The Skepcook: Reviewing “Herbal Recipes”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 10, 2012

As an herb gardener (see that persona on my website, www.joenickell.com), or at least as my wife Diana's understudy, I appreciate the satisfaction of growing, harvesting, and processing herbs—dried sage and oregano, for savory cooking; fresh basil, to snip onto sliced tomatoes (accompanying scrambled eggs for breakfast); and spearmint, for my Kentucky mint juleps! We also cultivate rosemary, chives, parsley, thyme, and more.

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A Clarion Call—and a Bombshell?—on Obama and Church-State?

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
February 09, 2012

A February 9th essay on Salon.com by ACLU Legislative Counsel Dena Sher casts down the gauntlet, presenting the case for Barack Obama positioning himself as a more secular president, perhaps picking up support from mainstream believers uncomfortable with religious-right posturing. Take, for example, those tens of millions of U. S. Catholics who, unlike their 271 bishops, apparently think contraception is just fine. Ms. Sher also included what may be a bombshell.

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Mohammed Was Not a Divinely Inspired Prophet and There Is No Allah

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
February 09, 2012

I know for many who read this blog, this assertion is hardly startling, but it is blasphemous, at least from an Islamic perspective. In fact, it’s probably the simplest, most direct blasphemous utterance one can make regarding Islam since it denies the central tenet of that faith. I thought today would be an especially appropriate day to make this assertion in light of the troubles encountered by the journalist Hamza Kashgari in Saudi Arabia.

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Indiana House Might Not Consider Creationist Bill

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
February 08, 2012

Lawmakers in the Indiana House of Representatives are signaling that they will not take up the creationist bill (SB 89) that passed the state Senate.

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This Week’s Good News

by Dren Asselmeier
February 08, 2012

Dren Asselmeier reviews the drama between Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, as well as the recent ruling on Proposition 8.

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Obama, the Prayer Breakfast, and Plato

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
February 06, 2012

Not much has been said in the atheist blogosphere about President Obama’s appearance and remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2. Probably a couple of reasons for this. The appearance in itself is not really news. Sadly, this is just what our presidents, Democrat or Republican, do. Also, I sense that not a few atheists think Obama should be cut some slack on church-state issues—both because he’s better than any alternative (can you imagine President Gingrich?) and because some suspect that on ceremonial occasions such as the National Prayer Breakfast, he’s just going through the motions. However, having reviewed his remarks, I think they merit some comment.

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The Woman in Black: A Classic Ghost Story

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
February 06, 2012

In the new horror/thriller The Woman in Black, Arthur Kipps, a lawyer whose grief over his dead wife has put his career in jeopardy, is sent to a remote English village to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased woman. Upon his arrival, he learns that everyone in the town is keeping a deadly secret: the woman's house is haunted by a ghost-the titular woman in black. Much of the film is classic ghostlore, and scenarios I have seen enacted during real-life ghost hunts by psychics and ghost hunters.

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I Stand with Planned Parenthood

by Dren Asselmeier
February 01, 2012

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, even though Planned Parenthood has used that funding to provide nearly 170,000 breast exams.

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Indiana Senate OKs Amended, but Still Flawed, Creationist Bill

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
February 01, 2012

The Indiana Senate on Tuesday voted 28-22 in favor of an amended version of Senate Bill 89, which would allow public schools across the state to teach children the creation stories of various mainstream religions.

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Indiana Senator Kruse Seeks to Erode Indiana Science Standards

Map from Fordham Foundation

Freethought from the Heartland with Reba Boyd Wooden
February 01, 2012

Indiana's Senator Dennis Kruse has introduced a bill (SB 89) in the Indiana General Assembly to allow the teaching of "creation science" in Indiana public schools. In a report just released by the Fordham Foundation, Indiana was listed as one of just seven states that earned an "A" for its science standards. This has been the case for many years. Indiana has been a shining star in the midwest on the map of those receiving that rating.

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