The Morning Heresy 8/21/12: Agnosti-Freethinking Skepto-Humanism Squared

August 21, 2012

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

Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing picks up the video of Annie Laurie Gaylor's presentation of the history of women in atheism at CFI's Women in Secularism conference. Says Doctorow:

It's a great tour through the history -- the often secret history -- of women who fought and gave all, risking persecution for speaking out against religion and for women's rights to control their destinies. 

Pakistani 11-year-old Rifta Masih could face the death penalty for allegedly violating blasphemy laws. US State Department is "disturbed."

As CSICon in Nashville approaches (register now, y'all) I talk to presenter Eugenie Scott about how opponents of science are getting stealthier about sneaking their dogma into education.

Ron Lindsay once again takes to HuffPost Live, this time to talk about how we handle grieving and death

Alexander Aan petition fallout continues to engender discussion and coverage.

Christian Post talks to CFI's Michael De Dora about the petition's failure. Says Michael:

I'm disappointed -- not necessarily in other people for not signing the petition, but for Alexander Aan, who remains sitting in a jail cell merely for stating his position on religion.

Michael Nugent offers five suggestions for keeping the ball in the air for Aan.

PZ blames the focus of the petition: "It wasn’t lack of concern, it was that the direction that concern was being aimed was uninspiring." 

Jen McCreight adds to her call for a "new wave" atheist movement some branding: "Atheism +" or "A+". 

Greta Christina says of the idea:

. . . if this causes deep rifts in the community — and if those rifts cut sexist, racist, self-absorbed, hateful, “screw you, Jack, I’ve got mine” assholes out of it — I say Mazeltov. That’s not a bug. That’s a feature. 

Kylie Sturgess fears this might be a hastily-planned distraction, and writes: 

Which I guess then leads me to wonder “must I be labeled something to do what I’m already doing”? 

How is this A+ thing different from, well, humanism? Ashley Miller weighs in:

There is a difference between a self-defined humanist doing something good for mankind and a self-defined atheist doing it, simply because of the massive amount of stigma associated with atheism.  Proving that atheists care about other people and making the world a better place is important.   

Jen herself says: 

. . . the humanist community puts a lot of focus on replicating church-like communities and having chaplaincies. That’s totally cool if that’s what you want, but I personally don’t feel like it applies to me.

Here's my question: Weren't we all supposed to be calling ourselves Brights by now?

Godless atheist talks to nudey mag! Dawkins talks to Playboy

Iowa medical regulators send a warning to alt-health practitioner who, among other things, uses tuning forks to, I dunno, (h/t Sharon)

University of Washington study says megachurches may be giving attendees a drug-like high that keeps them coming back. 

UK's Defense Ministry: UFOs do not pose a threat, so we're not going to look for them anymore. The fools! THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO THINK. 

Harriet Hall at Slate: US Military wasting money, endangering troops with embrace of pseudoscience and alt-med. She also points us to a petition to ask Congress to cut it out.

Is multiple personality disorder a myth?  

Whooping cough claims its first life this year: A 2-month-old baby.

Phyllis Diller died yesterday, and Michael Stone reminds us that this groundbreaking comedian was also an atheist

Quote of the Day      

Daniel Dennett, circa 1991:

A scholar is just a library’s way of making another library.

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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