A Classic Article on the Religious/Secular Humanist Divide

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
February 21, 2014

From time to time I'll flag classic articles from back issues of FREE INQUIRY -- pieces that are worth another read today if you keep your physical back issues. If you're a current FI subscriber, you can also read the article online (link at bottom of this post).

 From the Summer 2002 issue (Volume 22, No. 3), Bible scholar Robert M. Price limns the difference between religious and secular humanism about as elegantly as one can. 

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2014 Will Be a Big Year for the Ingersoll Museum

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
February 21, 2014

2014 will be an epic year for the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum in Dresden, New York. Last year we challenged our donors and friends to raise $70,000 for a long-needed redesign of the museum interior. They exceeded the target by more than $20,000. We're well into the redesign process. The Museum will open in May with all-new exhibits and expanded promotion, and in August we'll have an Ingersoll-themed mini-conference in western and central New York State. For the full story see the link at the bottom of this post!

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Careening Clown Car

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 21, 2014

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

Yesterday was an ugly day in state legislation.

Arizona passes an anti-gay free pass for discrimination (or, "religious freedom").

Alabama's House Education Committee approves a bill to allow teachers to lead students in prayer, even though most members of the committee voted against it, with the chairman claiming to have "heard" more yeas than nays in a voice vote. . . .

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Congratulations, You’ve Read The Morning Heresy and Now You’re an Insufferable Smartypants

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 20, 2014

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

Herbert and Catherine Schaible, whose adherence to faith-healing resulted in the death of their 2-year-old-son in 2009, are sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for the faith-healing death of their second child, only 8 months old, from pneumonia. On Twitter, CFI chief Ron Lindsay says the judge in the case was wrong to place blame solely on the parents, but should have also pointed to their church. Ron also tweets:

Minister in faith-healing death case insists teachings are correct. Child died b/c of "spiritual lack" in parents. That minister is a killer 

Brian Palmer at Slate is agog at the popularity of the very-much-full-of-crap "Natural News" page on Facebook, and has a request:

When one of your Facebook friends posts a link to a story about spirulina boosting brain function or how to cure pneumonia with vitamin C, I beg you to respond. A simple “bogus” will help halt their descent into insanity induced by Natural News. 

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Politics in the Sky

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 19, 2014

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

Denmark bans the religious slaughter of animals (such as for kosher meat), with the agriculture minister declaring, "Animal rights come before religion."

Alaska's legislature looks to nix an important bit of text from the state's constitution:

No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.

It never stops, does it?

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The Earth is in Peril, and People Love That

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 18, 2014

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

Our own Debbie Goddard is featured in a HuffPo piece on the variety of beliefs of African Americans. Among her insights:

There are times when I've felt straight-up rejected by the black community because I'm an atheist. When I tried to start a secular club in college, my closest black friends told me that humanism and atheism are harmful Eurocentric ideologies and implied that if I'm an atheist, I'm turning my back on my race.  

Richard N. Landers comes down hard on the recent and heavily-touted survey showing that young people seem to buy into astrology, saying that respondents likely got the terms "astrology" and "astronomy" mixed up. According to his parsing of the data...

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“The Monuments Men”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 18, 2014

The Monuments Men is a true story, based on a book of the same title, written by Robert M. Edsel and subtitled Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. No exaggeration that.

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To Digitize or Not to Digitize, That Is the Question

Access Points with Timothy Binga
February 17, 2014

I am an adjunct at the University of Buffalo, and the main course I teach is Digital Libraries. We take a hands-on approach to the whole digitization process, from planning, grant processes, and procedures through the physical scanning of objects to the actual uploading and presentation of the images online. I also discuss in detail the various reasons we should or should not digitize because it also will help determine what to digitize and also what are the next steps in the process.

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Selfies of Mass Destruction

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 17, 2014

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

A working group made up of members of the European Parliament releases a major report (PDF) on global freedom of religion and belief, with a major emphasis on blasphemy laws and apostasy:

In many Muslim-majority states, conversion from Islam to another religion or to atheism leads to a severe State response. While incidents of official executions are rare, individuals who leave Islam for another religion face imprisonment, intimidation, loss of property, physical abuse, denial of access to education, jobs and civil rights. 

Now, I can't bear to watch this, but you can tell me how it went. Bill Nye goes in Meet the Press to "debate" climate change with GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Nope, I can't do it. 

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Valentine’s Day

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 14, 2014

 

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