Blog Archives for April 2012

People Don’t Read, and Why It Matters to Skepticism

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
April 30, 2012

A lot of the time people simply don’t read--and this hold implications for both skepticism and public discourse. 

26 Comments

The Morning Heresy 4/30/12: God Sounds Like Spock

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 30, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

I'm a little late getting the Heresy out today, making the "Morning" part of it suspect, but that's because we have a lot going on this morning. Specifically...

CFI is suing the Wyndgate Country Club in Michigan for breach of contract and religious discrimination in the cancellation of a Richard Dawkins event for CFI-Michigan.

2 Comments

The Morning Heresy 4/27/12: Never Mention Rubber

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 27, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Must-Listen: NPR Intern blog interviews atheist Rep. Pete Stark, Dave Silverman and Herb Silverman -- some cool takeaways:

  • Herb reminds us that at least 27 other US Members of Congress are secretly atheist
  • Herb: "We promised we would not out them. My goal is for people to out themselves." 
  • Stark: "Reason is the antithesis of religion." 

Chris Mooney responds at length to Ron Lindsay's critiques of The Republican Brain 

The Morning Heresy 4/26/12: Wake Me Up in 2038

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 26, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Council chief Tom Flynn reacts to the Mojave cross decision:

In case you were wondering, nonreligious Americans are still second class citizens. It's time to put aside that Reason Rally euphoria and face the harsh, sad truth: men and women who live without religion are still systematically discriminated against at the highest level.  

Michael De Dora breaks down exactly what we mean when we talk about a "war on women" as he prepares to address a Unite Women rally in New York on April 28

The war on women

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
April 25, 2012

There has been a wide range of legislative actions against women's rights, much of it from religious lawmakers, and it's about time we all worked together to fight back. The upcoming April 28 marches and rallies organized by Unite Women provide a good chance to do so -- but we can't stop there. 

2 Comments

Mojave Cross Case Shows Nonbelievers Are Still Second Class Citizens

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
April 25, 2012

The Mojave cross case has ended, and it's official: nonreligious Americans are still second class citizens!

4 Comments

The Morning Heresy 4/25/12: We’ve Got Bjork and Zuck!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 25, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

CFI needs you to help us advocate for jailed atheist Alexander Aan 

The Secular Alliance at Indiana University, a CFI on Campus affiliate, is holding a Pastafarian feast to benefit Doctors without Borders 

Greta Christina wants students to take advantage of the Women in Secularism conference's $25 student rate (going fast!) 

The Morning Heresy 4/24/12: The Fruity Pair

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 24, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Oh no. Mr. Texas Creationism Textbooks himself, Don McLeroy, was on Colbert. It's kind of sublime how Colbert deals with McLeroy as a compatriot, totally straight-faced. I almost wonder if it was the one thing that might have made McLeroy think, "Wow. What I'm saying really is kind of nutty."

2 Comments

Your Power to Sway

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 23, 2012

Our resident policy honcho Michael De Dora was caught on camera by Christopher Brown, host of the Meet The Skeptics podcast, at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (to which several of our outreach do-gooders have decamped), and he gave a quick interview about what the heck CFI's Office of Public Policy is all about.

Home Town Destroyed

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 23, 2012

I'm overdue to write this. On March 2, 2012, occurred the worst thing ever to happen to me: My hometown of West Liberty, in eastern Kentucky's Appalachian foothills, was largely destroyed by a tornado. If I feel so devastated while not even living there, how much worse must it be for those who lost their very homes and livelihood.

The Morning Heresy 4/23/12: Legion of Doom

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 23, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

On Mondays, there's always a lot of material to catch up on from over the weekend here at the Heresy. It becomes hard to organize it all so that it's not too overwhelming, but all the bases get covered. Bear with me, though. One theme that's emerged with a vengeance over the past few weeks is the rise of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as this kind of society of supervillains, like the Legion of Doom or something. Every day I'm posting at least one new link about how they're doing something so jaw-droppingly regressive or inflammatory that it defies basic notions of propriety and, well, modernity itself. So this week I'll see about grouping their stories into one sub-heading to keep it all a little more organized. Onward!

2 Comments

The Morning Heresy 4/20/12: Lunatic, Heal Thyself

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Winning the war of attrition: Not only are one in four millennials "unaffiliated" with any religion, but more than half of those were once affiliated when they were younger

Reuters: Kuwaiti imprisoned for tweeting about Muhammad attacked by fellow inmate 

Romney to deliver the commencement address to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University

1 Comment

The Morning Heresy 4/19/12: Condescendingly Stupid

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 19, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

So, the Women in Secularism conference got a lot more attention in the past 24 hours. Since my little rant from yesterday's Heresy...

