White House Interfaith Panel—No Place for Humanists

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
September 19, 2013

The Secular Student Alliance (SSA) has accepted an invitation from the White House to take part in a Department of Education interfaith panel to help plan campus service projects, and most of the movement is happily abuzz about that. I’d like to offer an alternative view. Speaking personally, I think that to accept that invitation was most unfortunate – and I think that is true on several levels.

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You Smell Papal

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 19, 2013

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

CFI's UN representatives raise the alarm on the human rights crisis of servile marriage. Said CFI's Dr. Elizabeth O'Casey to the UN Human Rights Council:

Culture and religion . . . must never legitimise anachronistic practices that violate the core principles of equality, autonomy and dignity upon which human rights are based. 

Carrie Poppy gets very drunk, and ingests a hangover remedy called "Blowfish," all for science.

Clerics in Pakistan recommend amending the country's harsh blasphemy laws to prevent their abuse. Their solution? The death penalty for false blasphemy accusations. Um, guys? 

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Embrace the Eight, Not the Hate

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 18, 2013

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

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals puts the kibosh on for-profit corporations trying to exempt themselves from the Obamacare contraceptive mandate on religious grounds. 

CFI Summit keynote speaker Bill Nye wiggles his hips on Dancing with the Stars (I think the judges were way too harsh, for which I suspect anti-nerd bias), and then does a turn on Bill Maher's show. (I wouldn't expect that video to be up for long.) 

CFI Chair Eddie Tabash has two more Florida cities to conquer on his speaking tour: Daytona Beach tonight, Tallahassee tomorrow. 

David Niose explores the problem of atheists gettng into elected office, saying, "it’s not as if atheists are an embarrassing segment of society." I dunno, David. Have you been in the blogosphere lately?  

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Oklahoma Man Didn’t Die of SHC

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
September 17, 2013

You heard it here early on: The elderly Oklahoman who supposedly died of “Spontaneous Human Combustion” (SHC) on February 18, 2013, did not perish from that nonexistent phenomenon. Now the medical examiner in the case fully agrees, contradicting the earlier speculations of the local sheriff.

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Science, Reason, and Secular Bargains!!!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 17, 2013

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

Let there be an expanding brane! Existence as we know it may be the result of a 4-dimensional black hole. Okay!

Why do people keep looking for Atlantis? Our own Joe Nickell lends a hand to Slate's Emily Tamkin to answer the question. 

Eugenie Scott once again graciously demeans herself by generously granting pathetic little me another pre-conference interview for the CFI Summit, and I once again manage not to swoon. In this one, Dr. Scott looks at the state of pro-science struggles, and differentiates between the skeptic and humanist movements. (Here's her interview from last year before CSICon 2)

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Eugenie Scott on Choosing Skepticism’s Battles, Differentiating from Atheism

by Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
September 16, 2013

It’s been one year since I last interviewed science education advocate Eugenie Scott, and the struggle to save science from being supplanted by religious ideology in public education has not ceased. But, as you’ll see in our new interview on the heels of the upcoming CFI Summit, much has been learned. Dr. Scott and I talk about what’s changing in this struggle, what’s staying the same, and go deeper into questions about what issues groups like the NCSE and its allies should prioritize.

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Inflicting Vivacious Whimsy

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 16, 2013

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

CFI-Canada (acting independently from us, the U.S. CFI) comes out against the Charter of Quebec Values which bans the wearing of religious symbols for public employees:

A secularism charter should take the crucifix off the wall at the National Assembly, remove Christian prayer at public city council meetings, and revoke special property tax exemptions for religious buildings. The Charter has precisely the wrong aim, to take religion away from people, while ignoring institutional favouritism which biases the public square away from state neutrality and is therefore the more serious threat to equality of treatment between believer and nonbeliever.

One letter-to-the-editor writer agrees. Atheist Idan Shoham writes to the Montreal Gazette:

To me, religion is something to be tolerated. It’s fine to ridicule (religious) ideas, but it’s not fine to discriminate against (religious) people. What business has the government to regulate the hats religious people wear? 

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“Nothing But Bad News…”

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
September 13, 2013

Sometimes when discussing current events I will hear someone say "Oh, I hate the news... I don't follow the news anymore, it's nothing but bad news." It's just a depressing laundry list of death and war and problems, a daily documentation of the world's progress on its inexorable path toward hell.

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Look Out for That Oort Cloud, It’s a Doozy

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 13, 2013

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

Happy Friday the 13th! To celebrate, watch this enormous rock as it barely misses the planet. Universe Today reports:

About 230 kilometers in size, 324 Bamberga reaches 0.81 astronomical units from the Earth this week. No other asteroid so large gets so close.

Meanwhile, Voyager 1, for real this time, or so they tell us, has actually, like, for sure, left the Solar System. Definitely. OR NOT. I dunno anymore.  

Suit challenging the "In God We Trust" motto on U.S. money is dismissed by a federal court. 

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Pastor Jones, the Police Mustache You a Question

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 12, 2013

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

Tim Farley busts out a big box of tools for monitoring legislation relevant to skeptics, including CFI's new bill tracker

Kentucky governor Steven Beshear saves the state's adoption of new science standards, despite a rejection by the state legislature. 

Chris Chambers is very skeptical of the proposed Mars One manned mission to the Red Planet, as there has been insufficient consideration of how crazy everyone on board will inevitably go. 

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