Find Out a Little About Everything

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 16, 2013

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

Following the horror of yesterday's explosions in Boston, of course all those affected -- and all those who will be affected -- are in our thoughts, and have our deepest condolences; for the loss, the pain, and the shock and fear so many will now feel. Here's some information on what folks can do to help out. One thing was heartening: seeing so many people on Twitter (skeptics and otherwise) steadfastly insisting that when we talk about who might be responsible and why, we rely on evidence and facts rather than suspicions and assumptions.

Hemant has statements from local freethought groups

Of course, it took about five seconds for absurd conspiracies to get their moment in the spotlight. 

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The Story of “Rattlesnake Pete”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 15, 2013

Among the old-time snake hunters and peddlers of rattlesnake oil was Peter “Rattlesnake Pete” Gruber (1858–1932) (see first photo). As related in Arch Merrill’s Shadows on the Wall (1952), Pete was born in Oil City, Pennsylvania, the eldest of a pioneer oil refiner’s nine children. He would later claim, that, while a boy hiking in the local hills, he had come upon an old Indian woman from the Seneca reservation. Dragging behind her on a rope a big dead rattlesnake, she explained to Pete how she would extract the fatty oil, which was used to treat rheumatism, stiff joints, even earache—among other afflictions. Impressed by the boy’s interest, she even gave him the snake’s skin. Pete later learned from the Indians how to capture the rattlers, and from the medicine men how to use them for various folk remedies.

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The Paratroopers of God’s Army

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

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

Turkish pianist Fazil Say gets a suspended jail term for blasphemy, following a series of tweets last year the court considered to be "insulting religious values of a part of the population." 

Pope Francis appoints a commission of cardinals to advise on bureaucratic reform for the Vatican. Speaking of which, some Vatican representatives will be holding a "dialogue" with nonbelievers in Mexico.

Camp Inquiry's Karen Strachan is among the guests on the Skeptical Connections podcast. 

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Trance: Trainwreck from a Trainspotting Director

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
April 14, 2013

Trance is not inherently a bad movie; it’s just one of those movies where the longer it went on, the less I cared who lived, who died, or whether anyone found that damned painting. 

 

 

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Payot on a Plane

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

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

CFI sent out an action alert yesterday on behalf of the persecuted atheists in Bangladesh. We're formally asking the State Department to weigh in, and start to put pressure on the Bangladeshi government. You can add your voice here. Yesterday we learned that the atheist bloggers already arrested have been "grilled" for seven days, and a hearing for them has been postponed.

Two more young people in Bangladesh are arrested for blasphemy in the mean time, perpetrated on Facebook. 

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It’s Almost an Embarrassment

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

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

Okay, my nerd brain just exploded, reformed itself into a new nerd brain, and then exploded againHere's a panel discussion with Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Brian Greene, Ira Flatow, Neal Stephenson (!!!), Tracy Day, and Lawrence Krauss. 

The Bangladesh crisis spirals further out of control: Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of a Bangladeshi newspaper, is arrested for printing quotes from the persecuted atheist bloggers, or, "inciting people by publishing defamatory comments against religion." Stay tuned for more from CFI on this.

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The People You Think are Real

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

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

Daniel Loxton writes a thoughtful post on what he sees as the problems of conflating atheism and skepticism, and cautions his fellow atheists against smugness:

To promote the belief that atheists are different than other people does nothing but undermine our humanity. It denies the human complexity of religious nonbelievers. In doing so, it sells out atheists.

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef in trouble for dissing the Egyptian president, also now charged with "insulting Pakistan" and "spreading atheism." 

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Weird Nasty Parts

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

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

CFI submitted formal comments to the Department of Health and Human Services yesterday, urging the administration to stand firm against religious pressure to further weaken the contraceptive mandate. Here's the full letter (PDF).

Ron Lindsay slams the Catholic Church's resistance to contraceptive coverage as "a cruel joke":

HHS isn’t forcing the bishops or their followers to do a damn thing. But they simply can’t abide the thought that their purity might be ruined through some sort of remote contact with a woman who is taking a drug that, you know, affects her weird nasty parts. 

The latest Point of Inquiry has AC Grayling, who refutes religious arguments "with zest and humor."  

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Those Filthy Women: The Catholic Church’s Objections to the HHS Rule on Contraceptive Care

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
April 08, 2013

As you probably know, back in August 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule requiring employers to offer employees health insurance that provides preventive health care services. Based upon advice from the scientific and medical communities, these services include contraceptive care. Based upon advice from God, the Catholic Church has been engaged in an all-out war to kill the proposed rule.

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The Snack That Smiles Back

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

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

David Kuo, formerly of the Bush White House's faith-based initiatives office, and later a critic of that effort, is dead at 44. From the NYT obit:

[I]n the prologue to his memoir Mr. Kuo wrote that his experience in government had given him clarity about the limits of politics. “I have seen what happens when well-meaning Christians are seduced into thinking deliverance can come from the Oval Office, a Supreme Court chamber or the floor of the United States Congress,” he wrote. “They are easily manipulated by politicians who use them for their votes, seduced by trinkets of power, and tempted to turn a mission field (politics) into a battlefield.” 

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