The Alleged Neutrality of Originalism: A Pernicious Myth
October 22, 2020 by

Unless something unforeseen occurs, sometime next week, the Republican majority in the Senate will confirm Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. With Barrett on the Court, we will have another self-described “originalist” resolving constitutional controversies. This is regrettable because originalism is a deeply flawed jurisprudential theory: it purports to respect the …

Lessons from the Space Shuttle Challenger
October 13, 2020 by

In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after takeoff from Florida’s coast, an accident that laid bare not only institutional flaws in the application of high technology but also flaws in the public’s understanding of science. Many myths have emerged in the years since the accident, such as that the shuttle exploded—it didn’t, …

Trump Puts the Squeeze on Science at the FDA
September 1, 2020 by

Those of us intrepid enough to still follow the news probably already know that a recent reversal by the FDA in the face of pressure from Donald Trump has experts alarmed that the agency’s reliability and political independence is in jeopardy. I don’t have to tell you how bad that is, but I will anyway: …

Can I Oppose Waterboarding If I’ve Never Been Waterboarded?
June 30, 2020 by

I have never been waterboarded; yet, despite my undeniable lack of direct experience, I oppose it as a form of torture. The same can be said for Barack Obama, who issued an executive order banning waterboarding along with other coercive interrogation practices. The same can be said for the overwhelming majority of those who oppose …

The Democratic Left, Biden, and Rational Choices
April 13, 2020 by

Voting for a political candidate is not always the result of a careful, well-informed consideration of the various pros and cons of having this candidate hold elective office. (Yes, I’m known for my understatement.) Ignorance, bias, and emotion influence voter choice. The role of ignorance and bias is lamentable, but can’t do much about these …

A Report from Secular Coalition’s Annual Lobby Day
October 1, 2019 by

Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of participating in the Secular Coalition for America’s (SCA) annual lobby day. Approximately ninety attendees flew in from across the United States to give voice to the concerns of America’s ever-increasing nonreligious population. Before the attendees were dispatched to meet with their representatives, I delivered a presentation on …

Categories, Gender Identity, and Women’s Sports
September 4, 2019 by

We categorize things, using general terms to classify a group of objects. Some things are chairs, others tables, and still other things are fish, fruits, or flowers, and so on. We employ categories for a host of practical reasons, including, of course, to facilitate communication and accomplish various objectives efficiently. Categorizing things makes eminent good …

Secular Addiction Recovery is for Everyone
August 29, 2019 by

We at CFI haven’t said much about this lately, but one of our legislative advocacy issues is ensuring access to secular, science-based addiction recovery support programs across the United States. In too many communities, faith-based, “twelve-step” programs are the only peer-support group option for people recovering from addiction. Sometimes people with addictions suffer run-ins with …

Homeopathy in the House
July 19, 2019 by

Homeopathy isn’t discussed much in the halls of Congress. So when last month, a pro-homeopathy amendment was considered on the House floor, I thought it would be a good opportunity to peek at the man behind the congressional curtain. Our longtime supporters will recall that, in 2015, former CFI Director of Government Affairs Michael DeDora …

A Natural Mistake
July 10, 2019 by

“That some persons are free and others slaves by nature … and that for these slavery is both advantageous and just, is evident.” So said Aristotle, one of the first advocates of the “natural law” approach to ethics. (See his Politics, Book I, ch. 5.) The State Department has just established a Commission on Unalienable …