A Pilot Comments on UFOs

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
May 12, 2014

James McGaha and I have another investigative article in Skeptical Inquirer—indeed another SI cover story. Titled “Mount Rainier: ‘Saucer’ Magnet” (May/June 2014), it presents the solutions to two important UFO cases occurring at or near Rainier: Kenneth Arnold’s “flying saucers” of 1947 and a lesser-known cold case of 1896 (during the great “airship fever”). We also discuss how a mountain like Rainier helps to form saucer-shaped, lenticular clouds—sometimes seeming almost as active as a bubble machine.

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Rekindle the Devil’s Image

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 12, 2014

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

Responding to the Washington Post's uncritical piece on alt-med last month, our boss Ron Lindsay pens a letter to the editor taking on a specific claim made about homeopathy, and the Post runs it:

[H]omeopathy is a pseudoscience, based on nebulous notions developed long before modern scientific research. Homeopaths maintain that the more dilute a substance is, the more potent it is as a remedy. Not surprisingly, controlled studies have not shown that homeopathic drugs are more effective than a placebo. 

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Amazing Spider-Man 2

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
May 10, 2014

Like many teenage boys I was a fan of comic books, and my favorite superhero was Spider-Man... Sadly the film version leaves much to be desired. 

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Bad Luck

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

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

As we reported yesterday, Saudi dissident Raif Badawi has had his sentence for "insulting Islam" heavily increased to 10 years and 1000 lashes. We are working this case very hard, and you can help us tell the world about it through Facebook and Twitter (#IStandwithRaif), and tell the Saudi government what you think. 

And there's more awful news...

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Raif Badawi sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
May 07, 2014

Raif Badawi, founder of the website Liberal Saudi Network, has been sentenced to ten years in prison, 1,000 lashes, and fined one million riyal (USD $266,631) for insulting Islam. 

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They Would See Us as Bacteria

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

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

Terrible news: Raid Badawi, the persecuted Saudi dissident, facing a horrific penalty for "insulting Islam" and perhaps even death for apostasy, has had his sentence made even harsher: 10 years in prison (from 7), 1000 lashes (from 600), and a fine equal to about $267,000 US. We'll have more on this soon. CFI and allies held a protest outside the Saudi embassy for him this past Saturday, in concert with other protests around the world.

CFI is urging lawmakers in Ohio to nix a resolution that would endorse the work of religion and ideology-driven "Crisis Pregnancy Centers":

[C]ertainly you can see that the Ohio state government should not endorse or financially support CPCs, which mislead the public, spread dangerous anti-scientific views, and advance sectarian religious beliefs. 

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Khuy, Pizda, Ebat’, and Blyad

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 06, 2014

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

The Supreme Court completely blows it. In a 5-4 decision, the Court rules in favor of sectarian prayer at government legislative functions. CFI's response is to call the decision "ill-reasoned," "hostile to the rights of religious minorities," and "dangerous," among other unflattering things. CNN notes our reaction, including our boss Ron Lindsay's statement that "those of us who believe in a secular government must redouble our legal and advocacy efforts. The New York Times called the decision "lamentable."  

We agreed with the dissent of Justice Kagan:

[M]onth in and month out for over a decade, prayers steeped in only one faith, addressed toward members of the public, commenced meetings to discuss local affairs and distribute government benefits. In my view, that practice does not square with the First Amendment’s promise that every citizen, irrespective of her religion, owns an equal share in her government.

Calling the Court's bluff, the Satanists are ready.

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SCOTUS Rules for Legislative Prayer, CFI Says Court Appears ‘Hostile’ to Religious Minorities

by Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
May 05, 2014

The Supreme Court decided 5-4 in favor of sectarian legislative prayer today in the case of Greece v. GallowayIn CFI's official statement, we said, "this ill-reasoned and constitutionally infirm decision sets a dangerous precedent for the blending of religion and government, and sends a message of exclusion to those who do not follow the majoritarian belief system." Here's what our president and CEO Ron Lindsay had to say.

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Oh Variola, What Are We Going to Do With You?

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

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

Saturday, CFI and allies protested Saudi Arabia's persecution and imprisonment of Raif Badawi, the dissident atheist blogger. I'm told the folks inside the embassy were perturbed. Here's a couple of pics from our boss Ron Lindsay and our public policy office.  

Meanwhile, another major focus of CFI's free expression efforts, Indonesia's Alexander Aan, was profiled in the New York Times

Lindy West of Jezebel will be among the amazing speakers at Women in Secularism III (11 days away!), and she's interviewed at Skepchick as part of their series on conference speakers. 

Make sure you catch up on everything else CFI community members are up to in the latest edition of Cause & Effect.  

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Let’s Invade Puny Mars

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

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

Tomorrow is the demonstration at the Saudi embassy in DC for Raif Badawi, the imprisoned atheist dissident. Come and help us speak out for free expression.

Lauren Becker's National Day of Reason essay yesterday was so well-liked, we meme'd it

The Satanist monument for the Oklahoma Statehouse? It exists. And, like, wow.

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