Florida on High Xindi Alert

August 6, 2013

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

Hey, you hear the big news about The Washington Post? It came out against Virginia's religious exemption for homeschooling! Oh, and I guess there was this other thing where it was bought by Jeff Bezos. Pretty sure those two things aren't related.

Point of Inquiry classic episodes are streaming in as we lay the groundwork for its phoenix-like rebirth. This week, we have a 2006 interview with Susan Jacoby by DJ Grothe on America's freethought heritage. 

The town of Greece, NY gets support for its city council prayers from 31 U.S. Senators (30 GOPs plus Mary Landrieu of course), who filed an amicus brief to their Supreme Court case. 

So remember how I'm doing a new podcast? My latest guest is so right up the skepto-atheist alley (and I didn't even know it until we started recording): Gia Mora is a performer whose new one-woman musical show, Einstein's Girl, is all about a love of science, and she's passionate about communicating science to mere mortals. You should give her a listen

Pavel Adelgeim, a Russian priest who supported the dissident performance group Pussy Riot, has been stabbed to death.

Dan Fincke recounts his "truly outstanding" experience at the CFI Student Leadership Conference. 

Herb Silverman recounts how same-sex marriage equality made him appreciate marriage itself more than he had. 

Elizabeth Stoker at Salon roots for women in the atheist movement as much as she does for fellow Christian women:

The struggle for full equality between the sexes will not be achieved by the elimination of the Church; nor will it be achieved by the denigration of women’s voices within secular movements.

An interfaith group of chaplains has signed on to support humanist chaplains in the military:

We the undersigned strongly support the recruitment and retention of highly qualified, clinically trained chaplains who are representative of and committed to a chaplaincy reflecting a broad and inclusive range of interfaith, multicultural and diverse life experiences. This inclusive outreach extends to chaplains representing the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities of faith, and to those of minority beliefs, including Humanists and other nontheists. They, too, are valued members of our country’s military and must be embraced fully. Our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and Coast Guardsmen deserve nothing less!  

CFI's Center Stage has audio from a 2011 CSICon panel on skepticism featuring Sir Harold Kroto, Richard Saunders, and PZ Myers. 

Wow, Switzerland is going to replace it's God-filled national anthem with a secular one. 

Looks like ex-Scientologist actress Leah Remini is going to do a memoir

Good news from AHA: An Air Force trainee will not be forced to say "so help me God" in his graduation ceremony. 

David Gorski sends out a warning signal for HR 1757, the "Vaccine Safety Study Act." Another warning, from the NCSE, about a Pennsylvania "strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories" bill.

Video of a UFO in Japan is mysteriously deleted from YouTube! WAKE UP PEOPLE. 

Whoa, creepy shadow-beam-thing over Florida. Disconcertingly reminds me of the Xindi death ray that blew up, yes, Florida, on Star Trek: Enterprise

How about a nice Cassini shot of Saturn? Here you go

Another "I visited Heaven" book is out, except it's "my husband went to heaven and now I'm more religious." 

Todd Masson at the Times-Picayune is mightily impressed how Bigfoot uses "Matrix moves" to avoid trail-cams. 

West Yorkshire firefighters swim in chilly Loch Ness for charity, and are not eaten by a plesiosaur. 

Ed Brayton on what being a humanist means:

To be a humanist is to recognize that there is no solution to our problems other than ourselves. No deity is going to come down and provide us with clean water or sustainable agriculture, or make ignorance and illiteracy disappear, or mediate our conflicts with one another. We are the only ones capable of addressing those problems and, quite frankly, it’s time we got on with it and got it done.  

Quote of the Day

Lawrence Rifkin in Skeptical Inquirer looks at some amazing -- even "miraculous" -- feats of science (cloning, near-elimination of many diseases, etc.), and reflects:

What a privilege to be living through a time of such miracles. These are not literal miracles, of course, in the sense of divine intervention, and so miracles is not the correct word. The “miracles” of science and technology are more appropriately and clearly described as wonders—a result of human imagination and curiosity linked to a naturalistic method of knowing and learning about our naturalistic world. The amazing results have changed our lives and our understanding of who we are. And its findings are backed by evidence and reproducibility. 

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