Blog Archives for June 2013

I’m Suffering from a Depleted Heliosheath

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 28, 2013

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

What would happen if "The Secret" really worked? Kyle Hill lays it out in the latest "Reductio Ad Absurdum" column at CSICOP.org: 

Birthdays would be decidedly more boring. When anyone can simply think themselves a present, you would really have to 'keep Christ in Christmas,' because there wouldn’t be much else.

Marc Crislip concludes from some recent blah-blah about homeopathy and quantum something-something that homeopathy must be the biggest scam in all of scamhood. 

Speaking of which, homeopaths fight their loss of public funding in the UK. Sharon Hill seeks further insight

Not a Political Act, a Human One

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 27, 2013

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

DOMA is dead, Prop 8 effectively so. We at CFI celebrate a grand step toward being a more perfect union. From our press release, here's Michael De Dora:

DOMA and Prop 8 were betrayals of the secular ideals set forth in our founding documents, relegating LGBT Americans to second-class status. The Court’s rejection of these measures strongly reinforces the idea that religiously based attitudes on sex and marriage will not stand in the way of granting fundamental rights to anyone. 

President Obama and Defense Secretary Hagel promise immediate action concerning federal benefits for same-sex spouses. 

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An Example of Something Absurd

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

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

Anything interesting happen yesterday? I wasn't paying attention. Slow news day I guess?

I'm kidding. In the wider world, President Obama outlined a new climate change initiative, and CFI responded with input from CSI Fellows Marc Boslough and Stuart Jordan. (Al Gore liked it way more. The White House has a zippy infographic.)

We were introduced to what Joan Walsh called a feminist superhero in Texas, state senator Wendy Davis, mounts a "badass" filibuster of crazy anti-abortion legislation. (Which did not pass.) ...

It Sounds Very Hocus-Pocusy

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 25, 2013

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

In the Washington Post, Michelle Boorstein explores the (real) phenomenon of atheist prayer, in particular one atheist who has a "rigorous prayer routine" despite his nonbelief. Oh, and I'm quoted as well, perhaps being the first person in history to introduce the term "hocus-pocusy" into a major national newspaper. 

The Secular Coalition for America announces its meeting with Melissa Rogers of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which included CFI's Michael De Dora. Washington Times also reports on the meeting. 

Tom Flynn and I both come at the Joe Klein potshot at secular humanists from different angles. Tom says Klein is actually correct that secular humanists do not require an affiliation to rally around or plug when doing good works. I try to make clear that, apart from Klein's factual error, he's also engaged in a hurtful smear. 

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Joe Klein’s Cheap Shot: Why it Was Wrong

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

Why, in the middle of this piece which highlights the good works done by those who have dedicated their lives to service, go out of your way to land a potshot at an already maligned minority?

4 Comments

Ghost in the Potty

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

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

We just finished up our conference for CFI branch leaders, and part of that conference was a frank discussion between branch leaders, staff, and our CEO Ron Lindsay about the controversy and anger surrounding his talk and actions around Women in Secularism 2. There, Ron offered a sincere and deeply heartfelt apology to CFI folks, and on Saturday posted this apology to everyone else. 

American Atheists' Dave Silverman, talking to Raw Story at Netroots Nation, calls WiS2 "a huge success." 

Time magazine columnist Joe Klein inexplicably takes a nasty potshot at nonbelievers in the publication's cover story on veterans and community service...

3 Comments

Faking the Fake

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 21, 2013

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

This has to be a short one, folks, as I'm about to get on a plane for CFI's Branch Leaders' conference. A super-secret cabal of godless masterminds, bent on, um, I think playing Dungeons & Dragons or something. With snacks. To the (very brief) news! 

Oh snap, guys, look at this! Skeptical Inquirer can now be gotten digitally! Here's the link to the Apple iOS Newsstand version!  

Ben Radford has a super-cool piece in Skeptical Inquirer on his sleuthing out a pseudoscientific plagiarizer

Absolutely. Sure. Possible. Unlikely.

