Ronald A. Lindsay
Ron Lindsay is senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry, having previously served as president and CEO from 2008 to 2016. Prior to joining CFI, he was in private legal practice in Washington, D.C. for twenty-six years. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Among other works, he is the author of Future Bioethics: Overcoming Taboos, Myths, and Dogmas (Prometheus 2008), the entry on “Euthanasia” for the International Encyclopedia of Ethics (Wiley Blackwell 2013), and The Necessity of Secularism: Why God Can’t Tell Us What To Do (Pitchstone Publishing 2014).
Are Conservatives and Liberals Different People?
A review of The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality by Chris Mooney
October 16, 2012
It’s presidential campaign season and I’ve received some literature from the Romney campaign that I find curious for a couple of reasons.
September 28, 2012
International Blasphemy Rights Day (IBRD)—September 30—is almost here, and that’s a good thing because freedom of expression can definitely use a rallying point. From many governments, there has been a stronger push to prohibit “offensive” speech about religion than we have witnessed in years.
September 24, 2012
On October 7, 2012, hundreds of clergy will intentionally defy the law by engaging in actions they might describe as coordinated civil disobedience. I view it as an unjustifiable defiance of the law and a constitutionally unsound attempt to get the government to subsidize political endorsements by clergy.
September 12, 2012
and PZ Myers
have recently suggested that is it not necessarily a bad thing to be divisive. True, it is not necessarily a bad thing. It depends on what one is separating oneself from.
September 6, 2012
So the Democrats inserted God into the party platform. What did we expect?
August 27, 2012
WARNING: This post contains mild language, constructive criticism, occasional reasoning, and no invective (except by way of parody).
August 25, 2012
Just read the book, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality.
It is a clump of matter. The author, Alex Rosenberg, assures it is. Further, as a clump of matter it cannot be about anything, because “one clump of matter can’t be about
another clump of matter,” and clumps of matter (or more precisely, fermions and bosons) are all there is (emphasis in original).
August 22, 2012
An instructive reminder of the futility of trying to base public policy on religious doctrine is the current dispute between some politically progressive Catholics and Paul Ryan and his supporters regarding who is more faithful to Catholic teachings.
August 17, 2012
Jonathan Haidt, in his recent book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
, claims that “sanctity” is one of the six foundations of moral psychology. Central to his claim is his argument that we find some actions abhorrent, yet we cannot explain how they harm anyone. According to Haidt, we regard these actions as immoral because they violate our sense of the sacred. We find them disgusting, degrading.
August 13, 2012
One of the explicit goals of CFI is to end the influence that religion has on public policy. Obviously, we are adamantly opposed to any politician who seeks to impose her/his religious views on other Americans. That said, not everyone who is religious is a theocrat, and religious beliefs, by themselves, do not disqualify someone for office. Under our Constitution they cannot.
August 6, 2012
Promoting science is part of CFI’s mission. Presumably, most people reading this post do not need to be persuaded of the worth of this objective. Nonetheless, two recent events underscore just how marvelous a tool science is.
July 26, 2012
You can stand up for freedom of conscience without any danger to yourself—indeed without breaking a sweat. You can help someone who is being unjustly persecuted without leaving the comfort of your chair. You can advance the cause of freethought internationally without spending a dime. You can be a hero in less than five minutes. Here’s how.
July 12, 2012
There’s been a lot of talk in the secular blogosphere recently about sex and gender issues. This is an important set of topics, but just for a change of pace, I thought I would bring up another subject that can rev up our engines, namely money.
June 29, 2012
Warning: the reaction of some of you to this post may be “tl;dr.” Fine, I’ve already posted some abbreviated comments on CFI’s new policy
and you can limit yourself to reading those comments if you want. Others, however, may be interested in a longer discussion.
June 29, 2012
CFI has issued a new policy
on hostile conduct/harassment at its conferences. This post will provide an abridged explanation of why CFI issued this policy. A second post will provide a longer explanation and discuss how the policy will be administered.
June 11, 2012
Many people, including many skeptics, atheists, and humanists, use the term “balls” or its myriad equivalents as a metaphor for courage, determination, resolve or similar attributes. I suggest we should stop using such terms, for a pretty obvious reason: one doesn’t need testicles to be courageous, determined, or resolute.
