Richard Dawkins Discusses An Appetite for Wonder

Richard Dawkins is in the middle of his book tour for An Appetite for Wonder and he’ll be appearing at Northwestern University tonight. Jerry Coyne will be interviewing Dawkins on stage and I’ll be introducing the two as well as moderating the Q&A afterwards (which you *know* is going to be the craziest part of the night).

If you’re curious what the discussions are like, here’s a nice example from the Royal Institution of Great Britain — Adam Rutherford, a science broadcaster, was the host for the evening:

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Alabama Residents Argue That Offering Arabic Classes in High School Amounts to Indoctrinating Children with Islam

Which foreign languages should public high schools offer their students?

Are there some that might be more useful to learn than others? I think you could make a strong argument that Mandarin Chinese and Arabic belong in high schools and administrators would be doing students a favor by offering those courses.

At Daphne High School in Alabama, the sole French teacher retired last year. Instead of finding a replacement, the administrators went in a different direction: They decided to hire Sanaa El-Khattabi to teach an Arabic class:

Alan Lee, superintendent of the Baldwin County school system, said Daphne High, with an enrollment of about 1,400, includes students from 30 countries, and that offering Arabic is one of many ways that the school keeps an international focus and helps its graduates prepare for the global economy.

“If you look at the languages of the world, Arabic certainly would be one of the languages that I would want my own child to learn, because of the opportunities it would provide” in terms of careers and paths of study, Lee said.

That makes insanely good sense. Yet, instead of praising the decision, residents of the community and parents in the district are reminding us that ignorance is still an obstacle to obtaining a world-class education. They’re making an argument that teaching Arabic is somehow pro-Islam and anti-Christian:

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This Is Where Supporting Gay Marriage and the Ordination of Women Gets You in the Catholic Church

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses how a Catholic priest was excommunicated (with Pope Francis‘ knowledge) for supporting the ordination of women and gay marriage:

You can read more details about the story here and here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next! [Read more...]

It’s Hug An Atheist Week! How Are You Celebrating?

It’s Hug An Atheist Week, when your group can raise money by offering hugs for charity:

Need more of an incentive to participate?…

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Missouri Pastor Cuckolds and Murders His Best Friend, Then Delivers His Stirring Eulogy

ABC News has the story of the sweet, sweet love that blossomed between Pastor David Love (pictured right) and Teresa Stone, a woman in his flock at the New Hope Baptist Church in Independence, Missouri.

There was just one little problem: Stone was married to Randy (pictured left), an insurance entrepreneur, with whom she had two kids. He thought she loved him, as he did her. A friend of the husband recalls that “[Randy] worshipped Teresa — she meant everything to him.”

Oh well. The heart wants what the heart wants. So Teresa and her pastor plotted Randy Stone’s murder — any qualms assuaged by a tidy life-insurance payout that would soon fall into their lovin’ laps.

They weren’t smart enough to try to make it look like an accident or a robbery. One night, the man of God simply entered Randy’s office and shot him dead with the former Marine’s own handgun, which Teresa had given him access to.

Except for Randy Stone’s life, nothing was taken.

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