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Posts Tagged ‘point of inquiry’

Eddie Tabash on the U.S. Presidential election, and secular values voters

Posted by neuralgourmet on October 20, 2008

American Constitutional and Civil Rights Lawyer

American Constitutional and Civil Rights Lawyer

If you missed CFI’s Point of Inquiry podcast this week, you missed a great talk with Eddie Tabash. Eddie Tabash is a constitutional and civil rights lawyer, as well as chair of Americans United For Separation of Church and State‘s National Legal Committee (a position he has held for over a decade). In this podcast, DJ Grothe talks with Eddie about:

“…issues valued by secularists and why they hang in the balance in this U.S. Presidential Election.  He talks about gay marriage and abortion, and how both of these rights depend on a government neutrality in matters of religion. He details ways that pseudoscience and junk science are used to advance religiously derived public policy arguments against gay marriage and abortion. And he talks about global warming skepticism, and the need for scientific integrity in public policy. He emphasizes how the next U.S. President will reshape the Supreme Court, and what that portends for science and secular values. He also explains his role in gay rights victory with the Supreme Court of California earlier in 2008, and why he opposes Proposition 8, a proposed ballot measure in California that would amend the State Constitution to deny marriage rights to homosexuals.”

I had the good fortune of meeting and listening to Eddie Tabash last year at AU’s national meeting. He is truly a singular individual. The whole show is just 30 minutes long, so if you’ve never heard Eddie Tabash before, you should take this small chunk of time to do so now. Download the MP3 here.

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Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Hate the Supernatural (Belief), Love the Superstitious

Posted by Andy D. on July 30, 2008

I first heard that line from Joe Nickell on this Point of Inquiry interview. I was listening in the car and almost lost control because it is such a funny play on the religious outcry “hate the sin, love the sinner” line about homosexuals.

The thrust of the interview is how skeptical folks should be polite to the superstitious and he is an investigator not a debunker. James Randi has said the same thing many times. Sure we can be skeptical until their is evidence, but we have to look at the evidence and really listen to witnesses. Joe said he was known as being nice and listening. In an example, he suggested rational explanations to a supposed supernatural events that were not correct at first. However, because Joe was polite and engaged the superstitious person’s concern completely that superstitious person found the actual non-supernatural cause for the phenomenons on his own later. It was due to Joe’s prior attempt to rationally explain the event. Joe was later thanked.

In the last FreeThought Fort Wayne meeting, we talked briefly about how we engage in teaching skepticism to a lay person. I know we think there are many overly superstitious people out there. That may be true but it is not like they all have the same superstition. (The religions sects have different levels of unreason.) Most folks have one or two sacred cows and when stepped on the emotion center of the brain kicks in and overrides the reason center in the frontal cortex. (You can see that in the death threats in PZ Meyers it’s just a cracker drama. For the record that is a free speech lesson and I support it).

I think the safest way to try to engage the superstitious person is to ask them what they don’t believe in. Big Foot and Flying Saucers are usually pretty safe. You can go to other gods and worship such as cargo cults, Scientology, Joseph Smith, Heaven’s gate, etc (whatever they are not)

**Joe Nickell did make the distinction that he will attack charlatans when they abuse the superstitious.

Posted in FreeThought, Philosophy, Skepticism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »