Science in Scare Quotes

August 28, 2013

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

50 years ago today was the March on Washington and Dr. King gave that speech.

Persecuted Bangladeshi atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin has been reaching out, despite the ongoing danger to his life and freedom. Here he is talking to Austin Dacey and to Hemant Mehta. Michael De Dora, our public policy director who runs the Campaign for Free Expression, has been working with Asif, and we expect to hear more from him. 

Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan Mozena, is trying to heavily downplay the role of religion in the country's recent turmoil. 

The CFI On Campus crew hung out Google style for their second On Air Session last night, talking Light the Night and Hug an Atheist.

Ontario Human Rights Tribunal declares atheism to be a "creed" that requires the same protections granted to religions. 

I often giggle at the silliness of the Congressional Prayer Caucus (not literally, or I'd look pretty weird just tittering at the computer for no apparent reason). But Sarah Posner's latest piece makes me think that they're a more serious problem than I gave them credit for. 

In the aftermath of the murder of Indian skeptic activist Narendra Dabholkar, Meena Karnik examines the country's new proposed "anti-superstition" bill, intended to protect people from being victimized and harmed by belief in "black magic" and the like.  

Amish parents of a 10-year-old girl with leukemia in Ohio are refusing chemotherapy for her, and the hospital is fighting for the legal authority to treat her.

Faheem Younus says that underneath the Syrian conflict is an additional, deeply troubling undercurrent: "For these Christians and Muslim, the civil war in Syria heralds nothing less than the Second Coming of Jesus Christ."

People are clearly getting too comfy with gay relationships, so Baptist Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile wants Christians to "return the discussion to sexual behavior in all its yuckiest gag-inducing truth." Classy.

The seventh month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar means "roaming souls" come to Earth, and they must be fed by burning paper boats.

Parents spooked by misinformation are refusing vitamin K shots for newborns, which is leading to terrible consequences

Climate scientists join forces companies? NYT:

No one understands risk better than the insurance industry — except, perhaps, the reinsurance industry. 

Check out the colorful mix of backgrounds and personalities in the latest round of Presidential Medal of Freedom awardees, including Bill Clinton, Gloria Steinem, and Oprah! 

FFRF is going to expand its physical headquarters in Madison, and the additional four stories should bring them closer to God. 

LA Times' Michael McGough opines in favor of humanist military chaplains

In case you were afraid our church-state separationist allies had their priorities mixed up, Vanessa Wolbrink reassures, "Americans United would, of course, oppose the imposition of Sharia law in the United States." Whew! (Seriously, this is a post about the stupid anti-Sharia measures popping up in the states.) 

God: It's what's for dinner

Oooh! Red sparkly sprites

For the love of all that is good and holy, folks, don't wash your chicken

Quote of the Day

Following some dubious reporting on GMOs, Emily Willingham is forced to explain what science is:

Science is a way of understanding and describing the world, yes. In fact, regardless of any other ways used to characterize or view the world, because science encompasses all the natural, physical processes that form it, anything else must necessarily come back to … science. Philosophy, culture, humanities … when you trace what drives any of these fields to their origins, you will find yourself standing at the feet of science. Science in scare quotes isn’t just one way of describing the world around us. It is the ultimate way to understand it, and it gives us the information we need to change it for the better.

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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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