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Tag Archive | "news"

Ending Fake News From Within

If journalists and publishers want to end fake news, they must start with themselves. For far too long certain conventions have been perpetuated that, under scrutiny, have no place in any legitimate journalistic publication.

Stop publishing horoscopes, feng shui tips, and other beliefs definitively disproven by science such as traditional Chinese medicine, crystal healing, cleansing diets, homeopathy, etc. If you must feature pseudoscience, then be critical and get the findings of legitimate science authorities.
Stop making stupid people famous. Banish high society columns where people are featured simply because they were born rich or pretty. Being born rich or pretty is not an accomplishment. If you want to feature someone well bred then feature a pure breed pig, horse, or dog instead. If they are philanthropists then feature their advocacy. If they are tycoons then feature their business success. If they are well dressed then feature the designers. If they travel then feature the destinations. If they are artists then feature their art. Obsessive hoarding, be it any material possession or wealth, beyond any practical need, is a symptom of a sick mind. High society columns are most often amoral, highlighting plunderers and tax evaders, oppressors of laborers and peasants, as if they were worthy to look up to.
Stop showbiz gossip. Judge actors and musicians for their artistry. If they are not true artists then don’t feature them at all. Stop exploiting the private lives of stars and stop being exploited by celebrities who want media attention.
Stop featuring blind item columns and anonymous writers. Everyone must practice accountability and transparency. Journalism is only for the brave and those that can’t name names better shut up.

Stop prostituting the lifestyle section. No upstanding publisher would demand the front page news section or the business section to compromise their journalistic integrity and sell out to make money for the publication. So why demand that of the lifestyle section? The newsmen who most often run publications often look down on the lifestyle section as insubstantial and yet they are the ones who often expect the lifestyle section to sell out and make money for the publication. Cultural reportage is extremely relevant and important. Corruption, poverty, rape, bigotry, and vanity are all perpetuated by flawed culture. Environmentalism, gender equality, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, accountability, honesty, ambition, and creativity are all values that can and should be promoted by arts and culture.

Stop judging by popularity. You don’t publish something because people want to read it and watch it; you publish something because people need to read it and watch it. Stop judging articles by the number of likes, shares, or reads. These are the wrong metrics. If popularity was the basis then all publications would be sensationalist tabloids with sexy pictures, clickbait headlines, and hoax news.

Stop giving equal legitimacy to opposing points of view when this misrepresents reality. For example, It’s not right giving equal voice to a lone dissenter denying man-made climate change when the vast majority of the scientific establishment confirms the existence of man-made climate change.

Be plainspoken. Don’t say he “misspoke” if it was a deliberate and often-repeated lie. Call a spade a spade.

Get real writers and journalists. Don’t get an editor-in-chief because he or she represents the aspirational ideal of your readership or audience—glamorous, accomplished, etc. Don’t get columnists just because they are famous. If they can’t write well or have nothing worthy to say then they have no business in your publication.

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FF Podcast (Audio) 014: Carlos Celdran Convicted and Offending Religious Feelings

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 2.04.00 PM

This week we talk about Carlos Celdran’s conviction for the crime of “offending religious feelings.”

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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FF Top Ten: July 25, 2010

Hello, and welcome to another segment of the Filipino Freethinkers’ weekly news updates! It has been a very busy week on the net, compounded by a mix of some truly interesting, and truly depressing news.

The tech geeks among you will probably have heard of the prototype touch pad that has been unveiled in India recently. At just $35 dollars, it’s definitely going to be a serious competitor for the likes of the iPad. Its inventors explained that the device was intended to be used for the education market, so if Dick Gordon’s still serious about using the Kindle for classrooms, you might want to give him a ring.

In other good news, we also have historian Ambeth Ocampo’s ongoing series of talks over at the Ayala Museum. The second talk just concluded this Saturday, but you can still catch up for his August and September lectures.

There’s also the matter of Phil Plait’s upcoming show on Discovery Channel, Bad Universe. I have no details yet, but based on the trailer that was recently taken down by youtube (Booo!), it will cover some of the more prominent theories on how the universe can destroy earth (killer asteroids, alien invasions, etc.) Doubly awesome is that the format will use copious amounts of Mythbusters-style explosions.

As for the bad news, Desmond Tutu has recently announced his plans for retirement. I’m not a very big fan of religion, as many of you know, but I have come to respect Tutu for his progressive thinking and tolerance. It saddens me that he is stepping down at a time when the religious community need people like him the most.

