Blog Archives for December 2014

You’ve Been Pope’d!

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

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

CFI boss Ron Lindsay joined the panel on HuffPost Live yesterday, hosted by Point of Inquiry's Josh Zepps, and including Faisal Saeed Al Mutar and Deina Abdelkader. The topic: the treacherous line between being critical of Islam without attacking Muslims as people.

Gather 'round, children, and abandon all your dreams of sugarplums or whatever else, and let's listen to ol' Tom Flynn tell us the origin story of the Anti-Claus. You see, there was this radioactive spider...wait... 

Magnificent Collection of Useless Crap

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

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

Methane on Mars might mean life on Mars. No, really, it might. 

Folks are still talking about our statement to the media on the misuse of the word "skeptic" when discussing climate change deniers. Lawrence Krauss, a signatory, writes in Slate:

Skepticism is all about critical examination, evidence-based scientific inquiry, and the use of reason in examining controversial claims. Those who flatly deny the results of climate science do not partake in any of the above. 

We’re Not Going to Kill Today

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 16, 2014

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

People had a lot of good things to say about Ron Lindsay's talk at this past summer's leadership conference on "The Scope of Humanism," and now the video's up! My favorite bit is the part about how skepticism is included in that scope. 

We have an update on CFI's Freethought Books Project from Sarah Kaiser one year into our stewardship of the program, and don't forget to check out the FBP Amazon wishlist to donate more books to the program!

Too Many Jello Shots

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 15, 2014

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

The week begins inauspiciously with a hostage-taking at a café in Sydney, still ongoing, where the single assailant has had his hostages hold a black flag to the window reading "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God." The assailant is Man Haron Monis who Vox says has a violent record. As of this writing, five hostages are out, but it's not clear if they escaped or were let go.

The Ones That Are Doing the Nonsense

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 12, 2014

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

Our big joint statement on the misuse of the word "skeptic" when it's applied to climate change deniers continues to generate coverage, including at GristInquisitr, the NCSE blog, and a stone-cold dissing from WSJ's link roundup guy James Taranto:

[W]hat these experts don’t seem to realize is that their definition of “denial” describes the behavior of global warmists to a T. 

"Global warmists"? Anyway, this is the same guy who, after the Aurora mass shooting, said, "I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice." So. 

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And Now to Deliver the Opening Invocation, Darth Maul

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 11, 2014

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

Yesterday we put out a press release about the joint statement by Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry asking the media to stop using the word "skeptic" to describe science deniers like Sen. James Inhofe. And I guess some folks saw it, because we got coverage in ThinkProgressNational JournalSalonUPIRaw StoryAlbany Times-Union, and more. So that's good!

Good for Google, for honoring she of the spectral classification system of stars, as they do a doodle for Annie Jump Cannon (who has perhaps the greatest name of any human ever). 

A Parallel Excretion of Hype

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 10, 2014

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

Time's 2014 Person of the Year, or rather "People," are "the Ebola Fighters." Also, coming next Christmas, Disney pictures presents the first Guardians of the Galaxy/Avengers/Ebola Fighters installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Now, to me, personally, it seems that the more appropriate choice for newsworthiness would have been the Ferguson protesters. They certainly had an enormous impact on how we think of the right to free expression right here in the U.S. But hey, I'm all for people fighting Ebola. But really, I'm with David Graham: The whole POTY thing is fun, but not worth taking all that seriously.

What We Need is a Truly Anti-Darwinian Society

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 09, 2014

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

Point of Inquiry this week features CFI's president and CEO, Ron Lindsay, talking about his new book The Necessity of Secularism. How did we manage to get him on the show?!?! By the way, Ron will be speaking at CFI-DC on Sunday.

The Curiosity rover helps scientists determine that Mars may have once been habitable for known forms of life for millions of years, far longer than once thought. Meanwhile, scientists in Prague (which is on Earth) simulate a meteor strike (with a laser!!!) and find that such an impact could have been part of life's origin.

Agnostics and Atheists in the Asylum

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 08, 2014

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

Richard Cimino and Christopher Smith at Salon examine the idea of secularism as a political identity, cites heavily both current and former CFI folks, highlights the African Americans for Humanism 2012 campaign, and calls our org "influential," which warmed my frozen heart on this cold Monday in Maine. 

Don't forget to check out the latest Cause & Effect, our newsletter, to catch up on why CFI is so awesome to begin with. 

3 Comments

Dickens, You Hack!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 05, 2014

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

If you are responsible for offspring, we have good news: This summer's Reason for Change conference will include free child care services

Two ugly stories out of Saudi Arabia: Human rights activist Samar Badawi, sister of Raif and wife of his lawyer, the also-imprisoned Waleed Abu Al-Khair, has been banned from travel before getting a chance to get to an EU human rights forum. (Our own Michael De Dora met Samar in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council.) Also, two activists championing the rights of women to be allowed to drive (that's it, just be allowed to driveare separately arrested.

2 Comments

Sullying This Religion

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 04, 2014

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

As I type, it's looking like NASA's Orion launch to Mars may be postponed.

New CFI-related videos just posted: We have former pastor Ryan "Atheist for a Year" Bell at CFI-Los Angeles, and Richard Dawkins in conversation with CFI-UK's Stephen Law.   

The University of Texas lost its brains. But they say they know what happened now.

Sensitive to Robots

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 03, 2014

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

Yesterday was #GivingTuesday, where nonprofits were showing their puppydog eyes to potential supporters. Yes, it's now Wednesday, but don't let that stop you

The Secular Coalition gets an Interim Executive Director in Kelly Damerow, as Herb Silverman returns as its board president. I hope he can make time for the SCA while he's moonlighting with the KKK

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I Really Don’t Want to Be a Jerk

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 02, 2014

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

Yesterday we announced that the wife of imprisoned Saudi dissident Raif Badawi, Ensaf Haidar, had provided to CFI a rare look at a Saudi judicial document detailing the (non)offenses of Badawi and the medieval charged brought against him. 

Hemant Mehta reacts to the document:

To those who say faith is a virtue, go ahead and defend this. I don’t know how you can. All Badawi did was express his thoughts, which didn’t fall in line with a certain interpretation of Islam and was critical of the government. And based on the reaction he got, Badawi was right. It’s just appalling what’s happening to him.

4 Comments

Atheists Are to Marvel At

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 01, 2014

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

Happy Cyber Monday, when I assume one is much less likely to be killed than on Black Friday. 

Our boss Ron Lindsay's new book, The Necessity of Secularism, is officially released today! Go get it. Meanwhile, Ron's got a new essay up at Huffington Post on the problem with prophets:

If you are a faithful Jew, Christian, Muslim, or Mormon, then you must accept that God does not convey any really important information except through the medium of a few prophets. In other words, there is a rigidly hierarchical, cognitive class system inherent in revealed religion. There are a few people who have been in direct contact with God and are in the know about his plans and instructions. These are the people who tell us what to believe and do. Then there are the billions of the rest of us, who just have to follow along. 

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