The Morning Heresy 5/21/12: A Deep and Undulating Whoop
May 21, 2012
Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo
Now that was a conference!
This was no egg-headed snoozer, this was no reiteration of why we like Darwin so much (not that there's anything wrong with those). The Women in Secularism conference was as fantastic, fulfilling, and enlightening an event as we could ever have hoped. Once a glimmer in Melody Hensley's eye, it brought together an excellent mix of thinkers and personalities that had everyone opening their eyes to new perspectives. (Oh, and Jennifer Michael Hecht gave a poetry reading -- how cool is that?) There's a lot already, as you'll see below, that's being said about this past weekend, and I'm sure it's only the beginning.
Luckily for all those who could not attend, it was entirely possible to absorb a great deal of the conference 140 characters at a time. The hashtag #wiscfi will give you the full stream, which included summaries, updates, reactions, jokes, rants, pictures, and resources of all types. Other than the super-amazing official CFI twitter account (run by some guy), other great tweeps that covered the conference included @surlyamy, @abiodork, @kropotkin, CFI-NY's own @_stephanieleroy, and @szvan, who I somehow managed not to meet. There were many, many others, too, but these were the folks that popped up most often from my vantage point.
There was also some great live-blogging of the conference, which is awesome. Here's Ophelia's and Ashley Miller's work (and did you know she did ukulele videos? I love this movement sometimes). Also, Kim Rippere has a wrap-up, gives us an A+
The Clergy Project's Catherine Dunphy is bullish on the impact of the conference:
So now that the conference has wrapped and we have heard one another's voices and been challenged by the scope of systemic sexism, both in the west and thanks to Wafa Sultan; in the Islamic world, what can we do? If being a member of the Clergy Project has taught me anything, it is that we must keep talking, working and deconstructing these ideologies, both religious and cultural, that limit the full expression of women and our lived experiences.
Before the conference, Minnesota Atheists' Atheist Talk interviews our boss Ron Lindsay on secularism, the need for the WiS conference, ethics, and more
Stephanie Zvan, in the form of a dialogue, runs with Jen McCreight's reminder that there is an insidious issue of poorly-behaving men at secularist events
EmilyHasBooks rounds up a group of followable female tweeters in honor of the conference
And just as we showed up for the big event, a UFO had just visited the District
LA Times tallies up some of Dr. Oz's woo
Robert Blaskiewicz writes for CSI that he's hearing conspiratorial voices
CSI's Kylie Sturgess and Ben Radford on Kylie's podcast
Depressing look in the Guardian at Texas's war on history
Must-read: Via Letters of Note, Einstein in 1936 explains to a young girl whether scientists pray
Fascinating piece by Jodi Kantor in NYT on the major influence Mormonism has over Mitt Romney, despite how quiet he is about it in the campaign:
. . . take Mr. Romney’s frequent tributes to American exceptionalism. “I refuse to believe that America is just another place on the map with a flag,” he said in announcing his bid for the presidency last June. Every presidential candidate highlights patriotism, but Mr. Romney’s is backed by the Mormon belief that the United States was chosen by God to play a special role in history, its Constitution divinely inspired.
And if Romney succeeds in "mainstreaming" Mormonism, Noah Feldman sees some reason for caution:
If Mormons think of themselves as another Christian denomination, the risk of defection rises. The distinctive Mormon beliefs in a new scripture and in the possibility of joining the supernal realm for eternal life will come into jeopardy precisely because they mark differences with the Protestant mainstream. If you believe you are not that different from others, there will be a tendency to downplay those practices and beliefs that suggest otherwise.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at Georgetown says church-state separation is "a fundamental principle in our unique democracy."
In These Times interviews Chris Mooney
Rose Schwartz notes that the president has come out for nontheist Rep. Pete Stark in his tough primary fight
Catholic Review: Belief in nothing isn't the challenge to religion, it's the "new religion" of "new atheism"
40,000 ultra-Orthodox Jewish men fill Citi Field to combat "the siren song of the Internet," which was streamed, of course, on the Internet
Something to keep in mind about Bigfoot when you're tracking him, his howl is "a deep and undulating whoop that starts low and ends in a high, feral squeal or resolves completely, like a siren."
CSI's Joe Nickell featured in Fox News piece on the Shroud of Turin
NCSE: Alabama creationism bill dies of neglect
Hemant on the unfortunately still-relevant Draw Muhammad Day:
People will keep drawing images of the Islamic prophet until Muslims stop censoring other people from doing it. If they can’t handle freedom of expression, that’s their problem.
Hemant also rounds up some Global Atheist Convention video highlights
Jim Parker of the Freethinkers Association of Central Texas encourages nonbelievers to come out with unveiling of a new billboard
The NAACP comes out for same-sex marriage
Quote of the Day
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.
I went to meet Alex Aan because as a Christian, I believe in the freedom of religion, which includes the right not to believe.
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The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta
#1 Stephanie Zvan (Guest) on Monday May 21, 2012 at 8:56am
If we didn’t meet, I’m not sure how I got you to sign the book for the fundraiser. You just weren’t badge sniffing hard enough (and I didn’t introduce myself properly).
But yes, what a conference!
#2 Ophelia Benson on Monday May 21, 2012 at 10:32am
#3 Paul Fidalgo on Monday May 21, 2012 at 10:41am
Oh that was you! See? I didn’t know. And: I am fairly stupid.
#4 Stephanie Zvan (Guest) on Monday May 21, 2012 at 1:58pm
I don’t think there is enough coffee in the world to have turned all our exhausted minds smart again that morning. And yet (and yet!) everybody on stage was still brilliant. I don’t understand how they did that.