Blog Archives for December 2011

A New Year’s Resolution: Admit You are an Atheist

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
December 31, 2011

For so many people, it’s really about time.

18 Comments

Personhood arguments fail, but fight for reproductive rights goes on

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
December 30, 2011

Proposals to change the legal definition of personhood to include fertilized human eggs are rightly doomed, but reproductive rights advocates should remain vigilant in defending and promoting access to safe, legal health care.

Investigating Life as a Poet

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 29, 2011

Given that my main persona is investigator—of historical and literary mysteries (see my "Did Shakespeare Write ‘Shakespeare'?" in the Nov./Dec. 2011 Skeptical Inquirer), as well as homicides, and, most extensively, of paranormal enigmas—relatively few know of me as a poet—in which role I investigate life and attempt to shape the results into art.

1 Comment

Five Solved ‘Unexplained Mysteries’ of 2011

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
December 27, 2011

Each year brings new puzzles and mysteries to challenge skeptics and put our wits to the test. Sometimes mysteries take weeks, months, or even years or decades to solve, and while most of the public's attention naturally focuses on the still-mysterious, it's always worth reflecting on former mysteries. Here are five high-profile (temporarily) unexplained mysteries that were finally solved in 2011.

4 Comments

Turin “Shroud” Called “Supernatural”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 22, 2011

As reported in the UK Independent of December 21, 2011, scientists working for the Italian government have claimed to find evidence that the image of Jesus crucified appearing on the notorious Shroud of Turin was not produced by a medieval artist but instead was likely caused by a supernatural event.

51 Comments

CFI Welcomes UN Resolution Excluding “Defamation of Religion” Language—But Again Remains Cautious

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
December 21, 2011

CFI is pleased to recognize that, for the first time in more than a decade, the UN's General Assembly has approved a resolution aimed at combating religious intolerance that does not include language referring to the harmful “defamation of religions" concept. Unfortunately, the new resolution has its shortcomings.

The Skepcook: Regarding “No Substitutions”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 19, 2011

The "no-substitution" policy of some restaurants is not a customer-friendly way to help one address his or her dietary concerns. Of course, sometimes substitutions cannot reasonably be made, but where they can be, restaurateurs should be encouraged to adopt a more flexible policy.

3 Comments

CFI Pushes Federal Agencies on Religious Discrimination

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
December 16, 2011

CFI has joined with dozens of religious, education, civil rights, and health organizations to write faith-based offices within federal departments and agencies to clarify how they handle the issue of hiring discrimination by religious organizations receiving federal grants and contracts.

5 Comments

Naturalism vs. Supernaturalism: Framing the Debate

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
December 14, 2011

Setting the initial framework of a debate is often the key to victory.

4 Comments

Atheist Boosters?

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

CFI recently held a conference on the work of Daniel Dennett and the scientific investigation of religion. It may be the best conference I’ve ever attended. The presentations of the speakers were of uniformly high-quality—and I say that even for the speakers with whom I had some substantive disagreement. Interestingly, one such speaker was Gregory Paul, the independent researcher who has done some excellent work on the sociology of religious belief. Unfortunately, Paul seems to be in the camp of those who tend to inflate the number of atheists in the United States.

3 Comments

Poll Holds Surprises About Teen Self-Image, Reality TV Effects

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
December 08, 2011

A new survey from the Girl Scout Research Institute issued a report titled "Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV" which came to a variety of conclusions about the effects of reality TV on beliefs and attitudes of teen girls. One interesting result what was most girls reject the "beauty myth" idea that a girl's value is based on how she looks. 

11 Comments

Obama Adminstration Steps Up Defense of LGBT Rights Abroad

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
December 07, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defends equal rights for LGBT persons at UN, while President Obama directs all agencies engaged in diplomacy efforts to ensure U.S. is promoting and protecting the rights of LGBT persons.

1 Comment

What are your helladay plans?

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
December 05, 2011

Well, the Some People's Favorite Holiday Season is upon us again. How to you plan to observe -- or not observe -- the "helladays"?

22 Comments

“J. Edgar” (A Nickell-odeon Review)

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 05, 2011

Let me confess at the outset that my response to Clint Eastwood's new biopic about Federal Bureau of Investigation founder J. Edgar Hoover is necessarily colored by my own personal encounters with the man. Actually, there were two J. Edgars.

1 Comment

Who Trusts Gallup Polls about Religion?

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
December 02, 2011

Not the nontheist segment of the population, gone undercounted for decades.

6 Comments

Another pluralist approach to ethics

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
December 01, 2011

Ian Pollock takes a stab at formulating a pluralist ethic.

1 Comment