Punch it Manfully in the Face

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 18, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.     

Lots of big things happened yesterday! 

In Geneva, Michael De Dora delivered CFI's statement to the UN Human Rights Council on Saudi Arabia's horrific treatment of Raif Badawi, who will be subject to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes for "insulting Islam." We have an image we're passing around the social networks to raise the alarm, and you can see video of Michael's presentation -- as well as info on how to help -- here

Also, we were delighted to see Point of Inquiry named as one of the nine podcasts "that will make you smarter" by Business Insider, alongside shows like This American Life and Startalk Radio. It's like "the best philosophy class you could imagine," says Drake Baer, and we agree -- congrats POI team!

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The Latest Harris Book/The Latest Harris Controversy

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
September 18, 2014

As you may have heard, Sam Harris has a new book out, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. Based on what I've heard about it so far, and what I've managed to read (to date, just the first chapter), it raises some interesting questions.

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‘Miss Representation’ and The Importance of Good Statistics

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
September 17, 2014

In my many years of fact-checking news media reports I'm continually baffled by the defensive stance that people often take when you fact-check their statistics. In fact I'm against misinformation and bad statistics--whatever the source, and especially when being offered in service of causes I support.

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It’s Better Than Prison

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 17, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.     

The flame atop the "I" in CFI, like the Eye of Sauron, but much nicer, is shining its light on two church-state separation issues in the news: 

In Indiana, we're asking the governor and the Natural Resources Department to remove the Christian cross at the World War II memorial. Failing that, we'll be looking at potential legal options. The Indy Star and Indiana Public Media cover the story, and our legal director Nick Little can be heard for about a nanosecond in this WIBC radio piece.

We're also asking the Air Force to do the honorable thing, and nix its requirement that enlistees swear an oath to God, which it should be noted they only began requiring again last year. 

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My Atheism is Picardian

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 16, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.     

Kimberly Winston reports on the debate over Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Yale. Winston also has a piece up about Mormons' use of social media to buck church teachings and reach like-minded folks.

Tom Jacobs reports on new research showing, again, that people really don't like atheists:

The fact that their belief systems defy the national consensus, along with “negative cultural stereotypes of atheists as cynical,” leads to the assumption that “atheists are unlikely to follow important group-based value norms” such as reciprocity and trust, according to a research team led by Skidmore College psychologist Corey Cook.

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Undercut Their Moral Authority

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 15, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.     

Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post explores the idea of Sam Harris as spiritual guru, following her interview of Harris at CFI-DC last week:

I interviewed Harris this week before 700 people at an event sponsored by the secular advocacy group Center for Inquiry, and a good number of hands shot up when he asked who in the crowd had meditated. They happily complied as he instructed them to close their eyes, and then led them in a brief meditation.  

Harris will join the folks at CFI-Portland on October 2

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Flummoxing by Design

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 12, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.     

Our public policy chief Michael De Dora is in Geneva today to represent CFI at the UN Human Rights Council. He tweeted this pic (neat!), and he's going to be keeping us updated on all the goings-on. 

You probably already know there's this BuzzFeed piece on the issue of misogyny in the movement. 

And as an odd kind of side note, you have Michael Shermer writing a d'spatch to d'judge in d'fense of Dinesh D'Souza who's in d'spose in a d'tention facility. 

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You Have No Right Not to Reincarnate

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 11, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.     

Last night, CFI-DC presented an event with Sam Harris, in conversation with the Washington Post's Michelle Boorstein. Here's our boss Ron Lindsay with Harris at the event. Kimberly Winston at RNS has a look at his new endeavors into secular spirituality.

Today, Harris posts his thoughts on the religious angle to the threat of ISIS:

Which will come first, flying cars and vacations to Mars, or a simple acknowledgment that beliefs guide behavior and that certain religious ideas—jihad, martyrdom, blasphemy, apostasy—reliably lead to oppression and murder? It may be true that no faith teaches people to massacre innocents exactly—but innocence, as the President surely knows, is in the eye of the beholder. Are apostates “innocent”? Blasphemers? Polytheists? Islam has the answer, and the answer is “no.” 

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At Best a Sputtering Engine

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 10, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.     

Stephen Law, provost of CFI-UK, has started a new blog here at CFI's Free Thinking site, "The Outer Limits." Go see! 

Tonight, Sam Harris comes to CFI-DC for an on-stage interview by Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post. I am jealous I cannot be there. Josh Zepps recently interviewed Harris for Point of Inquiry, and then got another shot at him for HuffPost Live.

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Are Religious Rights and Freedoms Being Trampled?

The Outer Limits with Stephen Law
September 09, 2014

Some religious people suppose that certain laws or rules that bind others should not bind them. They should be exempt on religious grounds. So, for example, in the UK a Christian employee of an airline claimed she should be exempt from a company dress code that prevented her from publicly displaying a crucifix. Christian hoteliers have maintained they should be exempt from anti-discrimination laws requiring that they not refuse same-sex couples double rooms. In the US, a photography company has argued that it should be exempt from the law requiring it offer the same services to same-sex couples as other couples wanting their occasion filmed.

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