A Concise Review of a Clump of Matter

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
August 25, 2012

Just read the book, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality. It is a clump of matter. The author, Alex Rosenberg, assures it is. Further, as a clump of matter it cannot be about anything, because “one clump of matter can’t be about another clump of matter,” and clumps of matter (or more precisely, fermions and bosons) are all there is (emphasis in original).

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The Morning Heresy 8/24/12: Steve Jobs the Half-Yak

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 24, 2012

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

Cardinal Dolan will be delivering the concluding benediction at next week's Republican National Convention (a convention I fully intend to be live-tweeting with glee and horror). This prompts Sarah Posner to say, "the [U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] has unequivocally attached itself at the hip to the Republican Party." (Or, as Balloon Juice's John Cole puts it, "The Separation of Church and State. Oh, F*** It.")

The Atlantic profiles Dr. Harvey Karp, the media-star pediatrician (whose videos and books my wife and I have been learning from) -- why do I link it here? Dig it, and sigh heavily:

Readers’ early complaints about The Happiest Toddler . . . concerned its purported assault on creationism. “His references to monkeys/­apes and the human race [are] not for this Christian family,” wrote one BarnesandNoble.com reviewer. Karp caved. The “charming chimp-child” and “knee-high Neander­thal” have been purged from later editions of the book, as have all references to Homo habilis, the “missing link,” and, in short, the entire Karpian ontological toddler schema.

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The Morning Heresy 8/23/12: Lonely Rick Warren

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 23, 2012

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

James Croft gives what I think is a refreshing review of what the heck it is we mean by "humanism," and being reminded, I like it very much indeed. 

At Friendly Atheist, I review the candidates' paeans to faithiness in Cathedral Age, which I compare to the 2008 ring-kissing of Rick Warren by Obama and McCain.

Coincidentally! Obama and Romney this time around have declined to take part in a Rick Warren ego-inflation event, and Warren is pretending that he was the one who called it off because he's so disappointed with the tone of the campaign. Oh, Rick. Rick, Rick, Rick. 

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What Is Religious Humanism—Really?

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
August 23, 2012

There's been a flurry of interest in the idea of "Atheism-Plus" or "A+" -- atheism that incorporates a strong values component. Essentially it's secular humanism by another name, except that some advocates broaden it to include a specific, usually left-progressive, ideological agenda that secular humanism welcomes but does not demand. As such ideas often do, the A+ debate has spawned a spin-off debate over the meaning of other terms, including that perennial puzzler "What is Humanism?" At his "Temple of the Future" blog, James Croft of Harvard's humanist chaplaincy offers a definition of humanism that in many ways is quite good (http://www.templeofthefuture.net/uncategorized/what-humanism-is-and-isnt). This post is sure to be widely quoted, so I think it's important to note the one thing Croft got, in my view, spectacularly wrong.

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The Nuns vs. Ryan: The Futility of Basing Public Policy on Religion

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
August 22, 2012

An instructive reminder of the futility of trying to base public policy on religious doctrine is the current dispute between some politically progressive Catholics and Paul Ryan and his supporters regarding who is more faithful to Catholic teachings. 

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One Month After ‘Batman’ Massacre, Still No Evidence of Film Influence

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
August 22, 2012

A month ago, shortly after a shooter in Colorado attacked a premiere of the film The Dark Knight Rises, I wrote a piece addressing the then-circulating question of whether or not the shooter's massacre was inspired by the Batman film. Many readers suggested that my blog was too quick to dismiss the link, based on little information; a month later, what does the evidence show?

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The Morning Heresy 8/22/12: $2000 Curse Insurance

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 22, 2012

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

Michael De Dora has good news about the outcome of a meeting between the State Department and representatives of the secular movement regarding the freedom to doubt. 

The latest Point of Inquiry podcast features Arie Kruglanski talking about closed-mindedness, but I know I'm totally not interested, and there's nothing you could say to make me change my mind. 

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Secular Groups Meet with State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
August 21, 2012

Earlier this month, representatives from several secular organizations, including the Center for Inquiry, met with the U.S. Department of State's Office of International Religious Freedom in Washington D.C. to discuss the secular community and its views on religious freedom.

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The Morning Heresy 8/21/12: Agnosti-Freethinking Skepto-Humanism Squared

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 21, 2012

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

Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing picks up the video of Annie Laurie Gaylor's presentation of the history of women in atheism at CFI's Women in Secularism conference. Says Doctorow:

It's a great tour through the history -- the often secret history -- of women who fought and gave all, risking persecution for speaking out against religion and for women's rights to control their destinies. 

Pakistani 11-year-old Rifta Masih could face the death penalty for allegedly violating blasphemy laws. US State Department is "disturbed."

As CSICon in Nashville approaches (register now, y'all) I talk to presenter Eugenie Scott about how opponents of science are getting stealthier about sneaking their dogma into education.

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Eugenie Scott on the Stealth of Science Denialism

by Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
August 20, 2012

This October, Dr. Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education, will speak at the much-anticipated CSICon 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. She’ll be focusing on the anti-science initiatives now rampaging their way into Tennessee schools, and I wanted to get some perspective from her about where all this troubling activity is leading, and what’s behind it all. She was kind enough to take the time to have the following exchange with me. 

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