Big News for Skeptical Community

Dr Phil Plait, The Bad Astronomer (Bad the same way Shaft was one bad-“SHUT YOUR MOUTH”), has been named the new President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. Replacing founder and namesake, James “The Amazing” Randi.

I feel this is great news for a couple of reasons.  The most important is that Phil is a tireless educator and crusading skeptic in his own right.  This will provide him with further resources and, possibly, a wider forum for his work.

Only slightly less important is that it assures that the foundation will continue on for many years.  While still incredibly energetic Randi cannot go on forever, but his work should and this will help.

Meanwhile, as board chairman, Randi will be able to influence the direction of the foundation and have time to finish his two books.

Best of luck Phil, stepping into the shoes of an icon is never easy.


Taxpayers fund faith over knowledge at Colorado school

Colorado Christian University, a college that puts their faith ahead of knowledge (seriously, it’s right on the front page of their website), has just had a courtroom victory to receive state scholarship money.

As an American I can only say I’m appalled. There are many universities in the United States that were founded by religious institutions who receive state and federal money. Serious institutions of higher learning and knowledge. Conversely, CCU is a Christian indoctrination center where students must sign a promise to emulate the life of Jesus and biblical teachings and faculty must sign a statement that the bible is the “infallible word of god”.

They must have amazing programs in biology, geology and astrophysics. I can imagine the excitement looking through the course catalog and finding out that I could get a degree in one of those subjects with a single 30 minute course.

I don’t understand how the state of Colorado can use taxpayer dollars to support students attending a blatantly discriminatory institution.  Faculty must sign a “Statement of Faith” that includes:

“We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.”

In the school’s “Strategic Objectives” the following two objectives are listed first,  “Honor Christ and share the love of Christ on campus and around the world” and “Teach students to trust the Bible, live holy lives and be evangelists”.  The most telling bit, however, is the objective listed last, “Become a great university”.
So, there is the obvious discouragement of a Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or non-theist working or attending this institution.  It still begs the question, “Who would want to attend this dogma over knowledge day camp?”

I don’t argue their right to exist, only that their evangelical mission should be assisted through taxpayer dollars.   Let them pay for their proselytizing themselves.