Free Inquiry

This magazine provides essays, editorials, poems, features and reviews on secularism and a life guided by reason, science, compassion for human beings and ideals of human freedom.

Articles from Vol. 23, No. 2, Spring

1984 Is Here! (OP-ED)
Throughout our history, the Bill of Rights has been often held in contempt by our government--witness the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts; Abraham Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus and the mass jailing of opponents of his policies during the Civil...
A Humanist's Open Letter to Hollywood. (OP-ED)
Hey, how about us! Over here, yeah, here we are. And what do we want? What did Johnny Rocco want in Key Largo, baby? More. More. That's right, more! We want more exposure, more access, more product! In the name of equal time, fairness, and that much-prized,...
Atheist in a Bunker: Reassessing Madalyn Murray O'Hair. (Physician-Assisted Suicide Pro and Con)
The visit of Madalyn Murray Q'Hair, her son Jon, and adopted granddaughter Robyn to New Zealand in 1982 had an immediate effect on the humanist movement in that country. The three spoke at Rationalist House, headquarters of the New Zealand Rationalist...
Fascism Anyone? (OP-ED)
FREE INQUIRY readers may pause to read the "Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement of Principles" on the inside cover of the magazine. To a secular humanist, these principles seem so logical, so right, so crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political...
Flipping a Quantum Coin. (Science and Religion)
Several readers objected to Tamer Edis's discussion of randomness in his "An Accidental World" (Fl, Science and Religion, Pall 2002). Quantum randomness may be counterintuitive,but it isn't just a good idea, it's the law. We invited Edis to expound...
Hello, God(s): A Discussion. (Humanism at Large)
CHRIS: Hello, you don't believe in anything. Are you an atheist? AGNES: Well no, I am a polytheist. I think atheist sounds so negative. C.: Well, at least you believe in some sort of god. But isn't polytheism kind of primitive? We all know that...
Iran Moves toward Secularism. (World Report)
In this new column, Bill Cooke comments on developments of concern to humanists worldwide. A longtime New Zealand humanist activist, Cooke is now a senior editor of Free Inquiry and director of the Center for Inquiry's new Commission for Transnational...
Jesus in Smallville: The Myths of Jesus' Childhood. (Physician-Assisted Suicide, Pro and Con)
No ACCOUNT IN NAZARETH The earliest known Gospel, Mark, has no tale to tell of Jesus before his baptism as an adult. There is nothing about a miraculous conception or birth, no angelic annunciation, no child prodigy stories such as we find in the...
Juan Diego: The Saint That Never Was. (Physician-Assisted Suicide, Pro and Con)
The saint that never was" may sound like the title of a cheap thriller of the forties, something from the pen of Leslie Charteris or G.K Chesterton. But it's more like a modern-day melodrama. It's the story of how the Catholic Church, just to test...
Letters
The New Bioethics It doesn't make sense to me that members of the Religious Right are opposed to human embryonic stem cell research ("The New Bioethics," FI, Winter 2002/03). Christians should embrace this practice wholeheartedly. As soon as the...
No Free Lunch for Intelligent Design. (OP-ED)
Bill Dembski, one of the leading proponents of modern intelligent design "theory," is an interesting animal. But before turning to him, I should explain why I am telling readers of a freethought magazine about the latest attempt by religiously inspired...
Preserving Our Freethought Heritage Redux: The CFI Libraries Keep Growing. (Physician - Assisted Suicide, Pro and Con)
When I began working at the Center for Inquiry Libraries back in 1996, I was not completely sure what freethought was. I had a few notions, but I had never read a formal definition. I discovered a possible reason that I didn't know much about freethought...
Presidential End-Run Yields Faith-Based Victory. (Church-State Update)
Church-State Update tracks continuing developments in important federal, state, and local church-state issues. Each item is preceded by an up arrow (*) or a down arrow (*), based on the story's implications for separation of church and state and the...
Priests, the Church, and Special Treatment. (OP-ED)
The ongoing scandal of Catholic pedophile priests has exposed the privileged position organized religion undeservedly retains in the twenty-first century. Despite the glaring hypocrisy of presumptive moral exemplars violating the most vulnerable of...
