian Delusion,” “The End of Christianity,” “Christianity is Not Great” and “Christianity in the Light of Science.”
Derek Colanduno - Board of Directors
Derek is one of the hosts of Skepticality; The official radio show and podcast of Skeptic Magazine and the Skeptics Society, a top-rated audio talk show dedicated to the promotion of critical thinking and science. He is currently one of the co-hosts of the Dragon-Pod podcast, The Official Podcast of Dragon*Con as well as the Director of Skeptrack, a programming track devoted to skepticism at Dragon Con (the world’s largest culture convention) which is held in Atlanta, Georgia every Labor Day weekend.
Dustin Kemper - Secretary
Dustin Kemper is a long standing board member for Atheist Alliance of America and current Secretary. He is the former President of the Myrtle Beach Humanists and Freethinkers group in South Carolina. Dustin is an avid science enthusiast and lecturer, photographer and animal conservation advocate. He is a lover of the beach and ocean and has been involved for many years in environmental conservation projects.
Anthony Magnabosco - Board of Directors, Provisional Member
Anthony Magnabosco is a skeptic and agnostic atheist who lives in San Antonio, Texas. Anthony has had hundreds of conversations with people using Street Epistemology, and then shares those discussions on his YouTube channel, which has helped popularize the approach. Heavily involved in the promotion and practice of the method, Anthony is currently a provisional Board Member of Atheist Alliance of America and heads the Street Epistemology division. Twitter.com/Magnabosco
Adam Tilford - Board of Directors
Adam has been an outspoken advocate for secularism for about 4 years, and he wrote the piece that Mark Gura read before giving Dr. Lawrence Krauss the prestigious Richard Dawkins award at Reason Rally 2016. Adam has spent most of his life in Kentucky; serves as an Admin on the AAoA Facebook page; and is a woodworker, carpenter, musician, and science junkie among other things.
Kristi Dale - Board of Directors
Kristi Dale is a writer and editor, with a Masters in Comparative World Religions. She's interested in how and why religions have impacted human history -- and why they continue to do so, despite significant advances in scientific knowledge. Follow her on Twitter: @KristDale
Phil Torres - Board of Directors, Provisional Member
Phil Torres is a contributor at the Future of Life Institute and founder of the X-Risks Institute. He's published widely on terrorism, emerging technologies, and existential risks; articles have appeared in TIME, Skeptic, Free Inquiry, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The Humanist, and numerous academic journals. His most recent book is called The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About the Apocalypse (Pitchstone Publishing).
Jenefer Hughes - Treasurer
Jenefer Hughes is a Chartered Accountant and Treasurer of the Atheist Alliance of America. She was born near London, England and spent the first 30 years of her life living and working in countries as diverse as Turkey, Ireland, Czech Republic and Italy, as well as the UK. The results of the 2016 election woke her up to a reality where opinions and untruths matter more than facts, logic and reason. Instead of dwelling on the past and fearing for the future, she has become an activist fighting for an inclusive and tolerant society and an educational system that promotes creativity, critical thinking and science. Her experience growing up in the 60’s and 70’s as an atheist child in a deeply religious Catholic country, gave her an interesting perspective on Judeo-Christian belief systems, which preach inclusion and practice exclusion. When she moved to the US twenty years ago, she embarked on a path to build a sense of meaning and connectedness, outside traditional belief systems. The journey has taken a turn towards a more humanistic approach to life, free of influence from any supernatural forces. She looks forward to bringing her business experience working in Corporate America to supporting the growth of AAoA.
David Tamayo - Board Adviser
Mr. Tamayo is an activist who strives to educate young Hispanics in the U.S. with the skills in critical thinking and the Constitutional ideals of Church State separation. He has Bachelor’s in Computers Science from GWU and a Masters in Management Information Technology from UVA. He is the organizer of the HAFree High School Outreach Mentor Program. Among other activities, he sponsors High Schools’ Cybersecurity Teams to compete in the U.S.A.F. National CyberPatriot Competition, hosts the television Show “Road to Reason”, hosts of the Spanish-language HAFree podcast “Contrapuntos”, is a member of the Speakers Bureau for the Secular Student Alliance and is currently working on a documentary film about U.S. Latinos and their beliefs.
