The Morning Heresy 7/31/12: Barry Karr Speaks

July 31, 2012

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

Today’s Morning Heretic is Dren Asselmeier, the master of portmanteau. Paul is out on family leave due to the birth of his second child and will be returning August 13th. Until then, you’ll just have to settle for the B-list seculebrity writers like me. Director of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and Skeptical Inquirer Magazine, and our favorite AOL user, Barry Karr was the interviewee on Skepchick recently in one iteration of the series “Speaking Out Against Hate Directed at Women” by Surly Amy. Barry said:

As skeptics, we are used to debating issues, sometimes vigorously. There is nothing wrong with making your points and engaging in the healthy give and take of constructive dialogue, sharing of facts, ideas and opinions. However there is nothing constructive in the personal attacks and vindictiveness that has come to dominate parts of the skeptical and humanist blogosphere of late. More importantly I find totally reprehensible statements advocating violence, rape and even death directed towards women.

Read the full article here.

Also on Skepchick, our Campus Coordinator and Director of African Americans for Humanism (also my office mate and BFF) Debbie Goddard wrote an article about the trial of Russian lady-punks Pussy Riot and the consequences they face for their pro-feminist demonstrations and “blasphemy.” 

News on evolution and education in Kansas comes from the Los Angeles Times under the super-creative headline “Kansas’ evolution debate just keeps evolving.” Jack Wu, a candidate for the Kansas Board of Education (and attendee of the Westboro Baptist Church), weighs in on what will happen if we teach evolution—er, ya know, reality:

The current public educational system in Kansas and the United States is preparing its students to be liars, crooks, thieves, murderers and perverts.

If that was true, the graduation rate would be much higher.

Several stories have risen in relation to LGBTQ issues. Vietnam, not exactly a country known for upholding high standards of human rights, might be the first Asian country to allow same-sex marriage

Also, The Washington Blade reports that the Democratic Party platform will endorse same-sex marriage and other “pro-LGBT positions.”

Snoop Dogg” has become Snoop Lion thanks to religious influence after spending time in Jamaica. I’m not sure how religion turns you from a dog into a lion, but it has a record of turning two fish into Red Lobster, and turning Naval aviators into Operating Thetan level six…es, so no surprise here.

CNN reports that poor religious freedoms exist in Egypt, China, and Europe. 

In times of transition, the situation of religious minorities in these societies comes to the forefront,” says the State Department’s first report since the Arab Spring uprisings. “Some members of society who have long been oppressed seek greater freedom and respect for their rights while others fear change. Those differing aspirations can exacerbate existing tension.

A similar article focused on the low religious freedom in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I’m sure that’s not very shocking, but at least some are hopeful that change is happening for the better.

Austria was in the spotlight at HuffPo for ending religious circumcision in some cases. This is following a ruling by a German court that declared “the practice amounted to causing criminal bodily harm.”

Check out these epic time lapses from Colin Legg in Phil Plait’s article at Bad Astronomy. I’m not sure what the silhouette guy at about fifty-five seconds is all about, but I like it. Reminds me of the opening credits for The X-Files.

Adam Lee has a piece over at Salon about the “Rise of the new atheists.”

As you put on your Hawaiian shorts and flip-flops, or (FSM forbid) Crocs, you can rest easy knowing that mermaids still don’t exist. Joe Nickell explains:

Has the body of an actual mermaid been discovered? Well, no, but that very idea was launched by an Animal Planet “documentary” that proved to be a crockumentary-in this case a fictional story offered in the realistic style of The Blair Witch Project (1999). In two airings (May 27 and July 15, 2012), Mermaids: The Body Found prompted viewers to search eagerly for additional information about the creature. There was, of course, none to be had, since the “body” was nonexistent.

Quote of the Day      

From Brainy Quote:

Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be. ~Jack Welch

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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