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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Rick Perry Is a Lying Demagogue

July 18, 2011

Rick Perry is a lying demagogue who is contemptuous of the First Amendment and whose god is a monster. 

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What Does It Mean To Say Muhammad Existed?

July 14, 2011

Agamemnon. Robin Hood. Jesus. Muhammad. Many stories are told about individuals with these names. Did any of these individuals actually exist?  To answer that question, we must first address some logically prior ones:  What does it mean to assert that an individual existed?  Are there certain key statements about a person which must be true before we can conclude the claim of existence has been confirmed?

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What the Catholic Church Wants

June 27, 2011

At times, the Catholic Church resembles a hulking, maladroit dinosaur. But give it some credit. It knows when its vital interests are at stake. This explains its determined opposition to same-sex marriage and assisted dying, as well as its notorious obsession with forcing women to bear children. The Church will do all it can to preserve its authority, and in doing so it focuses on the most critical decisions we make during our lives. Control: that’s what the Church wants and needs.

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Thanks, Derek

June 12, 2011

As Derek Araujo stated in his post a few days ago, he is resigning his position at CFI to pursue graduate studies in physics.  Let’s see . . . with his existing law degree from Harvard and now an upcoming PhD in physics from Columbia, this means Derek will become Master of the Universe in about four years time.  The good news is that it seems he will be a benign Overlord, and will treat us lesser beings kindly. 

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Much Ado About Foreskins

June 09, 2011

On the ballot in San Francisco this November will be a proposal to make it a criminal offense to perform a circumcision on a male under the age of 18. Should secular individuals — who obviously have no religious motivation to carry out such a procedure — support the ban? No. The proposed ban is a singularly bad idea.

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The Legacy of Jack Kevorkian

June 07, 2011

Dr. Jack Kevorkian died Friday. To say that Kevorkian was a controversial figure would be an understatement. Controversy was what he sought, and he was not disappointed.

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