The Ethics of Free-Market Kidneys, Part 2

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
February 11, 2014

In some countries selling one’s organs is perfectly legal. In the United States, it is against the law, although many people have suggested that legalizing the trade would save lives and offer real social benefits. Others find it an ethically dubious proposition. Part 2.  

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Poisonous and Medieval

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 11, 2014

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

It's a heavy and fascinating Point of Inquiry, as Josh Zepps talks to addiction expert Stanton Peele about some of his contrarian views on recovery, particularly in the context of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. 

Justin Vollmar, head of the Virtual Deaf Church, comes out to his flock, in ASL of course, as an atheist, and "joins forces" with the Clergy Project, calling the whole thing a "profound wonderful change in my life."  

Meanwhile, Clergy Project director Catherine Dunphy is interviewed at Faith in Feminism...

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The Ire of Some Tedious Nerd

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 10, 2014

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

The Justice Department will now be extending federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples.  

Michael Kirkland at UPI has a good summation of what's at stake in Greece v. Galloway, the prayer-at-government-meetings Supreme Court case. CFI has filed an amicus brief

Prospective NFL-er Michael Sam comes out as gay, and might wind up being the first openly-gay pro football player. 

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Well This Camel Says You’re Wrong

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

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

At the National Prayer Breakfast (barf), the silver lining to that offense-to-all-things-secular was that President Obama did nonbelievers and free expression a good turn with a spirited declaration of the need for global religious liberty:

We see governments engaging in discrimination and violence against the faithful. Sometimes religion is twisted in an attempt to justify hatred and persecution against other people just because of who they are, how they pray, or who they love… We believe in the inherent dignity of every human being, a dignity that no earthly power can take away. Central to that dignity is freedom of religion, the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose, to change their faith if they choose or to practice no faith at all, and to do this free of persecution and fear.

At Friendly Atheist, I reservedly take it as a positive sign...

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Humanists Helping Pregnant Girls in Uganda

by Bill Cooke
February 06, 2014

Since the beginning of time, becoming pregnant without sufficient means to maintain oneself and one’s baby has been a guaranteed path to hard times. In the event of the man refusing to play his part rearing the child, the girl’s plight has been dire. Right to the present day, teenage mothers are subject to vicious superstitions. Even when they have been raped, everything still ends up being their fault.

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Let’s Not Make a Joke of Ourselves

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

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

So there's this National Prayer Breakfast going on, perhaps you've heard of it. And there's the president. Likable guy, smart, heart in the right place, but there he is doing this quasi-official ring-kissing of religion. What's do be done? Lots, actually. Here's one idea for a counter-balance: Tell your congresshuman to support Rep. Rush Holt's Darwin Day resolution (and pass it on, too). That'd be a good, heartening thing.

This is super-cool: Come to the Women in Secularism III conference, stay for the secular celebrant training!  

The leader of the LDS Church is being ordered to appear before a judge in England to face fraud charges against all of Mormonism. Wow, can they really do that?

Two summonses direct Thomas S. Monson of Utah, the Church president, to attend a March 14 hearing in the Westminster Magistrates Court of London to answer accusations that key tenets of the LDS faith are untrue and have been used to secure financial contributions. 

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Catholicism’s Sex Abuse Scandal Goes Global

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
February 05, 2014

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child savaged the Vatican today, in a report that accused the worldwide Roman Catholic Church of "systematically" allowing priests to rape and otherwise sexually abuse tens of thousands of children -- and then to evade responsibility for their acts -- over multiple decades. In one sense, this is only a capstone for a scandal that's been erupting in country after country for almost three decades. But freethinkers shouldn't allow the fact that this scandal has been grinding on for so long to blind them to the sheer fact of what a huge, even extraordinary development it represents.

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The End is Nye

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

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

Super Bowl? What's that? The real big game happened last night when Bill Nye debated creationist Ken Ham at the Creation Museum. Folks all over had viewing parties (including CFI branches and the CFI mothership), and Twitter was overflowing with reactions. Overall, I think the event was a net win for us, but I'll expound upon that in some other forum.

Hemant Mehta and I liveblogged the debate at Friendly Atheist, and man oh man, are we hilarious. Hemant wrote a longer piece on his overall feelings about the debate:

I think the Creation Museum stills comes out of this ahead just because of all the publicity, but last night was a stark reminder that when you’re in a debate against someone who doesn’t even understand the topic of discussion, exposing his limitations may be the best weapon you possess. If anyone was on the fence, they almost certainly didn’t come down on Ham’s side. 

HuffPo liveblogged as well, and did so from the CFI-NYC viewing party!

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The Ethics of Free-Market Kidneys, Part 1

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
February 04, 2014

In some countries selling one's organs is perfectly legal. In the United States, it is against the law, although many people have suggested that legalizing the trade would save lives and offer real social benefits. Others find it an ethically dubious proposition. A look at the ethics behind organ sales. 

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I, For One, Welcome Our New Southern Baptist Robot Overlords

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 04, 2014

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

Tonight is the big Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate at the Creation Museum, which everyone in the skepto-atheist movement is either really excited about or totally livid and disappointed about. But either way, it's happening, so let's enjoy it! CFI branches and campus affiliates all over the country are hosting viewing parties, and Hemant Mehta and I will be liveblogging the debate at Friendly Atheist

Here are the ones I know about: 

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