Life of Pi: A Skeptical Review

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
November 26, 2012

The Life of Pi is a fable about a young Indian man who finds himself aboard a freighter headed for Canada. A storm sinks the ship and soon Pi finds himself the sole human survivor, trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger...

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“Lincoln” (A Nickell-odeon Review)

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 26, 2012

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is a masterful recreation of the Civil War president and the efforts that led to the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (ratified December 6, 1865), abolishing slavery.

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The Morning Heresy 11/26/12: We’re Waterboarding the Easter Bunny Next

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 26, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

CFI boss Ron Lindsay says enough with the blacklisting in the skepto-atheosphere:

We need to cut each other some slack. Nor should criticism of one or the institution with which one is associated necessarily result in placement of the offender on the “To Be Shunned” list. We need to develop thicker skins. Critical thinking and a commitment to free inquiry do not mix well with hypersensitivity. 

Some folks have some feelings about Ron's post, which I'm sure you can find with some light googling.

Hey look! Hemant's new book is available. Go get The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide so you can, you know, survive!

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On Shunning Fellow Atheists and Skeptics

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
November 25, 2012

Shunning and boycotting may be gaining acceptance in the atheist and skeptic communities.   In particular, it appears they are being adopted as tactics against fellow atheists and skeptics.  This is regrettable.

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In Science, Whose Department is the Ethics Department?: Part 1

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
November 23, 2012

What is the role of ethics in science? 

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The Morning Heresy 11/23/12: Go Directly to Jail

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 23, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

You know what your loves ones really want to get for [insert winter holiday here], but you're too much in denial to realize it. Admit it to yourself and make their year: Get them the all-new, official Morning Heresy coffee mug! Heck, get them nine! I mean, look at that awesome logo, the brain child of Lauren Becker and Chris Fix (and a little bit me, who decided it had to be an iPad on fire). There's lots more CFI swag newly available right this very second. 

"Pantheon" is probably not the word to use in conjunction with a skeptics' organization, but whatever its secular alternative is (Justice League?), Harriet Hall and Steven Novella have been added to CSI's version of said vaunted group: the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's Executive Council.

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Bell Witch Cave

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 21, 2012

As a sidelight to the excellent 2012 CSIcon event in Nashville, I was able to make an excursion on October 27 to Tennessee’s “haunted” Bell Witch Cave with a favorite co-investigator, Vaughn Rees (who drove to the conference from his home in Ensenada, Mexico!).

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The Morning Heresy 11/21/12: Kahless is the Reason for the Season

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 21, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

The skepto-atheosphere is already having parades and throwing ticker-tape over the news that CFI's Debbie Goddard has been elevated to Director of Outreach for the organization. Debbie replaces Lauren Becker who, thankfully, remains with CFI as the new Director of Marketing. 

Rubidium atoms tickle each other across a distance of 500 feet as Chinese scientists for the first time achieve quantum teleportation of macroscopic objects

Tim Farley presents the long, sordid, crazy story of Dennis "Mabus" Markuze, newly re-arrested for harassing the skepto-atheosphere. Seriously, this has all the details.

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Santa Monica Gets It Right: Public Parks No Place for Xmas Displays

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
November 20, 2012

One year after an atheist group smartly gamed a cumbersome lottery, seizing a majority of the exhibit slots under a clumsy system for ensuring diversity in "holiday" displays at a public park, Santa Monica, California, got the message. (Or rather, a wise Federal judge had to get it for them.) The message is that holiday displays with religious overtones have no business in the public square, whether they're Christian, Jewish, Wiccan, Muslim, or whatever. Even atheist or humanist displays that comment on the bankruptcy of all religions can be blocked, it seems to me, if the benefit is that ALL religious displays, especially those representative of majority faith positions, are blocked also. There is more than enough property belonging to religious institutions and private owners where creches, trees, Santas, menorahs, and the like can be displayed at the upcoming time of year. Public spaces should be for everyone -- and "everyone" includes people who are celebrating any number of holidays at this time of year, as well as others with no celebration whatever in their plans.

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The Morning Heresy 11/20/12: Operation Archangel, Mission Aborted

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 20, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Yesterday, Dennis Markuze, aka "Mabus," the Internet tormentor of atheists, skeptics, and others in the reality-based community, was arrested by Montreal police -- again -- for violating the terms of his probation by harassing folks over social media. You may have even been a target of his threats or "prophecies" yourself, often appearing on social media services as "Operation Archangel" and raving about atheists, Jesus, and Nostradamus, among other things. More from the Montreal Gazette and fellow Makuze target Ars Technica. (I know! Who would harass Ars Technica for Pete's sake?)

CFI chief Ron Lindsay laments the recent court decision allowing a publisher of Christian books to claim a religious exemption to the contraceptive mandate of the health reform law:

Score one for the Catholic Church and everyone else who thinks religious liberty implies the right to impose their dogma on others.  

Rimsha Masih is acquitted of blasphemy charges. 

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