What Is Religious Humanism—Really?

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
August 23, 2012

There's been a flurry of interest in the idea of "Atheism-Plus" or "A+" -- atheism that incorporates a strong values component. Essentially it's secular humanism by another name, except that some advocates broaden it to include a specific, usually left-progressive, ideological agenda that secular humanism welcomes but does not demand. As such ideas often do, the A+ debate has spawned a spin-off debate over the meaning of other terms, including that perennial puzzler "What is Humanism?" At his "Temple of the Future" blog, James Croft of Harvard's humanist chaplaincy offers a definition of humanism that in many ways is quite good (http://www.templeofthefuture.net/uncategorized/what-humanism-is-and-isnt). This post is sure to be widely quoted, so I think it's important to note the one thing Croft got, in my view, spectacularly wrong.

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The Nuns vs. Ryan: The Futility of Basing Public Policy on Religion

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
August 22, 2012

An instructive reminder of the futility of trying to base public policy on religious doctrine is the current dispute between some politically progressive Catholics and Paul Ryan and his supporters regarding who is more faithful to Catholic teachings. 

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One Month After ‘Batman’ Massacre, Still No Evidence of Film Influence

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
August 22, 2012

A month ago, shortly after a shooter in Colorado attacked a premiere of the film The Dark Knight Rises, I wrote a piece addressing the then-circulating question of whether or not the shooter's massacre was inspired by the Batman film. Many readers suggested that my blog was too quick to dismiss the link, based on little information; a month later, what does the evidence show?

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The Morning Heresy 8/22/12: $2000 Curse Insurance

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 22, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Michael De Dora has good news about the outcome of a meeting between the State Department and representatives of the secular movement regarding the freedom to doubt. 

The latest Point of Inquiry podcast features Arie Kruglanski talking about closed-mindedness, but I know I'm totally not interested, and there's nothing you could say to make me change my mind. 

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Secular Groups Meet with State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
August 21, 2012

Earlier this month, representatives from several secular organizations, including the Center for Inquiry, met with the U.S. Department of State's Office of International Religious Freedom in Washington D.C. to discuss the secular community and its views on religious freedom.

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The Morning Heresy 8/21/12: Agnosti-Freethinking Skepto-Humanism Squared

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 21, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing picks up the video of Annie Laurie Gaylor's presentation of the history of women in atheism at CFI's Women in Secularism conference. Says Doctorow:

It's a great tour through the history -- the often secret history -- of women who fought and gave all, risking persecution for speaking out against religion and for women's rights to control their destinies. 

Pakistani 11-year-old Rifta Masih could face the death penalty for allegedly violating blasphemy laws. US State Department is "disturbed."

As CSICon in Nashville approaches (register now, y'all) I talk to presenter Eugenie Scott about how opponents of science are getting stealthier about sneaking their dogma into education.

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Eugenie Scott on the Stealth of Science Denialism

by Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
August 20, 2012

This October, Dr. Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education, will speak at the much-anticipated CSICon 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. She’ll be focusing on the anti-science initiatives now rampaging their way into Tennessee schools, and I wanted to get some perspective from her about where all this troubling activity is leading, and what’s behind it all. She was kind enough to take the time to have the following exchange with me. 

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The Morning Heresy 8/20/12: Nothing More Than Meat

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 20, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

There is a lot of good stuff from over the weekend, so let's get right to it. 

So you may have heard over the weekend that Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for US Senate in Missouri, declared that women have a "biological mechanism" that can prevent pregnancy in the case of "legitimate rape." I know, it's one of the worst things I've ever heard too.

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Leaving Sanctity Behind

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
August 17, 2012

Jonathan Haidt, in his recent book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, claims that “sanctity” is one of the six foundations of moral psychology. Central to his claim is his argument that we find some actions abhorrent, yet we cannot explain how they harm anyone. According to Haidt, we regard these actions as immoral because they violate our sense of the sacred. We find them disgusting, degrading.

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The Morning Heresy 8/17/12: Hooligans

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 17, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

As you may have noticed, the Alexander Aan petition did not gather sufficient signatures, despite our efforts. We'll have more to say about it later (Michael De Dora addresses it well the WaPo piece), and believe me, we are not by any means through in our efforts to help Alexander and those in similar situations, so stay tuned. In the mean time, Russell Blackford echoes my own disappointment

We've been punked! Remember the women-only Saudi Arabian ghetto city? Not real.  

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