There was also the matter of the three near-simultaneous earthquakes that recently rocked Southern Philippines, and the passing of pinoy comedian Redford White. In any case, just click on the links below for more details, and be sure to visit the News Thread at the forums for further updates.

Oh yeah, and before I forget: Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty is launching this July 27.


Friendly Atheist interviews Burn-a-Koran-Day founder (via The Friendly Atheist) Link

Desmond Tutu announces retirement (via The Daily Beast) Link

How to Convert an Atheist (via Greta Christina’s blog) Link

Three intensity 7 earthquakes rock Philippines, Moleman wanted for questioning (via The Hindu Business Line) Link

WBC trolls San Diego Comi-Con. Where’s your Batman now? (via Comics Alliance) Link

India’s $35 iPad contender (via BBC) Link

New Discovery Channel show: Bad Universe (via Discover Magazine) Link

How Sexism Hurts Men (via The Blowfish Blog) Part 1 Link, Part 2 Link

Ambeth Ocampo does Ayala (via The Philippine Star) Link

R.I.P., Redford White (via Yahoo News) Link

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FF Top Ten: April 7, 2010

I have no energy for outrage anymore as there is just so much going on in the world today.  That school in Mississippi who canceled the “gay” prom? They fake-organized another prom with just a few of the outcast students and kept a secret “real” prom for the rest of the class.  There is so much sex scandal news that they’re all sounding the same.   Aquino is winning! Earthquakes for everyone!!

Submit yo links via News Thread.


Kotaku is doing a series of articles on religion in games.  Here, and here.

Giant lizards are among us. (via Inquirer) link

Middle-class Muslims fuel the Halal food boom in France.  (via The Guardian) link

No more fur for ceremonial robes in Israel – fur ban is being opposed by Orthodox Jews (via The Guardian) link

Art exhibit in the Netherlands attempts to examine the relationship between Christianity and sexuality. It’s a pity that there are no pictures in the article.  This is the only picture I found. (via the NY Times) link

Learn about the Jews in China here. (via the NY Times) link

Will having more women in the Catholic Church hierarchy help prevent future sex scandals? (via Newsweek) link

An atheist charity formed by atheists, for the needy around the world. (via the NY Times) link

Scientists are studying atheist brains to see if they’re sort of different. (via Globe and Mail) link

Parents in Malaysia are in a custody battle after the husband secretly converted their children to Islam (they were formerly Hindu).  Who gets the final say on a child’s faith? (via NY Times) link

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FF Top Ten: March 10, 2010

Today’s top ten offer some new perspectives on religion.  Is it me or is secularism gaining ground? Check out the analysis on UK’s Equality Bill and Gordon Brown’s secularist government. Because the majority of MPs are not politically aligned with any church, sex ed bills and equal rights for homosexuals were passed, and no church has major influence on legislation.  Amazing, isn’t it?

“The unique feature of Gordon Brown’s government is not its economic incompetence. Rather, it is doctrinaire secularism. For the first time in British history, no one sitting around the Cabinet table holds traditional Christian views that defy the liberal consensus on social issues or sexual morality.”

Send your stories via The News Thread or the comments.  Theme suggestions are also welcome.


Gay church blessings and a crisis of faith (via The Telegraph) link – Brilliant analysis of secularism in the UK and how it has allowed for certain bills to pass

3D BIBLE MOVIE IN THE WORKS!!! (via Deadline New York, Gawker) link

Pope’s brother: sexual abuse at choir school not discussed (via link

“Koran says – you’re free in your religion” – Muslim cleric (via RT) link – Cleric issues fatwa against terrorism; insists ‘fatwa’ was mistranslated and does not mean ‘holy war’

Which came first – religion or the brain? (via Eurekalert) link – Press release on new book proposing that the brain needs religion; here is a good interview of the author by Mcleans link

Pope’s path to sainthood delayed by miracle doubts (via The Telegraph) link – Pope John Paul II is not a faith healer after all!

Funeral flap: religion and free speech rights (via link – Apparently some bigots want the government to uphold their (alleged) free-speech right to disrespect funerals of homosexuals

Violence in Nigeria – food not faith (via The Guardian) link – Analysis on the murders in Jos

6 questions for an atheist undercover in an evangelical church (via The Huffington Post) link

Oregon faith healers get 16 months for son’s death (via AP) link – Faith healing could lead to negligent homicide!

