Newsletter
July 24, 2019

Hello!

Richard Dawkins has a very busy fall ahead of him, and that’s great news for our community.

In September, he’ll be joined on stage by the hilarious and indomitable Ricky Gervais at the Troxy in London for an unscripted conversation as Gervais accepts the 2019 Richard Dawkins AwardMembers of the Center for Inquiry at the “Planet Level” and above get an exclusive 10% discount on tickets!

Then in October, Richard crosses the Atlantic to embark on a three-city tour, appearing with physicist Max Tegmark in Boston, actor and activist Amber Heard in Phoenix, and Cosmos cocreator Ann Druyan in Los Angeles. CFI Planet Level members get 10% off tickets for these dates as well.

As if all this weren’t enough, Richard will also be one of the star speakers at CSICon 2019 in Las Vegas, October 16-20.

These appearances are a great opportunity for the secular and skeptic communities to connect with him and with each other. This week we explore that need for connection and community with a look at the precarious state of “godless churches” such as Sunday Assembly, which have seen significant declines in participation as of late. But we’ll also see how humanists have revitalized the bonds of marriage (and marriage vows) in Scotland.

While the United States is home to people of a wide variety of backgrounds and beliefs, the results of a “religion quiz” from Pew Research shows that Americans could stand to learn more about other people’s religions and what the Constitution actually says about church and state.

One man who did fully grasp the secular nature of government was the late Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who is eulogized this week by legendary freethought activist Eddie Tabash for his role in disentangling religion from government.

Speaking of entanglement and finding connections, we’ll take a closer look at what is purported to be the first image of quantum entanglement. That sounds like something any congregation could say “amen” to.

Robyn E. Blumner
President & CEO, Center for Inquiry
Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science

The Top Stories


Americans’ So-So Report Card on Religion

Religion is at the center of so many major conflicts and debates, just in the United States alone, that one would hope that Americans would be up to speed on at least some basic facts about various major religious traditions, terminology, and societal roles. One would be disappointed. Results from a quiz by Pew Research shows that Americans are generally familiar with major aspects of Christianity but struggle mightily with the basics of faiths such as Hinduism or Buddhism. Almost everyone knew that “atheism” means a lack of belief in a god, but, ironically, they seemed to be unsure about the meaning of “agnostic.” (Take a version of the quiz for yourself and see how you do.)

Read More

Religious ‘License to Discriminate’ Gains Support

The good news is that despite the best efforts of the religious right, a great majority of Americans oppose religiously-based discrimination or refusal of services, according to new survey data from Public Religion Research Institute. The bad news is that this majority is shrinking. The percentage of those who agreed that religion grants a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people almost doubled from five years ago (16 to 30 percent), and support for allowing discrimination against other groups such as atheists, Muslims, Jews, and African Americans jumped as well.

Learn More

VIDEO: Earth’s Super Force Field

Nuclear fusion reactions in the core of the Sun are shooting electrically charged particles right at us. And it’s really quite lovely. In this video clip from BBC’s The Planets, Professor Brian Cox, with the shimmering aurora borealis as his backdrop, explains how our planet’s magnetic field creates a kind of shield that protects us from “the ravages of solar wind” and allows us to exist at all.

Watch Now

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