The Morning Heresy 7/27/12: Geneticists Like Euphemisms

July 27, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

You think our ever-expanding and active secular movement is such hot stuff? CFI chief Ron Lindsay wants you to prove it

Much chest-thumping has taken place recently about the growth of the nonreligious community. If this growth is actually happening, I am obviously pleased by it. Scratch that—I’m thrilled by it. However, if the secular community cannot muster a measly 25,000 signatures (roughly the number of people who attend a Joel Osteen event) in support of a petition for freedom of conscience, I am not sure this growth is worth much. 

That's right. Now go sign and share the petition for Alexander Aan, and show Ron what we're made of. 

(My sincere thanks to the American Humanist Association for putting the Aan petition on their front page. We need a LOT more of that level of help.) 

Ron also pulls no punches in his contribution to the Surly Amy series on speaking out against hate, declaring, "Take your hate elsewhere."

CFI as an organization, meanwhile, has joined a coalition of groups denouncing the Members of Congress, such as Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert, who have launched baseless attacks against Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, alleging a conspiracy with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood:

We will continue to speak out in support of people of all faiths and no faith, and the religious freedom of all Americans to practice — or choose not to practice — a religion without fear of criticism or suspicion.   

Signatories to this letter include such disparate groups as the ACLU, Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty, American Atheists, and the Legion of Doom itself, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. HuffPo coverage by Amanda Terkel here.  

Speaking of hate, SciAm asks what, exactly, is up with all this anger on the Internet

Lots of new numbers from Pew on religion and the 2012 election, including the fact that 67 percent say that they want strong religious beliefs from their candidate, and less than half being able to identify the president as Christian. 

Sharon Hill has been helping to point out a worrying problem of news outlets and wires printing press releases from advocacy groups in their entirety, giving them the veneer of an unbiased "news" article. This particular case is about weird fluoride paranoia, but more to the point, I'm glad Sharon is making some noise about this larger journalistic problem.  

Kimberly Winston talks to Herb Silverman and our own Tom Flynn about the prospects for atheist presidential candidates down the road. Says Tom:

We are riding that train into the sunlight of equality, but we are still sitting in the caboose. 

The US Army would like to waste your tax dollars on the hiring of acupuncturists

Crommunist and Angela Tucker appear on Jamila Bey's radio program to talk about the ideas expressed in Tucker's Black Folks Don't Do Atheism video. 

Jacques Berlinerblau does a short video on the lack of women in the secular movement, with a few suggestions on forming allegiances. 

Great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard lambastes Scientology, calls Hubbard a "portly red-headed charismatic lying con-man pseudoscience self-help author."

Ex-pastor Annalise Fonza describes her deconversion at Black Skeptics:

. . . as I began to confront and disbelieve what I had been taught for my entire life, I began to experience what atheists call a “deconversion” or a breakthrough, and I began to think and act out of my own human resources.  After several years of doing this, I was able to openly and unashamedly reject a belief in any type of supernatural other, including “God.” 

The president appoints the first Mormon to his Faith-Based council.

Alberta legitimizes "naturopaths." 

You can wear a hijab, and you can practice Judo, but at the Olympics, you can't do both

Massachusetts fortune-teller sets up shop, says "I am not claiming to be psychic." Well, that's a relief. (Thanks to reader Jay for the tip!)  

Atheist students stand up for church-state separation in Tennessee, and you know that's not easy. (Good thing Tennessee is about to be overrun by skeptics.)

Internet Infidels' Jeffery Jay Lowder sends us this link to what looks to me at this hour of the morning to be a very complex series of posts on "The Evidential Argument from the History of Science." 

Looks like underneath the Brooklyn Bridge some folks have found the carcass of some creat---JESUS CHRIST WHAT IS THAT?!??! 

Once upon a time, Tom Flynn objected to Tom Vilsack saying he would pray for rain. Then, a religion reporter decided this meant that the atheist movement was now made up entirely of "petty and small-minded" people. Then Hemant was all, "Not so fast." (This is not the first time Lisa Miller has painted atheists with an alarmingly broad and dirty brush, as I pointed out at some length back in 2009.)

Quote of the Day      

A previously-unknown "sister species" to humans is extrapolated from modern Africans' DNA, and to understand how, one has to be up front about the birds and the bees. Says scientist Joshua Akey:

Geneticists like euphemisms, but we’re talking about sex.

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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