Blog Archives for August 2011

Time for Action: the FDA and Homeopathic Drugs

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
August 30, 2011

The website of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the division of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responsible for evaluating the efficacy of drugs, proudly proclaims that it “promotes and protects the health of Americans by assuring that all prescription and over-the-counter drugs are safe and effective.” (bolding in original) Sadly, this is not a true statement. The FDA allows homeopathic drugs to be marketed without requiring the manufacturers to establish that their drugs are effective for their intended use. This free pass to homeopathic junk needs to stop, and that is why CFI and CSI have filed a formal petition asking the FDA to hold homeopathic over-the-counter drugs to the same standards as conventional (i.e., real) medicine.

12 Comments

JREF $1 Million Challenge Delights and Amuses Psychic Carla Baron

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
August 29, 2011

Carla Baron, who claims to have psychic powers, is not interested in getting James Randi's $1 million prize for proving her abilities, but she does find it "endlessly amusing."

3 Comments

God, No! It’s Penn Jillette’s New Book!

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
August 26, 2011

God, yes! This is the kind of storytelling that atheists have been waiting for.

12 Comments

“Cowboys and Aliens” (A Nickell-odeon Review)

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
August 25, 2011

It's a cross between True Grit and War of the Worlds—with sequences of fine acting and great special effects worthy of either movie.

Why, then, is Cowboys and Aliens such a failure?

4 Comments

False Rape Claim Sinks Real Rape Case

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
August 24, 2011

Rape charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn were dropped yesterday; the wealthy French banker had been accused of raping a housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, in an upscale Manhattan hotel in May. The accused didn't even have to defend himself in this case; instead the accuser's lies caused her case to implode.

6 Comments

Egyptian man arrested for alleged blasphemy

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
August 22, 2011

A 23-year-old Egyptian man has been arrested by Cairo police for allegedly "insulting Islam" in postings on his Facebook wall. 

2 Comments

Celebrating Science

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
August 18, 2011

Religion's accusation that science strips humanity of all significance couldn't be further from the truth. 

3 Comments

Boiron, Please Sue Us

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
August 17, 2011

As you know, the Center for Inquiry (CFI) and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) have publicly rebuked Wal-Mart for marketing homeopathic junk, in particular a product called Oscillococcinum, a purported remedy for flu. We are now inviting the product’s manufacturer, Boiron, to sue us. Here’s why.

18 Comments

Science Is Self-Correcting ... Sort Of

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
August 16, 2011

One of the claimed advantages of scientific inquiry as a mode of acquiring knowledge is that it is a self-correcting enterprise.  For example, if someone claims to have discovered a process for cold fusion, that incorrect claim can be shown to be false or unwarranted by further research and scientific testing.  This rosy picture of the scientific enterprise suggests that scientific errors will be recognized and corrected, with false claims falling by the wayside during science’s inexorable march forward. 

5 Comments

Midnight in Paris (A Nickell-odeon Review)

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
August 15, 2011

Ah, midnight in Paris!

Or anytime in Paris if you ask me—a place where I once had a magical time, until the Orient Express whisked me away, like a magic carpet, to Istanbul.

1 Comment

School voucher bills swamp statehouses, face legal challenges

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
August 15, 2011

Statehouses across the U.S. this year have considered more bills than ever before to fund school voucher programs, though legal challenges await.

Fright Night: The Vampire Genre That Won’t Die

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
August 13, 2011

A remake of the cult classic vampire film Fright Night comes to theaters. 

Is It Permissible To Question A Candidate About Her Religious Beliefs?

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
August 12, 2011

Some have criticized the reporter who asked Michele Bachmann during the GOP debate last night whether she would be “submissive” to her husband were she elected president. I think this criticism is unfounded. Given Bachmann’s own statements, this was a legitimate question.

14 Comments

An Atheist in Church

Hollywood Reality Check with Jim Underdown
August 10, 2011

When I got a call from a woman named Lindsey inviting me to appear at the Moment Church during their Sunday evening service, some warning bells went off in my head. She sounded like a nice enough person, but why would they want me, a career atheist, to even be at their church, much less have a voice there?

This ain’t no UU Church, by the way. Moment’s  “what we believe” statement of faith on their website represents what I would call pretty hardcore Christianity – God is the ubiquitous, all-knowing creator of the universe; the bible is inerrant; you get to heaven through Jesus; marriage is between one man and one woman. You get the picture.

Debating Imam prayers in public schools with Sun TV Ezra Levant, plus IVF debate on AM640 Radio

True North Strong & Free Thinking with Justin B. Trottier
August 10, 2011

Yesterday afternoon I joined Raheel Raza, Muslim Canadian journalist, author, public speaker, media consultant, anti-racism activist, and interfaith coordinator, on Sun TV News’ The Source with Ezra Levant. Levant is a polarizing figure you either love or hate. He’s well known for his book Shakedown, which documents the censorship crusade of many Human Rights Commissions in Canada.  But that wasn’t the theme of our conversation.

1 Comment

Problems with the Problem of Evil: Natural Evils

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
August 09, 2011

Christians have many ways to deal with that "problem of evil." Blaming natural evils on Adam and Eve's "Fall" is convenient, but ultimately unable to solve the problem of evil.

7 Comments

In defense of belief

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
August 08, 2011

Many people in the so-called freethought movement strongly dislike the word "belief." I think this is mistaken. Here is why.

5 Comments

Women in Secularism

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
August 04, 2011

Are men over-represented at humanist, atheist, and skeptic conferences and in the leadership of humanist, atheist, and skeptic organizations? Does the work of female writers and scholars tend to be overlooked? Does our movement need to become more diverse? Should we give careful consideration to the relationship between feminism and secularism?

62 Comments

CFI Applauds UN Body’s Strong Support for Freedom of Belief and Expression – But Remains Cautious

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
August 02, 2011

In a move welcomed by the Center for Inquiry, the UN Human Rights Committee has strongly condemned blasphemy laws and other restrictions on freedom of belief and expression as inconsistent with existing international law.

1 Comment

A Victory for Secularism in North Carolina

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
August 01, 2011

Forsyth County in North Carolina has been ordered to stop official Christian prayers.