Blog Archives for December 2012

A Jaunt around the Sun

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 31, 2012

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

I hope you enjoyed this last jaunt around the Sun. The neat thing is that there's really no "start" to Earth's orbit, so any day can be New Year's Day. If you like, you can at any moment say, "This is the beginning of my new year." You don't have to go by the Gregorian calendar. 

Of course, if you don't, you'll be late for all kinds of stuff and miss appointments. But it's your new year!

Anyway. 

1) NYT publishes a feature piece on how humanists are "absent" from times of great grief and crisis such as the Newtown atrocity. Read that.

2) Our own Tom Flynn responds in a blog post/letter to the editor, challenging assertions by the author and those quoted in the piece. Read that.

3) People comment on Tom's post, Tom comments back, etc. Read those, too. Good stuff! 

1 Comment

Ill Communication

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 28, 2012

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

The Morning Heretic is ill today. Not in the Beastie Boys sense, but in the infection-by-microbe sense. But because I am so devoted to you, the reader, that I dragged by aching, coughing, overdramatic carcass to my office and honored my commitment to rounding up a bunch of links that, let's face it, you could have googled for yourself. Think nothing of it! 

Looking to protest the Church's stance on gay marriage, many Dutch look to a website for help in being de-baptized

An Italian priest, Father Piero Corsi, blames women who are the victims of domestic abuse for bringing violence on themselves for neglecting housework and the like.    

4 Comments

Very Like a Higgs

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 27, 2012

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

CFI's boss Ron Lindsay and public policy director Michael De Dora are the guests on this week's Point of Inquiry"Mr. Science Goes to Washington." Who came up with that??

Point of Inquiry posts its top-ten science and reason books from the show's 2012 guests. 

Ray "Banana Man" Comfort debates with CFI-LA director Jim Underdown on the subject of God, justice, and reasons for existing. Over coffee!

God Dropped the Ball

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 26, 2012

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

Here's a nice gift for the season for you: After a harrowing medical scare concerning his heart, Ed Brayton gets back up. Show him some love.

The Economist goes to Hell. And by that I mean they have a cover feature this week on The Bad Place:

Religion thrives on fear, as well as hope: without fear, bad behaviour has no sanction and clerical authority wins scant respect. 

We Are Becoming Billionaires of Energy

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 21, 2012

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

So it's the big day, and so far, no rogue planets have smashed into Earth, and everything is just as wonderful, just as crappy, just as inspiring, and just as discouraging as it ever was. Some folks are no doubt disappointed, some relieved, some bemused. But I'll bet there's some of you who saw the arrival of today and were just a tiny bit spooked that maybe, juuuust maybe, that crazy Mayan Apocalypse thing was true. I mean, not me, of course. 

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Shutterstock’s Intelligent Design

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 20, 2012

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

Yeah, yeah, Mayan Apocalypse tomorrow, we're all gonna die, ha ha ha, let's move on

Alber Saber gives an interview to the AP:

"Egypt is a religious state," said Saber. "If you disobey the norms, you get judged and sentenced. I'm not a criminal, but I'm being judged and sentenced on my opinion." 

Yes, yes, that President What's-his-name is Time's Person of the Year, as it always is for a newly elected or reelected president. Like, every time. But two runners-up are notable for Heresy readers.

First runner-up, "Malala Yousafzai, the Fighter." Second runner-up is the pope of my particular religion, Apple CEO Tim Cook ("the Technologist"), and, again for my heretics, the third runner-up is Higgs boson scientist, "Fabiola Gianotti, the Discoverer."  

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It is a Very Dark Creed We Preach

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 19, 2012

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

I know he's my boss, and this will seem all sycophantic, but Ron Lindsay nails it with his take on the appropriate atheist response to religious invocations during this post-Newtown grief process, and how religious folks should remember to keep their atheist neighbors in mind during the same.

Anti-Claus Tom Flynn still thinks Christmas should be a normal work day, but this Christmas he will not be at his desk. Why? His love for his wife and a good deal. 

200 Pills for Google

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 18, 2012

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

Pew has another big survey, and this time they tell us that one in six human beings on Earth, 1.1 billion people, are "Nones." Of course, 700 million of those are in China.

Alber Saber released on bail

Hey! Dude! What are you doing Friday?? Oh yeah? Well instead of that (lame), why don't you head over to CFI's headquarters in Amherst, NY (The Fortress of Skeptitude?) and take part in a Winter Solstice party and clothing drive

There is Nothing to Understand

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 17, 2012

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

My blogger's instinct this morning was to complain about the inconveniences of my weekend. Our move to a new house, the snow, the raging toddler, etc. But it was as we were boxing up the last bits of our old apartment that we read the news of the massacre at Newtown. Now, every time I have something I want to grouse about (and I feel very, very grousey), my mind flashes to the lost children and the devastated families, and how no matter how many things my 3-year-old breaks or how often he melts down, I'm so incredibly grateful that he and his baby sister are healthy and happy and here.

