O Captain Janeway! My Captain!

April 9, 2014

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

So that new "documentary" The Principle that promotes [suppresses laughter] geo-freaking-centrism? We know it has Lawrence Krauss in it, and come on, we all knew it was a situation like the one with Dawkins in Expelled: Krauss couldn't have known what they were going to do, and indeed it is so:

I have no recollection of being interviewed for such a film, and of course had I known of its premise I would have refused. So, either the producers used clips of me that were in the public domain, or they bought them from other production companies that I may have given some rights to distribute my interviews to, or they may have interviewed me under false pretenses, in which case I probably signed some release. I simply don’t know. 

But the real worry was that Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager (NCC-74656), Kate Mulgrew, the film's narrator, had gone over the side of crazy, breaking nerds' hearts everywhere (mine included). Well, worry no more. O Captain! My Captain! She took to Facebook to clear it all up:

Let me assure everyone that I completely agree with the eminent physicist Lawrence Krauss, who was himself misrepresented in the film ... I am not a geocentrist, nor am I in any way a proponent of geocentrism. More importantly, I do not subscribe to anything Robert Sungenis has written regarding science and history and, had I known of his involvement, would most certainly have avoided this documentary. I was a voice for hire, and a misinformed one, at that.  

Whew!  

Susan Jacoby, who has been at the last two Women in Secularism conferences and will also be at the thirdinterviews at Skepchick about the history of freethought activism and where it's headed:

I’ve been called a “soft” atheist for believing in this kind of cooperation. I think this distinction between “soft” and “hard” atheists is nonsense. I am both an atheist and a secularist and, as I’ve written before, I think every atheist should stop backing away from what is still, in America, a naughty word. And I do mean women, who tend to be even more reluctant than men to drop the non-euphemisms for “atheist.” 

But that's not all! Once and future Women in Secularism speaker Soraya Chemaly is interviewed at Secular Woman by CFI-Northeast Ohio's Monette Richards.

(NPR has more with Barbara Ehrenreich on her new book as well.) 

Look at the slick looking website for the just-announced Skeptic's Toolbox 2014, happening this August. The theme this year: "Using Model Cases to Deal with Dubious Claims." Catchy, right?

Muslim groups virulently protest Brandeis University's decision to give Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree, and Brandeis freaking caves. Unreal.

The 25th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council wrapped up in March, and we have a wrap-up of CFI's activities there, raising the alarm of human rights abuses happening around the world through our various representatives.

Dr. Bill Schaffner of Vanderbilt University is calling for an end to the loopholes that allow parents to opt out of vaccinations for their kids. Meanwhile, a Kings of Leon concert turns into a measles infectopalooza.

The Guardian, not putting too fine a point on it: "Homeopathy is bunk, study says." Michelle Hughes at Crikey wonders which country's regulatory bodies will be the first to stand up a reject homeopathy and other alt-med.

Members of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio talk about their empowering experiences at CFI-NE OH's Secular Summit.  

Atheist in Florida (of course) who is accused of attacking someone with a butter knife because he thought he was Jesus (???) asks for an atheist attorney.

Author Nicole Cushing recently visited with CFI-Indiana to talk about her new novel I Am the New God, and video's been posted.

In Pakistan, it's not just Muslim women and girls forced into marriages, but every year about 1000 Christian and Hindu women are forced to both convert and marry a Muslim man, according to a new report. 

The Philippine Supreme Court upholds a new law providing free contraceptives to the economically strapped, which of course is being fought by the Catholic Church. 

We're learning that in blind tests wine enthusiasts can't tell old, expensive wines from the cheap stuff, audiophiles can't tell decent MP3s from lossless formats, and now we even learn that master violinists can't tell a new violin from a centuries-old Stradivarius. I find all this very liberating.

Veronica Chenik Gilmore is a secular humanist adoptive parent, and wants to encourage other nonbelievers to do the same

A school principal in Pennsylvania says a student can't pass out religious Valentine's Day cards, and the school now faces a lawsuit

The AHA meanwhile is suing the Federal Bureau of Prisons to make Oregon federal prisons recognize humanism as a an official "religious" option.

A teacher in Zambia buys a car with tinted windows. Then two kids had "fits" in their own homes. Ergo, the teachers at this school are Satanists.  

Kylie Sturgess interviews atheist writer and comedian Catherine Denevy at Token Skeptic.

The late Edwin Kagin gets a New York Times obit

Tim Murphy at Mother JonesThe media deals with chupacabra reports by mainly "teaching the controversy." 

Louisiana congressman who purports to be religious gets caught cheating on his wife, and the husband of his co-cheater calls him out:

I know his beliefs. When he ran one of his commercials, he said ‘I need your prayers,’ and I asked, ‘When did you get religious?’ He said, ‘When I needed votes.' ... He broke out the religious card and he’s about the most non-religious person I know.

Whoa, there, we don't want him! 

If you need something to bang your head against the wall about today, how about this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about how there is an evil conspiracy of climate-realist scientists and college professors to hide from students the fact that they could make a lot of money in the fossil fuel business. I can't even. 

Quote of the Day

Sonia Van Meter is a candidate for the Mars One mission to the red planet, which, if successful, is a one-way trip. Her husband Jason Stanford wrestles with this difficult fact:

Most of us run through certain hypothetical scenarios when getting married. Would you forgive me if I cheated? Would you stay if I were paralyzed? If I were brain dead, could you pull the plug? Do you really mean it when you say you’ll stand by me in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, till death do us part? We forget that our vows are not lyrics to be recited for public enjoyment but promises to be kept. I looked at the wedding vows that Sonia and I wrote so carefully, and there is no asterisk, no out clause releasing me in the event of extraterrestrial excursions.
 
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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Friday April 11, 2014 at 2:41pm

“there is no asterisk, no out clause releasing me in the event of extraterrestrial excursions.”

That may depend on how you read “till death do us part”.

Is that merely a throwaway phrase, defining the length of the term, or is it itself a vow, not to part except by death?

I would say that any married person deliberately (not, for example, in emergency, or under duress) taking a one-way trip anywhere their spouse cannot or will not go, is in violation of their vows, and I hold such person in very low regard.  Sonia Van Meter should not be married, to anyone.  She should have divorced him first.  Jason deserves better, even if he won’t say it.

We get one life, and should not settle for absent love.

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