Social Justice and Humanism: Embracing Pluralism in Value Theory

by David R. Koepsell
December 08, 2014

A Humanist/skeptical approach to ethics does not necessailry lead to moral nihilism or relativism, and a pluralistic approach can help to navigate the shortcomings of moral theory. We live in a society, and the institutions we are involved in generally assume that there is a good, that we strive toward it, and that we are responsible to each other. A pluralistic approach to ethics and social justice suggests that we can productively work toward the good even while we lack certainty about its objects.

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“Rosewater”—and Personal Anecdotes of Iran

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 08, 2014

Based on the true story of an Iranian-born journalist named Bahari, Rosewater marks Jon Stewart's directorial debut. It is the comedian's stark drama of Bahari’s arrest for his courageous broadcast journalism. In 2009, Iranian president Ahmadinejad declared victory in his election hours before the polls had closed. In response Bahari bravely submitted camera footage to the BBC showing the unfolding street riots. After his arrest by Revolutionary Guard police, an interrogator identified as “Rosewater” tortured and interrogated him for 118 days. Rather than my adding to the many critiques of this film (I do give it a 3 on a 4-point scale), I thought I would instead share impressions of my own experiences in Iran in a contrastingly different time—some incidents showing the more favorable behaviors of many ordinary Iranians.

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Legacy Atheist Bans in State Constitutions a Long Recognized Problem

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
December 08, 2014

Todd Stiefel and the Openly Secular project have announced a bold plan to lobby legislators to repeal unconstitutional "legacy" language in seven states' constitutions that bars atheists from holding public office. It bespeaks the growing prominence of unbelievers and "nones" in public discourse that someone now imagines that these unenforceable, but repellent, constitutional provisions might finally be swept away. The unbelieving community has long recognized that these hateful provisions exist, and that they are problematic. What is new, and welcome, is the possibility that our community finally has the muscle to demand that something be done about them.

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Agnostics and Atheists in the Asylum

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

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

Richard Cimino and Christopher Smith at Salon examine the idea of secularism as a political identity, cites heavily both current and former CFI folks, highlights the African Americans for Humanism 2012 campaign, and calls our org "influential," which warmed my frozen heart on this cold Monday in Maine. 

Don't forget to check out the latest Cause & Effect, our newsletter, to catch up on why CFI is so awesome to begin with. 

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Humanists Should be Christians, Argues New THEOS Report

The Outer Limits with Stephen Law
December 08, 2014

Atheists 'saw off the branch on which Humanism sits', argue the authors of a report by Theos, Britain's leading religious think tank. The Case for Christian Humanism argues we atheist humanists should be Christians (2,800 words).

POSTSCRIPT: THEOS respond directly to my post below here.

 

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Seeing “The Theory of Everything”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 05, 2014

This is not one of my Nickell-odeon reviews: Having seen this first-rate movie, I was first speechless, then moved to write the following poem.

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What’s wrong with Young Earth Creationism? (part 3 of 3) The strange case of the car-stealing elves.

The Outer Limits with Stephen Law
December 05, 2014

A final post on Young Earth Creationism. So when is your theory strongly confirmed? And when are you justified in believing elves stole your car?

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Dickens, You Hack!

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

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

If you are responsible for offspring, we have good news: This summer's Reason for Change conference will include free child care services

Two ugly stories out of Saudi Arabia: Human rights activist Samar Badawi, sister of Raif and wife of his lawyer, the also-imprisoned Waleed Abu Al-Khair, has been banned from travel before getting a chance to get to an EU human rights forum. (Our own Michael De Dora met Samar in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council.) Also, two activists championing the rights of women to be allowed to drive (that's it, just be allowed to driveare separately arrested.

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Little Lies and Big Truths

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
December 04, 2014

A widely-circulated map about Ebola in Africa was less than accurate, and that's a problem.

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On Fads and Funding in Science

by David R. Koepsell
December 04, 2014

Science is driven too much by fads, and basic science and investigation require more detachment than currently experienced. A modest proposal to restructure the nature of funding and basic investigation requires decoupling notions of "return" from funding decisions and distinguishing between the role of basic science and "development" or innovation.

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