Undeniable Likable Sass

December 22, 2014

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

Note: I'm tired of nativity scene stories, so if you want to read about them, use the google machine. 

On Friday, CFI wrote a letter to Sony Pictures volunteering our headquarters for a screening of The Interview, the release of which Sony canceled entirely due to shadowy threats:

Much of our work is centered on securing the right to hold and express unpopular opinions and beliefs in places where dissent is crushed through persecution, violence, imprisonment, and death. It is a sad turn of events that a powerful source of free expression such as Sony Pictures could choose to give in to a shadowy group’s intolerance of dissent. ... We believe strongly enough in the right to the free expression of even unpopular ideas that we are willing to shoulder the risk of doing so.

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War on Hanukkah, Anyone?

December 19, 2014

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

Scientists tally up the medical advice given by Dr. Oz and it's as bad as you think. Reports Julia Belluz at Vox:

[W]hat they found was disappointing but not exactly surprising: about half of the health recommendations had either no evidence behind them or they actually contradicted what the best-available science tells us. That means about half of what these TV doctors say to their millions of satellite patients is woo, and potentially harmful and wasteful woo at that. 

In Skeptical Inquirer, we have the transcript of Josh Zepps' Point of Inquiry interview with the most excellent Ann Druyan of Cosmos.

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You’ve Been Pope’d!

December 18, 2014

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

CFI boss Ron Lindsay joined the panel on HuffPost Live yesterday, hosted by Point of Inquiry's Josh Zepps, and including Faisal Saeed Al Mutar and Deina Abdelkader. The topic: the treacherous line between being critical of Islam without attacking Muslims as people.

Gather 'round, children, and abandon all your dreams of sugarplums or whatever else, and let's listen to ol' Tom Flynn tell us the origin story of the Anti-Claus. You see, there was this radioactive spider...wait... 

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Magnificent Collection of Useless Crap

December 17, 2014

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

Methane on Mars might mean life on Mars. No, really, it might. 

Folks are still talking about our statement to the media on the misuse of the word "skeptic" when discussing climate change deniers. Lawrence Krauss, a signatory, writes in Slate:

Skepticism is all about critical examination, evidence-based scientific inquiry, and the use of reason in examining controversial claims. Those who flatly deny the results of climate science do not partake in any of the above. 

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We’re Not Going to Kill Today

December 16, 2014

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

People had a lot of good things to say about Ron Lindsay's talk at this past summer's leadership conference on "The Scope of Humanism," and now the video's up! My favorite bit is the part about how skepticism is included in that scope. 

We have an update on CFI's Freethought Books Project from Sarah Kaiser one year into our stewardship of the program, and don't forget to check out the FBP Amazon wishlist to donate more books to the program!

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Too Many Jello Shots

December 15, 2014

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

The week begins inauspiciously with a hostage-taking at a café in Sydney, still ongoing, where the single assailant has had his hostages hold a black flag to the window reading "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God." The assailant is Man Haron Monis who Vox says has a violent record. As of this writing, five hostages are out, but it's not clear if they escaped or were let go.

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The Ones That Are Doing the Nonsense

December 12, 2014

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

Our big joint statement on the misuse of the word "skeptic" when it's applied to climate change deniers continues to generate coverage, including at GristInquisitr, the NCSE blog, and a stone-cold dissing from WSJ's link roundup guy James Taranto:

[W]hat these experts don’t seem to realize is that their definition of “denial” describes the behavior of global warmists to a T. 

"Global warmists"? Anyway, this is the same guy who, after the Aurora mass shooting, said, "I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice." So. 

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And Now to Deliver the Opening Invocation, Darth Maul

December 11, 2014

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

Yesterday we put out a press release about the joint statement by Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry asking the media to stop using the word "skeptic" to describe science deniers like Sen. James Inhofe. And I guess some folks saw it, because we got coverage in ThinkProgressNational JournalSalonUPIRaw StoryAlbany Times-Union, and more. So that's good!

Good for Google, for honoring she of the spectral classification system of stars, as they do a doodle for Annie Jump Cannon (who has perhaps the greatest name of any human ever). 

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A Parallel Excretion of Hype

December 10, 2014

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

Time's 2014 Person of the Year, or rather "People," are "the Ebola Fighters." Also, coming next Christmas, Disney pictures presents the first Guardians of the Galaxy/Avengers/Ebola Fighters installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Now, to me, personally, it seems that the more appropriate choice for newsworthiness would have been the Ferguson protesters. They certainly had an enormous impact on how we think of the right to free expression right here in the U.S. But hey, I'm all for people fighting Ebola. But really, I'm with David Graham: The whole POTY thing is fun, but not worth taking all that seriously.

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What We Need is a Truly Anti-Darwinian Society

December 09, 2014

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

Point of Inquiry this week features CFI's president and CEO, Ron Lindsay, talking about his new book The Necessity of Secularism. How did we manage to get him on the show?!?! By the way, Ron will be speaking at CFI-DC on Sunday.

The Curiosity rover helps scientists determine that Mars may have once been habitable for known forms of life for millions of years, far longer than once thought. Meanwhile, scientists in Prague (which is on Earth) simulate a meteor strike (with a laser!!!) and find that such an impact could have been part of life's origin.

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