Blog Archives for February 2012

Oscar-Winning Film Highlights Acid Attack Domestic Violence

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
February 28, 2012

Though few have heard of it, the important Oscar-winning short subject film Saving Face may be the best film of the year, highlighting horrific abuse of women in Pakistan.

Where are all the Atheists? The NONES, the NONS, and the SHUNS

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
February 25, 2012

Even the best polls make it difficult to know how many people have left religion behind.

3 Comments

An Antique “Temperance Drink”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 24, 2012

On February 21, 2012, CFI Libraries intern Christian Exoo (a graduate student in Library Science at the University of Buffalo) gave me the two items pictured here, an antique medicine bottle and accompanying advertising booklet, for my medical quackery collection (part of which may be viewed on www.skeptiseum.com.) Christian discovered the artifacts in the wall of a late-nineteenth-century house in Canton, New York, during a renovation. Both items were new to me, and, additionally, complemented each other with helpful information.

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Women in Secularism—A Conference for Everyone

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
February 24, 2012

CFI’s upcoming conference on Women in Secularism (register here) is most decidedly not a conference targeting an exclusively female audience. Yes, the speakers are all female and yes, the conference is focused on women’s concerns. But the concerns of women are not a concern for women only.

7 Comments

Victory! Indiana House Kills Creationist Bill

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
February 23, 2012

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma has shelved a Senate-approved bill to allow public schools across the state to teach children the creation stories of various mainstream religions. 

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A Skeptic’s Visit to Macchu Picchu

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
February 22, 2012

A skeptic visits the Peruvian ruins of Macchu Picchu and finds history tainted by pseudoscience.

Dizzy with Excitement over “Moving Secularism Forward”

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 20, 2012

I just signed on with CFI last week as their new communications guy, so I'm still settling in and getting a sense of what's going on. So you'll have to forgive me if some things that seem like old hat to regular readers of the CFI blogs are shiny, new revelations to me. And I'm not just talking about the fact that CFI headquarters has three little kitchens -- two of which have stoves. That's crazy! Really, what I'm flabbergasted by is the fantastic lineup of speakers at our conference in Orlando, mere days away, starting March 1st. 

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Contraception and Religious Liberty

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
February 20, 2012

As everyone is aware, the Catholic Church and some other religious institutions have argued that the Obama administration’s rule requiring employers to include contraceptive care within the scope of their health insurance plans violates the freedom of conscience of “individuals and organizations.”  This argument distorts the First Amendment guarantees of religious liberty and makes use of a flawed and tendentious interpretation of the concept of conscientious objection.

7 Comments

“Red Tails” (A Nickell-odeon Review)

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 17, 2012

This movie about the Tuskegee Airmen—the black American aviators of World War II—has an appropriately Forties feel to it. A mix of dogfights, on-the-ground conflicts (personal, military, and racial), and a love story that ends in tragedy, Red Tails should have been made decades ago.

Protect Zygotes and Corporations; Piss on Women

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
February 16, 2012

You may have noticed that in the last couple of years, there’s been an effort by some conservatives to extend rights of “personhood” to entities many of us don’t regard as persons, namely corporations and zygotes. Corporations and zygotes are not conceptually related, but, nonetheless, the extension of personhood rights to corporations may pave the way for the extension of personhood rights to zygotes. The latter action would, of course, limit the autonomy and reproductive rights of real persons, namely women.

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CFI On Campus Updates

Guest Blog from Dren Asselmeier
February 16, 2012

Dren Asselmeier gives updates on CFI On Campus affiliates.

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Church|State Separation Advocates Gather at Indiana Statehouse

Photo by Stephen McCloud

Freethought from the Heartland with Reba Boyd Wooden
February 16, 2012

On Saturday, February 11, the first Indiana Civic Day sponsored by Center for Inquiry -Indiana and the Indiana Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State was held at the Indiana State House in Indianapolis. Over 100 people came together to hear Ron Lindsay, CEO of Center for Inquiry and Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State along with speakers from local organizations detail the problems and advocate for activism to maintain this separation.

CFI Issues Statement on New HHS Regulation

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
February 14, 2012

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is urging the Obama Administration not to retreat any further on the new HHS regulation, and expressing its concern about the Catholic lobby's influence on public policy. 