Anyway, welcome to the new work-week, everybody. I'm glad you're here, and I'm glad you're, you know, here

There is Nothing Anyone Can Do to Stop This

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 13, 2012

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

Egyptian atheist blogger and activist Alber Saber was convicted yesterday in a Cairo court of blasphemy, and sentenced to three years in prison. 

Human Rights Watch's Heba Morayef tells NYT:

The spike in prosecutions over the past year and a half was due to complaints being filed by Islamist lawyers on a decentralized basis, but the constitution does more than that, it makes it state policy. And the tragic thing is that I think there is nothing anyone can do to stop this from growing in the future. 

CFI touts the new IHEU report on the persecution of atheists around the world, to which we contributed significant research. Guess who's on the cover of that report.

Happy Y2K12.95

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 12, 2012

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

As insidious as many folks find a confluence of numbers within a date, I think folks will feel much better about 12/12/12 knowing that it's National Sound Check Day ("one-two, one-two, one-two"). Could also be National 2/4 Time Signature Day. Anyway, CNN rounds up some of the superstitions surrounding today's date.

Death for Free Speech is a Deal Breaker

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 11, 2012

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

Former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey, in an op-ed by Frank Bruni at NYT, declares himself an agnostic. Says Kerrey, “If you talk openly about your doubts,” he said, “you can get in trouble.”

Writes Bruni on the problem of religious entanglement in politics:

God’s initial absence from the Democratic Party platform last summer stirred more outrage among Americans than the slaughter in Syria will ever provoke. 

Wait. 31% identify as "nonreligious"? What?? 

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A Fetish, an Amulet, a Pack of Tarot Cards

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 10, 2012

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

A major new report has been released by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and made with the help of us at CFI, on instances of atheist/nonreligious discrimination and persecution around the world. Coverage from Reuters. Billy Hallowell at The Blaze is even moved to write:

Considering [IHEU's] scope — to advance the cause of non-belief — there is clearly a bias in the preparation and publication of the report. However, many  of the findings are compelling.

Hemant's reaction: "Read it and weep."

3 Comments

He Currently Follows Only Himself

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 07, 2012

 

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

The LDS church decides to sort-of embrace LGBT folks, conceding that, while sinful to act upon, homosexuality is not a choice. 

CFI's Michael De Dora is a guest on Jamila Bey's radio program discussing the new laws surrounding "gay conversion therapy." 

Michael also touts a meeting that took place in October, the first time secular groups got a private meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Oh yeah, we were there. 

Susan Jacoby gives longform props to Robert Ingersoll in a really great piece for American Scholar

 

Weather Elements are Controlled Maybe by Different Things

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 06, 2012

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

And lo, the CFI board of directors did in this blessed time elect Edward Tabash to be its chairman, and yea, it was then joined by new board member Judith Walker, and there was much rejoicing and feasting.

Reba Boyd Wooden, chief of CFI-Indiana, talks about the motives behind our lawsuit for equality in solemnizing marriages:

True, atheists/Secular Humanists, etc. generally see less need for ritual than religious people. However, we feel that we should be able to offer it to those who do. 

69% of Americans Would Hate This Blog

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 05, 2012

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

Ron Lindsay joined a great panel discussion at HuffPost Live on the question of how God can be "perfect" and allow for so much suffering. Definitely check it out

New Gallup uber-survey says 69% of Americans are moderately or very religious, happens to coincide with publication of new book by Gallup's Frank Newport, God is Alive and Well, which seems more than a little hung up on contradicting the New Atheists. David Sessions at Daily Beast says this data means that secularization is being exaggerated.

2 Comments

Don’t Fetch Coffee for the Devil

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 04, 2012

As we told you yesterday, CFI has had its Indiana case, which challenged the religious privilege in the solemnizing of marriages, dismissed. Well, folks noticed.

Indianapolis Star talks to CFI-Indiana's Reba Boyd Wooden about the case. Indiana Lawyer talks to me.

Also, AP and Indiana Public Radio

Reba posted a comment to yesterday's Heresy that I think bears re-airing . . . 

You Can ‘Opt Out’ of My Covenant

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 03, 2012

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

This is why the Heresy is late today. It's bad news: An Indiana court has dismissed CFI's lawsuit challenging its prohibition against the solemnization of marriages by secular celebrants. CFI boss Ron Lindsay:

According to the court, what is a required accommodation for the religious, is just a matter of convenience for the nonreligious. It would be difficult to imagine a clearer way to classify nonbelievers as second-class citizens. . . . A wedding is one of the most important ceremonies in a person’s life, and it is just as meaningful to atheists as it is to theists. It’s disappointing that a 21st-century court refused to recognize this reality.

CFI plans to appeal. Early reaction to the decision from Hemant

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