Religion Is under Siege-Really! (OP-ED)
Religious people claiming they're the victims of excessive secularism generally have about as much credibility as conservatives complaining about the liberal media. America has only a subculture of disbelief, inhabited by a small, maligned minority...
She Was a Teenage Martyr: The Life and Death of Cassie Bernall. (Physician-Assisted Suicide, Pro and Con)
Reverend George Kristen of West Bowles Community Church in Littleton, Colorado, described Cassie Bernall's funeral as a "graduation ceremony," a day "to celebrate"; Minister Dave McPherson of the same congregation likened the service to "a wedding."...
Socrates: Mentor for Humanists. (Great Minds)
We can draw energy, inspiration, and strategies from the gadfly who launched the Western tradition of independent thinking 2,500 years ago. As humanists, it is natural for us to look to our fellow human beings for the values and motivation to become...
The Case Against: Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. (Physician-Assisted Suicide, Pro and Con)
EUTHANASIA AND PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE There are two major reasons to oppose euthanasia. One is based on principle: it is wrong for one human to intentionally kill another (except in justified self-defense, or in the defense of others). The other...
The Case For: Physician-Assisted Suicide. (Physician-Assisted Suicide, Pro and Con)
In early 1997, the medical community awaited the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Vacco v. Quill. Ultimately the high court would overturn this suit, in which doctors and patients had sought to overturn New York's law prohibiting physician-assisted...
The Court of Wisdom Convenes. (the Court of Wisdom)
The Center for Inquiry is committed to the use of science, reason, and freedom of inquiry in all areas of human endeavor. But is this enough? There is an abundance of experts in modem society in virtually all fields of human endeavor, and these...
The Ethics of Belief. (OP-ED)
In his book A Charge to Keep, George W Bush writes of his decision to "recommit my heart to Jesus Christ." He traces it to a walk along the beach in Maine with the Christian evangelist Billy Graham. Conversing with Graham, Bush was "humbled to learn...
The Final Freedom: Suicide and the 'New Prohibitionists'. (OP-ED)
This issue's special section on physician-assisted suicide puts me in mind of a larger issue: suicide, period. While suicide has never been exactly popular, a new assault on our right to suicide is brewing. It's something secular humanists ought to...
The Suspension of Disbelief and the Origin of Culture: Religion's Role in the Evolution of Society. (Physician - Assisted Suicide, Pro and Con)
Generations from now, historians may look back on our era and marvel at the fact that so many people still literally believed in the articles of faith undergirding the major Western religions. How, they might ask, was it possible that the unbelievable...
The War against Iraq. (the Immorality Of)
FREE INQUIRY magazine does not endorse political candidates nor political parties. We recognize the wide diversity of political viewpoints among secular humanists. We do, however, take positions concerning two vital issues: first, we support humanist...
Was Dr. Kevorkian Right? Why Cling to a Life without Savor? (Physician-Assisted Suicide, Pro and Con)
I am not in a hurry to emulate those old Eskimos set adrift on ice floes, nor do I envy folks who retire only to disappear into the couch. Born in 1930, I've already outlived my life expectancy, but I don't intend to slow down now--not with so much...
Why Secular Humanism Is Wrong: About Assisted Suicide. (Physician-Assisted Suicide, Pro and Con)
Secular humanist believers in assisted suicide! euthanasia routinely dismiss opponents as religious zealots who are driven by a sectarian desire to impose Christianity on society. In this view, people like me care little about the right to personal...
Will the People Revolt to Save the Democracy? (OP-ED)
Who could imagine the people of a great democracy turning over the right to harass and propagandize themselves on their own public airwaves to a handful of gigantic corporations and the billionaire press lords who control those corporations? But that...
Wondrous Humanity. (OP-ED)
Perhaps the most amazing feature of reality we have encountered so far is ourselves. We are perplexing, too, for what else in nature reflects on itself, criticizes and commends, blames and praises its own kind, does good and evil and the whole gamut...