- More recently, there’s been the militant atheism espoused by the likes of writer-raconteur Christopher Hitchens, who died in 2011, and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who once told a crowd to “ridicule” and “mock” people of faith. Mere believers are low-hanging fruit for Dawkins. He also regularly takes swipes at survivors (be it of child abuse or sexual assault), people with Down syndrome, you name it.
- But there may be a parting of the waters. Last week author and neuroscientist Sam Harris’s Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion was published. Harris is one of the so-called four horsemen of new atheism, along with Hitchens, Dawkins, and philosopher Daniel Dennett. Though Harris doesn’t believe in a supreme power, he is advocating for spirituality, “boundless love” and a belief that “there is more to understanding the human condition than science and secular culture generally admit.”
"I want to finish with an open letter to all brand managers who want their customers to love their brand. Dear ‹insert brand here› We have been together for a while now, and I have really enjoyed our time together. You have fulfilled a need for me and I am grateful for that. But lately I worry that you want more out of this relationship than I am willing to give. You ask me if I love you, if I will forsake all other brands for you. I am just not ready for that, and I am not sure if I will ever be. I like seeing other brands, sometimes just for a change, to satisfy needs when you are not around, for all sorts of reasons. I really don’t want to keep having to explain myself every time you see me with another brand. And while you want me to be exclusive to you, I notice you have been seeing other customers. If you are not faithful to me, how can you expect me to be solely loyal to you? So perhaps it’s better if we part ways; it’s not me, it’s you. There are no hard feelings - I would be happy to vouch for you to others in the future. I have never regretted any of our encounters and, apart from this recent clinginess, you have been a good brand to me. Perhaps when you are ready to have the type of relationship that works for both of us, we can start again. All the best for the future, Your (normal) customer"
"Yet arguments rage about how much brands are worth and why. Firms that value them come to starkly different conclusions. Most of the time they do not appear as assets on companies’ balance-sheets (see article). One school of thought says brands succeed mainly by inspiring loyalty. “Consumers would die for Apple,” believes Nick Cooper of Millward Brown. Others take a cooler view. Bruce McColl, who as the chief marketer of Mars oversees Snickers chocolate bars, Whiskas cat food and other brands, is on record as saying that “consumers aren’t out there thinking about our brands.” And however much brands may have been worth in the past, their importance may be fading."
Quick course in extrapolation
"So despite the new evidence that the 10,000 rule is bull, like the studies and articles that came before it, that message will likely fall on many deaf ears. The 10,000 hour rule seems to have entered into the common lore about success: it’s a nice idea, that hard work will actually pay off. And no peer-reviewed study has so far succeeded in toppling that catchy message."
"But what happens when sharing becomes oversharing, when a good cause becomes just another irritation in your news feed? “Yes, there’s always going to be that point of saturation, but so what?,” Dr Nelson-Field says. “In this case the legitimate outcome was donations, so we could be talking here for 10 hours about the success and the science behind the sharing of this video. “But are people donating? Yes. “Do you know what disease (the Ice Bucket Challenge) is for? “Yes, motor neurone disease. “To me that’s a success.”"