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Center for Inquiry - News & Announcements



The latest news and announcements from the CFI home page.



Published: 2018-01-10T16:47:19+00:00

 



Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter - No. 97

2018-01-10T16:47+00:00

Cause & Effect is the biweekly newsletter of the Center for Inquiry community, covering the wide range of work that you help make possible. Become a member today! The Top Stories New Leadership for a New Year at Two CFI Branches The new year begins with a new chapter for two of the Center for Inquiry’s vital and active local branches, as two dedicated members of the CFI family step into key leadership roles. A decade ago, the Freethought Association of West Michigan had already been going strong for ten years when it merged with the Center for Inquiry, becoming CFI’s Michigan branch. At that time, CFI Michigan hired Jennifer Beahan as the assistant director, working with longtime Executive Director Jeff Seaver. Over the next ten years, CFI Michigan has hosted hundreds of lectures, organized civic events and family activities, and put their humanism into action with frequent “secular service” events. At the end of 2017, Jeff stepped down from his position at CFI Michigan, now in its twenty-first year, and as Jennifer takes on the role of executive director of CFI Michigan. As Jeff wrote in a message to branch members, “I have full confidence in her as a talented and able leader who is personally invested and committed to CFI Michigan’s important work.” All of us at CFI share Jeff’s confidence in Jen. “As I transition into the role of executive director, I look forward to leading the charge in our fight to defend science, reason, free inquiry, and humanist values,” wrote Jen in her own message. “I am honored by the continued support of our community and grateful for the countless hours Jeff Seaver … and all of our volunteers and members have devoted to building this community over the past twenty years.” We turn then to the Center for Inquiry’s transnational headquarters in Amherst, New York, which is not only the base of CFI’s operations around the world, but also the home of our thriving and close-knit local branch for Western New York. Volunteer Program Director John Barrett transitioned to becoming chair of the branch’s advisory board on January 1. Stepping up to becoming the branch’s new program director and its first paid staff member is Stef McGraw. Stef began as an outreach intern in 2012 and was hired as a full-time staff member in 2014. Her devotion and considerable communication and leadership skills were obvious from the beginning. Now, Stef will be dividing her time between her outreach duties for the national organization and running CFI Western New York. “CFI Western New York became my community group for secular activism and skeptical conversation,” wrote Stef in a message to branch members. “Now, I’m excited to have the opportunity to make this group even stronger so that it can serve even more humanists and skeptics in our region.” We have no doubt she will do just that.   CFI Michigan Celebrates 20 Years at Solstice Awards Ceremony CFI Michigan hosted their annual Solstice Dinners in Grand Rapids and Madison Heights (in the Detroit Area) on December 13 and 16 respectively, with 120 combined attendees, despite the terrible snow storm. Eddie Tabash, CFI’s Board Chair, was the special guest at both dinners, and spoke about the dangers our movement and our country are currently facing and how supporting CFI is crucial to confronting those challenges. He also facilitated the “passing of the torch,” as mentioned in the above news item, honoring Jeff Seaver for twenty years of dedicated work building CFI Michigan. Eddie also expressed his confidence, and that of the national CFI leadership, in Jennifer Beahan as she takes on her new role as executive director. The Advisory Board honored Jeff with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Freethinker of the Year Award was presented to longtime member and supporter of CFI Michigan, Carl Bajema. Carl was a professor of biology at Grand Valley [...]



Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter - No. 96

2017-12-27T20:02+00:00

Cause & Effect is the biweekly newsletter of the Center for Inquiry community, covering the wide range of work that you help make possible. Become a member today! The Top Stories The Anti-Claus Works on Christmas, Raises Thousands for Secular Rescue For the vast majority of those reading this newsletter, Christmas Day was a day off of work. (If you’re a parent of young kids, you were likely still doing a great deal of work but not being paid for it.) The same is true for the Center for Inquiry (CFI), for though we are one of the world’s leading secularist and skeptic organizations, we also understand and appreciate the meaning and significance of this time of year for so many non-Christians, religious and nonreligious alike. In fact, The Columbus Dispatch just spoke to Monette Richards, executive director of CFI Northeast Ohio, about this very phenomenon, wherein Christmas is a primarily secular holiday, the religious roots of which are incidental. But one member of our CFI family is having none of it, and that’s of course the “Anti-Claus” himself, Tom Flynn. Apart from being executive director of CFI’s Council for Secular Humanism and editor of Free Inquiry magazine, Tom is also the author of The Trouble with Christmas, and in accordance with his outright rejection of the holiday, every year on Christmas Day Tom comes into the office and works a normal day. And so he did this year as well, but rather than toil away in solitude, Tom found a way to bring his special brand of yuletide defiance to the world and even help a very good cause. On Christmas Day (or, as Tom thought of it, last Monday) Tom livestreamed his workday online. While “doing editor stuff” at his desk, he took questions from viewers, explained some of the weirder aspects of the Santa mythos (if you want to feel really unsettled about Santa legends, go look up his buddy Black Pete), and most importantly, helped raise money for CFI’s Secular Rescue program. Secular Rescue is the CFI initiative that seeks to lend assistance to those secularist writers and activists whose lives are threatened by religious extremists in places such as Bangladesh, Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere. Dozens of freethinkers have been brought to safety thanks to Secular Rescue, and they are once again free to speak their minds and serve as courageous examples to others around the world. At the end of Tom’s marathon broadcast, CFI Vice President for Philanthropy Martina Fern announced that viewers pitched in over $2500 for Secular Rescue, and with the help of some very generous supporters, those donations were matched, bringing in more than $5000. So whether or not you celebrate Christmas or any other holiday, even Tom agrees that doing this kind of good deed is a really wonderful gift. You can still watch the recording of the livestream right here, in case you need seven hours worth of Tom Flynn to keep you company. Maybe next year, Tom will livestream through all eight days of Hanukkah. We’ll ask.   A One-Two Punch to Homeopathy Two salvos were launched against the deceptive and dangerous marketing of homeopathic fake medicine last week, both thanks to the Center for Inquiry’s relentless pursuit of stricter regulation of these baseless treatments. On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would begin to take a tougher stance against the manufacturers of those homeopathic products that pose the greatest risk to consumers’ health and safety. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, “We respect that some individuals want to use alternative treatments, but the FDA has a responsibility to protect the public from products that may not deliver any benefit and have the potential to cause harm.” We cautiously applauded this news, noting that CFI has been pushing for these changes for many years and in 2015, was invited to deliver testimony to the FDA on homeopathy. Gizmodo even [...]



“Anti-Claus” Tom Flynn to Livestream Work Day on Christmas for Life-Saving Charity

2017-12-20T17:52+00:00

On December 25, you can bear witness to a one-man War on Christmas, as Tom Flynn (aka “The Anti-Claus”) broadcasts a merry act of yuletide defiance, livestreaming his very ordinary work day, answering real-time questions, and doing some good for persecuted nonbelievers on the other side of the globe.

(image)

From 10am to 5pm ET on Christmas Day, Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry magazine, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, and author of The Trouble with Christmas, will do as he always does: work his regular office 

hours. (After all, it’s not the birthday of anyone he knows.) But this year, Tom will share his solitary workday with the world with a livestream from the headquarters of the Center for Inquiry (CFI) in Amherst, New York.

While he works, alone in an empty Center for Inquiry building, Tom will answer select questions from viewers and solicit donations to CFI’s Secular Rescue program, which helps bring to safety those secularist writers and activists in countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Iraq, whose lives are threatened by religious extremists.

To make it more fun, and a little more nerve-wracking for Tom, viewers can donate into one of two columns: Christmas Spirit or Lump of Coal. If enough donations come through the Christmas Spirit column, Tom promises to do something Christmassy like trim a tree. (“Oh, I cringe when I even think of that,” says Tom.”) And if sufficient donations come into the Lump of Coal column, Tom will blaspheme against the holiday, such as tossing said tree off a loading dock.

Plus, those who give to Secular Rescue during the livestream will be eligible for special prizes, such as a framed piece of embroidery bearing the words “Santa Can Suck It.” It’s all a chance for some light-hearted and snarky fun, all for a vital cause for free expression and the lives of persecuted dissidents around the world.

Tom Flynn the Anti-Claus will begin the livestream on December 25 at 10am ET, going until this very ordinary day’s close of business at 5pm ET. Viewers everywhere, whether they love Christmas or hate it, can tune in at centerforinquiry.net/christmas.

# # #

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at www.centerforinquiry.net. 

 




No Johnson Amendment Repeal in GOP Tax Bill

2017-12-15T18:45+00:00

Today, Congress’ final tax reform bill is revealed to the public. We’re pleased to let you know that the bill does not contain language to attack the Johnson Amendment. Churches will continue to be banned from endorsing candidates for office. There won’t be any new tax deductions for contributing to a theocratic super PAC. 

