Blog Archives for April 2016

Weblog of Enlightenment

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 29, 2016

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

So dig this, we released our big annual Progress Report yesterday, and it's a great way to get an overview of all the bazillion things CFI works on, and I bet there'll be things in there that'll make you go, "Whoa, I didn't know they did THAT TOO! What a crazy-great organization!" Go see.

This is fascinating. At CFI's Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Stuart Vyse details how Apple may (inadvertantly?) be helping to fund and promote pseudoscience through a particular autism treatment, "Rapid Prompting Method," or RPM...

3 Comments

Memories of a Sea Slug

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 28, 2016

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

Yemeni atheist Omar Mohammad Bataweel is abducted by Islamic militants and shot, reportedly for his outspoken nonbelief.

Ranbir Singh Sidhu at VICE says the recent murders in Bangladesh point to a troubling "broadening of the targets," writing, "Now it seems almost any marginal voice in Bangladesh, whether an intellectual or activist, is a potential target." (Whoever wrote the headline for this piece must be Captain Obvious. "Bangladesh Needs to Sort Out Its Rampant Machete Attack Problem." You think???)

His Holiness Teddy Ruxpin

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 27, 2016

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

On Point of Inquiry this week, Lindsay Beyerstein talks to Rebecca Traister about the subject of her new book, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation

Maajid Nawaz, writing at The Daily Beast, leads with, "There really is no other way to put this. Free thinkers in Bangladesh are being serially hacked to death in their homes."

1 Comment

There is Nothing That isn’t Instantly Boring

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 26, 2016

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

One day after the latest murder-by-machete by Islamic extremists in Bangladesh, two more people are hacked to death: Xulhaz Mannan, editor of the country's only LGBT magazine and former US Embassy employee, along with his friend and colleague Tanay Mojumdar. This has prompted responses from John KerrySen. Ben Cardin, and the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat.

3 Comments

Green Eggs and Shame

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 25, 2016

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

This'll have to be a quick one, folks, because I'm in Amherst, NY today to see my coworkers (imagine that) for something like Team Building Exercise '99 (not really) at CFI–Transnational Cosmic Headquarters, or as I refer it, the Meatball Mothership™. 

He Was Tryin’ to Rest, Y’all

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 22, 2016

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

So, Prince. I don't have anything of use to say about him on this particular blog, but there is one thing about his death that actually falls right into the skepto-secular wheelhouse is that Prince has previously refused medical treatments due to his religious beliefs.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who last year introduced a resolution on the violence against religious minorities in Bangladesh that CFI supports, took to the House floor yesterday to shine a brighter light on the issue, warning that violence against atheists, secularists, and other religious minorities has "become a regular occurrence," and that we need to defend the right of free expression for everyone, even and especially those with whom we disagree.

3 Comments

Sitting in the Kitchen, Making Things Up

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 21, 2016

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

CNN publishes an op-ed by me and Michael De Dora on Bangladesh's great shame: the prime minister and other officials blaming the murdered secularists for their own deaths because of their "filthy words." We write:

By reprimanding the victims of these attacks, and doing little to bring the killers to justice, the Bangladesh government is abandoning its commitments and implicitly encouraging the killings to continue.

Where Spirituality Meets Narcissism

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 20, 2016

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

Holy moly there's a lot going on today.  

Yesterday we announced a new member of our Board of Directors, Y. Sherry Sheng, a naturalist and organizer with a dizzying array of experiences in helping nonprofits get better at what they do. So she's a good get, is what I'm saying. 

3 Comments

Beer-Stained Shroud

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 19, 2016

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

We have a must-read from Carrie Poppy at Skeptical Inquirer: an exposé of sorts of the inner working of Peter Popoff's televangelist operation, from a former employee.  

Point of Inquiry this week talks to journalist Tamar Wilner about another instance of a person who claims he can heal you and almost certainly can't, the case of Stanislaw Burzynski

They Might Be (Satan’s) Giants

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 18, 2016

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

Sarah Palin, promoting the science-denying documentary Climate Hustle, says Bill Nye is not a real scientist, which might be technically true, but is also beside the point. But Melanie Ehrenkranz at Mic says he actually is a scientist:

Nye, the science educator, television host and CEO of the Planetary Society and fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, where he also taught as a visiting professor. Nye worked at Boeing for years before becoming an entertainer. He is still an active scientist: Nye even developed sundials used in NASA's Mars rover missions. 

