In the Wake of a Skeptic’s Death, Indian State Takes Small Steps Toward Rationality

Today’s New York Times features an article on Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, the skeptic who was assassinated earlier this week, presumably because his debunking of supernatural claims angered a few too many people…

The article is a glowing tribute to what he accomplished in his life and how far India still has to go:

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How Does Faith Impact African-American Communities?

Jeremiah Camara is an author and filmmaker whose latest project, a documentary called Contradiction, explores the impact faith has had on African-American communities:

Contradiction explores the paradox of an abundance of churches coupled with the great number of societal ailments in Black communities and seeks to find if there is a correlation between high praise and low productivity. Camara talks to the faithful and the faithless to determine the empirical benefits of prayer, worship and religious loyalty.

I asked Camara to tell me more about the film and what inspired him to make it. This is what he said (via email):

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Pastafarians Detained in Russia After Complaints from Orthodox Church Group

Russia’s government is technically a federal, semi-presidential republic, much like the United States.. It has a history of being very secular, explicitly atheist while under Soviet rule. However, in recent years, the church has become a powerful institution, quite the change for a once-Communist country.

Earlier this year, Russia passed an (unopposed!) anti-LGBT law. Russia also has very strong anti-blasphemy laws (as demonstrated in their arrest of punk rock band Pussy Riot) and a new law to essentially protect the feelings of religious believers.

Despite the growing number of visible “Pastafarians” over the last few years, Russia’s Orthodox Church does not find the satire funny at all — nope, not one bit. While Russians are not necessarily known for their sense of humor, this response goes overboard.

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Well, That’s the Exception…

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After Explosion Near War Memorial Cross, Fingers Are Already Being Pointed at Atheists

Around midnight late Thursday night, a small explosion went off near the Mingus Park Vietnam War Memorial cross in Coos Bay, Oregon:

There were no injuries. The memorial itself is still standing, but with some damage. There are no suspects yet. There’s no established motive. We pretty much know nothing about this incident other than “it happened.”

So, of course, atheists are already being blamed for it because they once challenged the constitutionality of it:

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