CFI supporters like you helped to make a positive change. The separation of church and state is a pillar of our constitutional democracy, and your advocacy helped protect our system of government from the influence of religion.

This doesn’t mean that our fight is over. As we speak, the religious right searches for a new legislative vehicle through which to implement their theocratic agenda. We need to stay vigilant and prepare to speak out again. And with your support, CFI will be right there in the halls of Congress, working with our allies to keep the U.S. free and secular.  

Once again, thank you for making your voice heard. When we act together, we hold our elected government accountable to the ever-rising percentage of secularists, nonbelievers, and skeptics in American society.

Jason Lemieux
Director of Government Affairs
Center for Inquiry

P.S. From now until December 31, Louis Appignani is matching every donation to CFI up to a quarter million dollars. There’s never been a better time to be a part of our movement for science and reason. Make your matched donation today and double your impact.

# # #

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at www.centerforinquiry.net. 

 




Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter - No. 95

2017-12-13T18:36+00:00

Cause & Effect is the biweekly newsletter of the Center for Inquiry community, covering the wide range of work that you help make possible. Become a member today! The Top Stories Robert Bartholomew Elected to CSI Fellows This month, CFI’s Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) welcomed its newest fellow, Dr. Robert Bartholomew of South Auckland, New Zealand. Nominated and elected by CSI’s twelve-member Executive Council, fellows are chosen for their distinguished contributions to science and skepticism, as well as their demonstrated ability to provide practical advice and expertise on various issues and projects of importance to CSI. Robert Bartholomew has earned the respect of the skeptic community through his sociological work on topics such as mass hysteria, moral panics, and mass delusions, as well as the history of folklore and the paranormal. Bartholomew teaches history at Botany Downs Secondary College in South Auckland, New Zealand, and has degrees in sociology from The Flinders University of South Australia, the State University of New York at Albany, and James Cook University in Queensland, Australia. His books include American Hauntings: True Stories Behind Hollywood’s Scariest Movies (written with CSI’s Joe Nickell), A Colorful History of Popular Delusions, Mass Hysteria in Schools: A Worldwide History Since 1566, The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America’s Loch Ness Monster, The Martians Have Landed: A History of Media-Driven Panics and Hoaxes (written with CSI’s Benjamin Radford), and Panic Attacks: Media Manipulation & Mass Delusion, among many others. As a fellow of CSI, Bartholomew joins a truly distinguished list of scientists, academics, writers, and activists such as astronomers Neil deGrasse Tyson and Jill Tarter; biologists Richard Dawkins and E.O. Wilson; Nobel laureate physicists or chemists Leon Lederman, Murray Gell-Mann, Steven Weinberg, and Sir Harry Kroto; philosophers Daniel C. Dennett, Susan Haack, and Mario Bunge; anthropologist Eugenie C. Scott; psychologists James Alcock, Ray Hyman, Steven Pinker, and Richard Wiseman; magician/author James Randi; science educator and television host Bill Nye; Cosmos creator/writer Ann Druyan; plus many prominent physicians and medical scientists who critique questionable medical claims.   A Quarter Million Reasons to Give Your Support Louis Appignani is back, challenging the supporters of reason and science to give our shared mission an end-of-year boost. But he’s not just asking; he’s participating. Louis has generously agreed to match every single donation to the Center for Inquiry all the way up to a quarter million dollars. Louis will double the power of every contribution that comes in from now until the end of 2017. He’s giving all of us the opportunity to make a powerful impact in support of freethought, free expression, and free inquiry. With reality being twisted every day by the forces of superstition, conspiracy theories, and religious dogma, there’s never been a greater need for CFI to have the resources to confront these challenges. Make no mistake; Louis Appignani is serious about this mission. For decades, he’s been a champion of secularism and the rights of the nonreligious. Please don’t miss this amazing opportunity that Louis has presented. We can meet the Appignani Quarter Million Dollar Challenge and do more for our cause than ever before. Make your tax-deductible, matched donation right now.   News from the CFI Community Margaret Sullivan on Point of Inquiry: Reality-Based News Must Rise Again CFI’s flagship podcast Point of Inquiry returns this month with a timely interview on the state of the reality-based news media. Margaret Sullivan, the Washington Post’s media columnist and former Public Editor of the New York Times, joins host P[...]



Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter - No. 94

2017-11-29T16:59+00:00

Cause & Effect is the biweekly newsletter of the Center for Inquiry community, covering the wide range of work that you help make possible. Become a member today! The Top Stories Malaysian Officials Endanger Atheists Earlier this summer, we were stunned to hear a high official in the Malaysian government say that atheists needed to be “hunted down.” This person was responding to a photo being shared over social media of a gathering of nonbelievers in Malaysia and found the sight of those smiling secularists to be unacceptable. He called for an investigation of the circumstances surrounding this meeting, particularly into whether any Muslims (or ex-Muslims) were involved. Many in Malaysia called for the atheists’ imprisonment and even execution. At the UN Human Rights Council last month, CFI President and CEO Robyn Blumner took the opportunity to shine the spotlight on this overreaction to an innocent meeting and Malaysia’s hostility to atheists. “There is no room for this kind of religious persecution in a world community that honors freedom of conscience,” she declared. Last week, another gauntlet was thrown when Malaysia’s deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs, Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, went a step further, calling atheism a “threat,” “unconstitutional,” and even “seditious.” “Anyone who tries to spread ideologies and doctrines that promote atheism and similar beliefs which tarnish the sanctity of other religions, can be charged under the Sedition Act,” said Asyraf to the Malaysian parliament. When this issue first arose in the summer, Robyn told the United Nations that it constituted a “human rights situation.” If atheists and ex-Muslims are indeed “hunted down,” treated as threats to the nation, and charged with sedition, this situation will have grown into a full-blown crisis. Tweeting in response to the words of the deputy minister, CFI board member Richard Dawkins said, “Words fail me. How do you deal with such prodigies of stupidity and injustice?” And it is indeed baffling but hardly unique. It may not be long before CFI’s Secular Rescue program is activated to begin relocating Malaysian atheists, just as it has done for those in Bangladesh, Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere. “We hear almost every day from atheists and secularists in majority-Muslim countries who are terrified for their lives, dealing with suffocating persecution and death threats, and we do all we can to help as many of them as possible,” said Robyn in our official statement. “The comments made by this Malaysian official have put innocent people in danger simply for raising legitimate questions about ingrained religious beliefs.”   Louis Appignani’s Quarter Million Dollar Challenge Louis Appignani is back, challenging the supporters of reason and science to give our shared mission an end-of-year boost. But he’s not just asking; he’s participating. Louis has generously agreed to match every single donation to the Center for Inquiry all the way up to a quarter million dollars. Louis will double the power of every contribution that comes in from now until the end of 2017. He’s giving all of us the opportunity to make a powerful impact in support of freethought, free expression, and free inquiry. With reality being twisted every day by the forces of superstition, conspiracy theories, and religious dogma, there’s never been a greater need for CFI to have the resources to confront these challenges. Make no mistake; Louis Appignani is serious about this mission. For decades, he’s been a champion of secularism and the rights of the nonreligious. Please don’t miss this amazing opportunity that Louis has presented. We can meet the Appignani Qua[...]



Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter - No. 93

2017-11-15T17:53+00:00

Cause & Effect is the biweekly newsletter of the Center for Inquiry community, covering the wide range of work that you help make possible. Become a member today! The Top Stories  Biology Teachers Honor TIES’ Bertha Vazquez Each year, the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) honors individual teachers for their outstanding contributions to this important field of work. One of those awards is the Evolution Education Award, honoring the teacher whose classroom and community efforts have advanced the public’s accurate (and that’s important) understanding of evolution. We are proud to tell you that the recipient of the 2017 Evolution Education Award was none other than Bertha Vazquez, the powerhouse middle school science teacher who heads the Richard Dawkins Foundation’s Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES). Bertha was given the award at the NABT’s conference last week in St. Louis. “It’s an honor to be recognized by such a wonderful organization, the National Association of Biology Teachers,” said Bertha. “The success of TIES is the result of the efforts of my fellow TIES Teacher Corps Members. We all recognize the importance of teachers helping teachers.” As for TIES itself, it has kept up its incredible pace of activity and growth. TIES teacher Gemma Mora-Azuar recently ran a workshop in Houston that trained a record seventy teachers. That same weekend, TIES workshops took place in Columbia, South Carolina; Santa Barbara, California; and Panama City in Florida. Congratulations to Bertha and all the great teachers powering the work of TIES.   The House GOP Budget’s Church-State Sneak Attack The wall between church and state is the fortification that keeps our democracy from collapsing into theocracy, and the religious Right is always looking for ways the breach the wall where they think it weakest. The Johnson Amendment, to belabor this siege metaphor, is akin to a long-range weapon along the parapets of the wall, archers let’s say. It’s a part of federal law that forbids tax-exempt nonprofits (such as churches and the Center for Inquiry) from endorsing or opposing candidates for political office. Though it has proven to be a difficult law to enforce properly, the very presence of the archers has kept most of the enemy at bay. That’s all changed. While those bows and arrows dissuaded most individual churches from engaging in electioneering (and indeed the majority of religious organizations support the Johnson Amendment), a well-funded and maniacally obsessed army of hard-right religious groups is not so easily spooked. Hurling massive payloads of political influence and lobbying dollars from their cross-shaped trebuchet, they aim to knock the archers of the Johnson Amendment from their perch. If they go down, the entire wall will not collapse, but gates of another kind would certainly fly open: the floodgates of political cash, flowing directly toward those churches that wish to become de facto political action committees for religious-Right candidates. (Sort of like a freelance cavalry? This metaphor may be going too far.) A huge volley was flung toward the wall at the beginning of this month, when the House GOP released their proposed tax reform bill, which includes a provision revoking the restrictions of the Johnson Amendment for churches, allowing these institutions to openly support candidates for office. Donations to these churches would remain tax-exempt, and churches have tremendous leeway when it comes to what they use their donations for and how much they reveal about it to the public. That’s how these churches then become unofficial arms of a given candidate’s campaign. Clergy, church employees, and members of congregations have never been prohib[...]



Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter - No. 92

2017-11-01T15:35+00:00

Cause & Effect is the biweekly newsletter of the Center for Inquiry community, covering the wide range of work that you help make possible. Become a member today! The Top Stories Skepticism, Enlightened and Enlivened, at CSICon 2017 This past weekend hundreds of members of the reality-based community from across the country (and some from around the world) gathered in Las Vegas for the biggest and best skeptics’ event, anywhere, CSICon. While this year’s conference took place in the same city and the same venue as CSICon 2016, the context of the two events could not have been more different. One year ago, CSICon took place on the eve of the U.S. presidential election, when most people thought the outcome would be very different. CSICon 2017, however, opened with a shared acknowledgement of the new irrational, anti-scientific, and dangerous political environment. There was no getting around the fact that the biggest skeptics’ conference around was taking place while the White House was occupied by a president who represents and advances almost everything CFI and its Committee for Skeptical Inquiry stand against. How would we address this at what is in large part a celebratory event? Well, you can have your boss dress up like Trump and deliver an opening monologue taunting the attendees by touting “his” intention to subvert all of us with his aggressive irrationality and science denial and admit, “I hope you fail.” Center for Inquiry President and CEO Robyn Blumner had broken the ice and identified the elephant in the room, and the conference took off from there. And it really took off. The looming haze of Trump quickly dispersed, and attendees were treated to an incredible array of presentations, discussions, receptions, and even a film premier. There were special VIP talks, a crazy Halloween disco party, and, of course, an evening watching knights swing heavy, sharp weapons at each other. Richard Wiseman cracked wise with Richard Dawkins, Science Moms debuted their new documentary, Massimo Polidoro recounted amazing stories from the life of the Amazing Randi (who was unable to come due to health concerns), Lawrence Krauss unwove the fabric of the universe, Britt Hermes shined a spotlight on the fake medicine of naturopathy, Maria Konnikova was awarded for her great work, and George Hrab serenaded us with “thoughts and prayers.” And that’s just a sampling. Almost everyone walked away from CSICon 2017 with a renewed sense of determination and optimism, because so many of the talks were anchored in one particular theme: that skeptics can make a difference one person at a time, one conversation at a time, even when national political power is stacked against us. If you couldn’t be there yourself, or you want to refresh some inspiring memories, check out the almost-real-time blogging by Paul Fidalgo, CFI’s Communications Director, at CFI Live (centerforinquiry.live), with almost-real-time summaries and reactions to the event. You can also browse through Twitter with the hashtag #csicon. And then save these dates: October 18–21, 2018. That’s when CSICon comes back to Vegas, this time at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. We’ll see you there.   CFI Indiana Director Honored with ‘Women of Achievement’ Award  Reba Boyd Wooden is one of the most devoted and hardest-working activists you’ll ever meet, and it just so happens that among her many advocacy efforts, she is of course the executive director of CFI Indiana and director of CFI’s Secular Celebrant program. She is passionate and disciplined in her work for issues such as human rights, church-state separation, women’s health, and education, just to name a few. She is also the pres[...]



Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter - No. 91

2017-10-18T17:25+00:00

Cause & Effect is the biweekly newsletter of the Center for Inquiry community, covering the wide range of work that you help make possible. Become a member today! The Top Stories Jason Lemieux Joins CFI as Director of Government Relations The principles for which the Center for Inquiry stands—reason, science, humanist values, and the freedom of inquiry—are vital for a free and thriving society. It seems obvious to us that these values should be guiding leaders and officials at all levels of government in the formulation of public policy, but much too often it seems that many of them are averse to reality. It’s serious business. On a wide range of important issues such as climate change, women’s autonomy, science education, LGTBQ rights, church-state separation, alternative medicine, and even so-called “fake news,” policy must be based on evidence and facts, not dogma and magical thinking. Luckily, last month CFI welcomed a new leader to represent the reality-based community and reason-based policy, our new Director of Government Affairs, Jason Lemieux. Jason’s background is one in which critical thinking fueled dedicated advocacy and problem solving, as the leader of a U.S. Marines intelligence team in Iraq, as a staffer for Members of the U.S. House and Senate, and as an advocate for the interests of veterans. He’ll be bringing that experience and those skills to fight for reason and science on Capitol Hill and at the grassroots level. “We humans are connected to each other and to the cosmos by our relationship to the evidence revealed by a scientific worldview,” said Jason in our official announcement. “To be truly representative, governments must be guided by this evidence, and I look forward to advancing CFI’s work at this critical moment in history.” We’re looking forward to it, too. Welcome, Jason!   Time is Running Out to See Richard Dawkins This Fall!  Time is running out for you to see and hear Richard Dawkins this fall, along with some very special guests, for unscripted conversations live on stage for “An Evening with Richard Dawkins.” October 29: Hosted by CFI Los Angeles at the Alex Theatre, Richard will be joined on stage by renowned author Michael Lewis, whose highly acclaimed books include Moneyball, Liar’s Poker, The Big Short, Flash Boys, Boomerang, Losers, and many others, spanning the worlds of Wall Street, professional baseball, and presidential campaigns. You surely will not want to miss this chance to see the sparks and ideas fly between these two sharp, quick-witted, brilliant fellows. Get your tickets before they’re all gone! November 4: Richard comes to the Bushnell in Hartford, Connecticut, for a conversation with the New York Times’s science journalist Carl Zimmer, whose upcoming book is a fresh new perspective on the history and science of heredity, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: What Heredity Is, Is Not, and May Become. Dawkins and Zimmer are a perfect pairing, so buy your tickets now. November 7: Richard hosts a special V.I.P. reception at the 2017 Carl Sagan Fest at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. These tickets are going particularly fast.   An Avalanche of Issues: Religious Exemptions, Discrimination, and More  In the four weeks since the last edition of Cause & Effect, there has been a great deal of activity on many of the issues we care about. At both the national and the local levels, CFI has been tracking developments and working toward solutions on several cases. Hobbling Health Care: The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) was already very generous with religiously based exceptions to the Act’s contraceptive coverage [...]



CFI Welcomes Jason Lemieux as Director of Government Affairs

2017-10-04T21:46+00:00

The Center for Inquiry is proud to welcome Jason Lemieux as its new Director of Government Affairs as of Monday, October 2. A veteran of both the U.S. military and Capitol Hill, Jason will lead CFI’s efforts in advancing public policy based on reason, science, and humanist values.

(image) Jason comes to CFI with a breadth of experience. As a former U.S. Marine and serving three tours of duty in Iraq, Sgt. Lemieux led an intelligence and infantry team in Ramadi. Coming home, he served as a spokesperson and board member for Iraq Veterans Against the War.

After earning a master’s degree from Columbia University in International Affairs, Jason was a fellow in the congressional offices of Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Charlie Rangel (D-NY), and most recently served as a legislative correspondent for U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Jason’s written work has appeared in publications such as Time Magazine, New York Daily News, and Huffington Post, and he has been interviewed on outlets such as PBS Newshour, Al Jazeera English, and even Fox and Friends.

“Jason will be advocating for reason and humanist values in policymaking,” said Robyn Blumner, President and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “To cut through the thicket of science denial, and hostility toward atheists, we need someone sharp, tough, and persuasive. That someone is Jason Lemieux, and we are looking forward to having him at the helm of the Center for Inquiry’s domestic advocacy work.”

“It’s my honor to join CFI as the Director of Government Affairs,” said Lemieux. “We humans are connected to each other and to the cosmos by our relationship to the evidence revealed by a scientific worldview. To be truly representative, governments must be guided by this evidence, and I look forward to advancing CFI’s work at this critical moment in history.”

# # #

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at www.centerforinquiry.net.