Magnificent Desolation

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 09, 2014

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

CFI's Michael De Dora discusses the Keep Health Care Safe and Secular campaign on the Token Skeptic podcast, as well as his own journey to secular activism.  

Michael also wrote a post giving background and context to the prison sentencing of Saudi Arabian rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair.

Director of CFI-KenyaGeorge Ongeresubmits a report on his organization's outreach activities, including their efforts to assist and educate children, orphaned as a result of witchcraft belief. 

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CFI–Kenya Report: African Humanism and its Agenda

by Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
July 08, 2014

This is a special guest post by George Ongere of CFIKenya.

One of the problems that have arisen in the recent times amongst humanists in Africa is the definition of “African Humanism”, or what should be termed as Africa humanism. Thus, confusions have always caught up with many Africans when it comes to connecting the two terms; “Africa” and “humanism.”

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Saudi Rights Activist Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
July 08, 2014

Waleed Abu al-Khair was sentenced to 15 years in prison, a 15-year travel ban after his release, and fined 200,000 riyals for "inciting public opinion against the government" and "insulting the country's leaders and judiciary."

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Dumb Enemies

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

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

Waleed Abulkhair -- Saudi human rights advocate, brother-in-law and attorney to Raif Badawi -- is sentenced to 15 years in prison for "inciting public opinion against the government" and "insulting the country's leaders and judiciary." CFI spoke out against their persecution before the UN Human Rights Council last month, which led to this infamous confrontation with Saudi Arabia's representative. A silver lining is that this has moved the U.S. to express that it is "troubled" and that it intends to address it with the Saudi government.

In 2013, CFI hosted a symposium centered on the question posed by legal scholar Brian Leiter's book Why Tolerate Religion? (Here's video of his presentation.) This week, he comes to Point of Inquiry to talk about the Hobby Lobby case and its long-term implications. 

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“Finding [the] Bigfoot [Bear]”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 07, 2014

The television show, Finding Bigfoot, continues. While the hairy man-beast still remains elusive, the Animal Planet’s “team” keeps looking, assisted by local good ol’ boys and gals, their imaginative children, producers trying to make something out of nothing, and cool night-vision equipment.

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New Koch

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 07, 2014

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

It's July 7, 2014, a.k.a. 7/7/14, which is significant because 7 + 7 = 14, therefore, um, it's lucky, like, three times over, or maybe four, because, um...okay I just made that up.

Our boss Ron Lindsay lays out the philosophy behind CFI's pursuit of the Burzynski "cancer quack" case, and why we cover both religious and pseudoscientific incursions into policy and health care:

In some instances, religion and pseudoscience share something else: they are vehicles for exploiting the desperate hopes and fears of the vulnerable. ... Those who exploit these false hopes, especially when the exploitation is done for financial gain, are blameworthy. Indeed, whether they are cloaked in priest’s vestments or a lab coat, they merit our severest condemnation. ... The FDA’s actions represent an abandonment of its responsibilities to the public. 

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The Burzynski Case: The FDA’s Failure to Prevent Exploitation of Desperate Patients

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
July 06, 2014

As supporters of CFI are aware, we critically examine not only religion but also pseudoscience.  Some regard these as distinct enterprises with little overlap.  As you might expect, most of us at CFI view things differently. 

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Hijack the Utopian Ideal

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

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

I just love this. An NBC affiliate in Los Angeles does a profile of a local dowser who says, hilariously, "I charge $500, and there’s no guarantees, although I’m more than 95-percent successful," and, "Scientists don’t understand this. Therefore, they don’t believe in it." Luckily, the piece also has CFI-LA's Jim Underdown to, erm, throw cold water on it.

CFI is a member of the Coalition for Liberty and Justice, and they have a great short video that explains the problem with the religious right's definition of "religious freedom."  

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Acupuncturists Respond to Critics With Quiver of Fallacies

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
July 02, 2014

I recently wrote a piece titled "Acupuncture Can Spread Tuberculosis, Researchers Warn," which prompted many angry supporters of acupuncture to respond. Here's what they said. 

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Religion 1, Science 0

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

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

CFI challenges the FDA to explain the inexplicable: Its decision to lift restrictions on so-called "cancer-quack" Stanislaw Burzynski's clinical trials:

“We struggle to see why the FDA continues to enable this deceptive, antiscientific, and unethical medical adventurism and profiteering, even for patients who are terminally ill,” writes CFI. “Given the behavior of Dr. Burzynski and the Burzynski Research Institute over the course of nearly three decades of failed research and trials, and in the face of a complete lack of scientific evidence demonstrating the efficacy of their expensive and dangerous antineoplaston treatment, we find the FDA’s decision perplexing and profoundly disturbing.” 

The president approves the WWII Memorial prayer plaque over the objections of folks like us. Stars and Stripes' Travis J. Tritten spoke to me, raising the point that the prayer doesn't mention Jesus:

“The level of religiosity within a given prayer is really beside the point,” said Paul Fidalgo, communications director for the Center for Inquiry. “The real issue that it is a prayer, regardless of the degree. It is an invocation within a religious tradition.” 

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