Posted in Media, Politics, Religion, Reviews, ScienceComments (1)

FF Top Ten: March 9, 2010

Today’s links are a bit of an oddball group.  We have rioting, voodoo, Mexican secularism, WWII, quantum physics (it’s your favorite – infinite regression!), Anglicans converting to Roman Catholicism because of their common intolerance for gays, priests who make sense, condom talk, and nuns affected by the economic recession.  And Palin says something stupid.  You know the drill: send your stories via The News Thread or the comments.  Theme suggestions are also welcome.


More than 500 die in religious riots in Jos, Nigeria (submitted by Frank, via Wikipedia, Peagle) link , link

Fr. Bernas talks about separation of church and state (submitted by innerminds, via link

Cabral accepts Bishop’s debate challenge (via link

Sarah Palin: God wrote on his hand too (via Washington Post) link

Jewish Knight defends Pope Pius XII’s WWII record (via link

Voodoo practitioners shrug off blame for Haiti quake (via link

100 Anglican parishes convert to Roman Catholic Church (via link

Vlatko Vedral: I’d like to explain the origin of God (via The Guardian) link

Mexico’s separation of church and state (via link

Outsourcing a threat to French nuns’ holy industry (via The Guardian) link

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FF Top Ten: March 8, 2010, International Women's Day edition

Today is International Women’s Day! In addition to the usual, today’s top links were chosen because they discuss women and religion, women in science (at least for a day), and reproductive health.  I would also highly recommend the piece by Peter Hitchens and the expose on Scientology, which I know a lot of you are fascinated with.   Submit your links in The News Thread or the comments.  Theme suggestions are also welcome.


Four Women and a Prophet – women fighting to reform their religion (via Times of India) link

Women will be staffing CERN on International Women’s Day (via Indiana University) link

Tamar Abrams: This International Women’s Day, let’s aim to end maternal deaths (via Huffington Post) link

Bishops want to debate Cabral on condoms (submitted by Justin Aquino, via link

(As a Catholic) Noynoy flip flops on RH Bill (submitted by Justin Aquino, via link

Peter Hitchens: How I found peace with my atheist brother (via Daily Mail) link

On Christopher: “He often assumes that moral truths are self-evident, attributing purpose to the universe and swerving dangerously round the problem of conscience – which surely cannot be conscience if he is right since the idea of conscience depends on it being implanted by God. If there is no God then your moral qualms might just as easily be the result of indigestion.”

Breaking with Scientology (via link

Top home-school texts dismiss Darwin, evolution (via AP) link

Evangelical bishops “in sympathy” with same-sex partnerships (via Ekklesia) link
Malaysian Catholics accept apology over “desecration” (via link

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FF Top Ten: March 7, 2010

Today’s news links seem par for the course – we’ve all discussed this before, right? Nevertheless, there is some comfort in knowing that some things can be relied on in this effed up world of ours.  Submit your links in The News Thread or the comments.


Bishops endorse the JC de los Reyes (via link

Bishops’ endorsement of a presidential bet cause colleagues’ concern (via link

Catholic school in Colorado boots student with gay parents (via AP) link

Jews, Muslims worry body scanners violate their religion (via The Salt Lake Tribune) link

Films with faith-based themes big at Oscars in 2010 (via link

Atheists, agnostics put ads in buses in Detroit (via link

Darwin foes add global warming to targets (via link

Learning from the Sin of Sodom (special mention to World Vision) (via link

Papal aide linked to Vatican gay prostitution ring (submitted by Lawrence Salmingo and The Skyline Bugoy, via Irish Times) link

‘Idol’ finalist Jermaine Sellers: “It wasn’t in God’s will” (via USA Today) link

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Antique Governor is a Catholic lapdog

We’re for natural family planning, says Antique governor

MANILA, June 23, 2009—The Catholic Church has found an ally in Antique Governor Salvacion Z. Perez when it comes to the issue of natural family planning.

Speaking to CBCPNews late Monday morning, Perez said she have been going around the province informing the people of the need to adopt the natural family planning.

While the “natural” method is useful, it cannot be the only method available to women. It is not as effective as condoms, pills, injectibles, or IUDs, nor can it prevent the spread of venereal diseases. It is sad to see that while the church is losing support from its own laity, self-serving politicians have taken the slack and are enforcing the church’s dogmas to their constituents.

(Cross-posted from Verbal Razors)

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