Praying for Rain? Really, Secretary Vilsack?

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
July 19, 2012

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told reporters at the White House that he is praying for rain to end the drought parching 61 percent of the United States. But it sends the wrong message to distraught farmers when the Agriculture Secretary suggests that the best response is to pray.

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Science, the New Age, and the Search for Truth

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
July 18, 2012

Good science is universal. Properly controlled scientific experiments should yield the same results regardless of who is doing the testing. Male or female, British or Turkish, young or old, Muslim or Jew, it doesn't matter. Science's universality is one of its greatest attributes. Much pseudoscience and the paranormal, by contrast, is individual and idiosyncratic.

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High-Wire King Claims the Falls

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 18, 2012

During the night of June 15, 2012, I watched Nik Wallenda, of the famous Wallenda acrobatic family, become the only person ever to walk a high-wire across Niagara Falls. (Other funambulists, beginning with the Great Blondin in 1859, traversed the gorge a mile or so downstream.) Wallenda—a man of impressive daring and discipline—is a fascination to me, especially since I have acrophobia. (I don’t even like being this tall!)

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For the First Time, Most Would Vote for an Atheist President

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
July 18, 2012

Yes, hell HAS frozen over. Gallup reports that for the first time since 1958, a majority of American respondents said they would vote for a generally well-qualified atheist for president of the United States.

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The Morning Heresy 7/18/12: The Promise of Doughnuts

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 18, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Yesterday we began our drive to gather electronic sigantures for an online petition to the White House on behalf of Alexander Aan. It's off to a strong start as we near 1400 signatures, but we badly need folks to do more than sign, and actively share the petition and encourage folks to do the same. We have to build momentum.

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The Morning Heresy 7/17/12: Gesundheit!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 17, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

This is important: Today the Center for Inquiry submitted a petition to the White House to ask the president and the administration to publicly address the plight of jailed Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan, as well as that of religious dissidents and nonbelievers in Indonesia.  

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The Morning Heresy 7/16/12: Funny Things about Socrates

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 16, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

The exciting news over the weekend for us was that Alexander Aan, persecuted and jailed for his atheism in Indonesia, has written a letter to his supporters from prison, thanking them for their efforts and reasserting his commitment to "humanity and science." Atheist Ireland's Michael Nugent was first with the news. 

CFI's Michael De Dora has two posts on this development: The first catches us up with the story so far and posts the letter in full. The second gives a comprehensive list of things that you can do right now to lend Alexander a hand (like write back to him!). 

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Five ways you can help Alexander Aan

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
July 14, 2012

Five ways you can help Alexander Aan, the Indonesian man recently sentenced to two years and six months in prison for allegedly "disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred or hostility." 

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Alexander Aan writes letter from Indonesian prison

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
July 14, 2012

Alexander Aan, the Indonesian civil servant sentenced to two years and six months in jail for "disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred and animosity," has reportedly penned a letter from his prison cell.

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Charitable Giving to Religion Declines in 2011

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
July 13, 2012

After years of growth in the number of Americans who don’t attend church or don’t declare a religion, it had to happen. U. S. giving to churches and religious organizations actually declined in 2011. What’s more, it has declined in three of the last four years.

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