Something Just Clicked

March 5, 2013

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

CFI drops an important new position paper on the rise of rampant Christianism in the U.S. Military.

The report itself is authored by Jim Parco of Colorado College, formerly of the National Security Council under Clinton and a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. You can read his forward to the report here. And if reading is a bummer to you, here are some bullets of key findings

A one-two punch of awesomeness from Kimberly Winston at RNS: First, she profiles "Samya," a young Middle Eastern woman who is fleeing Islam and the violent consequences of her apostasy.

Then, Winston looks at CFI-NYC's own efforts to support former or questioning Muslims with the program "Muslim-ish." 

Our own Chris Mooney at Mother Jones refutes Michael Shermer's contention that there is an anti-science crisis on the left as much as the right:

Oh, and by the way: By denying global warming, they also jeopardize the planet and the well-being of humanity. In my view, not all wrong beliefs are equally harmful—rather, wrong beliefs are harmful in proportion to their bad consequences. 

To bring home to point, Chris interviews former anti-GM activist Mark Lynas to talk about science and the political left on Point of Inquiry

The Secular Coalition for America, of which the Council for Secular Humanism is a member organization, will host a lobby day and summit April 24-26. 

Accusations of a cover-up from the Vatican arise over the recent resignation of Cardinal Keith O'Brien. From the Telegraph:

[There is] speculation that the Vatican negotiated a deal months ago in which the British cardinal would retire quietly in an attempt to spare embarrassing the Church. It has been alleged that the deal was brokered by Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada, the head of the Vatican's Congregation of Bishops and one of the front-runners to be elected pope. 

Also: Vatican to sex-abuse-cover-upper Cardinal Mahony: Come on down to the conclave

CFI's Michael De Dora explains how the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is also a victory for church-state separation

Danielle H. Hester at NYT on the unwritten "don't ask, don't tell" policy of the black Christianity:

If a minister is too rigidly homophobic, it could scare away members, which would decrease contributions and might ultimately be the end of a family-owned church.

Sit down with Daniel Dennett, have a nice lunch, and help CFI-DC raise some funds. 

Or, perhaps, go to China, dig up a corpse, and marry its ghost. Your call.

AC Grayling stands up for humanism:

Because humanism draws on 2,500 years of non-religious ethical thinking since Socrates, it is a deep, rich tradition of insight, wisdom and inspiration, and it is this without any supernaturalistic beliefs involved. That means that it offers the possibility of truly global ethics that everyone could live by. 

At Discovery News, Ben Radford says charges of sexism leveled at a new study on obesity in women are a "gross mischaracterization."

Qasim Rashid and Chris Stedman write about improving understanding between atheists and Muslims on freedom of belief (giving props to CFI's Campaign for Free Expression). 

It is crucial . . . to recognize that true civility cannot be dictated, but can only exist through personal accountability. 

The late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University is doing really, really well. (My brother got me a Liberty University T-shirt as a birthday gift a while back, and I haven't had the guts to wear it in public yet, for fear that no one would get the irony.) 

American Atheists apologizes for misquoting Sarah Palin on its billboard, and new PR chief Dave Muscato says they may replace it with ads featuring Texas geniuses George W. Bush and Rick Perry. 

Harvard, which expects its students to be "giving a true account of the gift of reason," will have pseudoscience promoter Oprah Winfrey as its commencement speaker.   

Seth Kurtenbach lends some satire to the On Campus blog, explaining how it was prayer that cured that HIV-infected baby. 

UK Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg, an atheist (news to me), will send his kid to Catholic school

Health officials in India crack down on faith healers, but others in the government don't allow them to be charged:

"Politicians and their aides used all sorts of measures to deter us. Block pramukhs and government officials also pleaded for certain quacks," said a deputy chief medical officer on condition of anonymity. Another added that certain top administrative officials and MLAs were also calling up health teams to save the quacks they knew. 

Join Cody Hashman in his "angsty days" with his latest music post at the Campus blog. 

Couple aims to prove that a UFO really did land in Aztec, NM. (I thought the headline here meant that the UFO itself was of the Aztec civilization, which made less sense.) 

At Skeptical Inquirer, Robert Sheaffer reviews Solving the Communion Enigma: What Is to Come, a book sort of about maybe-alien "visitors" and multiple-consciousness parallel universes and whatnot.

Meanwhile, Joe Nickell yawns at the movie Dark Skies

Quote of the Day 

"Samya," from Kimberly Winston's piece above:

One day, Samya remembered, she was hungry, thirsty and tired from rising before dawn to pray. At that moment, she said, “something just clicked.” She went into the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror. A radical thought hit her: “There is no God.” She turned on the tap and took her first sip of water. “I thought, ‘I am free.’”  

* * *  

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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Comments:

#1 Tim P. Farley on Tuesday March 05, 2013 at 8:57am

For those not familiar with the story, that Aztec UFO has long been known to be a deliberate hoax.

Details at Robert Todd Carroll’s Skeptic’s Dictionary site here:
http://www.skepdic.com/aztec.html

#2 Darcy Cowan (Guest) on Tuesday March 05, 2013 at 12:39pm

Could “Samya” possibly be “Fleeing” Islam?

#3 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 at 1:09am

“wrong beliefs are harmful in proportion to their bad consequences.”

The problem there is that you don’t know what the consequences are, until they happen.  The worst consequences might also happen last.

#4 Paul the Morning Heretic on Wednesday March 06, 2013 at 6:57am

“Fleeing” corrected.

#5 copychief on Wednesday March 06, 2013 at 3:50pm

Chris Mooney didn’t “refute” anybody. You meant “rebut.” That’s known as begging the question (the dictionary definition, not the popular one).

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