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 20, 2013

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

I've been on "vacation." If you've ever travelled with two small children, you know why the quotation marks are there. 

Lauren and Ed did a fantastic job keeping up the Heresy while I was away, and I can't thank them enough. I mean, I didn't read it or anything, but I'm presuming.  

Alan Chambers of Exodus International, a pray-the-gay-away ministry, apologizes for all he's done...

How bad could atheist grandma be?

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

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

Paul is on his way home from his "vacation" and will be back at the helm tomorrow. Today, we bring you one last Heresy from Guest Heretics Lauren Becker and Ed Beck. 

It's mid-week and the perfect time for some good news!

It's a start: Scores of Catholic colleges and universities now offer some sort of programming, counseling opportunities, or student groups geared specifically for LGBT students.

Paul Offit’s new book, Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine, is getting some great coverage. Gonna have to go buy this one. 

The Nativity of Yeezus

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 18, 2013

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

Paul is still off exploring the Windy City, he's set to return on the 20th. Maybe we'll even let him have is blog back! Until then, your Guest Heretics remain CFI's Director of Marketing Lauren Becker and Senior Policy Analyst Ed Beck. Now, by the grace of Yeezus, the news:

In honor of Yeezus' arrival, a handy timeline of blasphemy in popular music.

Kenan Malik examines pluralism, offense, and freedom: You can't have one without the others:

To defend the right to give offence, in other words, is not merely to defend free speech. It is also to defend diversity in its true sense. If we want the pleasures of pluralism, we have to accept the pain of being offended.

Never get lost on a road trip again with this fascinating 3D map of the entire known universe.

A New Hampshire court struck down yet another Rube Goldberg school "neo-voucher" machine that aimed to divert public tax dollars to sectarian religious schools. 

Too Ridiculous for Words

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 17, 2013

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

Paul is off on something called a "vacation," but we are starting to suspect he's really "bonding with Sasquatch." He'll return on the 20th. Until then, your Guest Heretics are CFI's Director of Marketing Lauren Becker and Senior Policy Analyst Ed Beck. Now to the news!

If you're like me, a good weekend can sometimes leave you struggling on Monday morning to summon the energy to be really concerned about rights and wrongs. Fortunately (?) there is much in the news to wake you up today.

First up, we celebrate a happy 50th anniversary for Ellery Schempp and the landmark case that removed official prayers from public schools. Thanks, Ellery! 

2 Comments

Defamation—In Space!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 14, 2013

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

Paul is off on something called a "vacation." He'll return on the 20th (we're skeptical). Until then, your Guest Heretics are CFI's Senior Policy Analyst Ed Beck and Director of Marketing Lauren Becker. Any and all bad puns are property of Paul.

From the land of dropbears, the question: Should pseudoscience be tolerated in a democracy?

Missing socks: found?

Science, our sense of wonder, and the parts of physics that—let's admit—are basically voodoo.

The Littlest Freethinker

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 13, 2013

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

Paul is off testing his skepticism by driving into a Derecho. He'll return on the 20th. Until then, the Guest Heretics are Ed Beck and Lauren Becker. Now, on to the news!

Think of the children! A lot of today's news relates to young people in some highly encouraging and also disturbing ways.

In Philadelphia, a faith-healing couple accused of murder must stand trial for the death of their infant son. 

Relatedly, what should we do with parents who deny vaccines to their children? What if they're a Kennedy?

A Florida school district is trying to protect their children - from The Truth. Bible? Yes. Ingersoll? No. Harris, Warraq, Hitchens, Dawkins, O'Hare? No. This is going to be fun. 

It is Actually Hollow

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

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

I, your Official Morning Heretic™, will be going on vacation after today, and returning June 20th. During that time, the Heresy will be in the capable hands of Lauren Becker, our director of marketing, and Ed Beck, who, um, I don't know what his job is.* The similarity of their surnames is entirely coincidental. Please go easy on them. On to the news. 

