Position Papers

The Office of Public Policy has sponsored a series of papers that provide the background for positions that the Center for Inquiry has adopted on major issues. These papers discuss the relevant issues in depth, providing an objective analysis of the issue in question, with a review of the available evidence and citations to supporting sources. They are listed below in alphabetical order. Each title is accompanied by a summary of the position taken.

 

Acupuncture: A Science-Based Assessment

Robert Slack, Jr. argues that a robust and growing body of research shows that acupuncture has no intrinsic clinical value.  The uncritical adoption of acupuncture adds significant costs to the United States’ already overburdened healthcare system, lowers standards of medical training and treatment, and lends dangerous and undue authority to pseudoscience, ultimately degrading respect for science in the public realm.

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A Call to Legalize Physician Assistance in Dying for the Terminally Ill

Ronald A. Lindsay states the position of CFI/OPP that with appropriate safeguards, terminally ill patients should be allowed the help of physicians in dying. The argument is based on the experience of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act (ODWDA), which is appended to the paper.

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The Ethics of Genetic Engineering

David Koepsell summarizes arguments for and against genetic engineering and concludes that it should be understood as an extension of already well-accepted techniques and therefore, with appropriate regulations, the benefits of genetic engineering outweigh its harms.

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For God and Country: Religious Fundamentalism in the U.S. Military

James Parco argues that over the past decade there has been a disturbing expansion and entrenchment of Christian fundamentalism in the U.S. armed forces which remains at times both tacitly and overtly endorsed by senior military leaders. Parco examines several case studies that demonstrate a clear pattern of unconstitutional religiously sectarian behavior, then analyzes the merits of the competing philosophical perspectives on the proper role of religious expression by men and women in uniform. He concludes the paper with recommendations that should be implemented immediately.

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Global Climate Change Triggered By Global Warming

Stuart D. Jordan, argues that global warming is a scientifically established fact. Much could be done to mitigate its effects. The obstacles to action are political rather than technological.

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The Importance of Appropriate Sexuality Education

Gwen Brewer, Margaret Brown, and Michael Migdal argue for comprehensive education in human sexuality for adolescents, as opposed to “abstinence-until-marriage” education promoted by evangelicals and funded by the Bush administration.

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Protecting Scientific Integrity

Derek Araujo, Daniel Horowitz, and Ronald A. Lindsay confront the problem of ideological interference with the publication and dissemination of scientific research results and proposes specific language for legislation in three areas—scientific research, advisory boards, and dissemination of information.

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Protecting Scientific Integrity: An Update

Derek Araujo, Daniel Horowitz, and Ronald A. Lindsay update the previous position paper. The update focuses on recommended statutory language to ensure that scientists can communicate their personal views on matters of public concern, and on reform of the Data Quality Act to help prevent its abuse by interests seeking to block needed regulation.

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Public Health and Contraception

Margaret Brown argues that contraception should be considered a public health not a moral issue, as religious groups have characterized it. The paper discusses recent developments in contraception, including the struggle to make Plan B available to anyone who needs an emergency contraceptive.

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Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Derek C. Araujo states the Center for Inquiry’s position that the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which bars gay and lesbian service members from serving openly, should be repealed.

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Safeguarding Religious Liberty in Charitable Choice and Faith-Based Initiatives

Daniel Horotwitz and Ruth Mitchell provide detailed recommendations on reforming the recently announced expansion of government funding for so-called “faith-based initiatives,” in which taxpayer dollars are doled out to sectarian religious organizations for the performance of social service programs.  This government funding raises legal and constitutional concerns that the administration has yet to address directly.

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Same-Sex Marriage—And Marriage

Ruth Mitchell sees same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue and argues that LGBT people have a right to complete equality. This means marriage, not civil unions, unless, as CFI advocates, all unions, heterosexual or homosexual, are civil unions, leaving religious ceremonies to individual taste.

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Stem Cell Research:  An Approach to Bioethics Based on Scientific Naturalism

Ronald A. Lindsay argues that embryonic stem cell research should be funded by the government because of its critical importance in the advancement of medicine. Arguments against funding based on the alleged moral equivalence of an embryo to an adult human are decisively refuted.

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The School Voucher Crisis

Edd Doerr argues that the renewed push for school voucher programs in the United States, combined with an unprecedented number of assaults on public schools, threatens the idea of religiously neutral, democratic public education. Doerr shows how this crisis is among the most serious in our history, and how it could have profound, perhaps irreversible, effects on our future.

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The True Meaning of the Establishment Clause

Edward Tabash provides a history of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and argues that this history requires the interpretation that government may not favor religion in general or in particular. The government must remain neutral between belief and nonbelief.

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Understanding The Intelligent Design Creationist Movement

Barbara Forrest was anexpert witness in the Kitzmiller. v. Dover Area School District case in 2005. She establishes that “intelligent design” is just creationism in disguise and warns that the Discovery Institute and fellow creationists will continue to invent ways to subvert the teaching of biology in the schools unless we remain true to the principles of free and critical thinking.

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