Blog Archives for September 2015

Pope Sneaky

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 30, 2015

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

Happy International Blasphemy Rights Day, everybody. In honor of this occasion, we're launching a brand-spanking-new website for the Campaign for Free Expression, and it looks really great (big thanks to our web team Matt Licata and Marianna Kreidler). We're also taking the opportunity to talk about the many ways CFI fights for free expression on several fronts, including a new action alert to urge U.S. lawmakers to back the House resolution calling for the repeal of blasphemy laws worldwide. (Get on that one right now.)

WBFO radio in Buffalo marks the day with a 15-minute interview with our own Tom Flynn, discussing the intentions of the special blasphemy edition of Free Inquiry

Schiaparelli Was Right

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 29, 2015

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

Liquid water on Mars. Liquid water on Mars, y'all.

Tomorrow is International Blasphemy Rights Day, and Muhammad Syed of Ex-Muslims of North-America will speak at CFI HQ in Amherst.

Robert P. George is the chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and he's also someone who really hates Bill Nye and abortion rights

2 Comments

False Breakfast Memories

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 28, 2015

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

First and foremost, my sincere thanks to Stef McGraw for taking care of the Heresy while I was away for my brother's wedding. Stef did an amazing job, such that I am considering just having her do the Heresy every day from now on. Seriously, she nailed it. Thanks, Stef.

Second and almost-foremost, I was obviously away for all the coverage of the AP's change from climate science "skeptics" to "doubters," which is not as good as "deniers." But there was a lot of coverage! It's great! But for me, the crowning achievement was the interview by Bob Garfield on public radio's On the Media with the AP's Seth Borenstein on the topic, where CFI/CSI are front and center. On the Media is just about my favorite audio program of any kind, and I am absolutely delighted to have CFI be the catalyst for one of its pieces.

Confirmation bias to start your Friday

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 25, 2015

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

 
(Note: Today's guest Heretic is Stef McGraw. Paul is still away, but will return Monday. Thank god—I don't know how he does this day in and day out! Also, shout out to Outreach staffer Cody Hashman for helping collect articles throughout the week.)

We're going to mix it up and start today by talking about the Republican candi—just kidding we're talking about the Pope again! The Washington Post has a transcript and video of his full address to Congress yesterday. The New York Times offers a good summary of his speech, also noting, "If his words of unity struck a lofty note, though, his choice of issues effectively fed the very divisions he assailed...In the end, both sides could walk away taking vindication from parts of his message." Ah, nothing like some good ol' confirmation bias to start your Friday!

Pope Pope pope Pope pope

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 24, 2015

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

 
(Note: Paul is gone the rest of the week. Today's guest Heretic is Stef McGraw.)
 
As I type, Pope Francis is addressing Congress. You're lucky I chose to go into work instead of staying in my car to keep listening, because otherwise the Heresy would be done from my phone and probsby looj loke thos.

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The U.S. just got a whole lot Fluffier

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 23, 2015

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

 
(Note: Paul is gone the rest of the week. Today's guest Heretic is Stef McGraw.)
 
Ah man, Paul's really taking vacation at the wrong time--his main man Pope Fluffy is in the U.S! Although I bet even Paul isn't as excited as CNN is; there's so much enthusiasm over there that you'd think another Malaysia Airline flight had gone missing! 

Asinine

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 22, 2015

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

Quick housekeeping update: I'll be gone the rest of the week for my brother's wedding, so the incomparable Stef McGraw will take over Heresy duties for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. You won't even miss me.

Today you are stuck with me.

3 Comments

Like a Diamond in the Sky

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 21, 2015

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

Wow, lots of weird things happened over the weekend. I'm tempted to pretend they didn't, or at least really lean on the whole "we can't look like we're opposing or supporting presidential candidates" thing in order to dodge it all. But lemme give it a shot.

Here's the thing - last week, the whole Ahmed's-clock thing seemed to end so happily. Bad, stupid things happened, but our eyes were opened, and the world embraced the idea that, hey, let's stop treating each other like we're all enemies, and also let's encourage science and curiosity. Hooray! Sunshine!

God Would Show Me These Saggy Pants

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 18, 2015

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

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, 21 years old, is the nephew of a cleric the Saudi government doesn't like, and took part in protests in 2012. As punishment, he was arrested, tortured, and now faces a beheading and crucifixion. (A reminder: the latest Point of Inquiry discusses our relationship with the Saudis with guest Craig Unger.)

Donald Trump has an exchange with a man at a campaign event who believes Obama is a Muslim and other terrible things, and given the rules of this being a nonpartisan nonprofit I will not characterize the exchange beyond that. 

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This Whole Movement is Cuckoo

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 17, 2015

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

So a lot happened yesterday.

