One of “Those” Atheists

October 23, 2012

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

Reports and remembrances of Paul Kurtz, CFI’s founder who died this weekend at the age of 86, continue to stream in throughout the web.

Carolyn Thompson at AP tells the story of Kurtz’s life and work.

Robert Evans at Reuters writes that Kurtz “devoted his life to fighting prejudice against people who reject belief in a god and promoting a non-religious stance in life,” and notes that CFI has “spawned a movement” that has spread globally. 

Ed Brayton: “You would be hard pressed to find anyone who did more to advance secular humanism, atheism and skepticism over the last century.”

Phil Plait encourages us to read up on Kurtz: “Too many people in movements forget their own history, and knowledge of what happened in the past is always valuable in moving forward.” 

Ophelia Benson on Kurtz’s work: “I’m grateful for all of it. I’m not the only one.” 

James Croft: “I feel a debt to Paul Kurtz – a debt I will never now repay.” 

Buffalo News and Buffalo Business First take a local angle on the area luminary.  

IHEU mourns and rounds up tributes. 

At JREF, James Randi says he will “deeply miss” Kurtz, DJ Grothe says “his impact remains unrivaled.”  

Steven Novella notes that Kurtz’s death happens in conjunction with the death of Discovery magazine’s founder Leon Jaroff, and writes, “Both men will be missed, but I am proud to play a small role in carrying their legacy forward.”

Smithsonian also notes the pair of losses: “Losing these two men together in the same weekend is a blow to the history of skepticism. But there are many moving forward in their path.” 

In other news…

Interviewing for a new book, CFI’s Michael De Dora describes in a video how he dervies inspiration from Alexander Aan. 

Christian Post reports on the efforts of Alexander and his lawyers to reduce his sentence

As we told you yesterday, arguments in CFI’s lawsuit in Indiana to allow for secular celebrants to solemnize marriages were heard Monday.

Indiana public radio covers the case, and reports that things may be looking good for us. 

Indre Viskontas talks to Bruce Hood on Point of Inquiry about superstitions in baseball

Hemant looks at a new survey that explores the nonreligious and our impact on the election. 

I almost don’t believe this, from Gawker

Italy, the country that earlier this year declared it a fineable offense to tell a man he has no balls, convicted seven seismologists of manslaughter on Monday, for failing to adequately assess the risk of a 2009 Earthquake that ended up killing 309 people. The scientists were sentenced to six years in prison. 

Mark Crislip on “boosting” one’s immune system: “It is not a bicep that can be made stronger with a little exercise.” 

Raleigh city council secretly gives Jehovah’s Witnesses $150k to hold their convention there. 

In an excerpt from his new book in Salon, Chris Stedman recalls discovering that he’s “one of those atheists.” 

ACLU joins our cause and launches its own campaign against the use of religion to discriminate.  

Albany Times-Union ran a front-page Sunday story on the growing acceptance of nonbelief in the region. (I was interviewed for this piece, but I have this curse where my quotes never get used in actual articles. I think I need to start saying more incendiary things.)

The Paranormal Roadtrip team on their way to CSICon will hit the Creation Museum

Bigfoot is all over the freaking place. He’s been photographed in Dallas, was caught in Quebec, perhaps looking for berries, and then overturned some guy’s Winnebago in Pennsylvania! 

17th century Native American Kateri Tekakwitha to be made a saint by the pope. 

In Staunton, VA, where I did Shakespeare for 5 years, is going to be home to “haunted” walking tours.  

Ambivalence sets in over the attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai by Pakistani Taliban. Says one local to NYT:

Was it the Americans who shot her or was it Al Qaeda? We don’t know. Some people think this is all an American publicity stunt to make their point against the Taliban. 

Tim Farley tips us off that Stitcher Radio is soliciting votes in its podcast awards, and there are some good skeptic podcasts represented in the science category. 

Quote of the Day        

Egyptian charged with blasphemy, Maikel Nabil Sanad, takes to Foreign Policy to sound the warning bell:

Religions are just collections of beliefs which can’t be proved. I still can’t imagine that in the twenty-first century there are people going to prison because they don’t believe that someone walked on water, a virgin gave birth to a child, or a man flew to heaven on a donkey. Tolerating this new Inquisition moves our world back to the Middle Ages, and this could have devastating consequences for our lives. 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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