Blog Archives for May 2012

The Morning Heresy 5/31/12: As Long as it’s Blue

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 31, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

It's true, a CFI Living without Religion billboard was defaced in Indiana. As far as I know, we don't know who did it or what their motivations were, though I presume the imagination reels.

CFI's Michael De Dora eviscerates the claims to morality made by Rep. Paul Ryan about his budget proposal, and the very notion religiously-motivated legislation

Dr. Phil, Meet Bitter Psychic

Hollywood Reality Check with Jim Underdown
May 30, 2012

Skeptics are almost always at a disadvantage when doing major media appearances. Many talk shows seem to cater to heavily believer-based audiences, and seek to entertain more than to inform — despite presenting a façade of scientific or journalistic inquiry. Such was the case with my appearance on the Dr. Phil Show on May 25th.

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CFI On Campus: 2012 Spring Review

Guest Blog from Dren Asselmeier
May 30, 2012

Center for Inquiry, Council for Secular Humanism, and Committee for Skeptical Inquiry have participated in many regional and national events this spring. Here is a summary to let everyone know what we've been up to.

Religious belief and budget debates

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
May 30, 2012

Recently there has been a prominent public debate between Congressional Republicans and religious figures over the new federal budget authored by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan. Unfortunately, once again, few people are stating the obvious: that it is completely inappropriate for a public policy debate to center on the religious reasons for or against a proposed law.

The Morning Heresy 5/30/12: Heat Death of the Cosmos

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

You may not have noticed it, but yesterday, with his mainly ceremonial victory in the Texas primary, Mitt Romney passed the 1144-delegate threshold and became the first Mormon nominee for president by a major party.

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The Morning Heresy 5/29/12: Tax the Gambling Korean Monks

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 29, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

CFI on Campus need folks to help provide travel grants for students to be able to attend our leadership conference, and Richard Dawkins really wants you to chip in. At his site, he writes:

For the growth of secularism there is no more fertile ground than college and university campuses. The leaders who will shape not just the secular movement, but all of tomorrow’s policies and politics, our businesses and culture, are coming into their own right now. In the long term there can be no greater cause for us, who believe in science and reason, than to make sure we cultivate and nurture these leaders now, before they take their rightful places, making the future.

The Morning Heresy 5/25/12: Born Outside the Fence

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Happy Towel Day!

CFI-LA's Jim Underdown goes toe-to-toe with some alleged psychics on the Dr. Phil Show today! The drama! The suspense! The credulousness! I can hardly stand it.

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Bitter Psychic?

Hollywood Reality Check with Jim Underdown
May 24, 2012

So when the Dr. Phil Show called CFI looking for someone to represent the side skeptical of psychic claims, I was pleasantly surprised. John Edward, whom I’ve written about in Skeptical Inquirer, appeared on Dr. Phil this past January, and now they were doing another show with skepticism being represented.

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The Morning Heresy 5/24/12: Poke Your Dog with Needles

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

CFI chief Ron Lindsay looks at the real implications of victory for the Catholic Church's legal action against the Department of Health and Human Services, using a possible news headline of the future about a hypothetical Supreme Court case to make a troubling point (and Roberts and Thomas don't come out looking so great).

What If The Catholic Church Wins?

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
May 23, 2012

As you probably know, on Monday, a number of organizations affiliated with the Catholic Church, including various organizations that provide secular services, filed suit in several federal courts around the country. The lawsuits maintain that HHS has violated the First Amendment rights of these organizations by requiring them to include within their employees’ health care plans coverage for contraceptive care. Although these coordinated lawsuits smell like a publicity stunt — the lawsuits are premature since the regulation is not in effect — we should consider what the precedential effect would be of a Church victory.

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The Morning Heresy 5/23/12: Your Bare Ankles Endanger My Immortal Soul

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

There's still a lot more digesting of the Women in Secularism conference in the atheosphere. One piece you're just going to have to read in its entirety is CFI chief Ron Lindsay's on his prime takeaway: we need more of these. I'm not going to blockquote it because you should read all of it. I know he's my boss and all, but it's true.

We Can’t Stop Now

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
May 22, 2012

Based on my own experience—let alone the many favorable reactions we have received from attendees and speakers—I think we need to have another Women in Secularism conference. When, where, and other logistical items that go into conference planning need to be discussed and determined over the next few months (we may even change the name), but we have to have another.

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Who is still going to Church?

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
May 22, 2012

Church-goers are now a minority group in America.

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The Morning Heresy 5/22/12: The Antidote

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 22, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

We're only at the beginning of The Great Content Generation I predicted would be spurred by the Women in Secularism conference. Here are a lot of great reactions from bloggers around the atheosphere. See yesterday's Heresy for more immediate roundups, and the Twitter hashtag #wiscfi continues to spring up with reactions, photos, and witticisms. 

The Blob Ness Monster

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
May 21, 2012

Has Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster, best known from a 1934 photo that has since been revealed as an April Fool’s prank, once again been recorded—this time on sonar?

The Morning Heresy 5/21/12: A Deep and Undulating Whoop

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 21, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Now that was a conference!

