Susan Jacoby and an Ingersoll Letter

Access Points with Timothy Binga
September 08, 2014

During the recent Ingersoll Conference here at CFI, I was able to show-off many of the amazing artifacts that we have here as a part of CFI and the library collections. I was able to bring one such artifact to the attention of Susan Jacoby after her lecture, one that I see on an almost daily basis.

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Those Who Can’t Help But Sin

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 08, 2014

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

Did you check out Cause & Effect on Friday? No? That's crazy, but I'm not offended. You're only hurting yourself. Go check it out now, catch up with the past fortnight of CFI community activity, and then come back here. I'll wait. 

Kuwaiti blogger Mohammed Al-Ajmi was held for a week on blasphemy charges, says Reporters without Borders.  

Egypt reportedly arrests seven men who too part in a same-sex wedding for "incitement to debauchery."

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No Excuse for “Hot in Cleveland”

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 05, 2014

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

Michael De Dora has a full update on the case of Raif Badawi, who will soon have his horrific sentence inflicted upon him. 

Columbia Journalism Review gives cover-story treatment to Elise Andrew of "I Fucking Love Science" Facebook fame, but Nadia Drake at Knight Science Journalism says questions about accuracy and issues with attribution by Andrew make this kind of coverage problematic.

You and I and everyone you know, and well, every species from other worlds we're ever likely to know, live in a huge sector of the universe known as Laniakea

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Raif Badawi, Appeal Denied, Will Soon Face Brutal Punishment for Blasphemy

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
September 04, 2014

Saudi Arabia's appeals court in Mecca has confirmed the sentence of human rights activist Raif Badawi, 30, to ten years in prison, 1,000 lashes, and a one million riyal fine (USD $266,631). We must raise our voices to end the brutality.

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Obsolete in the Opinion of Some

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 04, 2014

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

Kimberly Winston at RNS writes about the atheist community's loss of Vic Stenger, the "fifth horseman," and includes reaction to his death from our boss Ron Lindsay. 

If you have $600,000,000 lying around, you might want to direct it to what is now an out-of-control Ebola outbreak

Speaking of outbreaks, California parents are keeping their children from getting vaccinations at terrifying rates. 

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Something People Love to Ignore

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 03, 2014

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

Sam Harris is the guest on our podcast Point of Inquiry, talking to Josh Zepps about transcendence and other "spooky phenomena" regarding consciousness. It's great. 

Ron Lindsay's article on fixing the Pledge of Allegiance hits HuffPo

CFI's David Koepsell writes about skepticism and humanism as endeavors rather than positions:

When we become rigid, close our eyes and minds to possibilities, and take skepticism as a stance rather than a project or method, we do little more than adopt a belief system just as questionable as any religious one.  

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Of Gender, Language, and Clarity

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
September 02, 2014

FREE INQUIRY columnist Greta Christina wrote a great essay for her other column (over at THE HUMANIST) about issues associated with treating transgender people with respect. (No idea whether it's online, but the column "Trans People and Basic Human Respect" is on pages 38-39 of the new September-October issue.) ... At one point Christina writes that some transgender people "choose to be identified with the gendered pronouns 'he' and 'she,' while others prefer new gender-neutral pronouns like 'zie' and 'hir' or use 'they' as a singular pronoun." I'm down with all of that except the last bit. Using "they" as a singular pronoun ... strikes me as going one step too far, because it unnecessarily degrades the clarity of our language in regards to number.

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Skepticism is a Humble Project, Not a Bold Stance

by David R. Koepsell
September 02, 2014

Skepticism is at the heart of both humanism and science. In science, it forces us to question all our conclusions, test them, remain open to their falsification, and see our current models as always contingent. In humanism, we seek not enternal truths, but rather constantly inquire, open ourselves to new points of view, follow learning where it takes us, and remain also skeptical of any one "truth." Skepticism requires work, and we are quick to become rigid and adopt beliefs that seem unchallengable, but we must make a project of our skepticism, not a religion.

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Pseudonymous Novelist, Pseudonymous Novelist, Pseudonymous Novelist

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 02, 2014

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

Aaaand we're back. My sincere thanks to Ed Beck, Lauren Becker, and Stef McGraw for holding down the heretical fort while I was away. They were great.

The skepto-atheosphere lost one of its giants. Physicist Vic Stenger, author of numerous books including God: The Failed Hypothesisdied last week at age 79. Here's part of what our boss Ron Lindsay had to say:

One thing I liked about Vic was his lack of pretense and posturing. He didn’t trim his arguments — or his beard — to please others. He was interested in determining the truth. Period. What others thought of his occasionally rumpled look or his refusal to soft-pedal his arguments was a matter of indifference to him. We’ll miss both his intellect and his intellectual integrity. 

More bad news: Raif Badawi's sentence of 10 years and 1000 lashes has been upheld by a Saudi appeals court

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Reframing the Debate Over the Pledge: Make God Optional

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
September 02, 2014

Children are back in school and, as part of their daily routine, most of them will be expected to participate in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. Recitation of the Pledge is a requirement under the laws of over forty states.

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