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Oct
31
2013

Religious Songs Barred from New Jersey Elementary School Concert


"Bordentown [New Jersey] Superintendent Constance J. Bauer issued a statement on Oct. 18 saying that some of the [song] selections [for the upcoming winter concert] were questioned and that 'religious music should not be part of the elementary program.'” See the full story from the Religious News Service.

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Oct
31
2013

Religious More Likely To Lie for Individual Gain? Another Take.


By Sean Lachut
The editors at Religion Dispatches have taken issue with the way an article by Pacific Standard magazine (that we linked to up here last week) was interpreted by other news media. It's a good look at how studies get represented and misrepresented when they percolate through various sources—especially those on...

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Oct
31
2013

Atheist Accepts $1,000 to Observe Sabbath


Ari Mandel, an ex-Hasidic Jew who is now an atheist, was raising money for a charity marathon run when he was offered $1,000 to religiously observe a single Sabbath.

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Oct
31
2013

Phil Plait at Slate Says The US is Headed Back To Space…Soon


By Sean Lachut
Phil Plait has an article at Slate.com about the Sierra Nevada Corporation's (not the beer) spaceplane Dream Chaser and it's mostly flawless test drop. Plait predicts, along with others, that the future of space flight will be headed by private industry, and that that's not a bad thing.

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Oct
31
2013

The Psychological Power of Pure Evil


Piercarlo Valdesolo looks into the psychological power of believing in Satan for Scientific American. According to Valdesolo, "This personification of evil has implications beyond the supernatural, influencing how we think about what it means for people to be 'pure evil.'"

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Oct
31
2013

Great Flyover of Mars Provided by Mars Express


By Sean Lachut
In case you weren't familiar with Mars Express (I wasn't), it is a satellite launched and managed by the European Space Agency that has completed nearly 12,500 revolutions of the Martian planet. Luckily for us, it has a spectacular stereographic camera aboard that captured the data for this awesome video...

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Oct
30
2013

Virginia Nominee for Lieutenant Governor E.W. Jackson: “God Will Stop Blessing US Military”


By Sean Lachut
Obviously some big problems with this one. The rest of Jackson's argument is that God is going to stop his blessings because of...gay rights. Specifically the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. This man is running for the second highest governing role in a state that is fairly large and...

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Oct
30
2013

Debunking Climate Change Deniers: A Gentler Approach


By Sean Lachut
Michael Schulson over at Religion Dispatches magazine has a piece about how debunking climate change deniers aggressively with science and reason might be too strong an approach. He goes on to say "...scientific facts do not, as a rule, sway science denialists. That's the whole problem, right?...The challenge, then, is...

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Oct
30
2013

Saudi Arabian ‘Blasphemer” Hamza Kashgari Released


By Sean Lachut
Hamza Kashgari, a young Saudi writer, was imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in February 2011 after tweeting about human aspects of the Prophet Mohammed, a violation of local blasphemy laws. He was released yesterday after being in jail for almost two years without trial. Kashgari was a major focus of CFI's...

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Oct
30
2013

Readers of The Friendly Atheist Donate Thousands to Beaten Pastor’s Recovery Fund


By Sean Lachut
In case you don't remember the case of the "militant atheist" beating up Pastor Norman Hayes, here's a link to a past story on The Friendly Atheist. Recently, Hemant Mehta asked his readers to donate money to the pastor's recovery fund (money that was only going to his recovery, not...

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