Filthy Words!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 15, 2016

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

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh goes off the deep end in attacking freethinkers for criticizing religion (emphasis mine):

I consider such writings as not free thinking but filthy words. Why anyone would write such things? It's not at all acceptable if anyone writes against our prophet or other religions. This is a characteristic fault, expression of distorted or filthy mindset. I hope no one would write such filthy things. ...  Everyone should maintain decency. Otherwise in case of any uncivilised attitude, the government wouldn't take the responsibility

Team Inky

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 14, 2016

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

Johann Hari is back on Point of Inquiry, talking about the horrors of the drug war, and how on the eve of a big UN conference on drugs, many nations are beginning to reach a consensus about what a disaster it's been. 

Saudi Arabia's religious police (aka "the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice") will no longer be allowed to "chase" or arrest anyone, but will primarily act as "promoters" of virtue "in a gentle and humane way," and, of course, as informants.  

2 Comments

FSM on the Far Side

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 13, 2016

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

Yuri Milner, Stephen Hawking, Ann Druyan, and a bunch of other smart folks are going to send a swarm of baby-probes, pushed by lasers, to Alpha Centauri within a generation. Said Hawking, "Today we commit to the next great leap in the cosmos, because we are human and our nature is to fly."

People around the world claim to hear "the Hum," a mysterious auditory phenomenon that might be very low frequency waves, or might be entirely imagined. Colin Dickey at The New Republic takes a long look at what's going on.

3 Comments

Electrons and Fish

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 12, 2016

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

Jeff Sharlet has a feature in NYT Magazine looking at the Trump phenomenon as a kind of hyper-macho prosperity gospel:

“You had so many killings [by illegal immigrants],” Trump shouted. “So much crime.” But then he held up a finger, and his voice dropped into a deep and deliberate monotone: “It’s gonna end.”

There it was: the positivity, not a promise or a prediction. A fact. 

3 Comments

Kepler Red Alert

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 11, 2016

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

Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent claims responsibility for the murder of Nazimuddin Samad in Bangladesh, for being an "enemy of Allah." The country's Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan says something that made my jaw drop.

The bloggers, they should control their writing. Our country is a secular state... I want to say that people should be careful not to hurt anyone by writing anything -- hurt any religion, any people's beliefs, any religious leaders.

Latin for Waffle

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 08, 2016

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

Students protest in Bangladesh over government inaction to the killing of Nazimuddin Samad and other secular writers. We have put out an action alert urging passage of House Resolution 396, which demands that Bangladesh affirm its secular constitution, protect minorities, prevent the growth of extremism, and guarantee human rights for all.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-Justice League) introduces the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act (REHYA) which supports comprehensive, reality-based sex education, and CFI is one of the bill's supporting organizations.

3 Comments

More Woeful Pageants

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 07, 2016

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

Another atheist activist hacked to death in Bangladesh, 28-year-old law student Najimuddin Samad. The day before he was killed, he had posted to Facebook criticizing the government's ability to maintain law and order, and has previously posted about atheism and his criticisms of radical Islam. We have responded, which is noted in reports on the killing by the APNPRBuzzFeed, and elsewhere. This is the first attack of this kind in 2016, following several of them in 2015.  

Associate Citizens

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 06, 2016

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

Well, Tennessee looks about to adopt the Bible as the official state book. Katie Rogers at NYT reports:

During a Senate floor session on Monday, Senator Steve Southerland, the Republican who sponsored the bill, argued that it is about honoring the Bible’s historical and cultural contributions to the state. He said that a Jewish friend of his had agreed the Bible is a historical text. ... The legislation does not say which version of the Bible would be used. 

People Really Like Burning Stuff

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 05, 2016

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

Look who's on Point of Inquiry this week: It's American Atheists' Dave Silverman, in a spirited discussion with Josh Zepps about his fight against all things goddy. 

Google removes from the Play Store an app...by the Taliban

The Most Privileged Dirty Old Men

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
April 04, 2016

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

Brandon Withrow at the Daily Beast looks at the places around the world where Christians really are persecuted (hint: not Starbucks), and the larger problem of blasphemy and apostasy laws. Oh, I'm quoted here too:

We have to “look beyond our borders,” adds Fidalgo. We need to recognize that “people truly are suffering in unthinkable ways—being beaten by mobs, imprisoned, executed, flogged—for holding certain beliefs or questioning the majority. And then we need to start bringing to bear our diplomatic and economic influence and making serious efforts to make change."