Paul Kurtz - a Personal Reflection

October 22, 2012

Our movement has lost a titan. Paul Kurtz died at his home in Amherst, New York, on October 20, 2012. Among his legacies are a vast treasury of books and articles, an independent publishing house that has continued to thrive in an environment deeply corrosive of such institutions, and of course the Center for Inquiry, the world's foremost humanist and skeptical organization.

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Atheist Giving More Compassion-Driven than Giving By the Religious

September 27, 2012

Don't know how I missed this before, but a study appearing in the July 2012 issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science finds that atheists are more motivated by compassion than givers with strong religious beliefs. This was not a study of whether atheists give more or less than churchgoers -- that's a whole other controversy -- but rather a study of why religious and nonreligious givers give.

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Parsing the “God” Blunder

September 05, 2012

The blunder I have in mind isn't leaving God out of the 2012 Democratic platform. It's putting it back.

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Atheist Will Give Tulsa Council “Prayer”

August 29, 2012

The good news: the Tulsa, Oklahoma, city council will have its opening invocation given by an atheist in place of the usual prayer by some community cleric. The bad news?

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What Is Religious Humanism—Really?

August 23, 2012

There's been a flurry of interest in the idea of "Atheism-Plus" or "A+" -- atheism that incorporates a strong values component. Essentially it's secular humanism by another name, except that some advocates broaden it to include a specific, usually left-progressive, ideological agenda that secular humanism welcomes but does not demand. As such ideas often do, the A+ debate has spawned a spin-off debate over the meaning of other terms, including that perennial puzzler "What is Humanism?" At his "Temple of the Future" blog, James Croft of Harvard's humanist chaplaincy offers a definition of humanism that in many ways is quite good ( This post is sure to be widely quoted, so I think it's important to note the one thing Croft got, in my view, spectacularly wrong.

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Missouri Votes to Reap the Whirlwind

August 09, 2012

Missouri voters this week approved a benighted and mischievous “right to pray” amendment to the state’s Constitution. Amendment Two passed by 779,628 votes to 162,404, a thundering 5-to-1 margin!

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Praying for Rain? Really, Secretary Vilsack?

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

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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Charitable Giving to Religion Declines in 2011

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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In this game of Info Survivor, print wins

June 18, 2012

One of the joys of blogging is sometimes you just get to rant. Here's one case, at least, where a very good book has lost a bit of its value because its publisher was too quick to jump on the online bandwagon.

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