Historical Gravity

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 27, 2016

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Hillary Clinton was formally nominated last night by the Democratic Party, the first woman ever to be the candidate of a major party in U.S. history. You knew that already, but it seemed weird not to mention it. 

Wendy Kaminer (a Women in Secularism 4 speaker) is the guest on Point of Inquiry this week, having a rather pointed discussion with Lindsay Beyerstein on the conflict over things like free speech and safe spaces.

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What’s so great about the sword of reason?

The Outer Limits with Stephen Law
July 26, 2016

There are (at least) two ways in which we can attempt to influence the beliefs of others:

 

(i) We can use reason. We can provide scientific and other evidence to support beliefs, subject them to critical scrutiny, reveal contradictions and inconsistencies, and so on.

 

(ii) we can appeal to such mechanisms as peer-pressure, emotional manipulation, humour, sarcasm, repetition, fear (especially of uncertainty), tribalism, vanity, and so on.

 

Now, we free thinkers put a lot of emphasis on (i) rather than (ii), don't we? Why is that?

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Nothing To Do With Spaceships

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 26, 2016

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

In a statement cosigned by CFI's CEO Robyn Blumner, Board Chair Eddie Tabash, President Ronald Lindsay, and Council for Secular Humanism chief Tom Flynn, we came down hard on DNC CFO Brad Marshall for his suggested attacks on Bernie Sanders for his incorrectly presumed atheism. ...

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Three Dowsing Questions Answered

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
July 25, 2016

A brief and skeptical look at dowsing, including why an oil company wasted $7 billion in a fruitless search for oil when a dowser could presumably have located it (or not) for a few thousand dollars. 

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The X-Claim Argument Against Religious Belief

The Outer Limits with Stephen Law
July 25, 2016

You can read a prepublication draft of my forthcoming paper here.

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Infiltration Activities

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 25, 2016

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

On Friday, the Center for Inquiry filed suit in Illinois to allow Secular Celebrants trained and certified by CFI to solemnize marriages. This is the same kind of case we won (big time) in Indiana in 2014, and Illinois is under same appeals court jurisdiction, so this is a super-strong case (and our legal chief Nick Little calls Illinois' law a "pointless snub of the secular community"). Our plaintiff in Illinois is CFI Secular Celebrant Galen Broaddus, who notes we tried a lot of other avenues to make this happen, to no avail.

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W.T. Rawleigh Company

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 22, 2016

William Thomas “Will” Rawleigh (1870–1951) was an American medicine peddler, who eventually parlayed his early success (beginning in 1889) into an international manufacturing enterprise.

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Oh, Now, We Took it Back Too Far

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 22, 2016

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president last night, you may have heard. And you may have literally heard because he yelled the whole thing. Yoni Applebaum at The Atlanticnotes the glaring difference between Trump's speech and all other modern GOP nominees': Trump never made himself out to be a man of God, but implied that the All Powerful was he, alone:

I am your voice, said Trump. I alone can fix it. I will restore law and order. He did not appeal to prayer, or to God. He did not ask Americans to measure him against their values, or to hold him responsible for living up to them. He did not ask for their help. He asked them to place their faith in him.

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Maybe We Shouldn’t Have Done That

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 21, 2016

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Last night, Mike "Christian, Conservative, Republican in that order" Pence gave his acceptance speech at the RNC. But whatever, that wasn't interesting. What WAS interesting was that Ted Cruz gave what I assume was his speech announcing his run for president in 2020, getting boos from the audience for not endorsing Trump, and even apart from that he said:

Freedom means religious freedom, whether you are Christian, Jew, Muslim, or atheist. Whether you are gay, or straight, the Bill of Rights protects the rights of all of us to live according to our conscience.

So it's a crazy year is what I'm saying. 

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House of Pain

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 20, 2016

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

At Deseret News, Billy Hallowell looks at the history and modern implications of the Johnson Amendment, which keeps churches and nonprofits (like us!) from endorsing political candidates. CFI's Michael De Dora provides a lot of background and perspective for this article.

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