That Near-Death Experience Sounds Awesome

August 12, 2013

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

Michael De Dora calls out the administration's amicus brief to SCOTUS in support of legislative prayers for its "spotty reasoning."

This actually happened: Tennessee judge orders a mother to change her baby's name ("Messiah") because "it's a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ." 

Charter schools. Held in churches. Discuss

Connor Wood examines why religious people tend to be less creative than the nonreligious:

Research tells us that religions are, in many ways, tools for uniting individuals into collectives. They use rhythmic motion during rituals to synch up people’s bodies, making them more trusting of and willing to sacrifice for one another. They use peer pressure and in-group reputation to ensure that people stay in line. And they’re replete with myths, symbols, gods, and stories that inspire people to act in accordance with the group’s norms and act cooperatively. Like it or not, religion is social glue. 

Emily Willingham snags NYT for a parent-spooking article implying a link between autism and cancer. 

The Secular Coalition and the Dawkins Foundation get married, sort of:

The partnership aims to maximize the strengths of both organizations-drawing on the Secular Coalition's strong nonprofit and strategic planning experience and the Dawkins Foundation's strong web and social media savvy, scientific expertise, and broad outreach. . . . [They] will be working closely together in many ways over the next few months, including organizational logistics as well as several events and initiatives. 

CFI-Portland scores Shelley Segal for a gig on September 8.

Ryan Koronowski lays out 16 things you really like that climate change is going to totally screw up

Sharon Hill gives the skeptic's response to "what happens when we die," as in, what do we actually experience?

I believe that some people, when they undergo the process of death, get to experience the shutting down of the brain that feels like overwhelming euphoria. It's what people describe when they have a "near-death experience." It sounds awesome. 

His Noodliness needs help with a new edition of The Loose Canon

A mom in New Hampshire is told to stop praying on the steps of her kid's school

So, that website Vice has a whole column devoted to making fun of an apocalypse-anticipating rag called Endtimes:

The magazine has been published for 22 years without ever questioning whether the end times are actually upon us, which is impressive in a way.  

Margaret Nervig from CFI On Campus group UNIFI praises the Leadership Conference, despite "yawning quite a bit" from lack of sleep. 

This Nevada SPCA may want to reconsider how it spends its time and money, as it holds a workshop with a pet psychic. In the aaaaarms ooffff the aaaaangels......

The Chronicle of Philanthropy profiles atheist leader Todd Stiefel. (Paywalled, of course. It's a magazine for philanthropists! They can afford it!) 

Evidence that religiosity may be genetic is popping up in twins

Secularists in Tunisia form a shadow government in opposition to the Islamist regime in power, ironically calling the operation a "salvation government." 

Leah Remini has indeed filed a missing persons report for Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige.

Quote of the Day

This is kind of huge: One of the folks who stirred up the violence over the famous Danish Muhammed cartoon, Ahmed Akkari, now regrets his role:

[I] was totally wrong. At that time, I was so fascinated with this logical force in the Islamic mindset that I could not see the greater picture. I was convinced it was a fight for my faith, Islam.  

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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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