Blog Archives for July 2012

The Morning Heresy 7/31/12: Barry Karr Speaks

Guest Blog from Dren Asselmeier
July 31, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Today’s Morning Heretic is Dren Asselmeier, the master of portmanteau. Paul is out on family leave due to the birth of his second child and will be returning August 13th. Until then, you’ll just have to settle for the B-list seculebrity writers like me. 

Executive Director of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and Skeptical Inquirer Magazine, and our favorite AOL user, Barry Karr was the interviewee on Skepchick recently in one iteration of the series “Speaking Out Against Hate Directed at Women” by Surly Amy. Barry said:

As skeptics, we are used to debating issues, sometimes vigorously. There is nothing wrong with making your points and engaging in the healthy give and take of constructive dialogue, sharing of facts, ideas and opinions. However there is nothing constructive in the personal attacks and vindictiveness that has come to dominate parts of the skeptical and humanist blogosphere of late. More importantly I find totally reprehensible statements advocating violence, rape and even death directed towards women.

Read the full article here.

 

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The Morning Heresy 7/30/12: Chuck Norris Checks Under His Bed for Eddie Tabash

Guest Blog from Tony Lakey
July 30, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Today’s Morning Heretics are CFI Interns, Tony Lakey and Stef McGraw. Paul is out on family leave due to the birth of his second child (although I have it on good authority that he is actually building a “giant evil robot.” I’ll keep you posted.) Paul will be returning August 13th.  

 CFI Campus Organizer Dren Asselmeier informs us of CFI board member Eddie Tabash’s willingness to take on Chuck Norris. Well…not physically. Eddie explains:

As an atheist/secular humanist, I am horrified at the religious fundamentalist and anti-gay ideas expressed by Chuck Norris. Even though I have a black belt in Okinawan karate, I would run for the hills if anyone even suggested that I fight him physically. He is one of the most knowledgeable martial arts masters in the world. However, because I regard the America he envisions as antithetical to the crucial needs of a modern secular society, I hereby challenge him to a verbal—yes only verbal!—debate on the separation of church and state.

Want this smackdown to go down near you? CFI’s Outreach Department would be happy to help make that a reality (that is, if Mr. Norris isn’t too scared to face THE Eddie Tabash).

 

 

Potentially the Smackdown of the Year

Guest Blog from Dren Asselmeier
July 27, 2012

Edward Tabash weighs in on the anti-gay remarks recently made by Chuck Norris.

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The Morning Heresy 7/27/12: Geneticists Like Euphemisms

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

You think our ever-expanding and active secular movement is such hot stuff? CFI chief Ron Lindsay wants you to prove it

Much chest-thumping has taken place recently about the growth of the nonreligious community. If this growth is actually happening, I am obviously pleased by it. Scratch that—I’m thrilled by it. However, if the secular community cannot muster a measly 25,000 signatures (roughly the number of people who attend a Joel Osteen event) in support of a petition for freedom of conscience, I am not sure this growth is worth much. 

That's right. Now go sign and share the petition for Alexander Aan, and show Ron what we're made of. 

CFI Joins Coalition in Condemning House Reps for Muslim Brotherhood Claims

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
July 26, 2012

The Center for Inquiry today joined 41 religious, secular, and civil rights groups in writing to members of the U.S. House of Representatives to express our disappointment over the lawmakers' allegations that several Muslim individuals who work with the American government might be trying to spread the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.


Be a Hero in Less Than Five Minutes

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
July 26, 2012

You can stand up for freedom of conscience without any danger to yourself—indeed without breaking a sweat. You can help someone who is being unjustly persecuted without leaving the comfort of your chair. You can advance the cause of freethought internationally without spending a dime. You can be a hero in less than five minutes. Here’s how.

