The Course of Reason

Dangerous Definitions

June 9, 2015 Zach Ashton

Too often I see people arguing that words have intrinsic definitions. They like to argue things ‘by definition,’ claiming that something is true because it says so in the dictionary, or because they can define a word however they want, as long as they use it consistently. I see this argument a lot when discussing things such as if atheism is a religion, if marriage is only between a man and a woman, or “if a tree falls in a forest does it make a sound?” The thing is, words don’t mean anything objective. This might sound odd, because words have definitions and when people disagree on what a word means, they often go to the dictionary to prove what the word “really” means. However, though the dictionary might be exhaustive, it is not authoritative. Dictionary editors are historians of usage, not legislators of language.

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Kids, Religion, and India

May 26, 2015 Peter Wood

Despite his recent controversies, Bill Cosby was on to something: kids really do say the darnedest things. Though through their innocence come not only incidental puns and comical misconceptions, but often unadulterated truth.

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The Nature of Naturopathy

April 15, 2015 Alex Nelson

This article was originally posted on

Once in a while, the famous Facebook page I Fucking Love Science (IFLS) will post a meme or link condemning the pseudoscientific, such as this venn diagram:

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Another Successful Year: CFI On Campus affiliate groups in 2014

January 28, 2015 Stef McGraw

The CFI On Campus team is excited for the rest of 2015. From working on the 2015 CFI Leadership Conference (July 30 - August 2 in Amherst, NY) to continuing to develop resources and plan for the future of CFI On Campus, we're looking forward to an eventful and productive year.

But, of course, CFI On Campus isn't really about us–it's about the freethinking students who build community and advocate for skepticism and secularism every day on their campuses. And based on the incredible work they did in 2014, we're just as enthusiastic about what the future holds for freethinking students in 2015. While it's fresh on our minds, we'd like to highlight just a few of the many accomplishments of CFI On Campus affiliate groups in 2014:

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Affiliate Group of the Week: Secular Society at Elon

December 18, 2014 Stef McGraw

This week, we're highlighting the Secular Society at Elon as Affiliate Group of the Week. We met Broadway Jackson III, group leader and then-intern of the Secular Coalition for America, at our CFI Leadership Conference this past summer, and were impressed with his thoughtful contributions during workshops. He continues to contribute his thoughts from time-to-time on The Course of Reason, including the following run-down of his background, his group, and his view of the future of secularism.

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