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Ronald A. Lindsay

Ronald A. Lindsay's photo

Ronald A. Lindsay is president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Both his admirers and his detractors agree that his abilities as a philosopher match his skills as a lawyer. Among other works, he is the author of Future Bioethics: Overcoming Taboos, Myths, and Dogmas (Prometheus 2008) and the entry on “Euthanasia” for the International Encyclopedia of Ethics (Wiley Blackwell 2013). His next book, The Necessity of Secularism: Why God Can’t Tell Us What To Do, will be published by Pitchstone Publishing, with a release date of November 2014.

Plantinga’s Closing Argument

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 3, 2012
Plantinga’s Closing Argument

Alvin Plantinga’s latest book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism, has received a fair amount of attention. Plantinga has even been written up in the New York Times. Having read most of his book, I will acknowledge that it confirms he is a clever polemicist. He can present a thoroughly fallacious argument with confidence, dressing it up so it appears superficially impressive.  God may not have a more skilled advocate. 

 

Atheist Boosters?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 12, 2011
Atheist Boosters?

CFI recently held a conference on the work of Daniel Dennett and the scientific investigation of religion. It may be the best conference I’ve ever attended. The presentations of the speakers were of uniformly high-quality—and I say that even for the speakers with whom I had some substantive disagreement. Interestingly, one such speaker was Gregory Paul, the independent researcher who has done some excellent work on the sociology of religious belief. Unfortunately, Paul seems to be in the camp of those who tend to inflate the number of atheists in the United States.

Flogging God

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 2, 2011
Flogging God

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed overwhelmingly a resolution “reaffirming” the phrase “In God We Trust” as our national motto.  The vote was 396 to 9. The need for reaffirming of this motto was not clearly stated in the resolution, but the real motivation for this resolution is both too obvious and too unseemly to warrant acknowledgment: most politicians in this God-intoxicated country want to milk God for all the votes they can get. And, from a political standpoint, who can blame them? It’s proven to be a very successful tactic.

Cults, Religion, and the Presidency

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 12, 2011
Cults, Religion, and the Presidency

Reverend Robert Jeffress notoriously claimed the other day that Mormonism is a cult. From the context of his remarks I don’t think he was using the term “cult” as a term of approbation. So is Mormonism a cult, and is Romney’s Mormon faith relevant to his qualifications to be president?

A Brief Comment on the Wyndgate Matter

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 12, 2011

As most of you are aware, CFI-Michigan, one of our branches, contracted with a club in suburban Detroit—The Wyndgate—to hold an event at which Richard Dawkins had graciously agreed to speak. (In fact, the event takes place this evening.) However, once the club owner became aware that Professor Dawkins is an atheist, the club cancelled the event, refusing to honor its contract.

Happy International Blasphemy Rights Day

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 30, 2011

Happy International Blasphemy Rights Day! There are thousands of ways to commemorate this day—almost as many as there are prophets who have claimed the title of messenger from the gods.

End the Silence: Join Us at the Reason Rally

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 29, 2011
End the Silence: Join Us at the Reason Rally

The Reason Rally will take place on March 24, 2012 on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Here are some reasons you should join me and the thousands of other atheists, agnostics, and humanists who will be there.

International Blasphemy Rights Day 2011

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 22, 2011
International Blasphemy Rights Day 2011

So Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of Salman Taseer, has confessed to the murder. We were hardly in suspense. Prior to his formal plea in court, Qadri had boasted of his killing Taseer. In the minds of many Pakistanis, he had reason to be proud—Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, had proposed changes to Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws. Allowing insults to Islam? Unimaginable. When Qadri was first brought before a court in January, he was showered with rose petals.

 

Without God There Is No Joy?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 13, 2011
Without God There Is No Joy?

As many of you are aware, CFI is currently running an ad campaign in several cities (Grand Rapids, Niagara Falls, Durham, and Washington, D.C.). This is the second phase of the “Living without Religion” campaign we launched earlier this year. The reaction to this campaign, both pro and con, demonstrates why this campaign is needed.

Religious Arrogance and the 9/11 Cross

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 7, 2011
Religious Arrogance and the 9/11 Cross

The planned placement of a cross-shaped piece of metal (hereinafter “the cross”) in the museum portion of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum has gained quite a bit of attention lately, including legal attention in the form of a lawsuit brought by our friends at American Atheists. Some of the attention has been generated by vigorous disagreement among nonbelievers about whether placement of the cross in the museum would be an Establishment Clause violation and should be opposed. The answers are “probably not, not with this Supreme Court” and “yes.”

Time for Action: the FDA and Homeopathic Drugs

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 30, 2011
Time for Action: the FDA and Homeopathic Drugs

The website of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the division of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responsible for evaluating the efficacy of drugs, proudly proclaims that it “promotes and protects the health of Americans by assuring that all prescription and over-the-counter drugs are safe and effective.” (bolding in original) Sadly, this is not a true statement. The FDA allows homeopathic drugs to be marketed without requiring the manufacturers to establish that their drugs are effective for their intended use. This free pass to homeopathic junk needs to stop, and that is why CFI and CSI have filed a formal petition asking the FDA to hold homeopathic over-the-counter drugs to the same standards as conventional (i.e., real) medicine.