Andy Thomson - Board Adviser
- Anderson Thomson, Jr., M.D.(Andy) is a psychiatrist in private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia.
He is also a staff psychiatrist at Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Virginia Student Health Services, as well as the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy. Since 1992 Marilyn Minrath, Ph.D., M.S.N. and Dr. Thomson have conducted a private forensic practice. Their cases have encompassed the full range of legal issues including child custody, capital murder, competence, and mental state at the time of the offense.
Andy received his B.A. from Duke University (1970), his M.D. from the University of Virginia (1974) and did his adult psychiatry training at University of Virginia (1974-77). His private practice is oriented toward individual psychotherapy, forensic psychiatry, and medication consultation.
He served as the Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction at the University of Virginia, which involved interdisciplinary intervention and research in large group ethnic and political conflict.
Dr. Thomson has publications on narcissistic personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, the psychology of racism, religion, psychobiographical essays on Robert E. Lee and Lee Harvey Oswald, depression, bipolar disorder, the function of serotonin, antidepressants, and forensic psychiatry. His current research interest is in the area of evolutionary psychology and using its principles to understand depression, resilience, suicide, suicide terrorism, and religious belief.
His invited lecture to the 2009 American Atheist convention on why we believe in gods has garnered 780,000 views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMmvu9eMrg
In 2010 his work with Paul Andrews on an evolutionary theory of depression was featured in Scientific American Mind and in The New York Times Magazine, “Depression’s Upside.”
In 2010 with Russ Federman he published Facing Bipolar: The Young Adult’s Guide to Dealing with Bipolar Disorder.
In June 2011, with Clare Aukofer, he published Why We Believe In God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith, which has been translated into Polish, German, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, and Urdu.
Since 2008, he has had the privilege of serving as a trustee for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
For further information or copies of his work go to www.jandersonthomson.com
Peter Boghossian - Board Adviser
Dr. Peter Boghossian is a full time faculty member in the philosophy department at Portland State University and an affiliated faculty member at Oregon Health Science University in the Division of General Internal Medicine. He’s a national speaker for the Center of Inquiry and an international speaker for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Dr. Boghossian has an extensive publication record across multiple domains of thought. His book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, is available on Amazon. His app, Atheos, is available for download on the iPhone and Google Store.
Bill Flavell - Board Adviser
Even as a small child, Bill preferred to ask questions before believing things people told him and, although raised a Christian, by the age of 13 he concluded there were no good reasons to believe in God. Bill pursued a career in IT, marketing and management consultancy and thought little about atheism until the 9/11 atrocity showed how religion could become lethal. This spurred him to engage in online debates with Christians and Muslims and to become active on Facebook; debating, creating memes and writing articles. His online presence resulted in speaking invitations from atheist groups in several countries including; India, The Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Namibia, Kenya and South Africa. This work has developed to the point where Bill acts as a mentor to emergent atheist groups by advising on everything from organisational matters to debating techniques, PR and media training. Bill teaches and promotes Street Epistemology as a way to help people to examine, and revise, their beliefs in a friendly and non-confrontational way. nildogma.blogspot.com/ instagram.com/bill_flavell/
Tombstone Da Deadman (aka, Landon Taylor) - Board Adviser
Tombstone Da Deadman is a rapper, YouTuber and owner of Land Of Da Dead Entertainment. He began to first gain popularity through his video blogs on his “Rational Warrior” channel. There he discussed what he feels to be the destructive nature of religious thinking while promoting skepticism and critical thought. His first album, “Rise of the Infidel”, highlights his passion for true hip hop and stays true to the basic principles of that art form’s culture. In the time since, he has performed at several events including the 2012 Reason Rally, The 2013 American Atheist Convention in Austin, Texas and has released 5 albums. "Death Lives", "Entropic Man", "Rise of The Reapers", "Cosmic" and his latest "The 6th Extinction". In 2015 Tombstone started another channel called The Reaper Legion Network (and the accompanying website) that focuses on his love of education, science, technology, gaming, and comic books.
