The Scope of Skeptical Activism: A Personal Story Part 1 of 2

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
March 13, 2013

I'm best known for my skeptical investigations and research into paranormal subjects. It's not surprising that people tend to focus on that, since those are weird, sensational claims, but that's only a small part of my work. Here's a look at the broader scope of skeptical activism from my personal perspective.

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Secularists Should Welcome Church-State Expert As New Head of Faith-Based Office

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
March 13, 2013

In a move that should draw praise from secularists, the White House confirmed today that it would appoint Melissa Rogers as the new director of the federal Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Rogers will replace Joshua DuBois, who stepped down last month.

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Stop Giggling When I Say “Cometary Panspermia”

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 13, 2013

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

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain declares March 14 to be the International Day to Defend Apostates and Blasphemers, highlighting the persecution of folks like Alexander Aan, Alber Saber, and other dissidents highlighted by our own Campaign for Free Expression, and CFI's president and CEO Ron Lindsay is a signatory to the effort. 

If this is true, it's a big deal: Carl Franzen at The Verge reports on news about the Red Planet:

NASA just announced that its Curiosity rover has discovered evidence that Mars had the conditions necessary to support life in ancient times, specifically microorganisms.  

And not just "kind of" support life:

"We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life that if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it," said John Grotzinger, Curiosity's chief project scientist. 

And if this is true, it may be an even bigger deal: Cardiff University scientist Jamie Wallis claims to have found fossilized microbes in a rock...from space. Says Wallis:

This provides clear and convincing evidence that these obviously ancient remains of extinct marine algae found embedded in the Polonnaruwa meteorite are indigenous to the stones and not the result of post-arrival microbial contaminants. 

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Are Nonbelievers Perceived as Less Moral?

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
March 12, 2013

Don't assume that research has reached a conclusion yet.

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Be Increasingly Irrelevant

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 12, 2013

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

Lemme tell you, folks. My 7-month-old daughter kept me up most of the night last night. She's a great baby, don't get me wrong, and for someone with only negligible motor and verbal skills, she's really damn funny and charming. But less so at 4am. So I'm a little bleary as I present this morning's edition of the Heresy, so bear with me.  

Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command says that climate change is the greatest security threat to the Pacific region. Whew, good thing it's not real. 

Kansas City Atheist Coalition is banned from a St. Patrick's Day parade, out of "respect for the legacy of St. Patrick." 

Stellar neighbors we never knew we had: Two very nearby, mutually-orbiting brown dwarf stars discovered.  

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Skeptickles

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
March 11, 2013

In defense of her ignorant use of the non-existent word refudiate (following George W. Bush’s misunderestimate), Sarah Palin tried to grab the neologist’s hat by comparing herself to a literary master: “Shakespeare,” she said, “liked to coin new words too.” Well, I refudiate her attemptation to Shakespearialize her allegified coinizing. She misunderestimates our intelligization.

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Looking for Bigger Rocks

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 11, 2013

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

Douglas Adams would be 61 today. And still, I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle. Today's Google Doodle brilliantly honors Adams. Keep clicking the Guide to see really great little animations. (Notably, the Guide in the image looks a lot like a second-generation Kindle.) Here's a permalink to the doodle.

Rob Boston takes to AlterNet to showcase five young people doing battle with anti-science forces in their public schools.  

AFP: Over 100 homes of Christians are burned in Lahore, Pakistan by a mob of over 3000, following allegedly blasphemous remarks from a young Christian. 

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Film review: Oz the Great and Powerful

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
March 08, 2013

At a reported cost of $200 million to make, Oz the Great and Powerful is a much better exercise in direction and production design than screenwriting. 

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Deliberately Breaking All Codes of Politeness or Manners

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 08, 2013

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

Wow there's a lot of news for a Friday. Let's start with something nice. Go ahead and enjoy theseSmithsonian Magazine's finalists for their 2012 photo contest.  

CFI's Michael De Dora is about to whip some would-be secular activists into shape with a training workshop with CFI-NYC on March 17.  

Human rights org Article 19 releases a report on the efforts around the world to ban so-called "homosexual propaganda":

These bans must be seen in the worrying context of attempts to manipulate international human rights law to take account of ‘traditional values.’ 

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The Very Fabric of Our Country

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 07, 2013

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

Rob Boston of Americans United on the new CFI report on fundamentalism in the military:

[Jim] Parco’s report is important. It deserves to be read – and acted upon – in the highest echelons of the U.S. military. 

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation will lead a rally tomorrow in Colorado Springs protesting the USAFA for promoting a homophobic and misogynistic religious website.

CFI-Canada leads the calls for Simon Fraser University in Vancouver to not allow an anti-vaccination conference to take place on its campus. Here is the full letter sent to the university.

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