Really, Mr. Friedman?

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
August 06, 2014

Writing from Tel Aviv, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman today  surveyed the current Israeli-Gaza war and sighed, "More and more, this is becoming a religious conflict." Becoming, Mr. Friedman? Really? The seemingly-perpetual crisis in the Middle East has been a religious conflict -- not totally, but significantly (and often principally) since its beginnings. And all three Abrahamic faiths bear guilt, in my view.

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Harry Potter and the Atheist of Sioux Falls

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 06, 2014

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

The European Space Agency makes history with the successful orbit of its Rosetta spacecraft around comet 67P, which required what one scientist called "the most complex and exotic trajectory that we have ever seen."

(And while you're at it, check out Cassini's picture of a hexagonal cloud formation on Saturn.) 

We at CFI are activating our SHARE program (Skeptics and Humanists Aid and Relief Effort) to raise funds for the Ugandan humanist organization that lost everything after a violent robbery. 

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Is the “Crying Woman” Really Bigfoot?

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
August 05, 2014

While the Animal Planet TV series Finding Bigfoot never does find the elusive man-beast, the show’s “team” tries hard to convince us they have. Again and again, they try to conjure up the mythological creature with a fuzzy photo, bent twig, or fleeting shadow. Their leader, Matt Moneymaker, is, at least, aptly named for a Bigfoot ballyhooer.

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And By the Way, Save My Cats

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 05, 2014

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

Lindsay Beyerstein has a great episode of Point of Inquiry up, with Laurel Braitman discussing "madness" and mental illness in the animal kingdom

South Carolina state legislator Mike Fair is working on a law to "teach the controversy" on evolution in public schools. This is a guy who says:

To teach that natural selection is the answer to origins is wrong. I don’t think it should be taught as fact.

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More Dangerous Than Nukes

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
August 04, 2014

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

At Huffington Post, CFI chief Ron Lindsay relates his impressions of the Qur'an, and finds it a "defensive" work in which "the text exudes insecurity masked with bravado."

If the Qur'an seems more relentlessly violent, it's in part a function of its structure. Rather than a chronological narrative, it's a set of admonitions and instructions, repeated often, so the effect produced can be one of adamant hostility to those who reject Muhammad's revelations, whereas the murder of those who stood in the way of the Israelites is part of a larger, unfolding story.

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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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