End the Silence: Join Us at the Reason Rally

September 29, 2011

The Reason Rally will take place on March 24, 2012 on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Here are some reasons you should join me and the thousands of other atheists, agnostics, and humanists who will be there.

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International Blasphemy Rights Day 2011

September 22, 2011

So Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of Salman Taseer, has confessed to the murder. We were hardly in suspense. Prior to his formal plea in court, Qadri had boasted of his killing Taseer. In the minds of many Pakistanis, he had reason to be proud—Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, had proposed changes to Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws. Allowing insults to Islam? Unimaginable. When Qadri was first brought before a court in January, he was showered with rose petals.

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Without God There Is No Joy?

September 13, 2011

As many of you are aware, CFI is currently running an ad campaign in several cities (Grand Rapids, Niagara Falls, Durham, and Washington, D.C.). This is the second phase of the “Living without Religion” campaign we launched earlier this year. The reaction to this campaign, both pro and con, demonstrates why this campaign is needed.

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Religious Arrogance and the 9/11 Cross

September 07, 2011

The planned placement of a cross-shaped piece of metal (hereinafter “the cross”) in the museum portion of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum has gained quite a bit of attention lately, including legal attention in the form of a lawsuit brought by our friends at American Atheists. Some of the attention has been generated by vigorous disagreement among nonbelievers about whether placement of the cross in the museum would be an Establishment Clause violation and should be opposed. The answers are “probably not, not with this Supreme Court” and “yes.”

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Time for Action: the FDA and Homeopathic Drugs

August 30, 2011

The website of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the division of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responsible for evaluating the efficacy of drugs, proudly proclaims that it “promotes and protects the health of Americans by assuring that all prescription and over-the-counter drugs are safe and effective.” (bolding in original) Sadly, this is not a true statement. The FDA allows homeopathic drugs to be marketed without requiring the manufacturers to establish that their drugs are effective for their intended use. This free pass to homeopathic junk needs to stop, and that is why CFI and CSI have filed a formal petition asking the FDA to hold homeopathic over-the-counter drugs to the same standards as conventional (i.e., real) medicine.

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Boiron, Please Sue Us

August 17, 2011

As you know, the Center for Inquiry (CFI) and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) have publicly rebuked Wal-Mart for marketing homeopathic junk, in particular a product called Oscillococcinum, a purported remedy for flu. We are now inviting the product’s manufacturer, Boiron, to sue us. Here’s why.

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Science Is Self-Correcting ... Sort Of

August 16, 2011

One of the claimed advantages of scientific inquiry as a mode of acquiring knowledge is that it is a self-correcting enterprise.  For example, if someone claims to have discovered a process for cold fusion, that incorrect claim can be shown to be false or unwarranted by further research and scientific testing.  This rosy picture of the scientific enterprise suggests that scientific errors will be recognized and corrected, with false claims falling by the wayside during science’s inexorable march forward. 

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Is It Permissible To Question A Candidate About Her Religious Beliefs?

August 12, 2011

Some have criticized the reporter who asked Michele Bachmann during the GOP debate last night whether she would be “submissive” to her husband were she elected president. I think this criticism is unfounded. Given Bachmann’s own statements, this was a legitimate question.

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Women in Secularism

August 04, 2011

Are men over-represented at humanist, atheist, and skeptic conferences and in the leadership of humanist, atheist, and skeptic organizations? Does the work of female writers and scholars tend to be overlooked? Does our movement need to become more diverse? Should we give careful consideration to the relationship between feminism and secularism?

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Proposed Circumcision Ban Fails To Reach Ballot

July 29, 2011

California Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi has removed a proposed ban on male circumcision in San Francisco from the city’s November ballot.  She based her ruling on two grounds: the likely conflict between the proposed law and the First Amendment’s guarantee of free exercise of religion and the certain preemption of the local ordinance by state law, which has exclusive authority to regulate medical procedures.

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