Contributions

Supernatural Tactics
December 11, 2018


The American Humanist Association works with Lake Research Partners to produce a survey that purports to show that atheism isn’t the candidacy-killer it once was. There are a some qualifications to be made, of course: For prochoice, pro-marriage-equality Democratic voters, fully 74 percent of whom saying a candidate being “not religious” or “agnostic” would make …

Full-On Frollicking
December 10, 2018


Happy 70th birthday to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Tom Gjelten at NPR reflects on the audaciousness of the document and reminds us that its existence is largely thanks to Eleanor Roosevelt. The United States joins forces with our old buddies Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait to thwart the adoption of the UN’s major report …

Lunar Power Battery
December 7, 2018


Former CFI chief Ron Lindsay returns to the blog to comment on the misuse of science, in this case astronomy, in the service of lending credence to fictions like the Star of Bethlehem. Ron says, “At best, it’s silliness; at worst, it’s the prostitution of science in service of religious myths.” At Rewire News, Frederick …

There’s Only One God, Ma’am, and I’m Pretty Sure He Doesn’t Dress Like That.
December 6, 2018


No! Not okay! Bad! BAD MINISTRY! BAD PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT!!! An evangelical ministry in Georgia is being let into public school assemblies to proselytize, and the worst part is that they are doing so DRESSED AS MARVEL CHARACTERS. Aaaaauuuuuugh! NO! STOP IT! Paul smash! If we can’t protect secularism you can be damned well sure we’ll …

Shaky Scaremongering
December 5, 2018


Apparently a paper by NASA researcher Silvano Colombano has caused some excitement by suggesting the possibility that aliens might have visited Earth, but of course that’s not quite what he was saying. Speculating about the wide variety of forms extraterrestrial life might take, he wrote, “I simply want to point out the fact that the intelligence …

Less Than Stellar
December 4, 2018


Sir David Attenborough addresses the UN climate change summit in Poland with a stark warning: If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon. … The world’s people have spoken. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now. …

A Real Caricature
December 3, 2018


As you know, former president George H.W. Bush died this past Friday. Hemant Mehta takes the opportunity to evaluate the claim of the late Rob Sherman that Bush had said that atheists should not be considered U.S. citizens. It is as iffy now as it ever was. Mark Silk, meanwhile, looks at how Bush had …

A Massive Airburst and a Bubbling Brine
November 30, 2018


This surprised me a little: According to a new study, people who pray after disasters and tragic events are less likely to actually do something substantive to help. I think I hoped that as much as we know prayers don’t fix anything, that at least they put someone in a generous state of mind. I …

A Petty Clique
November 29, 2018


Neil DeGrasse Tyson takes over Stephen Colbert’s show to interview Colbert himself, and they get into stuff like philosophy, Hobbits, Catholicism, and the fear that A.I. won’t take over. The Catholic Church in Pennsylvania is just getting started with its troubles: A former priest and bishops from the Scranton Diocese are being sued over sexual …

The Residents Gasped and Groaned
November 28, 2018


Sorry for the absence yesterday, but the flu done got me. It’s still gottin’ me, actually, but I care too damn much. NASA’s InSight spacecraft lands safely on Mars. On December 5, Richard A. Conn will talk to Brenda Vongova at Shakespeare & Co in NYC about his new book, The Earthbound Parent, on encouraging parents to “help stop …