Keep National Trail Mix Day Holy

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 25, 2013

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

Yesterday, a building collapsed outside Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, killing well over 100 people, and injuring over 1000. The government declared today, April 25, to be a national day of mourning. As you know, CFI and other groups were to hold protests in cities around the world against Bangladesh's persecution of atheists and dissenters. The tragic events of yesterday have forced us to reconsider.

CFI and its allies still believe firmly in holding these protests, though we had differing ideas about how to proceed. CFI, CFI-Canada, the British Humanist Association, and the activists in Dhaka itself have decided to postpone protests by one week to May 2. That means we will hold protest demonstrations in DC, New York City, London, Ottawa, and hopefully many other cities on that day. . . .

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“Mysteries and Monsters”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 24, 2013

On April 21, the popular MSNBC-TV show Caught on Camera aired an episode titled “Mysteries and Monsters.” I assisted in the research for the six segments and appeared on camera in three of them. Here is a brief synopsis of the entertaining show, together with some additional comments. (The segments are given in order, with an * indicating the ones in which I appeared.)

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There’s No Need to Whisper

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 24, 2013

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

Tomorrow is the day secularists and our allies gather to protest the Bangladeshi crackdown on atheism and free expression in demonstrations around the world. Tell everyone in your social networks, and take part! 

Five schoolgirls in Indonesia are in trouble for blasphemy (or "tainting religion") for the crime of recording themselves dancing to Maroon 5 and performing some prayer movements. They were turned in by their own school.

Hacked AP Twitter account tweets false news of the president being injured in White House bomb blasts, which sends the Dow plummeting briefly. 

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The Only Relevant Debate

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 23, 2013

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

AP reports on the Boston bombing suspect:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's [written] answers led [investigators] to believe he and his brother were motivated by a radical brand of Islam without major terror connections... 

Andrew Sullivan balks at the idea that these attacks might not have been religiously motivated:

[T]o dismiss the overwhelming evidence that this was also religiously motivated – a trail that now includes a rant against his own imam for honoring Martin Luther King Jr. because he was not a Muslim – is to be blind to an almost text-book case of Jihadist radicalization. 

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Big Macs Prevent Alzheimer’s

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 22, 2013

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

The global protest against the persecution of atheists and other dissenters in Bangladesh is this Thursday. Check this page for the latest news on where protest events are being held, and if you know of others, tell us! 

Before his arrest, Bangladeshi atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin posted this to the Richard Dawkins site:

Religious sentiments are so easy to be offended, that sentiment is always ready to be hurt. Religious fundamentalist always search google, facebook and youtube for the contents that hurts their sentiment and always cry to stop those Blasphemy! I don't know who told them to search those things and hurt themselves! This is so ridiculous and nonsense.  

John Chalmers at Reuters lends political and historical context to the crisis in Bangladesh.

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“Interfaith” and Inclusion: Another View

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
April 19, 2013

There's been much passionate commentary about the recent Boston interfaith service excluding humanist, atheists, and other freethinkers. It's not for lack of effort; Harvard humanist chaplain Greg Epstein and other heavy-hitters in the movement strove mightily for a place on the altar -- pardon me, stage -- and were coldly stonewalled. But what are we asking for when we seek inclusion in such events? While it may make sense for Epstein, whose work skews religious-humanist, to want a place at an interfaith event, should atheists and more secular humanists be seeking to stand by his side? I don't think so. On my view, those of us in the movement who are not comfortable with the "religious humanist" identifier should not be seeking entry to interfaith events. Instead, we should be boycotting them, then demanding something more inclusive in their place.

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Shock and Grief

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

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

I am reading the news this morning with my jaw hanging open, as I imagine many of you are (I mean, a freaking grenade fight???). At the time of my writing, we know that the suspects are Chechen brothers, that they are white (literally Caucasians), that one was killed in the firefight with police, and another is reportedly surrounded in Watertown. It's almost unbelievable. 

For the purposes of this blog, I thought it might be useful to lend some clarity to the role religion might be playing in the suspects' motives. According to this 2004 interview at BeliefNet with Brian Glynn Williams, an Islamic historian, Chechen Islam, even when radicalized, is not the kind of stereotypical motivation for violence we often default to in our imaginations. . . 

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Scriptural Basis for Self-Serving Gutlessness

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

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

This morning we announced that atheist groups around the world, led by CFI, the International Humanist and Ethical Union, American Atheists, and CFI-Canada, will take part in protests against the persecution of atheists and other dissenters in Bangladesh. Right now there are planned protests in New York, DC, London, Ottawa, and Calgary. We need the freethought community to get behind this in force, to coordinate additional demonstrations in more cities in more countries. Here's where information will be kept up to date on any related events, and when tweeting about this, include the hashtag #DefendDissent.

Bangladesh's own BDNews24 reports on CFI's call to the State Department to put pressure on the Bangladeshi government. 

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The Rise of the Post-Christians

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
April 17, 2013

It is still said that America is a Christian nation. Really?

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Pagans, Bitcoins, and Microbes

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

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

Dave Weigel lines up the reasons why Boston conspiracy theorists may have "a tough road ahead" toward credibility. 

Someone with a little foresight snagged the bostonmarathonconspiracy.com domain, and did something useful with it.  

Muslim groups are scrambling to show their solidarity with victims and their revulsion at the attack. 

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