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The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 20, 2014

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

Herbert and Catherine Schaible, whose adherence to faith-healing resulted in the death of their 2-year-old-son in 2009, are sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for the faith-healing death of their second child, only 8 months old, from pneumonia. On Twitter, CFI chief Ron Lindsay says the judge in the case was wrong to place blame solely on the parents, but should have also pointed to their church. Ron also tweets:

Minister in faith-healing death case insists teachings are correct. Child died b/c of "spiritual lack" in parents. That minister is a killer 

Brian Palmer at Slate is agog at the popularity of the very-much-full-of-crap "Natural News" page on Facebook, and has a request:

When one of your Facebook friends posts a link to a story about spirulina boosting brain function or how to cure pneumonia with vitamin C, I beg you to respond. A simple “bogus” will help halt their descent into insanity induced by Natural News. 

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Politics in the Sky

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 19, 2014

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

Denmark bans the religious slaughter of animals (such as for kosher meat), with the agriculture minister declaring, "Animal rights come before religion."

Alaska's legislature looks to nix an important bit of text from the state's constitution:

No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.

It never stops, does it?

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The Earth is in Peril, and People Love That

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 18, 2014

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

Our own Debbie Goddard is featured in a HuffPo piece on the variety of beliefs of African Americans. Among her insights:

There are times when I've felt straight-up rejected by the black community because I'm an atheist. When I tried to start a secular club in college, my closest black friends told me that humanism and atheism are harmful Eurocentric ideologies and implied that if I'm an atheist, I'm turning my back on my race.  

Richard N. Landers comes down hard on the recent and heavily-touted survey showing that young people seem to buy into astrology, saying that respondents likely got the terms "astrology" and "astronomy" mixed up. According to his parsing of the data...

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“The Monuments Men”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 18, 2014

The Monuments Men is a true story, based on a book of the same title, written by Robert M. Edsel and subtitled Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. No exaggeration that.

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To Digitize or Not to Digitize, That Is the Question

Access Points with Timothy Binga
February 17, 2014

I am an adjunct at the University of Buffalo, and the main course I teach is Digital Libraries. We take a hands-on approach to the whole digitization process, from planning, grant processes, and procedures through the physical scanning of objects to the actual uploading and presentation of the images online. I also discuss in detail the various reasons we should or should not digitize because it also will help determine what to digitize and also what are the next steps in the process.

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Selfies of Mass Destruction

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

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

A working group made up of members of the European Parliament releases a major report (PDF) on global freedom of religion and belief, with a major emphasis on blasphemy laws and apostasy:

In many Muslim-majority states, conversion from Islam to another religion or to atheism leads to a severe State response. While incidents of official executions are rare, individuals who leave Islam for another religion face imprisonment, intimidation, loss of property, physical abuse, denial of access to education, jobs and civil rights. 

Now, I can't bear to watch this, but you can tell me how it went. Bill Nye goes in Meet the Press to "debate" climate change with GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Nope, I can't do it. 

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Valentine’s Day

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 14, 2014

 

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Amiable and Low-Voltage

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 14, 2014

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

US District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen strikes down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage. Happy Valentine's Day. Wrote Wright Allen:

Tradition is revered in the Commonwealth, and often rightly so. However, tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. 

David Morrison, director of the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute, shares his thoughts about Sagan in a new biographical memoir of the man

Google keeps showing its progressive cred (which it does not always do), this time with a very auditory Doodle for the big V-day, featuring the stories of couples of various kinds.

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Adventures of Piglet and Hedgehog Provoke Death Threats

by Bill Cooke
February 13, 2014

You wouldn’t have thought that publishing a children’s book would result in getting death threats. But it does in Poland. Andrzej Dominiczak, our CFI man in Poland, runs a publishing arm which specializes in humanist and atheist thought for the Polish market. Dominiczak has run into trouble from hardliners before, even from within the non-religious community. 

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One Giant Foxhole

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
February 13, 2014

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

CFI's Lauren Becker dusts off a very moving essay of hers for Darwin Day, on the enormous impact Darwin's grand idea has had on humanity's view of itself:

We are not special creations, but part of a vast continuum of life. No longer children of god, we are children of nature. This is our condition. But if this new understanding is a disorder, if it has caused an identity crisis, then science, too, as in so many other cases, offers relief. 

Rep. Rush Holt praises Darwin on the floor of the House. CFI gets its meme on.

At Skeptical Inquirer, Cameron M. Smith has an idea as to why so many of us still have a problem accepting evolution...

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