This was no egg-headed snoozer, this was no reiteration of why we like Darwin so much (not that there's anything wrong with those). The Women in Secularism conference was as fantastic, fulfilling, and enlightening an event as we could ever have hoped. Once a glimmer in Melody Hensley's eye, it brought together an excellent mix of thinkers and personalities that had everyone opening their eyes to new perspectives. (Oh, and Jennifer Michael Hecht gave a poetry reading -- how cool is that?) There's a lot already, as you'll see below, that's being said about this past weekend, and I'm sure it's only the beginning.  

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The Morning-ish Heresy 5/18/12: Bio-Adjusting Mattress

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Tonight marks the start of the much-talked-about Women in Secularism conference, and I have a feeling this is going to be an event that will really get the gears turning for folks in the movement. I suspect a lot of content generation will result.

 

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The Morning Heresy 5/17/12: Un-liked

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

First things first. As our Facebook followers know, we uploaded a bunch of photos yesterday from the Castles along the Rhine cruise ("It went well, thanks," reported our boss), and while this usually is a non-event where all the images happily snuggle together in one fell swoop in a photo album, something went terribly pear-shaped with our program, and every single photo went into folks' news feeds individually, littering people's Facebook homepages with pleasant-yet-relentless images of happy secularists and scenic European vistas.

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“The Raven” (A Nickell-odeon Review)

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
May 16, 2012

Baltimore, 1849. First, there is the brutal murder of a woman and her daughter in a fourth-floor apartment that is locked from the inside. Then the body of a man named Griswold is found in a torture chamber, sliced in half by a great curved blade at the end of a pendulum.

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L. Frank Baum, Freethought Firebrand?

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
May 16, 2012

Tomorrow (May 17) is the 112th anniversary of the publication of that subversive freethought children's book, THE WIZARD OF OZ. You didn't know it was a freethought book? Have I got a tale for you ...

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The Morning Heresy 5/16/12: Tugging on My Kuiper Belt

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Urgent new action alert: The House version of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act strips away crucial protections based on sexual orientation, religion, and nationality. We need you to take action right now to oppose this version of the bill, and to tell the House to take up the Senate version, which CFI supported

The Morning Heresy 5/15/12: They Can’t Burn Our Internet

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 15, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Everyone at CFI is feeling like a proud parent today, because our plucky podcast is getting some well-overdue accolades from the mainstream press. Hyperactive news website Business Insider named our own Point of Inquiry one of the 10 best podcasts, grouping it with such shows as Wait Wait Don't Tell Me! and Anderson Cooper 360. We are beaming! Our sincere congratulations to hosts Chris Mooney and Indre Viskontas, and producer Adam Isaak! (And yeah, we'll be making more noise about this, because that's what proud parents do.)

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Is The ‘Real-Life Barbie’ a Media Myth?

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
May 14, 2012

News organizations around the world claimed that a young Russian model has achieved her desire to look like a Barbie doll, sparking discussion and outrage about the media's influence on women. But is it true? 

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The Morning Heresy 5/14/12: Share the Meat

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 14, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

CFI's suit to allow secular celebrants to solemnize marriages in Indiana is sparking more attention.

Indy Star columnist Erika Smith looks at the state of marriage equality in Indiana, and says:

What Obama said was inspiring and what the Center for Inquiry is doing is amazing.

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The Morning Heresy 5/11/12: Bottomless Chum Bucket

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

CFI-Indiana director Reba Boyd Wooden and member John Kiel do a great job being interviewed on WSBT television on CFI's efforts to end religious privilege in solemnizing marriages in Indiana. Reba says, "We shouldn't be forced to portray ourselves as religious. We should be able to [solemnize marriages] under a secular certification."

Secular Campus Group’s Office Vandalized; Group Responds

Guest Blog from Debbie Goddard
May 10, 2012

This morning the Titans for Reason, the secular pro-science student group at California State University – Fullerton, found their on-campus office space vandalized, apparently by a religious individual or group.

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Obama and Marriage Equality: The Inspirational, the Cynical, and the Practical

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

I am of three minds on Obama's endorsement of gay marriage yesterday. (I have a very big head, and can easily accomodate all three minds within my spacious skull.) I am equal parts inspired, cynical, and pragmatic. Allow me to parse it out.

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What We’ve Gained—and What We’ve Lost

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
May 10, 2012

If anyone didn't already know that the legalization of same-sex marriage is inevitable, President Obama's dramatic announcement that he supports it should settle the matter. That makes this a good time to appreciate what those of us who favor the expansion of rights as a general principle have gained -- and what we've lost.

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The Morning Heresy 5/10/12: Cortical Gyrification

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

While millions celebrated yesterday what was a huge move forward, symbolically at least, for LGBT marriage equality, CFI championed marriage equality of another kind in Indiana.

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Edwina Rogers—An Inspired Choice?

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

I am becoming leery of taking trips overseas. It seems that controversies within the American secular movement tend to flair up soon after I flash my passport in some foreign land.

