These Are All Lies

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 16, 2014

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

President Obama name-checks "atheists and agnostics" and those of "no faith" in yesterday's declaration for Religious Freedom Day. 

Wow, some folks are really not comfortable with the idea of people in prison being exposed to atheism. After the Christian Post's coverage a couple of days ago of the Freethought Books Project, we saw increasingly angsty articles from Glenn Beck's The Blaze and then The Washington Timeswhose headline declares that CFI "aims to turn inmates against God." JT Eberhard facepalms

Of course, when Christians distribute their books to inmates it’s an act of compassion, a heroic display of god’s good will. When atheists do it?  Well, then we’re “targeting inmates.” 

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More on St. Jacob’s

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 15, 2014

I recently acquired another bottle (see previous blog) advertising St. Jacob’s Oil. However, I was immediately suspicious of it, not the least reason being the price—too cheap for such an item. It was also unlike previous bottles of that famous old liniment—in shape and size as well as means of manufacture: it had not been blown in a mold but was produced by an automatic bottle machine. Could it simply be a more modern example of the product?

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“NSA” Stands for “Nazi Space Aliens”

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 15, 2014

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

U.S. Senior District Judge Terence Kern strikes down Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage, calling it "arbitrary" and "irrational," though his ruling is "on hold" for now, so don't plan your wedding there just yet. 

Daniel Burke at CNN gathers thoughts from various secular movement thinkers and leaders about the Ryan Bell atheist-for-a-year experiment, and accidentally includes me. I posit hopefully:

[Bell] might help us to understand what powers we sacrifice when we spend less of ourselves on entreaties to an unknowable being, and direct those energies toward dealing with the real world, as it is, right now. 

The Christian Post takes an interest in our Freethought Books Project for prisoners, and of course has to compare us to Nixon administration convict Chuck Colson and his prison ministry. [Update: And Glenn Beck's The Blaze is also concerned about what we're up to, "targeting inmates."]

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On Pins and Needles

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 14, 2014

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

A citizen of Afghanistan is granted asylum in the UK because his atheism would mean his persecution or death back home, making this perhaps the first time this kind of religiously-based asylum has been granted for an atheist. Said Sheona York of the University of Kent Law School, "The decision represents an important recognition that a lack of religious belief is in itself a thoughtful and seriously-held philosophical position." 

CFI's Sarah Kaiser gives a really encouraging update to the Freethought Books Project, where secular and skeptic books are donated to prisoners. Hemant encourages your participation.

The latest Free Inquiry issue is on newsstands now, and it features a collection of stories from readers as they made their journeys from faith to atheism. It's really great stuff, guys

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An Update From the Freethought Books Project

by Sarah Kaiser
January 13, 2014

Since we announced in December that CFI is relaunching the Freethought Books Project, the support we've received has been huge! I wanted to take a minute, between reading letters and sending packages, to share some of the work we've done so far. 

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Sources Close to Hell

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 13, 2014

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

The NPR media criticism show On the Media (my favorite!) does an episode chock full of skeptical goodness. It's got fake science being reported as fact, journalists being duped by political ringers, creationism's stealth campaign, and even telemarketing cyborgs.

If I were a kid again, and not averse to nature, sunlight, and other people, I'd be begging my parents to send me to Camp InquirySave the date: August 3-9!

CFI gets a very cool new addition to its Board of Directors: global development expert Hector F. Sierra. From our announcement...

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A Transgression Against the Nation Itself

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 10, 2014

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

New Jersey's state senate votes in favor of secular wedding celebrants, 32-5. The bill now goes back to the assembly, which voted in favor of an earlier version two years ago. 

Meanwhile in the Garden State, Mark Silk says Chris Christie's "bridgegate" is an offense against New Jersey's "civil religion":

[T]he George Washington Bridge is not just an important commutation artery for the residents of Fort Lee. It symbolizes the establishment of the nation, its noble span representing the spiritual journey from bitter defeat to joyous victory. Denying access to it for partisan political purposes is no less than a transgression against the nation itself. 

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Literally, or Perhaps Figuratively

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 09, 2014

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

A solar flare is coming right at us! CFI's Barry Karr worries, "In my mind this is how the Zombie Apocalypse starts." One thing that actually might happen: The Northern Lights may become visible over a wider area as a result. (And here's a nice song about solar flares.)

Utah's governor says the same-sex marriages that have been thus far performed in his state no longer count

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates discovers he is an atheist after realizing there is no moral arc of the universe that bends toward justice, or anything else for that matter. 

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St. Jacob’s Oil

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 08, 2014

St. Jacob’s Oil, a liniment, was one of the common proprietary remedies for rheumatism and other aches and pains in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Its advertisements were not only painted on barns but on fences and even rocks, proclaiming, “St. Jacob’s Oil Conquers Pain.” Sometimes the remedy was touted in verse (Fike 2006, 195):

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The Inexorable Infinity of Death

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 08, 2014

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

Zora Neale Hurston, featured in our African Americans for Humanism campaign, got a Google Doodle yesterday

Sarah Pulliam Bailey looks at NYC's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, "perhaps the nation’s most visible 'none'." 

Extremely murky "strengths and weaknesses of science" education bill introduced in Virginia.

Kick back and read a paper from the Annals of Internal Medicine. Or just dig the line-in-the-sand title: "Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements"

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