June 6, 2012
June is LGBT Pride Month. And the LGBT movement can take pride in many accomplishments. In the space of a few decades, gays have moved from being pariahs and criminals to being generally
accepted in many parts of the U.S. The transformation in the political, legal, and social landscape has been nothing short of astonishing.
May 23, 2012
As you probably know, on Monday, a number of organizations affiliated with the Catholic Church, including various organizations that provide secular services, filed suit in several federal courts around the country. The lawsuits maintain that HHS has violated the First Amendment rights of these organizations by requiring them to include within their employees’ health care plans coverage for contraceptive care. Although these coordinated lawsuits smell like a publicity stunt — the lawsuits are premature since the regulation is not in effect — we should consider what the precedential effect would be of a Church victory.
May 22, 2012
Based on my own experience—let alone the many favorable reactions we have received from attendees and speakers—I think we need to have another Women in Secularism conference. When, where, and other logistical items that go into conference planning need to be discussed and determined over the next few months (we may even change the name), but we have to have another.
May 9, 2012
I am becoming leery of taking trips overseas. It seems that controversies within the American secular movement tend to flair up soon after I flash my passport in some foreign land.
April 15, 2012
The Republican Brain
is a well-written and informative book. I learned a lot from it. It’s also an important book. It advances a thesis that, if true, has significant implications for psychology, politics, and public policy. The book marshals a wide array of research in support of its thesis, and this research is accurately and perceptively summarized. However, I don’t believe there is sufficient evidence to support the book’s central claims.
April 10, 2012
Chris Mooney is an experienced science journalist, a skilled writer, a great host for Point of Inquiry, and a friend. Not a close friend, but he is someone who has helped me and CFI on several occasions and I never forget a favor. But, paraphrasing Aristotle, although Chris is dear to me, so too is truth. I’m concerned that Chris’s new book may be advancing a thesis that lacks adequate scientific support.
March 29, 2012
The Reason Rally showed the secular movement has come a long way—but much remains to be accomplished.
March 29, 2012
The Reason Rally was a wonderful event—rain and all. The Reason Rally was rightfully billed as a “coming out” party and a celebration. We showed our fellow Americans that we have the numbers and the commitment to be taken seriously—and we had a great time doing so. The speakers were eloquent, the entertainers were funny and engaging, and the crowd was uniformly upbeat.
March 16, 2012
In the controversy over contraceptive coverage for women in health care plans, things get crazier by the minute. Arizona is considering legislation that would permit religious employers to require women who want reimbursement for the cost of contraception to submit a claim, supported by evidence, that the pills are not being used for contraception, but to treat some other medical issue. Incredible, right?
March 14, 2012
Moving Secularism Forward, the joint conference of CFI and the Council for Secular Humanism, took place in Orlando a little over a week ago. The presentations at the conferences have generated a fair amount of commentary (for examples, see here
). This is a good thing. One of the purposes of our conferences is to get people to think, to debate, and, in some cases, to look at issues from a different perspective.
February 24, 2012
CFI’s upcoming conference on Women in Secularism (register here)
is most decidedly not a conference targeting an exclusively female audience. Yes, the speakers are all female and yes, the conference is focused on women’s concerns. But the concerns of women are not a concern for women only.
February 20, 2012
As everyone is aware, the Catholic Church and some other religious institutions have argued that the Obama administration’s rule requiring employers to include contraceptive care within the scope of their health insurance plans violates the freedom of conscience of “individuals and organizations.” This argument distorts the First Amendment guarantees of religious liberty and makes use of a flawed and tendentious interpretation of the concept of conscientious objection.
February 16, 2012
You may have noticed that in the last couple of years, there’s been an effort by some conservatives to extend rights of “personhood” to entities many of us don’t regard as persons, namely corporations and zygotes. Corporations and zygotes are not conceptually related, but, nonetheless, the extension of personhood rights to corporations may pave the way for the extension of personhood rights to zygotes. The latter action would, of course, limit the autonomy and reproductive rights of real
persons, namely women.
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