From the Ludicrous to the Abhorrent
August 14, 2018

Why let the Justice Department have all the fun of enforcing religiously-based bigotry defending religious liberty? The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs has issued a directive that will allow for more religious exemptions to anti-discrimination law. David Anderson at Democracy Chronicles praises our lawsuit against CVS over homeopathy: Central to the …

Running with Pigs
August 13, 2018

Ben Yagoda at The Atlantic explores cognitive biases and logical fallacies, and looks into ways we might be able to overcome them. Sometimes. A little bit. Speaking of which, about a third of adults think they know more about the causes of autism than scientists and physicians, according to a new study. Relatedly, Burt Bacharach …

A Call to the Muslims of the World From Freethinkers and Humanists of Muslim Origins
August 10, 2018

Originally published July 2, 2004. Dear friends, The tragic incidents of September 11 have shocked the world. It is unthinkable that anyone could be so full of hate as to commit such heinous acts and kill so many innocent people. We people of Muslim origin are as much shaken as the rest of the world and …

Credibility Rake
August 10, 2018

Get comfortable, everybody. It’s going to be a long one today. Good thing it’s Friday and you’re probably not working very hard anyway. I’ve been looking forward to this: Robert Blaskiewicz weighs in on the QAnon cult-of-conspiracy for Skeptical Inquirer: The Pizzagate-style focus on violent crimes against children is an extension of an old, old scare …

Happy Belated Anniversary, History Channel!
August 9, 2018

It’s always a little embarrassing to miss an important birthday or anniversary, and I confess that I’ve been especially busy over the past month and overlooked an important date. That date was about a month ago, when The History Channel suffered one of the highest-profile blows to its credibility in, well, the history of the …

Admiral Vindictive
August 9, 2018

We already know that to be religiously unaffiliated (aka a “none”) does not necessarily equate to nonbelief or atheism. So then why aren’t they part of a faith group? Pew Research digs up some fascinating answers. For example, about half of nones say it’s because of churches’ positions on social and political issues. About a …

Atheist Godfather, Holy Home Runs, Black Jesus
August 8, 2018

Celebrant: Do you reject Satan and all his works?
Me: I do. This was easy. Satan is fictional. I reject him, Santa Clause, and leprechauns.
Celebrant: Do you reject sin, so as to live in the freedom of God’s children?
Me: I do. For me sin is dropping a good slice of deep dish pizza onto a dirty floor. Or sitting on a $9 cigar. I’m against lots of those kinds of sins.
Celebrant: Do you reject the glamor of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?
Me: I do. I mean… I’ll try. I won’t let any bad habits master me, though I reserve the right to dip my foot into Lake Sin every now and then.

Sensational Journalism: Blowing up the New England Supervolcano Story
August 8, 2018

Look out, New Englanders! Did you know there’s a rising, bubbling supervolcano right below the surface of New Hampshire? Better get to living free, before you die! At least that’s the conclusion you might draw from the headline of a June 26 story (Fox News 2018), “A new supervolcano is brewing under Massachusetts, Vermont and …

Lively Experiments
August 8, 2018

At Skeptical Inquirer, Stuart Vyse looks at how the baseless practice of “facilitated communication” for autism patients made a comeback in recent years, only to face renewed scrutiny and pushback from the scientific community. However, Stuart writes, “Despite these few glimmers of light on the side of science and reason, the current state of the …

Undervaluing the Abstract
August 7, 2018

According to new data from PRRI, there has been a small increase in the percentage of Americans who believe that discrimination against LGBTQ Americans is okay if it’s based on someone’s religious beliefs. It’s up 3 points from last year just among Democrats. The Dallas Observer profiles Bob Nygard, a private investigator who targets con …