The Morning Heresy 5/15/12: They Can’t Burn Our Internet

May 15, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Everyone at CFI is feeling like a proud parent today, because our plucky podcast is getting some well-overdue accolades from the mainstream press. Hyperactive news website Business Insider named our own Point of Inquiry one of the 10 best podcasts, grouping it with such shows as Wait Wait Don't Tell Me! and Anderson Cooper 360. We are beaming! Our sincere congratulations to hosts Chris Mooney and Indre Viskontas, and producer Adam Isaak! (And yeah, we'll be making more noise about this, because that's what proud parents do.)

And just in time, the latest episode of POI is up with their guest, the never-shy Greta Christina!

I make my debut as a contributor to Friendly Atheist (awesome, right?) with a look at the contempt for science shown by Rep. Jeff Flake: 

[Flake] is inserting himself into a debate about what areas of inquiry are and are not worth pursuing, based on his own politics and notions of governance, all of which are irrelevant. This actually gives him too much credit — he’s not inserting himself into a debate in order to engage in said debate. He’s entered the debate hall, knocked over the podiums, and declared himself the winner. 

Panda's Thumb highlights CFI's suit against the Wyndgate for religious discrimination:

From our “if I did that, then you would …” department, imagine the outrage if someone had canceled a speech on finding out that the speaker was a religious fundamentalist. What is the difference? 

CFI's Dren Asselmeier highlights the impact of CFI on Campus's Student Leadership Conference with a testimonial from Buffalo State Freethinkers' Nathan Grammer:

You become inspired by (and maybe a little envious of) the great work other groups are doing. You talk about what has worked in the field and what doesn’t. There are countless differences of opinions, but most of the people there know how to argue, so every disagreement is productive. So you become energized, full of new ideas, eager to put them into practice. 

Ben Radford takes a skeptical look at the "human Barbie"

Republicans, who hate everything FDR stood for, are eager to enshrine one of his prayers into the World War II Memorial 

Jason Rosenhouse at Evolutionblog rebuts a silly proposition from Robin Hanson that atheists should reject the reading of fiction, since we like reality so much, or something. Rosenhouse writes:

Well, I'm certainly opposed to reading fiction and pretending that the stories are true. And I'm double-mega opposed to organizing my life around stories that I wrongly believe to be true. 

One study suggests there are actually no agnostics in foxholes, another shows that atheists get a little wobbly when presented with thoughts of death  

My favorite line from Todd Stiefel's Reason Rally speech, video of which was just posted: "They can't burn our Internet!" (h/t Hemant)

Obama campaign promotes the guy who helped arrange the 2008 Rick Warren event to lead religious outreach effort  

George Dvorksy to fellow atheists: Let's stop being jerks

Letter to the editor in the Free Lance-Star in Fredricksburg, VA clarifies what the hell an atheist actually is, makes bold assumption that his cat is also an atheist 

Leah Libresco is now taking signups for the Ideological Turing Test 

Oh please. This "angel" caught on a security cam "might" be a hoax. You think? 

Obvious headline of the day: Alternative medicines are potentially unsafe, warn experts 

Clerics in Iran declare fatwa on a rapper who references the 10th Imam and has a somewhat risque album cover 

Andrew Sullivan's cover story in Newsweek on Obama, "the first gay president"  

SciAm looks at the neuroscience of magicians' tricks. Says Stephen Macknik of the Barrow Neurological Institute:

Magic is . . . the primary force to debunk pseudoscience. 

Kuwaiti man accused of blasphemy to plead not guilty, saying his account was hacked  

Ack! Jellyfish UFO!!! 

Michael Medved has had it with atheists and their lack of love for crosses:

. . . secular activists and self-styled defenders of "civil liberties" seek to transform American society in a way that our founders and most subsequent generations would never recognize. They seem eager to defend flag-burning, obscenity and every other form of radical expression, while seeking to suppress emblems of the Christian faith that helped shape the nation since the arrival of earliest colonists.


Quote of the Day    

Indian skeptic Sanal Edamaruku, accused of blasphemy for debunking miracle-healing Christ statue, will challenge the blasphemy law:

I see this as an opportunity to make sure this law isn’t misused any more against anybody. . . . I’m determined, I have a duty to develop scientific temper and promote inquiry so on these two grounds we will challenge the very veracity of this law in the Supreme Court. 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI . Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

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The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta