Blog Archives for June 2016

Space Ambulance

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 28, 2016

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

The Supreme Court strikes down Texas's cynical and draconian HB2, which would have forced the closure of most of the state's abortion clinics. It's, to abbreviate the vice-president, a B.F.D. Our boss said:

We are delighted that the Supreme Court saw through this transparent attempt to effectively ban abortion, an attempt propped up by manufactured pseudoscience. The legal right to an abortion is meaningless without reasonable access to abortion services, and this cynical move to cut off that access has been shown for what it is: the imposition of religious dogma on Americans’ lives. 

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Cosmopolitanism and its Enemies

Guest Blog from David R. Koepsell
June 27, 2016

The cosmopolitan ideal embraces our shared humanity as primary. More important than states, ideologies, religions, culture or ethnicity, the cosmopolitan human is a citizen of the world, and above all seeks to be in it rather than shy away from it. 

Blessing Weapons

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 27, 2016

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

CFI's Michael De Dora appears in this new documentaryDefending Shia Rights: Mission to the UN, around the 22-minute mark, speaking specifically about Saudi Arabia. 

Make sure you catch up on the previous fortnight of CFI activity with the latest issue of Cause & Effect

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Brexit, Pursued by a Bear

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 24, 2016

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

A slim majority of the British people vote to leave the European Union and David Cameron says he will step down, for as a supporter of remaining in the EU, he does not believe he is the person to "captain the ship" at this point. Scotland and Northern Ireland aren't too keen on this whole idea, and we may have a Not-So-United Kingdom shortly. The British pound quickly devalues, and the Dow plunges almost 500 points. Oh, and Trump is over there right now. 

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RIDDLEculous XI

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
June 23, 2016

More funny riddles from a skeptical view.

It Was the Monstrous Ugliness

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 23, 2016

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

The House Democrats continue their sit-in on the House floor, led by the amazing John Lewis, trying to move the very, very heavy needle on gun control. The House GOP had the TV cameras turned off for much of the night, so Democrats resorted to Periscope and Facebook Live to continue broadcasting their protest. Complicating matters is that the specific bill the Democrats are trying to get a vote on is one that would stop people on the FBI's no-fly list from buying a gun, but of course the no-fly list is rife with its own problems. But I guess from the Democrats' perspective, the GOP has not only moved the goal posts on gun control, they've airlifted the goal posts to another field entirely. What a time to be alive, folks.

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Why ‘Faith’ and ‘Hope’ Are Vastly Overrated

The Outer Limits with Stephen Law
June 23, 2016

'Faith' and 'hope' are feel-good words with a built-in rosy glow. People who have faith and hope are held up for our admiration and emulation. We are encouraged to be like them - to believe that, ultimately, all will be well. But don't place faith and hope at the top of your list of virtues, and be very wary of those who say you should.

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It’s Going to Be Worse

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 22, 2016

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

Yesterday we announced a big change to our membership program, a change that makes things way easier and more, like, cosmic. Marc Kreidler from our web team made this awesome graphic which really justifies the whole thing. 

Naga Munchetty of BBC's Sunday Morning Live interviews Richard Dawkins (who's looking so much better) about how he came to reject religion, the means by which he criticizes belief, and mortality. Also of note: Dawkins was serious about not matching his socks. #revolution

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A Skeptical Look at “The Conjuring 2”

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
June 21, 2016

A skeptical look at the new horror film "The Conjuring 2," ripped from the "real life" case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren.

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The Other Social Justice

Guest Blog from David R. Koepsell
June 21, 2016

How have shunning and ostracism been historically employed to deal with correcting social behaviors not covered by law, and what are some of their dangers, advantages, and limits?

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Angry Canadians

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 21, 2016

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

James Randi wants you to come to CSICon 2016, so much so that he's singing

On Point of Inquiry, Lindsay Beyerstein talks to Michelle Vines about the experience of growing up with undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome, and discovering it as an adult...

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‘That may be true for you, but it’s not true for me!’ - chapter from my book, “The Philosophy Gym”

The Outer Limits with Stephen Law
June 21, 2016

According to the relativist, people who speak simply of what’s ‘true’ are naïve. ‘Whose truth?’ asks the relativist. ‘No claim is ever true, period. What’s true is always true for someone. It’s true relative to a particular person or culture. There’s no such thing as the absolute truth on any issue.

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Ring Ding

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 20, 2016

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

One of the men suspected of having killed Avijit Roy last year, one "Shariful," is killed in a gunfight with police.

Following the Brock Turner case, CFI President Ron Lindsay considers what punishment is actually sufficient for sexual assault, and concludes that Judge Persky was indeed too lenient...

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What Is the Proper Punishment for Sexual Assault?

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
June 19, 2016

Before we decide what the proper sentence is in a particular criminal case, we should be able to explain what purpose the punishment serves.

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Vancouver’s “Haunted” Old Spaghetti Factory

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
June 17, 2016

The Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown—Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood—is reportedly a very haunted place, but you couldn’t prove it by me (see photo). The popular eatery, which opened in 1970 in a former grocery wholesalers at 53 Water Street, houses an old trolley car and assorted other artifacts and antiques. It is also, reportedly, home to no fewer than four ghosts, one that of the old tram conductor himself.

Fishy Citations

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 17, 2016

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

There's just a lot of awful things in the news today, there's no way around it. I'll have funnier stuff down below, but I gotta tell you guys, sometimes this link-blog thing isn't the light, fun endeavor you'd want it to be. I'll just put the awful stuff up first, rip the band-aid off...