Ophelia Benson called it "cogent" (why thank you), and then faced more trouble at the RDF site 

PZ stepped in, calling the attacks against the conference "condescendingly stupid," "embarrassingly idiotic," and "macho assholes." 

3 Comments

The Morning Heresy 4/18/12: Jumping About Like Mountain Goats

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 18, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

CFI's John Shook on the struggle with labels and "the whole belief thing" for atheists, humanists, etc., etc. 

Relatedly, Leah Libresco explains her frustration with the humanist label 

Ophelia Benson calls out an "anonymous bully" on the RDF boards dissing the Women in Secularism conference

7 Comments

I’m So Over God—but I’m No Atheist!

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
April 17, 2012

Atheism is just an optional state of mind - or is it?

10 Comments

The Morning Heresy 4/17/12: Don’t Bait the Secularists

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 17, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

We at CFI are getting on board with the Unite Women campaign:

"CFI and United Women stand together in their commitment to a world where every person is granted fundamental rights and freedoms: freedom of conscience, freedom from the dictates of someone else’s religion, and the freedom to care for our own bodies and our own lives as we see fit." 

CFI's own Dren Asselmeier gives some background and context 

1 Comment

A Skeptical Look at ‘Balance’

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
April 16, 2012

The idea of "balance" is very popular in both society in general and especially with New Age and alternative medicine crowds. While it offers a superficially appealing way to view the world, it is actually often incorrect, misleading, and potentially unscientific. 

3 Comments

The Morning Heresy 4/16/12: Ale Mary

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 16, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Ron Lindsay on Chris Mooney's The Republican Brain

[It's] an important book. It advances a thesis that, if true, has significant implications for psychology, politics, and public policy. The book marshals a wide array of research in support of its thesis, and this research is accurately and perceptively summarized. However, I don’t believe there is sufficient evidence to support the book’s central claims. 

The National Day of Reason approaches! CFI has resources for folks who want to celebrate the day. Our friends in San Francisco have a chance to ask Mayor Edward Lee to proclaim a city-wide Day of Reason: see the petition here!  

 

A Closer Look at The Republican Brain

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
April 15, 2012

The Republican Brain is a well-written and informative book. I learned a lot from it. It’s also an important book. It advances a thesis that, if true, has significant implications for psychology, politics, and public policy. The book marshals a wide array of research in support of its thesis, and this research is accurately and perceptively summarized. However, I don’t believe there is sufficient evidence to support the book’s central claims.

8 Comments

On the death of Andrew Breitbart (and others)

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
April 13, 2012

How we should feel when people who we believe have done great harm to society die? Some of my thoughts on the recent death of Andrew Breitbart, and others.

The Morning Heresy 4/13/12: Whoop Howls

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 13, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Scientific American Mind long-form piece on the happiness (or lack thereof) of nonbelievers 

Nonbelievers are considered immoral, untrustworthy and, in the U.S., among the least likely to be elected president. A handful of states’ constitutions even ban atheists from holding public office. Worst of all, a large body of research suggests that, as compared with religious individuals, people who lack a creed are less likely to be healthy and happy—surely the two most important earthly concerns—and tend to lose out on at least seven years of life, some estimates suggest. Several large-scale population studies have reinforced a single premise: the more you engage with religious activities, the better off you are. 

The Morning Heresy 4/12/12: Woodrow Wilson’s Head Explodes

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 12, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Hemant: Jessica Ahlquist is still under siege in Cranston 

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) on April 28 to introduce new group for victims of merciless childhood peers, and not a moment too soon, with founding of ABAC: Adults Bullied As Children

"These debilitating experiences may carry lifelong emotional consequences and the impact of our pain from having been bullied can be shared and alleviated in a safe, secular self-empowering mutual support group setting; the group dynamic can provide acceptance, strength, and energy in order to overcome, to grow, to feel appropriately good about ourselves both collectively and individually."

The Morning Heresy 4/11/12: $23-an-ounce Tube of Water

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 11, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Ron Lindsay casts a skeptical eye on Chris Mooney's new book's thesis (as expressed in this week's Point of Inquiry)

CFI's Dren Asselmeier on religious conservatives' fuzzy thinking on gay rights and church-state separation (with a fun George Takei picture)

What else happened yesterday? Oh yeah: Santorum bows to the inevitable

1 Comment

The Republican Brain—Is It Sound Science?

