Ghost in the Potty

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:

. . . there was an occupying army of relief workers [in Oklahoma], led by local first responders, exhausted but still humping it a week after the storm, church groups from all over the country — funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals . . .

Yeah, it's funny, Joe, how the nonreligious just do their good work for its own sake, not to fly a particular sect's flag. Funny. 

You need to see this one: In Free Inquiry, Ryan Cragun and Barry Kosmin look at how surveys *about* religion are often biased *for* religion

Remember how you can now get Skeptical Inquirer on your iPad? You can also get it on your Android device through the Pocketmags app.  

"Respected prophet" Cindy Jacobs says Native Americans need to feel bad for their spiritually tainted blood:

If you have in your bloodline any animus [sic], any Native American blood, for instance — not all Native Americans worshipped the serpent or crocodile, many did — but you might want to renounce that and repent for the generational iniquity. If you are — perhaps you’re Mexican and you might have indigenous blood in you or Mayan blood, those who have Aztec blood in any way, you need to repent for the sin of animism before you begin to deal with this spirit.

ABC News profiles the "return" of Bill Nye (a headliner at the CFI Summit). 

Don't tell my toddler, but folks in Bangladesh seem pretty certain there's a ghost in their potty. Our own Ben Radford looks at the "swirl" of controversy, and "flushes" it out, at See what I did there???  

Sally Morrow has a video report on the Christians vs. atheists volleyball game in Kansas City. A good time was had by all, it seems, and proceeds went to benefit a foster care and adoption resource charity.

In UK's The Spectator, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says atheism has failed as a foundation for moral society:

I have not yet found a secular ethic capable of sustaining in the long run a society of strong communities and families on the one hand, altruism, virtue, self-restraint, honour, obligation and trust on the other. 

Michael Nugent debates him on this on BBC Radio. 

The New Statesman looks at two books on the Enlightenment, one old, one new. 

Martin Robbins warns skeptics of piling on psychics we suspect to be fraudsters without sufficient evidence. 

"Atheist church" Sunday Assemblies will get started in NYC on June 30. Dan Merica at CNN looks at other such gatherings like those of the Harvard Humanists and Jerry DeWitt's new project.

Wait, DeWitt has a new project? Oh yes. NYT covers this former Christian pastor's new atheist services in Lake Charge, LA. 

Toronto police get up in a Bigfoot tracker's business

AP: A guy tries to burn down a church in Las Vegas because the pastor was "not keeping it real.

The issue of using a state scholarship fund for New Hampshire religious private schools may be headed for the state supreme court. 

God hates female football players

Robin Schumacher at the Christian Post says atheists are making false connections between acceptance of science and rejection of religion. 

Daniel Dennett talks to Businessweek about morality by committee, neuropharmacology, and other fun things. 

AP: Muslim women who accidentally started sectarian violence in Myanmar when one of them bumped into a Buddhist monk, get sentenced to two years in prison and hard labor

For your Illinois drivers license, religious accommodation can only be made for REAL religions, you know, the ones that are true, not the colander-wearing, pasta-based fake ones. 

Curtis White, in his book The Science Delusion, excerpted in Salonattacks the late Christopher Hitchens, accusing him (in the present tense no less) of being a big liar. 

Ugly: Idaho gun manufacturer sells "pork-laced" bullets in order to send Muslims shot with said bullets to Hell. Of course, it doesn't even work that way in Islam, but that's hardly the point.

Is there a gluten-autism connection?  

Paul Offit is sounding alarms about the potential dangers of vitamin and dietary supplements, and even says that Steve Jobs' (peave be upon him) use of supplements may have hastened his death, which grieves me to no end. (Oh man, then Ray Kurtzweil is screwed.

Farmer believes he has saved his sheep from worms with homeopathy

Drew Miller at PolicyMic offers closeted atheists some tips on coming out, based on his own experiences. 

Here's some real blasphemy for you: Sideways crosses. On necklaces.  

Someone decapitated Nessie!!! 

Quote of the Day 

Bono of U2:

I believe that Jesus was, you know, the Son of God. I understand that for some people and we need to…if I could be so bold, need to be really, really respectful to people who find that ridiculous.
* * *  

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul, Ed, Lauren, anyone who can fire them, or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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