Although You May Not Realize It, You Are Self-aware

April 23, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

I did not expect this: NJ's Star Ledger endorses removing "under God" from the Pledge:

The Supreme Court has said it’s unconstitutional for public schools to endorse religious activity in general, but hasn’t ruled specifically on the Pledge of Allegiance. We should turn the clock back 60 years and erase “under God” — a poorly conceived plot to force religious words into schoolchildren’s mouths. 

The U.S. Army approves "humanist" as an official faith category. (But what about the Jedi in this UK prison?)

Folks are really digging the Lauren Becker Earth Day audio essay we put up yesterday. Hemant says it's got "an ending that really made me smile." Make sure you check it out and pass it on.

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It’s a Rock!

April 22, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Our boss Ron Lindsay is in Montana for some reason, and yesterday he appeared on Montana Public Radio to talk about our worldview and the fundamentals of our mission.

He's amazing, he's brilliant, he's hilarious. James Randi is the guest on the latest Point of Inquiry with host Josh Zepps. 

Speaking of POI, in an audio essay from a classic Point of Inquiry, CFI's Lauren Becker gets to the heart of what's important about Earth Day: the humans who live here.

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Disney and Google: Enemies of God

April 21, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Good PR doesn't generate itself (believe me), not even for the Fluffiest of All Popes. Meet Greg Burke, the former Fox News reporter who greases the pontiff's public relations wheel, via Katie Engelhart at Vice. (Hat tip to Catherine Dunphy.)

Apple's PR guy, Phil Schiller, found Nessie! (Nope.)

Josh Zepps interviews James Randi and his documentarians on HuffPost Live, and the folks there invited me to submit a video question for His Amazingness, which results in my cameo at the end.

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That’s It, I’m Moving to Kepler-186F!

April 18, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Yesterday, I went on HuffPost Live with Jaweed Kaleem, Anila Ali, and Soul Dancer (that's his real name!) to talk about various beliefs about life after death. None of us, it turned out, had first-hand experience. 

And speaking of death! Wowee-wow, you need to check out this series of charts from Bloomberg View and Matthew C. Klein on how Americans expire, and what's changed over time. A really great bit of data and design. 

The leader of the breakaway, pro-Russian section of Ukraine denies he or his unofficial "state" have anything to do with leaflets demanding that Jews in the region register themselves and pay a fine. 

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It’s Not the Religion of the Vikings

April 17, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Yesterday, CFI assembled a coalition of experts to urge the FDA to finally rein in "cancer quack" Stanislaw Burzynski, reminding them that "the FDA has an obligation to minimize the damage being done by purveyors of false medical treatments who harm others."

While I wasn't looking, three more outlets took note of the big Bill Nye exclusive in Skeptical Inquirer, where he offers his first-person account of his Ken Ham debate: The APSalon, and the Christian Post. There are probably more. 

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D’oh-klahoma!

April 16, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Sasha Sagan, daughter of Carl, recounts discussions of death with her father, and how being "alive this second" is "an amazing thing."

Nida Kirmani at Open Democracy argues, "the explicit linking of religion and human rights can be highly problematic for particular people groups, especially women and sexual and religious minorities."

Chris Stedman scores an interview with the amazing Stephen Fry about his work with the British Humanist Association, and I'm so envious I could just puke. 

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At Least He’s Beginning to Think

April 15, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Two big, exciting things from CFI-land today, folks. First, we've got a hot-off-the-servers Point of Inquiry with Women in Secularism III headliner Barbara Ehrenreich, who talks to Lindsay Beyerstein about reconciling atheism with mystical experience. This is no fawning interview, either, as some of what Ehrenreich has to say is sure to raise both questions and one's hackles.

And this guy you may have heard of, a "science guy" if you will, by the name of Bill Nye pens an exclusive for Skeptical Inquirer in which he gives his own reasons for debating Ken Ham and his first-hand account of the debate experience. HuffPo's picked it up, and you must not miss this. (And this issue of Skeptical Inquirer is on newsstands right now!) 

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We Back Off and Stroke Our Chins

April 14, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Iowa governor Terry Branstad signs a proclamation more or less telling Iowans to get with Christianity

Ayaan Hirsi Ali posts what she would have said to Brandeis's graduates in the Wall Street Journal:

I stand before you as someone who is fighting for women's and girls' basic rights globally. And I stand before you as someone who is not afraid to ask difficult questions about the role of religion in that fight. The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored. We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect. 

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Touched and Inspired by Some Nutter

April 11, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Usually, when an article is headlined in the form of a question ("Is Google Making Us Stupid?" "Was the Malaysian Plane Swallowed by a Black Hole?"), rule of thumb says the answer is always "No." (Thus this Twitter account.) But lookie here, in a piece by Kimberly Winston, the question posed is "Is the Internet Bad for Religion?" Guess what:

[A new] study shows that as Americans reported more Internet use, their religious identification dropped. Those who reported only a few hours of weekly Internet use were 2 percent less likely to claim a religious affiliation than those who use no Internet. And those who use the Internet more than seven hours weekly are even less likely to adhere to a religion — by an additional 3 percentage points.

That newly discovered bit of text referring to the wife of Jesus? Not a forgery. But then what does it mean? 

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All the Way to Narnia

April 10, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.   

Ayaan Hirsi Ali responds to Brandeis's disavowal of her:

What was initially intended as an honor has now devolved into a moment of shaming. Yet the slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles. The 'spirit of free expression' referred to in the Brandeis statement has been stifled here, as my critics have achieved their objective of preventing me from addressing the graduating Class of 2014. Neither Brandeis nor my critics knew or even inquired as to what I might say. They simply wanted me to be silenced. I regret that very much. 

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