4 Comments

I Am Not a Lizard!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 16, 2016

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

It's 6-16-16, which is of course the Mark of the Somewhat Hesitant Beast.

Police in Dhaka arrest a member of the Ansarullah Bangla Team said to have been involved in the attempt on the life of secularist publisher Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury Tutul. Also, a Hindu teacher in Bangladesh is attacked by knife-wielding assailants in his home, but survives, and is now in critical condition.

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A Semi-Reputable Curiosity

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 15, 2016

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

Without naming him (other than referring to "politicians who tweet"), President Obama gets hot under the collar over Trump's anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant stances. 

The raids in Bangladesh to stop the machete attacks have resulted in over 11,000 people being rounded up, only 145 are said to be "Islamic militants," the rest, well, it's not clear, but the opposition party says it's their own people being targeted. Something is very fishy about this. 

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There Are a Lot of People

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 14, 2016

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

Michael De Dora is the guest on Point of Inquiry this week, discussing the crisis in Bangladesh and his work with at the UN. 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein expresses his concern over the Bangladesh crisis, and the Daily Star notes CFI's role in bringing attention to the issue. 

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The Problem of Hell

Guest Blog from Nicholas Little
June 13, 2016

Hell was, I was taught, an unspeakably bad place. A place of torture, torment, and pain that would last for all eternity. And so I became unable to hold the existence of such a place, where people were actually sent, as consistent with the idea of a loving God.

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Macabre Clockwork

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 13, 2016

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

"Oh, no, not again," can quickly turn to "here we go again" in a time when mass shootings are becoming a kind of macabre clockwork. But then you have something like Orlando, and it's the worst mass shooting in U.S. history...

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Egg Sexing

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 10, 2016

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

Richard Dawkins posts his video address to the Reason Rally: "Today in Washington, we celebrate science and urge the retreat of superstition."

Bangladesh authorities say they know who is responsible for masterminding the rash of murders of secularists and progressives, pinning the blame on two radical Islamic groups who seek to push public opinion toward a more hardline Islamism.

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The Extent of Our Toleration

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 09, 2016

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

Hey, Donald Trump, who is Jesus to you?

Somebody I can revere in terms of bravery and in terms of courage and, because I consider the Christian religion so important, somebody I can totally rely on in my own mind. 

Hey Erick Erickson, how'd he do?

The more Trump talks Christianity, the more he sounds like he took a Rosetta Stone class on speaking Christian. 

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Sasquatch! Look Out!

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
June 08, 2016

After speaking at the Imagine No Religion Conference in Vancouver (May 20–22, 2016), I was able to spend some time investigating local mysteries. Notably, private investigator Dale Jackaman and I (see Figure 1) went into an area of prime Sasquatch country—the area around Chilliwack, Harrison Hot Springs, and Hope—where the fabled beast has long been reported, and in the future I intend to relate my investigations of specific historical sightings there.

Things That Never Happened

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 08, 2016

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

The 2016 Reason Rally is now in the books. I am emerging from a haze of exhaustion, humidity, and the rare sense of satisfaction of a job well done. Not just for the Rally itself, for which hundreds of people deserve enormous credit (and vacations), but particularly for the CFI Live website, where Nora Hurley, Matt Licata, and I kept y'all informed and up to date on all the goings-on.

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Saving Liberalism

Guest Blog from David R. Koepsell
June 07, 2016

Liberalism is threatened if we forget the origins and necessity of the liberal arts at the core our modernity. Humanists need to defend the humanities, and embrace them as essential to the human experience. 

“Yeti or Not”—the Bear Facts

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
June 03, 2016

Tipped by a Huffington Post journalist, I watched Animal Planet’s Yeti or Not world premier, Sunday, May 29, 2016—part of a “Monster Week” lineup.

Light Years of Vast Nothingness

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 03, 2016

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

Well here we are. With ancillary activities already well underway, tomorrow morning the second Reason Rally kicks off at the Lincoln Memorial. I'll happily remind you that Nora Hurley, Matt Licata, and I, along with other CFI folks, will be keeping you up to date, and hopefully a little enlightened and amused, with our CFI Live at the Reason Rally site at centerforinquiry.live.

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Unco Junto: Is There a Right to Anonymity, or an Obligation to Preserve It?

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
June 02, 2016

This month's question: Is There a Right to Anonymity, or an Obligation to Preserve It?

Space Dagger

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 02, 2016

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

Reason Rally preparations are in full swing. We even started a CFI account on Instagram. (Look out for that Instagram, I bet it'll be big...Friendster-big!) The week's first Advocacy Day is already underway. Remember to bookmark centerforinquiry.live and start checking in on Saturday for on-the-ground coverage of the Rally by actual humans like Nora Hurley and Matt Licata, and sort-of humans like me.

Tom Krattenmaker says that the Rally is an example of how the secular population is reaching a tipping point of political impact...

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The Strong Odor of Religious Intrusion

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 01, 2016

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

Susan Jacoby is the guest on Point of Inquiry this week, talking about religious conversions -- the big, fall-to-your-knees ones, sure, but also the ones that were done for convenience or other secular reasons. 

In Free Inquiry, Carol Delaney ponders God as an idea, writing, "It is the concept that troubles me, because once a label is put on that awareness, something else happens."

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