You almost certainly already know about Ahmed, the 14-year-old Texan arrested at school for building a clock which a teacher thought looked like a bomb. The Internet exploded, and people and institutions from NASA to Mark Zuckerberg to the President of the United States expressed their support and invited him to hang out. We tweeted out: "Kids like Ahmed not only inspire a love of science, but remind us to treat each other with respect. #IStandWithAhmed"

4 Comments

“Safety Dance” on a Pan Flute

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 16, 2015

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

A court in Albuquerque requires a divorced mom to attend classes riddled with Christianity, and when she refuses, she is barred from seeing her own kids. The "educator" insisted the classes were not religious, but an undercover report shows very much otherwise. I think we have a problem here.

I'm quoted in a Washington Post piece by Michelle Boorstein on the popularity of Pope Fluffy among non-Catholics, not representing CFI, but sharing my pope-hope that he's playing a progressive long game.

2 Comments

Funkmaster General

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 15, 2015

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

Point of Inquiry this week marks 14 years since 9/11 with a conversation between host Josh Zepps and journalist Craig Unger, author of the book House of Bush, House of Saud. The two largely discuss our strange and complicated relationship with the Saudis, and their various conflicts and interests in the larger Muslim world.

Alabama adopts science standards that require the teaching of evolution and climate change, and the news is that no one seems to be putting up a fight

Bernie Sanders addresses the students of Liberty University

Not Interesting, No.

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 14, 2015

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

On Friday, Ensaf Haidar announced the formation of the Raif Badawi Foundation, advocating for free expression in the Arab world, and our own Michael De Dora was tapped to be a member of its board of directors.  

Michael also contributes to a series of posts at Mukto Mona on the occasion of the late Avijit Roy's birthday:

If only all of us were so fortunate to have someone like Avijit come into our lives. I thank good fortune every day that Avijit came into mine.

As Stale as Gothic Croutons

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 11, 2015

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

More or less unrelated to the usual topics of this blog, save for some benign discussion of faith, I recommend Joe Biden's chat with Stephen Colbert

Brendan James at the International Business Times looks at the tenacity of the 9/11 truther movement, and the emotional toll it takes on the believers:

Carrying around the belief that your own government took the lives of 3,000 fellow citizens a few years back is a fair bit heavier than believing the moon landing was a Hollywood production. 

The Clout of Medieval Forces

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 10, 2015

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

In honor of International Blasphemy Rights Day on September 30, our magazine Free Inquiry has a special issue on blasphemy with some really great pieces, and a little cartoon featuring a certain prophet that won a certain competition. Other blasphemous things in this issue include Ron Lindsay, in an essay on how nothing ought to be immune from criticism, says, "L. Ron Hubbard was a fraud and Scientology is a scam." And then, Gregory Paul, in a piece for subscribers only, calls Jesus a coward and a jerk. Whee! 

No Longer Much of a Theist

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 09, 2015

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

Kim Davis is let out of jail, and takes part in a rally that I refuse to watch, featuring an insufferable Mike Huckabee and something what might be a community theatre production ofThe Wiz

Point of Inquiry this week has Erik Loomis, discussing the consequences of corporate outsourcing and the invisible disasters that can occur as a result. 

1 Comment

Promiscuous Biochemicals

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 08, 2015

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

Before you do anything else, catch up with the previous two weeks with Cause & Effect, our super-cool newsletter.  

Sumit Galhotra at the Committee to Protect Journalists says that what Bangladesh does with the arrested suspects in the killing of blogger Washiqur Rahman will tell us (and those still under threat) a lot about the government's actual commitment to ending this crisis.

2 Comments

Absolutely No Vaksinenekting

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 04, 2015

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

How cool is this: The White House chooses Rebecca Goldstein, honorary board member of CFI, for one of ten National Humanities Awards. She'll get her medal on September 10 from the president. Congrats!

Kim Davis is told by SCOTUS to do her job, she refuses, and a judge freaking puts her in jail. Judge David Bunning says:

The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order. If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems. 

In the 90s, Long Ago

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 03, 2015

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

Voice of America reports on the attempts of Bangladesh's secularist writers to get the heck out of Dodge as many of them wish to avoid the fates of their fellow bloggers. CFI's Michael De Dora is also quoted. 

The board of the James Randi Educational Foundation announces that the organization will convert into a grant-making foundation, and continue the Million Dollar Challenge.

I Fear Not Existing

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
September 02, 2015

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

I was away yesterday, spending a museum day with my boy who's about to start kindergarten. Unreal. 

On Monday, we announced something inspiring, as well as a little worrying: There is now a CFI branch in Pakistan. A lot of you have already let us know how brave you think these folks pf CFI-Pakistan are, and we agree, and also how worried you are about their safety. We are too. As Hemant says, "In a country where Veena Malik and Asia Bibi have received severe punishments for not showing enough deference to Islam, any opponents of Muslim thought must tread lightly."