A Veritable Museum of Mistakes

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 27, 2014

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

A must-read: Friend-of-the-blog Ali A. Rizvi corresponds with Faisal Saeed Al Mutar on their shared and differing experiences as atheist former-Muslims. One big theme: their belief that Western liberals are "selling out" liberals in the Muslim world. Writes Rizvi:

Western countries like the US barely use a fraction of the force they have the capacity to because whatever their flaws, they are still bound by a code of ethics -- and as democracies, accountability to their people. If the Taliban or Al Qaeda had even a tenth of the weaponry that the US does, you'd already have entire countries razed to the ground. I think many writers confuse neutrality with objectivity.

Tom Flynn is the guest on the Religious Studies Project podcast, unpacking what exactly it means to be a secular humanist. 

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Information Superhighway to Heaven

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 24, 2014

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

Today is a very important day in my religion, it's the 30th birthday of the Macintosh. Relatedly, Pope Fluffy told us that the Internet is a "gift from God," but everyone knows the truth is that God only "took the initiative" in creating the Internet.

Though Virginia's AG is fighting a gay marriage ban, its legislature just passed a student prayer bill. One step forward, one step back. 

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Glenn Beck and the Steampunk Bunker

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 23, 2014

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

Kimberly Winston at RNS covers CFI's Freethought Books Project. Here's my favorite bit:

“Christianity has a mandate to convert people, but freethought does not have any such mandate,” said Sarah Kaiser, one of the project’s two new coordinators. “We just want everyone to have the freedom to express doubts and ask questions, and that is what these books represent.”

CFI-Indiana's Reba Wooden catches some trickery in the statehouse over the bill banning same-sex marriage:

The dirty tricks that [Speaker] Bosma and his supporters will use are very disturbing. First, at the beginning of the session they sought to confuse the issue by renaming the amendment from HJR-6 to HJR-3. Then, realizing that the opposition testimony and efforts had swayed enough of the Judiciary committee to oppose it, he made a switch to a committee where he was sure to have to support for its passage. 

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Dirty Tricks in Indiana

Freethought from the Heartland with Reba Boyd Wooden
January 23, 2014

HJR-3 passed out of the Indiana House Election and Apportionment committee last night by a vote of 9-3. 

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The Shiniest Cog in Nature’s Wheel

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 22, 2014

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

I can't believe it's not GMO: Wired covers the work of mega-ultra-super-ag corporation Monsanto, which is using regular old cross-breeding for its new, improved crops, not genetic modification.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia believes in witchcraft. So do 69% of Indonesian Muslims, apparently.

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Conspiracy-Minded Response to a Skeptical Crop Circle Explanation

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
January 21, 2014

Earlier this month I wrote a piece about a mysterious 310-foot-diameter crop circle that appeared in a farmer's barley field in California. In response I got an interesting, conspiracy-laden two-page reply from a crop circle believer....

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I Really Don’t Give a Toss

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 21, 2014

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

It's the first day back after a long weekend, so it's a long Heresy, folks. Get comfy. 

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion calls for the repeal of blasphemy laws:

At the national level, blasphemy laws are counter-productive, since they may result in de facto censure of all inter-religious or belief and intra-religious or belief dialogue, debate and criticism, most of which could be constructive, healthy and needed. In addition, many blasphemy laws afford different levels of protection to different religions and have often proved to be applied in a discriminatory manner. 

We're already getting excited about Women in Secularism III, with some fantastic return speakers, and a bunch of excellent first-timers as well. Among the newcomers to WiS is Barbara Ehrenreich, who has a new piece in The Atlantic about how expensive it is to be poor

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Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Universe

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 17, 2014

Lynn Sherr has done an excellent job of profiling (in the good sense of that word!) Neil deGrasse Tyson in Parade magazine (January 12, 2014). At the bottom of the handsome cover photo—depicting the astrophysicist who is known through the known world—are the words, “Master of the Universe.” The label, at once lighthearted and profound, perfectly fits Tyson.

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Gott Mit Uns

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 17, 2014

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

Are people still trying to find the geographical Eden? As philosopher Belinda Carlisle once said, "Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth? Ooh, heaven is a place on earth." 

Public schools in Florida (of course) allow the distribution of Bibles by Christian groups on Religious Freedom Day. Meanwhile, a Florida city council chamber has got a Bible on display, which FFRF has a problem with.

As with any conflict, during the Great War, everyone had the same contention for their side of the fight: “Gott mit uns.” 

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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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