Candace Gorham - Board Adviser
Candace received her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from North Carolina Central University. She received her Master’s degree in mental health counseling from Wake Forest University. Candace’s religious background is varied, including Jehovah's Witnesses and Methodist. At 18, she joined a very charismatic ministry during which time she was ordained as an evangelist, prophetess, and elderess. Becoming involved in and leading extremist activities such as casting out demons, fasting for weeks at a time and faith healing, Candace was a believer’s believer. She worked hard to be the minister, wife, and mother that she believed god had planned her to be. When real world problems were overwhelming her, she tried even harder to win god’s approval and blessing. Suffering with major depression to the point of being suicidal and facing severe financial hardships, Candace thought that she must have been doing something wrong. She dove into studying the Bible more than ever before. She became disillusioned with the contradictions and blatant errancy she found. Mounting questions regarding the similarities between Jesus and other god legends before him, the nature of god, and concepts of hell and evil were just a few of the issues that caused her to eventually decide that she could no longer believe in a deity. From a place of empathy and compassion, Candace decided to start the Ebony Exodus Project which aims to highlight the harmful effects of religion on all believers, but especially for black women. In addition to ongoing work as a counselor, Candace is a member of The Clergy Project and the Secular Therapist Project.
Karen Garst - Board Adviser
Karen Garst has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the UW - Madison, a Masters in French Literature from the same, and a BA in French from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. She has served as a field representative for the Oregon Federation of Teachers (AFT), executive director of the Oregon Community College Association, and executive director of the Oregon State Bar. She is married and lives in Salem, Oregon.
In 2014, the U. S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. She was incensed. “Since when did a ‘corporation’ get to use its religious beliefs to dictate what health care a woman could receive?” she stated. She decided to write a book on atheism and the harm religion has done to women. A friend introduced her to Dr. Peter Boghossian at PSU (A Manual for Atheists) and the rest is history. The book is an anthology of personal essays from women of all ages who have left religion. It has been published by Pitchstone Publishing. She has a website, a Facebook page, a YouTube Channel, and a Twitter account (@karen_garst).
Jason Callahan - Board Adviser
Jason was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio where he was exposed to many different faith belief systems and lived in a diverse community near Cleveland’s University Circle. That environment encouraged him to explore his own beliefs and engage others in the exploration of theirs. Despite joining the church of his grandmother and being baptized Presbyterian, Jason continued to reconcile his experience in a scientific world with the theologies of his diverse community. After working in the advertising industry in New York, Jason moved to Richmond, Virginia to pursue a Master of Divinity. Upon completion, Jason began working as a chaplain at VCU Health System and is an endorsed chaplain by the American Humanist Association. He is actively engaged in Richmond’s theological community and currently is working on increasing the numbers of non-theistic board certified chaplains. He lives in Richmond with his wife, Erin, and pets Emmett, Poncho, and Sidney.
Micael Langer - Board Adviser
Micael Langer is a writer, producer, and director who’s been involved with advertising, television, and cinema for over a decade and half, working with Rede Globo, Brazil’s largest television network, for the last few years. His previous documentary, "Simonal - No One Knows How tough it Was," did well at international festivals, and he is currently working on, “Godless – The Truth Beyond Belief,” a documentary that “does not discuss the existence of God, but tries to understand the foul behaviors sometimes adopted in his name.”
Buck Bowen - Board Adviser
Buck Bowen is a freethinking MC with a lyrical appetite for skeptical inquiry and critical thinking. He believes in mental fitness through music and that if you think better, you live better.
