The Morning Heresy 5/8/12: Six Commandments, Fourteen-Foot Beaver

May 8, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Greta Christina posts her audio interview (mp3) with new SCA chief Edwina Rogers, as well as a transcript

Prime takeaway from my perspective: Rogers seems adamant that there is more of a pro-secular attitude within the GOP than almost anyone else believes, and leans heavily on the idea that there's not sufficient research on the question (she says, "I don't agree that the Republican Party is pro-life," which is really hard to square, but she insists that there is supportive research). I have to wonder whether this is somewhat a moot issue, because it seems to me that the question that is plaguing movement atheists is whether Rogers is truly "one of us" given her history, and while not totally irrelevant, the secularity of the wider GOP is not necessarily central to answering that. In other words, her own record and coming work will be a far better barometer than that of the Republican Party as a whole.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, she places an emphasis on realpolitik, which is frankly what one would expect from a seasoned lobbyist: She explains her Rick Perry donations by citing his influence over the issues she worked on behalf of, and therefor it was only common sense to gain favor with him (and any other influential figures); she explains her eschewing the label of "atheist" in favor of "nontheist" not because of its accuracy or some philosophical principle, but because she doesn't want to alienate sectors of the movement in which she now holds a leadership position. 

Rogers tells WaPo: "I see a lot of opportunity to recruit secular Republicans to the movement." 

Russell Blackford on the Rogers-Greta interview:

I'd like to think that Rogers is a hired gun ... or better still someone who has been a hired gun in the past but has now reached a time in her life when she wants to commit to a cause that she believes in.  

Greg Laden is still worried:

I asked about the SCA’s plans to include climate change in their move to make real science the basis of policy in Washington and elsewhere, but there was not a clear answer.

Ashley F. Miller pens a somewhat tongue-in-cheek PR letter of what she would like to hear from Ms. Rogers 

Indiana radio interviews CFI-Indiana's Reba Boyd Wooden on her lobbying efforts in DC on the filling of judicial vacancies 

Must-Read: Long-time Indiana GOP senator Dick Lugar is likely to lose his primary to the Tea Party/Palin-backed Richard Mourdock. Scientific American does a fascinating profile of Mourdock and his substantial scientific cred, and it's a wildly mixed bag. A taste:

“I tell my Christian friends: when you look at the rock record, the fossil record, of course evolution occurred. It continues to occur,” says Mourdock. “It is important that we understand that others can disagree. I’m more concerned, frankly, when I see science misused by politicians.” 

Andrew Sullivan has a double for we seculars: He plugs Chris Mooney's Republican Brain work, and invites readers to weigh in on the Neil deGrasse Tyson agnosticism debate 

Sam Harris keeps the ball in the air with a new post on religious profiling:

Within a few hours of publishing “In Defense of Profiling,” I had lunch with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of my favorite people on earth. (Of course, I told her that I thought she should be profiled at the airport, and we had a good laugh about my “racism.”) What defenders of Islam refuse to acknowledge is that critics of this religion—especially those, like Ayaan, who were once Muslim and are now guilty of apostasy—have security concerns of a sort that critics of Judaism or Christianity haven’t had for centuries. Charges of “Islamophobia” in this context are nothing more than liberal masochism and denial. And the most ominous sign coming from the moderate Muslim community at this moment is that the majority of its members continue to deny that Islam warrants any special concern. 

NPR Talk of the Nation covers Theresa MacBain and the phenomenon of clergy losing their faith 

Discovery's Bigfoot show comes to Alberta, Canada with a robot deer as bait. Yeah, I dunno.

Justin Griffith interviews Pastor Sean Harris, the guy who said we should beat up our effeminate kids 

Reuters: Leader of Irish Catholic Church refuses to resign after apologizing for letting children under his watch be abused by a priest 

Ratzi wants employees of Catholic institutions to be more catholic-y, lest the church's athority be "compromised." Yeah, that's the problem. 

Radio Australia does a brief piece on Alexander Aan, the Indonesian man imprisoned for Facebook atheism 

Tunisian government overreacts to US ambassador's comments on blasphemy conviction against TV station owner 

Poster at Democratic Underground insists that progressive religious community has no qualm with atheists 

Nutbag Congressman Allen West: Obama's not Hitler, he's Chamberlain. It's Karzai who's Hitler. 

Letters of Note: C.S. Lewis said that a TV portrayal of Aslan the lion would be "blasphemy" 

AEI publication insists that secularism does not have as rosy a future as we sometimes think:

It’s worth remembering that 97 percent of the world's population growth takes place in the religious tropics, while populations in secular East Asia and the West are aging and would already be declining were it not for immigration. 

Studies do not seem to be taking into account population increase of aliens with rock heads

Loch Ness Monster hunter also on the lookout for a 14-foot beaver

Kid in Illinois is psychic, sees dead people, mom says he probably gets it from Cherokee side of the family 

HuffPo on secret government programs on psychic extraterrestrials and...oh, never mind.  

Sarah Posner: Judge contemplates solving Ten Commandements problem by taking out the first four 

Sean Carroll at Discover posts video of his opening statement at a God debate making his case for naturalism: "Science and religion have gone their separate ways over the years." 

Focus on the Family withdraws Colorado constitutional amendment on "religious liberty" 

Gem from the vault: Project Argus unearths audio of Carl Sagan 1994 keynote speech to CSI (then known as CSICOP)

Straight-up wrong quote of the day, from Barbara Halla in the Harvard Political Review:

Of course, one must remember that religion it is not really concerned with science in the first place. 

Super-Mega-Ironic-Headdesk-Facepalm Quote of the Century

Billy Graham, answering a letter about superstition:

Sadly, superstitious people often become so absorbed by superstitions that their lives are ruled by them. Instead of enjoying life, they live in fear — fear that they’ll do something wrong and bring misfortune on themselves. Others constantly pursue things they hope will bring them good fortune — usually in vain.

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. 

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