Towards Increasing Non-knowing

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

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

Internet activist, co-creator of RSS, co-founder of Reddit Aaron Swartz kills himself in the midst of prosecutorial pressure after attempting to make freely available the contents of the JSTOR academic archive. 

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald refuses to stop a new regulation in NYC concerning parental consent for metzitzah b'peh circumcisions, which are the ones "involving direct oral suction of the penis" by the rabbi.   

Amanda Marcotte on scientists' limited political options:

Since scientists have no ability to stop Republicans from attacking science, their only real option is to take power away from Republicans by supporting Democrats.

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Here’s Where Science and Brainless Merge

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

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

Apparently the "nones" are leveling off, just as we were "rising," like, five minutes ago. Who can keep up? 

The Supreme Court turns down an appeal to stop embryonic stem cell research. 

Anti-gay pastor Louie Giglio takes himself out of the presidential inauguration ceremony. Sarah Posner unpacks the mess.

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The Silliness Bound Up in Being Human

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 10, 2013

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

CFI chief Ron Lindsay is asking for it. As he gets set to meet with the leaders of the other big groups of the skepto-atheosphere, Ron wants to know what you think about how best to address some of the latest controversies and concerns of the movement. I tried to stop him, but he never listens to me. Anyway, read his post and help him out.

CSI's Ben Radford at Yahoo News sounds the alarm on the threat to vaccination workers around the world due to urban legends and xenophobia.   

Meanwhile Faheem Younus at WaPo, a medical doctor and a Muslim, tells of his often-obstructed attempts to bridge religious divides in providing free flu vaccinations:

The ruthless flu virus was not going to screen Americans for their faith before attacking. I gave the flu shots to the worshippers at Bait-ur-Rehman mosque located in Silver Spring, MD. Free of charge. Free of expectation. Free of faith. 

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The HEADS Meeting: Your Input Requested

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
January 09, 2013

I think it’s fairly common knowledge that the leaders of the various nationwide secular organizations have an annual meeting (called “HEADS”) to exchange ideas and discuss how we can best advance our shared objectives. This is your opportunity to give me some input prior to the meeting on a couple of specific topics.

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Phantasmagoric Biotheology

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 09, 2013

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

Don't miss this big CFI event in DC: CFI presents a symposium on the topic "Why Tolerate Religion?" with such heavy-hitters as Jacques Berlinerblau, Caroline Mala Corbin, Wendy Kaminer, Brian Leiter, Barry Lynn, and our own Ron Lindsay and John Shook. April 27 at the Wooly Mammoth theatre (where my wife has totally performed). 

Hoosiers take note: CFI wants you to contact your state legislature to stop the expansion of a religion-subsidizing school voucher program.

Elizabeth Drescher at Religion Dispatches warns against lumping all "Nones" with nonbelievers and secularists.  

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You Have Died of Dysentery, Jesus

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

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

HuffPo's Jaweed Kaleem explores the atheist take on death and lack of an afterlife, and talks to me and CFI-Indiana's Reba Boyd Wooden for some perspective. My quote's pretty fatalistic, but hey, that's me for ya. 

We're pretty excited about this one, folks. Point of Inquiry's got Phil Plait, talking the end of the world. 

The Verge: Kuwaiti activist Rashid Saleh al-Anzi sentenced to two years in prison for a tweet that "stabbed the rights and powers" of the country's emir. 

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NRA: Answer or Problem?

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 07, 2013

Regarding the recent mass shooting at a Connecticut school, the NRA, at its press conference of December 21, 2012, equated problem mental states with such shootings involving assault-style weapons. Indeed, NRA head Wayne La Pierre brought his own problem mental states to the issue by suggesting that the solution was to place armed guards at all schools. Let me take this opportunity to make some additional suggestions—each in the La-La Pierre vein.

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Whatever it is Humans are Responsible For

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

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

An Indiana state senator introduces a bill to allow prayer in public schools, and Indiana's WTHR TV news talks to CFI-Indiana's Reba Boyd Wooden, who calls it "a lawsuit waiting to happen."

Katherine Ozment pens a long feature in Boston magazine on the choices faced by nonreligious and "none" parents.

 

National Catholic Reporter headline: "Bishops investigating US nuns have poor records on sex abuse cases"

 

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Trigger Warnings: Public Service or Fallacious Fad?

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
January 06, 2013

Proponents and critics of "trigger warnings" (warnings placed before discussions and descriptions of potentially traumatic events in articles and blogs) have argued that the warnings are either important, useless, a cynical attempt to get readers, infantilizing, considerate, ridiculous, and everything in between. There seems to be little real research into the validity and utility of trigger warnings; for those who wish to take an analytical look at the topic, here's a place to start. 

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New Religion: Not Liking Flu Shots

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 04, 2013

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

Buzzfeed rounds up some firsts for the 113th Congress (first Buddhist senator, first openly gay senator, etc.), but it's US News that focuses in Kyrsten Sinema as the first "none," as in "no religion."

The image to the right is from the Hindu American Foundation, which is pretty excited about the first Hindu congressperson, Tulsi Gabbard, here being sworn in by John Boehner on a Bhagavad Gita -- which I'm sure threw him for a loop. 

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