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
April 10, 2012

Chris Mooney is an experienced science journalist, a skilled writer, a great host for Point of Inquiry, and a friend. Not a close friend, but he is someone who has helped me and CFI on several occasions and I never forget a favor. But, paraphrasing Aristotle, although Chris is dear to me, so too is truth. I’m concerned that Chris’s new book may be advancing a thesis that lacks adequate scientific support.

10 Comments

Scanning Loch Ness

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 10, 2012

From March 14 to 17, 2012, I explored Scotland’s Loch Ness with British skeptic and investigator Hayley Stevens and her intrepid father, Andy (a professional driver and talented photographer). We took a sonar-equipped boat across the lake to Urquhart Castle, noting depths of up to 750 feet, and I bagged one of the fabled creatures—in the accompanying poem.

The Morning Heresy 4/10/12: Ralph Reed, Friend to Atheists

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 10, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

CNN: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) says there is probably no such thing as atheists because we have "in God we trust" on our money. I don't understand the rest of what he said, either.

Ironically, Ralph Reed gives the far more generous take on atheists' chances and qualifications for serving in public office 

3 Comments

The Morning Heresy 4/9/12: Assimilate This

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 09, 2012

Here's hoping you survived the spookiest holiday of them all this weekend. Speaking of which, Easter brought about some interesting opining in the media on attitudes toward religion, and the Sunday shows did their usual parading of a bunch of religious pundits to talk about faith and whatnot. Let's have a look.

 

3 Comments

Don’t Bother Praying Before That Exam

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
April 07, 2012

Praying for help with tests is even more useless than supposed.

Why Seculars Still Don’t Sing: response to James Croft

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
April 06, 2012

James Croft (http://harvardhumanist.org/2012/04/06/why-seculars-sing-a-response-to-tom-flynn/) offers a thoughtful and provocative critique of my Free Inquiry op-ed on humanist ritual (“Why Seculars Don’t Sing,” April/May 2012, http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=fi&page=flynn_32_3). As frequently happens when religious and secular humanists engage in debate, the ground on which the disputants – to say nothing of the spectators – stand quickly becomes mushy. Herewith, my unconscionably lengthy response.

1 Comment

The Morning Heresy 4/6/12: Holy Vodka

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 06, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

CFI's Office of Public Policy tells Health and Human Services not to require acupuncture be covered by insurance

By the way, we know many of you disagree with this position, and have been telling us so. We welcome the debate and discussion -- just don't poke us with anything sharp 

CFI-Indiana's Reba Wooden talks to local radio station WFHB about (award-winning) "Living without Religion" billboard

CFI to HHS: Don’t Force Insurers to Pay for Acupuncture

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
April 05, 2012

The Center for Inquiry today wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking her to reject lobbying efforts to require health insurance providers and organizations to cover acupuncture.

The Morning Heresy 4/5/12: Put-Upon Pups

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 05, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Anne Klaeysen of the New York Society for Ethical Culture in NYT disses "In God We Trust" on currency

Austin Dacey and Pamela Takiff hold a discussion on blasphemy at the UN

RNS: President Obama delivers "mini-sermon" for Easter prayer breakfast, because that's totally the president's job

The Morning Heresy 4/4/12: It Burns!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 04, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Michael De Dora blogs: Vast majority of voters, including Republicans, want a science-focused presidential debate

Greta Christina really, really wants you to go to the "barn-burner" that will be Women in Secularism Conference -- and so do we! 

Trump is now anti-vax (is that bad or good?)

Most likely voters—even religious—want presidential debate on science

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
April 03, 2012

An overwhelming majority of likely voters want American presidential candidates to debate major science-related issues, and believe such a debate is more important than one on the candidates' faith and values, according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by ScienceDebate.org.

The Morning Heresy 4/3/12: Bigfoot for Governor

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 03, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Happy birthday to SSA's Jesse Galef, who also served as official press wrangler for the Reason Rally! Well done, my friend. Jesse turns, I think, 12 today.

NCSE: Oklahoma anti-science education bill dead (for now) 

Not even the widow of Ted Kennedy is safe from the institutional tut-tutting of Catholic bishops 

6 Comments

The Morning Heresy 4/2/12: Pill-Popping Mouth Breathers

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 02, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

CFI's "Living without Religion" campaign wins Favorite Atheist/Agnostic Ad of 2011 at About.com! High fives all around.

Ron Lindsay on the long road for atheists in America 

Bill O'Reily's traveling sidekick Jesse Watters tries to make fun of the Reason Rally, does a poor job, and tells his boss that the atheists were mean to him.

1 Comment