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The Morning Heresy 7/26/12: Gratuitous Nighttime Baloney

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Stars of the NatGeo show Chasing UFOs think their own show is crap. After thinking they were going to do some real science, says the show's James Fox:

Unfortunately, when we actually got out in the field, we began to realize that they were more interested in poking around at night than allocating the time necessary during the day as, apparently (so we were told), Americans love watching others sneak around at night from the comfort of their couches. For the most part, it was gratuitous nighttime baloney. 

The Morning Heresy 7/25/12: Go Get a Real Hobby

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

A lot of bloggers have helped spread the word about the petition to the White House for jailed Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan, and I want to take this moment here to offer my sincere thanks. Frreethought Blogs' writers as a group have been particularly good about encouraging folks to sign and share, and all of us here at CFI appreciate it. Please, please keep it up.

Pick out your Halloween costume and tune your six-string. It's time to get ready for CSICon 2012 in Nashville

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Mermaid Body Found?

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 24, 2012

Has the body of an actual mermaid been discovered? Well, no, but that very idea was launched by an Animal Planet “documentary” that proved to be a crockumentary—in this case a fictional story offered in the realistic style of The Blair Witch Project (1999).

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The Morning Heresy 7/24/12: If You Don’t Read This, You’re Hitler

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Bye bye, Sally Ride (1951-2012).

Greta Christina has some words for Mitt Romney in response to his praise of Dr. Ride. 

CFI boss Ron Lindsay explores how one's politics are (and are not) informed by humanism in the latest Free Inquiry

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The Morning Heresy 7/23/12: Pray Away the Guns

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

CFI's chief Ron Lindsay released a statement on Friday on the Aurora shooting.

CSI's Ben Radford picks apart the notion that the Batman movie was somehow responsible for the violence. 

Usually-risible Texas congressman Louis Gohmert says the shooting happened because the country doesn't place enough value in God. Hemant asks: "Who votes for someone like that?"   

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Being an Agnostic Isn’t so Simple Anymore

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
July 20, 2012

Are there really two kinds of agnostics amongst us?

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Real-Life ‘Dark Night’: Did Batman Inspire Killings?

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
July 20, 2012

A mass shooting at the premiere of the new Batman film has cast a pall on the franchise and raised questions about media-inspired violence.

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The Morning Heresy 7/20/12: Meatheads

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Kimberly Winston covers CFI's efforts on behalf of Alexander Aan, here in the Washington Post. We're hoping that this kind of mainstream media coverage helps inspire more people outside of our own movement to take part. We're over 3500 signatures now. Please keep this ball in the air, keep sharing the link with folks even outside the skepto-atheosphere.

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The Morning Heresy 7/19/12: Keeping Your Powder Dry

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

As of this moment, we have over 2700 signatures in our petition to the White House for Alexander Aan, and we must make it to 25,000 by August 16! My personal thanks to all those who have blogged, tweeted, facebooked, emailed, and pestered their friends and social network connections to sign. We still have a ways to go, so we need to keep pushing so we can attain a snowball effect. PZ commands you!  

Praying for Rain? Really, Secretary Vilsack?

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
July 19, 2012

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told reporters at the White House that he is praying for rain to end the drought parching 61 percent of the United States. But it sends the wrong message to distraught farmers when the Agriculture Secretary suggests that the best response is to pray.

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Science, the New Age, and the Search for Truth

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
July 18, 2012

Good science is universal. Properly controlled scientific experiments should yield the same results regardless of who is doing the testing. Male or female, British or Turkish, young or old, Muslim or Jew, it doesn't matter. Science's universality is one of its greatest attributes. Much pseudoscience and the paranormal, by contrast, is individual and idiosyncratic.

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High-Wire King Claims the Falls

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 18, 2012

During the night of June 15, 2012, I watched Nik Wallenda, of the famous Wallenda acrobatic family, become the only person ever to walk a high-wire across Niagara Falls. (Other funambulists, beginning with the Great Blondin in 1859, traversed the gorge a mile or so downstream.) Wallenda—a man of impressive daring and discipline—is a fascination to me, especially since I have acrophobia. (I don’t even like being this tall!)