Boiron, Please Sue Us

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 17, 2011
Boiron, Please Sue Us

As you know, the Center for Inquiry (CFI) and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) have publicly rebuked Wal-Mart for marketing homeopathic junk, in particular a product called Oscillococcinum, a purported remedy for flu. We are now inviting the product’s manufacturer, Boiron, to sue us. Here’s why.

Science Is Self-Correcting ... Sort Of

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 16, 2011

One of the claimed advantages of scientific inquiry as a mode of acquiring knowledge is that it is a self-correcting enterprise.  For example, if someone claims to have discovered a process for cold fusion, that incorrect claim can be shown to be false or unwarranted by further research and scientific testing.  This rosy picture of the scientific enterprise suggests that scientific errors will be recognized and corrected, with false claims falling by the wayside during science’s inexorable march forward. 

Is It Permissible To Question A Candidate About Her Religious Beliefs?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 12, 2011
Is It Permissible To Question A Candidate About Her Religious Beliefs?

Some have criticized the reporter who asked Michele Bachmann during the GOP debate last night whether she would be “submissive” to her husband were she elected president. I think this criticism is unfounded. Given Bachmann’s own statements, this was a legitimate question.

Women in Secularism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 4, 2011

Are men over-represented at humanist, atheist, and skeptic conferences and in the leadership of humanist, atheist, and skeptic organizations? Does the work of female writers and scholars tend to be overlooked? Does our movement need to become more diverse? Should we give careful consideration to the relationship between feminism and secularism?

Proposed Circumcision Ban Fails To Reach Ballot

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 29, 2011

California Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi has removed a proposed ban on male circumcision in San Francisco from the city’s November ballot.  She based her ruling on two grounds: the likely conflict between the proposed law and the First Amendment’s guarantee of free exercise of religion and the certain preemption of the local ordinance by state law, which has exclusive authority to regulate medical procedures.

Rick Perry Is a Lying Demagogue

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 18, 2011
Rick Perry Is a Lying Demagogue

Rick Perry is a lying demagogue who is contemptuous of the First Amendment and whose god is a monster. 

What Does It Mean To Say Muhammad Existed?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 14, 2011
What Does It Mean To Say Muhammad Existed?

Agamemnon. Robin Hood. Jesus. Muhammad. Many stories are told about individuals with these names. Did any of these individuals actually exist?  To answer that question, we must first address some logically prior ones:  What does it mean to assert that an individual existed?  Are there certain key statements about a person which must be true before we can conclude the claim of existence has been confirmed?

What the Catholic Church Wants

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 27, 2011

At times, the Catholic Church resembles a hulking, maladroit dinosaur. But give it some credit. It knows when its vital interests are at stake. This explains its determined opposition to same-sex marriage and assisted dying, as well as its notorious obsession with forcing women to bear children. The Church will do all it can to preserve its authority, and in doing so it focuses on the most critical decisions we make during our lives. Control: that’s what the Church wants and needs.

Thanks, Derek

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 12, 2011

As Derek Araujo stated in his post a few days ago, he is resigning his position at CFI to pursue graduate studies in physics.  Let’s see . . . with his existing law degree from Harvard and now an upcoming PhD in physics from Columbia, this means Derek will become Master of the Universe in about four years time.  The good news is that it seems he will be a benign Overlord, and will treat us lesser beings kindly. 

 

Much Ado About Foreskins

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 9, 2011
Much Ado About Foreskins

On the ballot in San Francisco this November will be a proposal to make it a criminal offense to perform a circumcision on a male under the age of 18. Should secular individuals — who obviously have no religious motivation to carry out such a procedure — support the ban? No. The proposed ban is a singularly bad idea.

The Legacy of Jack Kevorkian

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 7, 2011
The Legacy of Jack Kevorkian

Dr. Jack Kevorkian died Friday. To say that Kevorkian was a controversial figure would be an understatement. Controversy was what he sought, and he was not disappointed.

Blame It on the ‘60s

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 18, 2011
The Catholic Church says permissive culture contributed to priests' abuse of minors

Think Only a Few Fools Believe in the Rapture? Think Again.

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 3, 2011
It might not happen on May 21, but it will happen

Atheism, Humanism, and “Interfaith” Coalitions

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 25, 2011
Atheism, Humanism, and “Interfaith” Coalitions
Nonbelievers should be very hesitant about embracing the term "faith"

Three Dimensions of Morality

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 21, 2011
Three Dimensions of Morality
In what ways is humanist ethics superior to religious ethics?

Outsourcing Justice

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 6, 2011
Outsourcing Justice
The decision to try the 9/11 conspirators in Cuba

Blasphemy in Pakistan, Blasphemy Here

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 30, 2011
Blasphemy in Pakistan, Blasphemy Here
Events in Pakistan remind us of the importance of the right to blaspheme

Should We Care Whether Others Believe in God?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 24, 2011
Should We Care Whether Others Believe in God?
A discussion of the extent to which religious belief is important

Something to Fear?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 21, 2011
Two recent studies discuss susceptibility to fear and religious belief

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