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The Morning Heresy 5/9/12: You and the Bus

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

She of the Heated Phone Interview, Greta Christina, talks to AHA's Roy Speckhardt, who was part of the hiring committee that chose Edwina Rogers to head the SCA.  

Hearing Roy's thinking on all of this reinforces for me what I noted in my reactions to Greta's interview with Rogers herself, that the emphasis here is on raw realpolitik.

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Pop-Culture Zombies

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
May 08, 2012

On ABC’s popular show Castle, in an episode titled “Undead Again” (aired April 30, 2012), Detective Beckett summons the show’s writer/consultant namesake to a murder scene where the victim’s body bears severe human bite marks. The only witness also has bite marks that match those on the dead man, and the witness insists their assailant was a zombie!

White House Judicial Vacancy Briefing

Google Search.

Freethought from the Heartland with Reba Boyd Wooden
May 08, 2012

More than 250 million Americans--80 percent of the U.S. population--live in a community today with a courtroom vacancy.  And 150 million live in districts awaiting a Senate confirmation vote.

The Morning Heresy 5/8/12: Six Commandments, Fourteen-Foot Beaver

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 08, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Greta Christina posts her audio interview (mp3) with new SCA chief Edwina Rogers, as well as a transcript

Prime takeaway from my perspective: Rogers seems adamant that there is more of a pro-secular attitude within the GOP than almost anyone else believes, and leans heavily on the idea that there's not sufficient research on the question (she says, "I don't agree that the Republican Party is pro-life," which is really hard to square, but she insists that there is supportive research). I have to wonder whether this is somewhat a moot issue, because it seems to me that the question that is plaguing movement atheists is whether Rogers is truly "one of us" given her history, and while not totally irrelevant, the secularity of the wider GOP is not necessarily central to answering that. In other words, her own record and coming work will be a far better barometer than that of the Republican Party as a whole. 

The Morning Heresy 5/7/12: Fruitloops Goonybat

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 07, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Welcome to the work-week, folks. I just bought a bicycle yesterday, and it's the first time I've ridden one in almost 20 years, so as you can imagine, it's a whole new world for me (the whole gear-shifting thing was explained to me, but I only pretended to understand it). Perhaps to avoid hurting myself too badly, I should have taken my new bike to Milton’s Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Massachusetts, where they were blessing bicyclists and motorcyclists with holy water from a bike helmet. It actually looked like it was kind of fun!

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The Morning Heresy 5/4/12: Woonsocket in My Pocket

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

The Secular Coalition for America's announcement of Republican activist Edwina Rogers as their new executive director garners a plethora of reactions and coverage.

“Bully” (A Nickell-odeon Review)

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
May 03, 2012

At school-bus stops, in busses carrying students to and from schools, and in schoolyards and schools themselves, as well as online, bullying takes place at an alarming rate—an estimated over 13 million American kids suffering this "most common form of violence young people in this country experience" (online at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt168218/plotsummary).

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CFI, 22 Other Groups Urge Obama to Ban Anti-LGBT Discrimination by Federal Contractors

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
May 03, 2012

The Center for Inquiry today joined 22 faith and humanist groups in urging President Barack Obama to issue an executive order banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees of federal contractors.

The Morning Heresy 5/3/12: Secular Coalition of Dubstep

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Happy National Day of Reason! In celebration, I will do some algebra problems. Kidding! I kid! 

Herb Silverman in WaPo on the big day:

Here’s one final difference between the National Day of Prayer and a National Day of Reason. Many secular groups plan to observe the National Day of Reason by advocating and performing community service projects or other good works.  

Oh, and there's something going on with Herb's organization, but I can't remember what it is.

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Sam Harris’s New Plan for the War on Islam

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
May 02, 2012

Sam Harris wants to screen everyone who looks Muslim. The Center for Inquiry and many other secular and civil rights organizations disagree.

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The Morning Heresy 5/2/12: Void on its Face

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

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

The Romney campaign, pilloried by the religious right and its veto power over the GOP, is forced to let go of its openly-gay foreign policy spokesman who resigned yesterday 

Sarah Posner says the move is less about the advisor's orientation on its own, and more about the right's mistrust of Romney's anti-gay bona fides 

Ed Brayton on CFI's suit against the atheist-unfriendly Michigan country club that broke its contract with CFI-Michigan:

The fact is that if this was a Christian group that had this happen, no one would doubt that it was illegal. It is no less so here.

My speech at the Unite Women rally

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
May 01, 2012

I spoke this past weekend at the Unite Women rally in New York City, part of a nationwide effort to band together people against the recent attacks on women’s rights. Here is the text of my address.

The Morning Heresy 5/1/12: Too Long, Didn’t Read

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
May 01, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Oakland Press reports on CFI suit against Wyndgate for religious discrimination breach of contract, includes sentiment from CFI's Jeff Seaver and Steven Fox 

Kylie says the latest Point of Inquiry with M.G. Lord is even worth almost getting into a car accident to listen to (Note: please don't get into a car accident) 

Full video of Jacoby vs. D'Souza from CFI-Michigan  

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