False Beliefs Handled with Care at CSICon 2018
October 19, 2018

As the Friday morning presentations came to a close at CSICon 2018, our ebullient emcee George Hrab commented, “I love that the theme today is understanding.” I had been thinking the same thing. This is a thing with me, it’s like some lobe in my brain is triggered to deliver squirts of dopamine whenever its …

Outside-the-Box Skepticism: Welcome to CSICon 2018
October 19, 2018

CSICon is always a big deal. We wouldn’t crow about it so much if it wasn’t. We call it things like “the premier skeptics’ event” and whatnot because it happens to be true! So even given the cascade of well-earned superlatives we (okay, I) use to describe CSICon year after year, it’s already obvious that …

10 Commandments Under Fire Part II
October 17, 2018

Yeah, yeah, yeah, stealing is wrong. Even apes and wolves know that. Try grabbing a gorilla’s last banana and making a run for it. When he catches you, shakes you like a can of spray paint, eats the banana you stole in front of you, and shoves the peel into your ear, that’s his way of saying stealing is wrong.

Because he instinctually knows – as do we – that stealing is wrong. How many apes can recite the 10 Commandments?(Probably about as many as congress members.)

The point is that if apes don’t need this spelled out, why do we?

Thank the Motherland!
October 16, 2018

Let’s rip this band-aid off: I will no longer be hosting Point of Inquiry; I voluntarily stepped aside because I simply couldn’t make the time for it to do the show justice. But I am very glad about who will be hosting it: Kavin Senapathy and James Underdown. The show is in excellent hands. Kavin …

‘First Man’ A Fitting Space Odyssey
October 15, 2018


First Man tells the true story of the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling). As the film shows, he got there largely through skill and determination, but also luck and circumstance. The outlines of the story are, of course, well known, and part of the challenge in telling …

Haunted Drummond Hill Cemetery
October 15, 2018

The fiercest and the bloodiest battle of the so-called War of 1812 took place on July 25, 1814, and is known as the Battle of Lundy’s Lane. Part of that battlefield in Niagara Falls, Canada, is occupied by Drummond Hill Cemetery—an allegedly haunted place I investigated in 2002 for a local TV channel. According to …

More Like a Smooth Criminal
October 15, 2018

At The Atlantic, Emma Green reports on a new survey that shows that not only are the religiously unaffiliated really jazzed up about political participation, but that this participation itself makes them less none-y: Religiously unaffiliated voters, who may or may not be associated with other civic institutions, seem most excited about supporting or donating …

Flail Uselessly through Something Like Vapor
October 12, 2018

Rights activist Gulalai Ismail, who has spoken at CFI’s Women in Secularism conference, was detained by Pakistan authorities at Islamabad International Airport, and later released on bail. She’s apparently on the government’s “Exit Control List.” CFI’s own Barry Karr is a guest on the Phil Ferguson Show to talk about CSICon 2018 WHICH OMG IS …

My Eternal Problem with Openly Secular Day
October 12, 2018

Openly Secular Day is nearly upon us. Well, to be precise, I think it is nearly upon us. Secular-friendly groups have promoted previous Openly Secular Days at different times of the year. Nevertheless, I’m all for having a consistent, national Openly Secular Day. The Center for Inquiry (CFI) and the Openly Secular network seem to …

10 Commandments Under Fire
October 11, 2018

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

This is a problem. Every major pro sport plays on Sunday. God doesn’t want to mess with the NFL.

And Christian women, look closely at this commandment and notice who doesn’t get a day off… YOU!

Cattle get the Sabbath off. Strangers within thy gates (there are plenty of these in my neighborhood) get the Sabbath off. Slaves? Yep. (and this is pre-OSHA)
Women? Sorry. No.

One more thing here. Why does the all-powerful creator of the universe need rest? Does he get tired after a long week of whipping up matter and energy? Is he out of breath or have a stitch in his side? If you are ALL-powerful, you are in tremendous shape. Ironman triathletes don’t have to rest when they walk up a flight of stairs. Apparently God does.