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For the First Time, Most Would Vote for an Atheist President

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
July 18, 2012

Yes, hell HAS frozen over. Gallup reports that for the first time since 1958, a majority of American respondents said they would vote for a generally well-qualified atheist for president of the United States.

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The Morning Heresy 7/18/12: The Promise of Doughnuts

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Yesterday we began our drive to gather electronic sigantures for an online petition to the White House on behalf of Alexander Aan. It's off to a strong start as we near 1400 signatures, but we badly need folks to do more than sign, and actively share the petition and encourage folks to do the same. We have to build momentum.

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The Morning Heresy 7/17/12: Gesundheit!

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

This is important: Today the Center for Inquiry submitted a petition to the White House to ask the president and the administration to publicly address the plight of jailed Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan, as well as that of religious dissidents and nonbelievers in Indonesia.  

The Morning Heresy 7/16/12: Funny Things about Socrates

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

The exciting news over the weekend for us was that Alexander Aan, persecuted and jailed for his atheism in Indonesia, has written a letter to his supporters from prison, thanking them for their efforts and reasserting his commitment to "humanity and science." Atheist Ireland's Michael Nugent was first with the news. 

CFI's Michael De Dora has two posts on this development: The first catches us up with the story so far and posts the letter in full. The second gives a comprehensive list of things that you can do right now to lend Alexander a hand (like write back to him!). 

Five ways you can help Alexander Aan

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
July 14, 2012

Five ways you can help Alexander Aan, the Indonesian man recently sentenced to two years and six months in prison for allegedly "disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred or hostility." 

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Alexander Aan writes letter from Indonesian prison

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
July 14, 2012

Alexander Aan, the Indonesian civil servant sentenced to two years and six months in jail for "disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred and animosity," has reportedly penned a letter from his prison cell.

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Charitable Giving to Religion Declines in 2011

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
July 13, 2012

After years of growth in the number of Americans who don’t attend church or don’t declare a religion, it had to happen. U. S. giving to churches and religious organizations actually declined in 2011. What’s more, it has declined in three of the last four years.

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The Morning Heresy 7/13/12: A Lot of Them are Goth and Hot

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Happy Friday the Thirteenth! Look out for ladders and mirrors and cats and...oh, never mind. 

The heated debate in the atheo-skeptosphere on harassment at events hits the mainstream: Kimberly Winston of RNS chronicles the fracas (here in WaPo), and talks to CFI chief Ron Lindsay and several others within the movement.

The Morning Heresy 7/12/12: You’d Better Manifest Grandma

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

What did a twenty-year-old Carl Sagan think were the important books he should digest? Thanks to those papers now kept at the Library of Congress, now we know. (My favorite bit: he scribbles the author of the Bible as "anonymous.") 

CFI chief Ron Lindsay looks to refocus our community's attention on how humanist principles apply to wealth and its influence.

The way I interpret humanism, it has no problem with wealth per se, or with significant disparities in income and wealth. Humanism does commit one to support democracy and equal rights for all, however.

Humanism and Wealth

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
July 12, 2012

There’s been a lot of talk in the secular blogosphere recently about sex and gender issues. This is an important set of topics, but just for a change of pace, I thought I would bring up another subject that can rev up our engines, namely money.

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CFI Emphasizes Gender Equality at UN Conference

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
July 11, 2012

The Center for Inquiry last week submitted a statement at the United Nations Economic and Social Council 2012 High-Level Segment that emphasized the importance of granting women equal rights to fostering economic and social stability.


The Morning Heresy 7/11/12: His Name is My Name, Too!

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

With what I presume was a straight face, the chief of Indonesia's supreme court tells Angela Merkel that it's totally okay to be an atheist in Indonesia, which I think would be welcome news to Alexander Aan. 

