Anti-Humanist Chaplain Vote in the House Has a Lesson For Us

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
July 26, 2013

By a 253 to 173 vote, the U. S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to H. R. 2397, the defense authorization bill, that will block the appointment of humanist chaplains in the military. Most in the movement have been outraged. I follow a different drummer. By forbidding humanist chaplains, the House majority has reminded us of something important about chaplaincy -- and about religion itself -- something that I fear too many humanists have been willing to overlook in their recent "Ooooh, we want to be chaplains too!" enthusiasm.

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Homeopathic PowerPoint

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 26, 2013

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

The Student Leadership Conference is in full swing, and the metaphorical vibe is very good. Susan Gerbic is giving her talk right now as I type (sorry, Susan!), and she had a technical glitch in which her presenation screen went blank except for an arrow cursor. Brilliantly, she gestured to the screen and said, "Homeopathy, ladies and gentlemen!" 

Let's take a look at a couple of fun diseases that are making an exciting comeback!

Let's hear it for measles! Writes Margaret Wente at The Globe and Mail:

Some anti-vaxxers belong to fringe religious groups. But some are highly educated, hyper-vigilant, holistically minded parents who believe the environment is full of toxic substances that are potential threats to their children. Some think the medical establishment has no right to tell them what to do.

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Dawkins’ Tea Cup

It’s Only Natural with John Shook
July 24, 2013

On display at the Secular Hub in Colorado. 

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Mark Career as Spam

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 24, 2013

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

Fair warning: Tomorrow I travel in the morning to hit the CFI Student Leadership Conference at the Meatball Mothership, so there may not be a Morning Heresy. If there is one, it will likely be short, rushed, and rife with errors. So other than being short, it will closely resemble the usual Heresy.

Later this morning, Forecast the Facts is organizing a protest at Google HQ to tell them to stop funding science deniers, and CFI is a partner in the effort. You can also partake in the CFI action alert.

Alan Turing, the guy who pretty much gave us computing, and who helped us beat the Nazis by decrypting the Enigma code, will be posthumously pardoned by the UK. What'd he do in the first place? Well, he was gay.  

Speaking of Turing, who better to play him in a movie than CUMBERBAAAATCH

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“The Conjuring”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 23, 2013

Being given rave ratings by gee-whiz reviewers, while being panned as just another cliché-ridden scary movie by intelligent film critics, The Conjuring is a piece of work. It depicts Roger and Carolyn Perron (played by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), together with their five daughters, moving into an old Rhode Island farmhouse in 1971 where, well, hysteria soon reigns. The flames are fanned by Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) the famous—or infamous—paranormal “investigators.”

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A Bright Dot Below the Rings

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 23, 2013

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

Cassini took our picture from Saturn! We're the bright dot below the rings. Did you smile? I think I blinked. Can we do it again?

Our public policy shop put out an action alert yesterday concerning the Buckeye State...hold on...<looks up what a "buckeye" is>...Holy crap, it's a tree! Whose real name is Aesculus, after the ancient Greek playwright! Wow!

What was I talking about? Right, an action alert concerning the Ohio legislature's attempts to impose draconian restrictions on reproductive rights, which, as we write, "are unsupported by scientific evidence and incompatible with logic, reason, and the basic human values of fairness and decency." Take action here.

Kimberly Winston reports on the push for humanist military chaplains.

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Boston Strangler Breaking News

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 22, 2013

Between June 14, 1962, and January 5, 1964, eleven Boston-area women—ages 19 to 85—were victims of a serial killer or killers. The cases were linked by similar elements of modus operandi: each victim was attacked in her apartment (except for one murdered in a hotel room); each had been sexually attacked; each was strangled with an article of clothing (although one had also been repeatedly stabbed); and each, with a single exception, was Caucasian.

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Messy, Raw, and Muddled

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 22, 2013

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

Let me tell you folks, Mondays are a beast for the Heresy. All the news from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday must be combed through in one morning, often making the Heresy late and probably too long (though I guess I could be more selective, but you know, information wants to be free or something). Maybe I should start a Kickstarter to fund a "Weekend Heresy" or like a Heresy newsmagazine. I'm sure that'll take off. 

Speaking of Kickstarter, here's one for a Bigfoot caller. No, really. Dig the developers' qualifications:

James is a fitness expert and internationally known bestselling author of over 28 books and Christopher is a former actor that now runs an ad agency and software development company.  

The wife and I saw the documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer this weekend, and I highly recommend it. The footage is absolutely remarkable, as is learning about the ins and outs of how "justice" was dispensed to these arts-activists. Amnesty International is circulating a new petition on behalf of the two members still in prison. Their case is among those highlighted on our own Campaign for Free Expression.

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RIDDLEculous

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
July 19, 2013

What is the difference between a skeptic and a free lunch?

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Why Everything Deepak Chopra Says Can Be Ignored

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 19, 2013

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

"I'm an atheist and I'm embarrassed." So opens a piece at Jezebel by Lindy West, asking atheist not to be "dicks":

Religion is awful in a lot of ways, yes. But that doesn't mean you have to be awful too. . . . [T]his article isn't about forgiving or ignoring all of the atrocities—overt and covert—that religion sows. It's about being kind to individual human beings.  

Matt Dillahunty picks West's article apart, concludes she must have no experience with the movement or in engaging with theists:

Beliefs matter because they inform actions and actions have consequences. Caring only about actions is akin to only treating the symptoms. 

Liz Cheney is running for the Senate from Wyoming, and Ryan Koronowski rounds up some of her best/worst science-denying gems

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