Return of “Spontaneous Human Combustion”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 21, 2013

Here we go again! In 2011 it was an elderly Irishman who allegedly perished by “spontaneous human combustion” (SHC). Now it is an elderly Oklahoman—according to the Sequoyah County sheriff—who supposedly died by SHC.

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Armchair Apocalyptists and Newspaper Exegetes

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 21, 2013

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

Just posted yesterday (we're really excited about this): Point of Inquiry's big live show (on video no less!) for the AAAS conference with guest Steven Pinker. 

I missed this one a couple weeks ago, but it's good. Daniel Burke explores how notions of the "Antichrist" reflect a current era's anxieties, meaning that current fears among "armchair apocalyptists" and "newspaper exegetes" is of a Muslim Antichrist. (And not for nothin', I'm going to go ahead and recommend not doing a Google image search for "Antichrist.")

Sunday is the Day of Solidarity for Black Non-Believers, and CFI branches are holding events, including NYC and DC.  

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A Ni¢kell’s Worth

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 20, 2013

Some musings from one who is now well into his fifth decade as a skeptic, humanist, and paranormal investigator:

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Less and Less for God to Do

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 20, 2013

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

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper launches a "religious freedom" office, and CFI-Canada notices that secularist groups have not been invited. 

Self-described curmudgeon Jacques Berlinerblau, whose Secularism on the Edge conference gets underway today, expresses a rare hint of optimism for the movement:

I want to note, buzzkillingly, that 2012 was more a victory for secularism than a victory by secularism. But a victory nonetheless! Moreover, secularists can’t help but wonder if the pope’s recent resignation signals, at the very least, a set back for the global anti-secular platform. 

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Being ‘Over It’-And the Lack of Charity

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
February 19, 2013

On being "Over It," and the lack of charity in discourse. 

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Rewards for Failure

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 19, 2013

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

Spencer Ackerman at Wired: When asteroids come falling, we're essentially screwed

I want to know what, exactly, the Universe is, but I only have a minute. Oh look! A handy video

Well isn't that convenient: Reuters reports that by remaining in the Vatican after he retires, Ratzinger maintains immunity from any prosecution for his role in the abetting of generations of sexual abuse by clergy. 

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The Sham Institution That Employs You

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 18, 2013

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

President Obama begins a decade-long moon shot to bring on the Singularity. Not really, but he does intend to "build a comprehensive map" of the human brain, hoping to make big leaps in treatments for things like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and advances in artificial intelligence. 

Something for seculars to think about regarding our numbers, our percentage among the population. Following new Gallup data that estimates gay, lesbians and transgender Americans at about 3.5 percent, Andrew Sullivan writes:

And why on earth does it matter if we make up 10 percent or 1 percent? A minority’s civil rights are not dependent on how many of them there are or how large a segment of society they form. Do we say: sorry, guys, you only form 2 percent, you don’t meet the minimal bar for becoming a minority? It’s not like running for the Knesset.  

CFI is now a proud member of the pro-marriage equality coalition Respect for Marriage.

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‘Over It’ Follow-Up: Why Would Anyone Criticize an Anti-Rape Poem?

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
February 18, 2013

Feminist activist Eve Ensler wrote a poem saying that she was "over rape" as part of an effort to stop physical and sexual abuse of women. I agreed with much of it, and wrote my own poem based on hers. We have both recently been criticized for it. 

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What Did Science Owe to Christianity?

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
February 16, 2013

Yes, experimental science arose in Christian Europe. Does the hostage really owe the captor anything?

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Over It.

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
February 15, 2013

On Valentine's Day, feminist activist Eve Ensler asked women around the world to dance in an effort to stop sexual and physical violence against women in an event she called One Billion Rising. How big is the problem, and will it do any good? 

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