Oh, the Humanity!

by David R. Koepsell
August 01, 2014

The world is, on its own, meaningless. Yet we are creatures living in it and driven by a desire to find patterns, to find meaning, to find purpose. That remains up to us. Neither science, nor religion, nor even a particular philosophy can do this for us. We are all utterly and somewhat horrifyingly free. The best of all our attempts at finding meaning show us the nature of this freedom, and point us to the responsibility that flows from it. We must then build for ourselves some meaning. Humanists happen to do so by realizing that we are not only all utterly free, but responsible in that freedom for one another as well as ourselves. 

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Pseudoscience with Tax Breaks

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 01, 2014

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

Huge: Uganda's Constitutional Court strikes down the country's horrid anti-gay law. The catch: The ruling was more procedural, as the court determined that the law was passed without a quorum, and the substance of the bill was not at issue. 

Kimberly Winston reports that the Satanic Temple's legal gambit about "informed consent" abortion laws and the Hobby Lobby precedent faces some legal obstacles, one of which being whether any court would conclude that the Satanists are actually part of a religion. 

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The Moral Hard Drive

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 31, 2014

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

CFI is officially backing a bill from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen that would expand access to contraception for women in the military and their dependents. 

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom says the State Department made a glaring omission by not including Pakistan on its list of Countries of Particular Concern on the issue of religious freedom. 

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc, says women should not laugh in public because it threatens their chastity. 

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And I Would Rove Twenty-Five Miles

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 30, 2014

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

On Point of InquiryJosh Zepps talks to David Ropeik, an expert on the perception of risk, to talk about the recent spate of horrible air travel disasters and what we think of as "safe."

A blog billing itself as "liberalism's worst nightmare" (I wonder what that could be...a ban on artisanal cheeses?) really thinks we at CFI are a bunch of jerks for our Keep Health Care Safe and Secular campaign:

I fail to see how this campaign has anything to do with inquiry. The Center for Inquiry has already decided the issue for all of us. They’ve done the inquiring and the research, and we just need to fall in line. I’m so sick of this pompous attitude.

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We Entertain All Complaints

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 29, 2014

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

The State Department releases its 2013 International Religious Freedom Report, highlighting the actions of nations of concern:

These governmental actions not only infringed on freedom of religion themselves; they often created a permissive environment for broader human rights abuses. Restrictive policies included laws criminalizing religious activities and expression, prohibitions on conversion or proselytizing, blasphemy laws, and stringent registration requirements for religious organizations. 

Meanwhile, President Obama appoints Rabbi David Saperstein as the U.S.'s ambassador for international religious freedom, making Saperstein the first non-Christian to hold the position. 

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It Should Go Without Saying

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 28, 2014

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

As seems to always be the case, the great scramble to get everything up and running for the CFI Leadership Conference turned into a great experience of inspiration and determination for all in attendance. I had to miss the last day's events so I could be home for my daughter's second birthday, but judging from the tweet stream, there was a pretty moving lineup of presentations. Many thanks to all who attended, all who presented, and most of all to those outreachers who actually made it all happen.

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Truth and Myth Behind “Magic in the Moonlight”

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
July 25, 2014

 A look at some of the real-life events and characters that inspired the new Woody Allen film Magic in the Moonlight.

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Science is not a Crime

by David R. Koepsell
July 25, 2014

Not every threat to scientific progress comes from religion. Some threats are arising due to the changing nature of how science is funded and pursued. A basic institution that helped begin the scientific revolution is publishing. The changing nature of the academic climate, and publishing businesses, now threaten to undermine the way science is conducted. Science cannot proceed well without free and open access to its results, and academic publishers who put findings behind firewalls betray us all.

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Reactionary Weirdos

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 25, 2014

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

The 2014 CFI Leadership Conference is underway, and I'm knocking out a quick Heresy here before I get back into things here at the Mothership. 

USA Today has a new piece on he-of-the-baseless-cancer-treatments, Stanislaw Burzynski, as the Texas Medical Board tries to pick up where the FDA fell down. CFI chief Ron Lindsay is quoted as the prime critic of Burzynski cheering on the Texas Board, saying, "Burzynski should not be practicing medicine. Period." 

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A Cirque du Soleil of the Mind

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 24, 2014

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

I'm here at the airport getting ready to fly to Amherst and CFI's Mothership for the CFI Leadership Conference. Where we confer. About leadership. Anyway, I understand people really like it. Especially the YOUTH. So, there may or may not be a Heresy tomorrow, we'll have to see how things go.

So here's the thing: There was some really excellent news that happened a few weeks ago, but with all the other things going on, only yesterday did we have a chance to actually make a thing of it. But thing-make we finally did, announcing that our own besuited public policy chief Michael De Dora was elected president of the UN's NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Well-deserved, and a huge deal for our movement on the international stage. Hemant applauds, "It’s a tremendous honor and I have no doubt De Dora will be a great representative and model of Humanist values."

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