About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Michael’s Picks

by Michael De Dora
* A new survey has found that 67 percent of Americans believe the First Amendment “requires a clear separation of church and state.”
* Good news: the Texas Board of Education has unanimously approved scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements from established mainstream publishers, and rejected creationist-backed supplements. 
* Thirty percent of Americans believe the Bible is the actual and literal word of God, according to a new study from Gallup. Meanwhile, 49 percent said the Bible is the inspired word of God and that it should not be taken literally, while 17 percent said they consider it an ancient book of stories recorded by men.
* A second town clerk in upstate New York has quit her job in order to avoid having to sign marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, citing religious objections. 
* The Institute of Medicine recently recommended that all health insurance plans should provide free coverage for prescription birth control, breast-pump rentals, counseling for domestic violence, and annual wellness exams and HIV tests. The move immediately drew criticism from the religious right, but as The Economist points out, their objections are weak. 
* In response to Rob Bell, the Southern Baptist Convention has approved a resolution, titled “On the Reality of Hell,” that affirms their belief that Hell is real, and is “eternal, conscious punishment.”
* A House committee has voted to reinstate a ban on U.S. funding to health and aid organizations that offer or even just present women the option of an abortion around the world. The measure’s political future is bleak, but it does illustrate the situation we’re in.


  1. What happened to Texas? Are they going to publicly accept now that Earth revolves around the Sun?

  2. Of course, hell as “eternal, conscious punishment” requires an “eternal, conscious punisher.” The "problem of evil" just raised its head again.


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