His music has been described as a Sunday-School-in-reverse. Although it doesn’t glorify drugs, violence, or objectify women, it’s controversial because it challenges one’s most cherished beliefs. “Could the teachings of Jesus be improved?” “Are the Ten Commandments all they’ve been cracked up to be?” And, “What exactly is the soul?” are just a few of many questions his music addresses.
An entertainer at heart who aims to inform and inspire, Buck hits the stage equipped with catchy choruses, vibrant storytelling, and a splash of dry wit.
He has shared the stage with author and philosophy instructor Peter Boghossian as well as released the first ever rap song and music video for the Openly Secular Campaign.
David Hancock - Adviser
David Hancock has been practising Street Epistemology for the last three years. You can hear his audio recordings of interventions with street proselytizers at: https://www.spreaker.com/show/david-hancocks-tracks
David is an artist specializing in portraiture but also does graphic design and illustration. For information and requests, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
A passionate advocate for atheism, David's hope is that less people will rely on faith-based thinking as humanity progresses. He is proud to act as a Volunteer with the Atheist Alliance of America.
John Richards is a resident of the UK. A retired Science teacher who now writes books, he speaks against theism and organizes Skeptic events in between looking after his young daughters. He has guested on Premier Christian Radio and at The Conway Hall, London. Has also debated Christians in churches and Skeptics in the Pub in Southern England. He is the author of several books and of Keystages 3 and 4 teaching resource http://doubtersclub.webplus.net His second book is almost finished – it’s a response to Christian writer Andy Bannister’s The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist and is sprinkled with illustrations, some of them comical. Expect a promotional tour soon with Andy and John in gladiatorial dialogue.
Jeremy Casey - Secular Nation Podcast
Jeremy Kasey is currently working as a systems administrator and content developer as well as dabbling in graphic design and social media management. Having been raised in the church, he stepped away from faith around age fifteen. This was due in large part to time in high school debate and an increasing knowledge of science and math. In college, he majored in physics and minored in philosophy but has been on hiatus from finishing his degree. He hopes to end that hiatus soon.
For the most part, his activism has been limited to debates in the comment threads of social media posts. But faced with a world where 80% of evangelicals voted for Trump, he has decided his efforts may be better spent bringing attention to attacks on secularism. In his spare time he enjoys learning, programming, hiking, gaming, and playing music. You can contact him at email@example.com.
Justin Clark - Secular Nation podcast
Justin Clark is a public historian and atheist activist from Indiana. He has been an out atheist for over seven years, and in that time, has dedicated himself to a secular and rational world. For the last year, he has been an admin and contributor to the online community Philosophical Atheism, specifically developing his own podcast, An Army of Principles. Holding a B.S. in History/Political Science with a minor in Philosophy as well as completing a M.A. in Public History, Justin has spent his professional life studying the history and political philosophy of secularism and freethought. His master's thesis analyzes the contributions of orator and freethinker Robert Ingersoll on the Midwest.
He hopes to use his background in history and political science to educate the public on atheist and secularist issues, particularly in regards to religious influence in government and the public schools. In his free time, he loves spending time with his wife Kalie and their cat Bowie, reading, going to movies, and geeking out to hard rock and heavy metal. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @thedailyclark.
Zerin Firoz is an outspoken ex-Muslim atheist from Bangladesh who fights for women's rights, gay rights, and secular values. She is also a key contributor to Atheist Alliance of America. She has received numerous death threats for her work and is currently in the U.S. Please support her advocacy work.
CW Brown - Philosophical Atheism
CW Brown is the CEO and Founder of the Philosophical Atheism online community. He resides in Vermont and has been an atheist, humanist, and freethinking activist for almost four years. Previously, he was a Christian for 17 years and, from his many valuable personal experiences, he brings about these episodes with others in a manner that is helpful in their journey towards reason. He holds an A.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Liberty University. He very strongly believes in putting human rights above those of age old mythologies. He enjoys playing music (piano and guitar), reading and writing (music and articles), and building a consistently reformed mind by conforming to the phrase “Question Before You Believe.” You can contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter and Pinterest @patheism.