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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Sullying This Religion

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 04, 2014

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

As I type, it's looking like NASA's Orion launch to Mars may be postponed.

New CFI-related videos just posted: We have former pastor Ryan "Atheist for a Year" Bell at CFI-Los Angeles, and Richard Dawkins in conversation with CFI-UK's Stephen Law.   

The University of Texas lost its brains. But they say they know what happened now.

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Sensitive to Robots

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 03, 2014

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

Yesterday was #GivingTuesday, where nonprofits were showing their puppydog eyes to potential supporters. Yes, it's now Wednesday, but don't let that stop you

The Secular Coalition gets an Interim Executive Director in Kelly Damerow, as Herb Silverman returns as its board president. I hope he can make time for the SCA while he's moonlighting with the KKK

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Van Gogh Still Being Murdered

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 02, 2014

 

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I Really Don’t Want to Be a Jerk

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 02, 2014

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

Yesterday we announced that the wife of imprisoned Saudi dissident Raif Badawi, Ensaf Haidar, had provided to CFI a rare look at a Saudi judicial document detailing the (non)offenses of Badawi and the medieval charged brought against him. 

Hemant Mehta reacts to the document:

To those who say faith is a virtue, go ahead and defend this. I don’t know how you can. All Badawi did was express his thoughts, which didn’t fall in line with a certain interpretation of Islam and was critical of the government. And based on the reaction he got, Badawi was right. It’s just appalling what’s happening to him.

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Atheists Are to Marvel At

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 01, 2014

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

Happy Cyber Monday, when I assume one is much less likely to be killed than on Black Friday. 

Our boss Ron Lindsay's new book, The Necessity of Secularism, is officially released today! Go get it. Meanwhile, Ron's got a new essay up at Huffington Post on the problem with prophets:

If you are a faithful Jew, Christian, Muslim, or Mormon, then you must accept that God does not convey any really important information except through the medium of a few prophets. In other words, there is a rigidly hierarchical, cognitive class system inherent in revealed religion. There are a few people who have been in direct contact with God and are in the know about his plans and instructions. These are the people who tell us what to believe and do. Then there are the billions of the rest of us, who just have to follow along. 

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Van Gogh “Murdered”—Again

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 25, 2014

The two writers whose notion of Vincent van Gogh’s “murder” helped promote their new biography of him (Naifeh and Smith 2011) have dug in their heels despite much intelligent criticism, notably from scholars at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (Tilborgh and Meedendorp 2013). Now the biographers are back, supposedly vindicated by a forensic expert, pathologist Vincent DiMaio (Naifeh and Smith 2014).

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Politicians in the Pocket of Big UFO

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 25, 2014

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

Today my little boy turns 5. He's the best. And related programming note: The Morning Heresy will be off for the rest of the week, so we wish you a safe and happy feasting period.

Okay, so, last night it was announced that a grand jury would not indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown. In this context, Sincere T. Kirabo calls upon his fellow nonbelievers to more overtly pursue a social justice agenda:

I know not all atheists identify as secular humanists, but for those that do—for the nonbelieving individuals and groups who, like me, contend for secular rights and ethical reasoning conducive to the wellbeing of all humans in the here and now—I need you.

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Does ISIL Terrorism Represent “True Islam”?

by Bill Cooke
November 24, 2014

The CFI Free Thinking blog featured a very interesting conversation, begun by Dr Stephen Law, in response to the English writer Karen Armstrong, who had made a case for the “myth of religious violence.” Not surprisingly, Armstrong endorsed Barack Obama’s and British prime minister David Cameron’s denials of any link between the barbarism of ISIL fighters and “true Islam.” Dr Law was moved to call this sweeping dismissal “silly.” We can understand why Western leaders feel the need to distance ISIL violence from “true Islam.” The West could not mount its under-strength response to ISIL without significant help from Muslim countries like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. And Western leaders need to take care not to alienate Muslim communities within their own borders.

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Amazing, Baffling, Incredible, Bizarre, Seemingly Miraculous

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 24, 2014

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

Examinations of exit polls from the midterms shows that 62% of those who never attend church or religious services went Democratic.  

One big reason Americans are so divided on climate change: belief in the end of the world...

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