The Morning Heresy 6/7/12: Meme Abuse

June 7, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Now look. I know there is a lot of debate going on in the skepto-atheosphere, much of it very necessary (and some of it very much not). And that's fine. That's what we do. We make assertions, we question, we argue, and sometimes things get heated or personal. It's hard to avoid, because as rational as we aspire to be, we are still human. But to my mind, one aspect of all this arguing (much of it going on within the Freethought Blogs network, much of it on Twitter) has crossed a line. A dangerous one. 

Yes, the debate has crossed the threshold into meme abuse. The overuse of a particular humorous image has offended my tastes once too often. And to all who have been beating this dead aesthetic horse, I ask:

Please Stop

On to the news.

Kansas is trying to muck up science education yet again, with one board of education member saying that teaching evolution in lieu of "balance" with creationism is "problematic," because "they are preferring one religious position over another." What might that religious position be? You know, that other religion, secular humanism.

You lucky, lucky people! Videos from the talks and panels at the Women in Secularism conference are trickling in! Here's what's up so far:

More to come! 

CFI-NYC posts video of its event with CSI's Ben Radford on "The Truth About Psychic Detectives"

Yesterday Michael De Dora of our Office of Public Policy sounded the alarm about a dangerous ballot initiative in North Dakota that allows religious belief to be used an excuse to break the law. At Friendly AtheistI make some more noise about it, along with a funny Monopoly card image 

Leo Igwe, Nigerian humanist and skeptic activist, is interviewed by Kylie Sturgess at the CSI website: 

I have this very strong conviction that even if everyone who lives in my country or on the continent turns against me, I can still look them in their faces and say, "Look, you are wrong—I'm not going to be confrontational but I will make all efforts to present my ideas to you.”  

Atheist mega-philanthropist Todd Stiefel does a lengthy Reddit Q&A

CFI intern Tony Lakey celebrates the 200th post at his blog at the University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics  

Part Two of the Center Stage episode of "Women's Rights as Human Rights" is up 

Hemant: Pete Stark, the only open atheist in Congress, may have a reelection fight on his hands 

Rev. Oliver White of the United Church of Christ loses two-thirds of his congregation for supporting same-sex marriage equality. "They thought I was a heretic," says White. 

The Institute for Emerging Ethics & Technologies, a "transhumanist" group, claims from a survey that over 70% of their site's readership is atheist/agnostic, and at the Catholic publication First Things, Wesley J. Smith calls this atheists' (sad) excuse for a religion, comparing it to the Raelians

Sarah Posner blog-heads with Marie Ashe on the history of American religious freedom as it has applied to women 

Justin Dyer at The Public Discourse on how the Founders' notions of religious liberty are not necessarily compatible with "modern concerns":

The first challenge is leveled at those who would interpret every religious statement uttered by one of the American founders in some public capacity as an example of “ceremonial deism,” a kind of pro forma tradition rooted in a distant past and long detached from any actual theological content. The second challenge is aimed at those who overreach in the other direction by highlighting the theological aspects of early American politics while ignoring the complexity of the founders’ views of the relationship between church and state.   

David Gibson at RNS reviews the past decade of the Catholic Church's dealings with child sexual abuse 

With friends like these...Mr. Popey-head praises QE2's "noble vision of the role of a Christian monarch"

David Mason in WaPo: As powerful as the Christian Right is, they're still stuck with a "non-Christian" as their not-Obama choice for president 

It seems to be true: The Emir of Kuwait has refused to sign the death-for-blasphemy bill send to him by parliament 

Asian Human Rights Commission: End Indonesia's blasphemy law 

Also in blasphemy: Spanish filmmaker faces prison time for a short film about "cooking Christ" that "offends religious feelings"...from 1978 

And yet! Spain is pondering taxing church property

Here's a depressing first paragraph of an news article:

Louisiana is embarking on the nation's boldest experiment in privatizing public education, with the state preparing to shift tens of millions in tax dollars out of the public schools to pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children.

John W. Loftus has some questions about Freethought Blogs' mission

Michael R. Powers at HuffPo weights the pros and cons of reporting on "fringe science"

The Loch Ness Monster's distant relative, "Minnie," shows up in Minneapolis 

Quote of the Day     

I don’t think any student anywhere should have to stand up for this.

- Collingswood High School senior Chelsea Stanton, an atheist, winning her fight to opt out of the Pledge of Allegiance (hat tip Hemant)  

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 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net! 

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

Comments:

#1 Ophelia Benson on Thursday June 07, 2012 at 8:50am

Hahahahahaha

You’re right, of course. I can plead innocent with a clear conscience…but I admit I’m guilty of laughing at some. Yours above included!

#2 Ophelia Benson on Thursday June 07, 2012 at 8:51am

“At Friendly Atheist, I make some more noise about it, along with a funny Monopoly card image”

For shame, sirrah!

#3 Paul the Morning Heretic on Thursday June 07, 2012 at 9:00am

Shame? Why???

#4 Ophelia Benson on Thursday June 07, 2012 at 9:17am

Funny images bad!!

I kid, I kid.

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