Religion and Xenophobia

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
February 12, 2012

It's not the fault of atheists. Religious people are more distrusting of anyone too different.

1 Comment

The Skepcook: Reviewing “Herbal Recipes”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 10, 2012

As an herb gardener (see that persona on my website, www.joenickell.com), or at least as my wife Diana's understudy, I appreciate the satisfaction of growing, harvesting, and processing herbs—dried sage and oregano, for savory cooking; fresh basil, to snip onto sliced tomatoes (accompanying scrambled eggs for breakfast); and spearmint, for my Kentucky mint juleps! We also cultivate rosemary, chives, parsley, thyme, and more.

A Clarion Call—and a Bombshell?—on Obama and Church-State?

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
February 09, 2012

A February 9th essay on Salon.com by ACLU Legislative Counsel Dena Sher casts down the gauntlet, presenting the case for Barack Obama positioning himself as a more secular president, perhaps picking up support from mainstream believers uncomfortable with religious-right posturing. Take, for example, those tens of millions of U. S. Catholics who, unlike their 271 bishops, apparently think contraception is just fine. Ms. Sher also included what may be a bombshell.

3 Comments

Mohammed Was Not a Divinely Inspired Prophet and There Is No Allah

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
February 09, 2012

I know for many who read this blog, this assertion is hardly startling, but it is blasphemous, at least from an Islamic perspective. In fact, it’s probably the simplest, most direct blasphemous utterance one can make regarding Islam since it denies the central tenet of that faith. I thought today would be an especially appropriate day to make this assertion in light of the troubles encountered by the journalist Hamza Kashgari in Saudi Arabia.

3 Comments

Indiana House Might Not Consider Creationist Bill

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
February 08, 2012

Lawmakers in the Indiana House of Representatives are signaling that they will not take up the creationist bill (SB 89) that passed the state Senate.

This Week’s Good News

Guest Blog from Dren Asselmeier
February 08, 2012

Dren Asselmeier reviews the drama between Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, as well as the recent ruling on Proposition 8.

Obama, the Prayer Breakfast, and Plato

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
February 06, 2012

Not much has been said in the atheist blogosphere about President Obama’s appearance and remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2. Probably a couple of reasons for this. The appearance in itself is not really news. Sadly, this is just what our presidents, Democrat or Republican, do. Also, I sense that not a few atheists think Obama should be cut some slack on church-state issues—both because he’s better than any alternative (can you imagine President Gingrich?) and because some suspect that on ceremonial occasions such as the National Prayer Breakfast, he’s just going through the motions. However, having reviewed his remarks, I think they merit some comment.

2 Comments

The Woman in Black: A Classic Ghost Story

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
February 06, 2012

In the new horror/thriller The Woman in Black, Arthur Kipps, a lawyer whose grief over his dead wife has put his career in jeopardy, is sent to a remote English village to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased woman. Upon his arrival, he learns that everyone in the town is keeping a deadly secret: the woman's house is haunted by a ghost-the titular woman in black. Much of the film is classic ghostlore, and scenarios I have seen enacted during real-life ghost hunts by psychics and ghost hunters.

3 Comments

I Stand with Planned Parenthood

Guest Blog from Dren Asselmeier
February 01, 2012

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, even though Planned Parenthood has used that funding to provide nearly 170,000 breast exams.

2 Comments

Indiana Senate OKs Amended, but Still Flawed, Creationist Bill

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
February 01, 2012

The Indiana Senate on Tuesday voted 28-22 in favor of an amended version of Senate Bill 89, which would allow public schools across the state to teach children the creation stories of various mainstream religions.

1 Comment

Indiana Senator Kruse Seeks to Erode Indiana Science Standards

Map from Fordham Foundation

Freethought from the Heartland with Reba Boyd Wooden
February 01, 2012

Indiana's Senator Dennis Kruse has introduced a bill (SB 89) in the Indiana General Assembly to allow the teaching of "creation science" in Indiana public schools. In a report just released by the Fordham Foundation, Indiana was listed as one of just seven states that earned an "A" for its science standards. This has been the case for many years. Indiana has been a shining star in the midwest on the map of those receiving that rating.

1 Comment