Believing Grasshoppers Can Speak

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 20, 2013

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

Malala is going back to school

James Parco, author of the important new CFI report on fundamentalism running rampant in the U.S. military, is the guest on State of Belief, the radio show of the Interfaith Alliance. 

Also, the new issue of Free Inquiry, available now, has a special section on atheists' battle for equality in the military, guest edited by MAAF's Jason Torpy.    

Maryam Namazie on the Muslim Brotherhood's assertion that a declaration decrying violence against women conflicts with Islam: "I could have told you that." 

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Flinch-Worthy

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

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

Dr. Elizabeth O'Casey, CFI's Geneva UN representative, takes the UN to task for not including the nonreligious in resolutions on freedom of religion:

The EU's refusal to include any direct reference to non-believers as a group meriting special protection from religious intolerance fails people like Kacem. It also fails the one in six people across the globe who do not self-identify as religious. That's a lot of people to fail. 

She of Pandagon and Slate (and a speaker at Women in Secularism 2), Amanda Marcotte, is the guest on the latest Point of Inquiry

Kimberly Winston covers atheists' exploration of religious practices, like Lent, and talks to our own Tom Flynn about why he thinks it's not so smart.

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The UN’s Silence on Discrimination and Violence Against Non-Believers

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
March 18, 2013

Dr. Elizabeth O'Casey, CFI's representative at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, reports that the European Union has rejected an attempt to include non-religious persons in a resolution on freedom of religion or belief.

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Mostly Warps and Rarely Fulfills

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

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

Our boss Ron Lindsay is back at work after being on a leave of absence (not that you'd know it):

Been gone for a few weeks. Living in a cave in north Pakistan. Little known fact: Al-Zawahiri snores. 

NYT focuses on Pope Francis during the Argentinian "Dirty War," as he offers a "complex description of his role during the dictatorship." 

Still, at the very least, this pope offered his popeliness to nonbelievers:

Given that many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church, and others are not believers, I give this blessing from my heart, in silence, to each one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you, but knowing that each one of you is a child of God. May God bless you. 

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He Who Doesn’t Pray to God Prays to the Devil

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
March 16, 2013

Been gone for a few weeks. Living in a cave in north Pakistan. Little known fact: Al-Zawahiri snores.

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Former Hillary Clinton Advisor Authors Atheist News Roundup

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 15, 2013

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

Yesterday, CFI gave its official response to the election of Pope Francis, mainly in the context of social issues, Meanwhile, Argentina's "Dirty War" dogs the new pope.  

A bill in the US House by Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma calls for protecting religious minorities in the Arab world. Though it does not mention anything about the nonreligious, it does call for an end to blasphemy laws.

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes, in this spirit of Arab Spring revolution, that religious minority freedoms and rights must be protected; and

(2) urges in the strongest terms that the United States Government lead the international effort to repeal existing blasphemy laws. 

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Non Habemus Google Lector

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
March 14, 2013

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

You of course are aware of the biggest news story that came down yesterday, affecting perhaps a billion people around the world, and impacting every aspect of our culture: Google Reader is shutting down.

Oh, also, there's a new pope. Frank-something.

There's going to be a lot to digest about this guy over the coming days and weeks. Key things for our folks to know is that, yes, shock of shocks, he's a doctrinaire conservative in terms of things like sex and abortion, though he is also said to have a social justice streak in terms of things like poverty... 

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The Scope of Skeptical Activism: A Personal Story Part 1 of 2

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

I'm best known for my skeptical investigations and research into paranormal subjects. It's not surprising that people tend to focus on that, since those are weird, sensational claims, but that's only a small part of my work. Here's a look at the broader scope of skeptical activism from my personal perspective.

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Secularists Should Welcome Church-State Expert As New Head of Faith-Based Office

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
March 13, 2013

In a move that should draw praise from secularists, the White House confirmed today that it would appoint Melissa Rogers as the new director of the federal Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Rogers will replace Joshua DuBois, who stepped down last month.

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Stop Giggling When I Say “Cometary Panspermia”

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

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

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain declares March 14 to be the International Day to Defend Apostates and Blasphemers, highlighting the persecution of folks like Alexander Aan, Alber Saber, and other dissidents highlighted by our own Campaign for Free Expression, and CFI's president and CEO Ron Lindsay is a signatory to the effort. 

If this is true, it's a big deal: Carl Franzen at The Verge reports on news about the Red Planet:

NASA just announced that its Curiosity rover has discovered evidence that Mars had the conditions necessary to support life in ancient times, specifically microorganisms.  

And not just "kind of" support life:

"We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life that if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it," said John Grotzinger, Curiosity's chief project scientist. 

And if this is true, it may be an even bigger deal: Cardiff University scientist Jamie Wallis claims to have found fossilized microbes in a rock...from space. Says Wallis:

This provides clear and convincing evidence that these obviously ancient remains of extinct marine algae found embedded in the Polonnaruwa meteorite are indigenous to the stones and not the result of post-arrival microbial contaminants. 

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