Philip Appelman's piece from Free Inquiry on "God, Darwin and the Meaning of Life" is posted at Bill Moyers' website along with his interview on the program.

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The Morning Heresy 7/10/12: The Skull of a Newborn Pup

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities 

Via our public policy guy Michael De Dora, CFI and IHEU deliver a joint statement on freedom of expression to the UN Human Rights Council, emphasizing the crackdown on speech rights in Islamic states.

He's been here a few days now, but yesterday we finally got around to an official welcome to our new development director, he of the unrealistically diverse and intimidating resume, Alan Kinniburgh! Please give him all your money.

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Will ETs Invade During the Olympics?

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 09, 2012

The extraterrestrials may have finally done it: zapped Nick Pope’s brain!

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CFI, IHEU Deliver Joint Statement on Freedom of Expression at UN Human Rights Council

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
July 09, 2012

The Center for Inquiry and International Humanist and Ethical Union last week issued a joint statement during the 20th annual session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that addressed the importance of protecting freedom of expression on the Internet.

The Morning Heresy 7/9/12: Berlin Wall and Kitten Chlamydia

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities 

Here's an awesome way to start the week: A British humanist celebrant gives up her kidney for a man she's never met. Her name is Kate Clarkson, and she's my new hero.

“I had been reading about becoming a living donor and I was so moved that day that I decided if I could help, I would. I just thought ‘I’ve got a spare kidney that I don’t even need and people are dying every single day waiting for one.’ So if it was possible, I was going to do it.”

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Godless Particle

Hollywood Reality Check with Jim Underdown
July 06, 2012

God Particle. Please. If anything, the new (overwhelming) evidence for this particle paints God into a tinier corner than he was already in. It answers one more question about how the universe works that God doesn’t. This evidence allows us to focus more directly on a path to more discovery about the nature of mass, time, and space.

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The Morning Heresy 7/6/12: Aan the Verge

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities 

Today is the big protest in New York City on behalf of Alexander Aan. We have no idea how many folks are showing up, but if you're in the NYC metro area, take your lunch break and show the world that atheism, and freedom of belief generally, should never be a crime. Help me do my job, and tell your local news outlet to cover it. Follow the action on Twitter under the hashtag #FreeAan.

To get a quick catch-up on what it's all about, the latest video edition of Point of Inquiry features a discussion between Chris Mooney and Michael De Dora about Aan's case.

Announcing WiS2, and a Few Words about WiS1

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

By now it’s clear, I’d say, that the Women in Secularism conference put on by CFI this past May was a milestone event in the secular movement’s history, as it raised consciousness for all in attendance -- men and women -- about all manner of issues affecting women both in and outside the secular and skeptic communities. 

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The Morning Heresy 7/5/12: Supreme Court Upholds Higgs Boson!

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities 

Now we've got you, Higgs!

The Washington Post has the clearest explanation I've seen of what it all means.

Lawrence Krauss in Slate gives a helpful metaphor...

The Morning Heresy 7/3/12: Recognize the Concept of a Cat

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities

Don't forget, folks. The NYC protest of the imprisonment of Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan is happening this Friday. Here's our press release (picked up by RDF), and here's the Facebook event page so you can coordinate. 

So that not-funny guy who somehow gets a lot of work in Hollywood, Rob Schneider, thinks big government is using Nuremberg-like principles to give your kids autism through vaccines. Hey, I know why he's really afraid of vaccines: Because he is, himself, a virus. And what do viruses spend their time doing? Makin' copieeeeees! 

The Morning Heresy 7/2/12: For Great Justice

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

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities

CFI intern Stef McGraw has a great piece lending some perspective to our America-centric movement.

Michael De Dora at our Office of Public Policy laments the probable funding of a DC voucher program, but promises that CFI will "remain vigilant" in this ongoing struggle. 

At Friendly AtheistI look askance at Rod Dreher as he exemplifies the wrong way to think about creationism in schools.

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