Valentinosaurus

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

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

Along with our related conundrum over Christmas and Santa Claus (there is no such conundrum for Tom Flynn, of course), we skepto-atheists are now faced with a holiday named for a Catholic saint, and many of us are expected to take part in the surrounding mainly-secular rituals, which usually involve buying a lot of things that are red and pink. Like Christmas, the holiday now has little to do with its namesake or faith of origin. 

But I suppose there's nothing wrong with using the opportunity to remind the people you love how much you love them, and to do something nice for them. Of course, you can do that any time you want, and you should, but doing it today is just fine also. But do it because you want to, because you mean it, not because the Rite Aid is bedecked with cards and heart-shaped balloons. Thus ends my catechism. 

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Why CFI Opposed H.R. 592

Democratic Discourse with Michael De Dora
February 13, 2013

Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that would allow taxpayer money to go towards the rebuilding of houses of worship. Here's why the Center for Inquiry (CFI) opposed this measure.

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Not So Special in the Grand Scheme of Things

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

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

Today marks one year for me at CFI. (It's not one year for The Morning Heresy, as I didn't start that until the next week, and even then it was still an internal document only.) I'd have a big party with cake and whatnot with my coworkers, but 1) I telecommute from Maine, the End of America, so it'd be hard to get together, 2) I don't like parties, and 3) I'd rather have ice cream or cookies than cake. But still, it's kind of a big deal to me.

There's a lot of consternation in the skepto-atheist movement these days (I guess there almost always is for one reason or another), and very often CFI finds itself at or near the center of it. But that's part of what I like so much about CFI. It covers all the bases, it tackles the tough stuff, but not in a bomb-throwing, outrage-for-the-sake-of-outrage kind of way. Instead, CFI is, to me, about confronting tough questions with a purpose: science, reason, and secularism for the betterment of our species. For our intellectual enrichment, yes, but also for our overall well-being. That sometimes gets people mad, but it also adds substance to the overall discussion of what the heck it is we're all doing here in this movement. And I like where we stand. So even though times in Skepto-atheistville are tumultuous, I'm proud to advance under the banner of the Blue Flaming Meatball and count myself as a part of the Center for Inquiry. Happy anniversary, us!

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Greetings from Glasgow, Please Do Not Enslave Our Species

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

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

Today is, of course, the day that the world asks perhaps the most important existential question that confronts our species: Who would win in a fight, Lincoln or Darwin? Born on the same day in 1809, two of the most consequential humans ever to live could, in some fan-fic universe, have crossed paths, angered each other, and decided to go at it. (Let's be honest, Lincoln would totally start it.) Both were tall men, though Lincoln was taller by about 4 inches. Factor that with his rustic upbringing, which undoubtedly included far more manual labor than this guy ever had to endure, and it looks like a clear win for Honest Abe. But don't count Chuck D out, as his years aboard the Beagle would have toughened him up, dealing with salty sea dogs and whatnot. He may have been more scrappy than we can ever really know.

Anyway.

Tonight the president delivers the State of the Union, and WaPo is reporting that he is also considering some executive orders concerning protections for LGBT Americans, as well as energy and climate policy, among other things. 

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Nooooo One Expects the Papal Resignation!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 11, 2013

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

Well, you probably already know what the big news is today.

Pope Benedict XVI, at times referred to on this blog as "Mr. Popey-head," announces his intention to resign the papacy in order to spend more time with his family.

No, wait, that wasn't it.

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Someone Who Hates Everything I Hate

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 08, 2013

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

Holy moly there's a lot of news this morning. Ill-timed, too, because the snowstorm "Nemo" is descending upon my plucky state of Maine with a vengeance -- and even getting a jump on things! We're already buried in snow, when it wasn't supposed to get blizzard-y until later this afternoon. And they say the real snowmageddon hasn't even started yet. So, as you can imagine, the wife, the kids, and I are all eyeing each other to see which of us we're all going to eat first.  

To the news! 

Religion Dispatches highlights atheist activism on college campuses, and looks to our own Sarah Kaiser and Cody Hashman for insight. 

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“Dr.” McLean’s Nostrums

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 08, 2013

While my wife Diana and I visited an aunt in Kentucky during the holidays, from the winter solstice to New Year’s, I paid a visit to Georgetown, where I saw—for the first time in 17 years—my old friend Jerome Redfearn, proprietor of Central Kentucky Antique Mall. As we talked and I browsed, looking for items for my Skeptiseum collection, something caught my eye—a quack medicine item of more than a century ago (pictured here). The price proved to be perfect: Jerome presented it to me as a gift!

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Geese, Beer, and Pterosaurs

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 07, 2013

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

President Obama has just wrapped up his speech to the National Prayer Breakfast, and the fact of his participation never gets less disappointing. I didn't see it, but I'm sure we'll be hearing about it. (I just saw on Twitter that in the speech Obama announced the coming departure of Faith-Based Initiatives chief Josh DuBois.) 

Tunisian opposition leader, critic of the Islamist government, Chokri Belaid is assassinated.

Man who tried to shoot up the Family Research Council, wounding security guard Leo Johnson, pleads guilty to terrorism.

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We Swoop in with Our Wall of Separation and Make Everything Right

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 06, 2013

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

Britain's House of Commons votes in favor for marriage equality by a huge margin. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is set to extend certain benefits to same-sex couples within its ranks this week.

Science writer extraordinaire Carl Zimmer is the guest on the latest Point of Inquiryand he's got viruses! To talk about. Viruses to talk about. Come on, people. 

CFI's Debbie Goddard declares that the skepto-atheist movement should be much more involved in education and poverty...

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Disrupt the DNA

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 05, 2013

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

I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn that the document dump by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles regarding child abuse cover-ups was woefully incomplete, even violating direct judge's orders. Oh, and the punishment meted out to Cardinal Mahony for enabling these crimes may be no punishment at all.

A new HBO documentaryMea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, looks to track this horrific crisis to its roots. Sara Smith at the Kansas City Star says, "No one can now pretend that the men running the world's largest Christian church don't know that they are protecting evil in their midst."

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