NYT on the public slaying of teenager Muhammad al-Qatta in Syria after he allegedly said something flip about the prophet:

Muhammad’s killing . . . focused anger on hard-line Islamists, including foreigners, some of whom have seized on the conflict in Syria as an opportunity to impose their mores. For Muhammad’s mother and some her neighbors, the tyrannies were indistinguishable, trapping many Syrians in a vise. 

Texas Christian University gives the green light to a campus atheist group. 

2 Comments

No, YOU Stick Needles in That Tiger.

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

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

Sam Harris warns of the dangers inherent in "ecstatic" religion, an understanding culled from his own experiences, and how Muslims' deep belief in the "truth" of their faith is widely underestimated: "The notion that no one believes in Paradise is far crazier than a belief in Paradise."

The administration is allowing Plan B to be available over the counter for women of any age. 

Want to be more inclusive of women with your evil, godless, War-on-Christmas group? CFI's Sarah Kaiser has some tips

2 Comments

Jesus is Nuclear Glue

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

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

Shafiq at the Islamic Society at Leeds University Union says animosity towards Islam "will continue to be justified" until moderates deal with the fact that "we're over-represented in the crazy department."  

France bans a rally by a right-wing group that was to celebrate the victory of a Christian army in the year 721 over Muslims in Toulouse.

Ben Radford looks askance at one woman's experiment with living only on sunlight and water...

Zimbabwean Underpants Gnomes

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 07, 2013

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

Well, this had to happen eventually, didn't it? My hero, Thomas Dolby, performs "She Blinded Me with Science" with a little help from Buzz-Freaking-Aldrin.

Carrie Poppy ventures into a building blueprinted by aliens ("The building is a huge boob. The nipple is open to the sunlight and fresh air.") to take a sleepy sound bath.  

Sally Quinn comes down hard on the Boy Scouts -- despite their new openness to gay youth -- for forcing atheists and gay scouts over 18 to "live a lie." 

3 Comments

Creation Was an Inside Job

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 06, 2013

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

Jaweed Kaleem at HuffPo: The FBI will now formally be tracking hate crimes against a bevy of minority religious groups, including Sikhs, Hindus, and yes, atheists. 

Make way for the chairman of the board! No, not Frank, but CFI's chair Eddie Tabash giving his address on the future of atheism to Atheists United in April.

The ACLU tries to put the brakes on the merger of secular hospitals with Catholic ones

1 Comment

Nobody Goes to Heaven

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 05, 2013

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

Yesterday, CFI's Geneva U.N. representative Elizabeth O'Casey delivered a powerful condemnation of "honor killings" and the governments that allow them:

We can no longer stand by and watch this horrific violence against women go unpunished. This barbaric practice is justified on cultural and religious grounds. We must not allow such grounds to be used to legitimize or excuse such an abhorrent abuse of a woman’s right to life, her right to equality, her right to freedom, or her right to dignity. 

Italian humanist organization UAAR launches a new campaign on how one can "live well without D" as in the "D" in "Dio" or God. The press release is in Italian, but you can always run it through the magical Google machine. 

2 Comments

The Hell Liberation Front

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 04, 2013

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

Buffalo News covers yesterday's pride parade, where CFI was ably and enthusiastically represented

Yesterday we lost New Jersey's Sen. Frank Lautenberg at age 89. Americans United pays tribute to his church-state record. 

You know what CFI's stuffy old headquarters needs? A bunch of you dang KIDS running around. <shakes fist> Dig the new website for this year's Student Leadership Conference

Now, I’m Not an Atheist, But I Play One on TV

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 03, 2013

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

Massimo Pigliucci notes CFI's opposition to Rep. Lamar Smith's transparent attempts to gut science funding, and gives a little credence to Smith's "guidelines" in the abstract. 

John F. Burns at NYT on the grief and angst over the broad daylight slaying of Lee Rigby in London by Islamic extremists. 

Recovering from Religion launches the Hotline Project, a way for folks with religious doubts to find someone to talk to about it. 

5 Comments