Uneventful Horizon

March 27, 2015

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

The FDA is going to take a serious and public look at homeopathy. We're going to be all over this. 

You know that CFI's Michael De Dora represents us at the UN, and was just at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. But what goes on there besides all the statements and speeches? Michael gives us a behind-the-scenes look at all the bureaucratic intrigue.

Rep. Sam Johnson wants to make sure military servicemembers have to swear an oath to God, whether they believe in it or not. We think you should tell your congressperson otherwise

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The Most Arch Act of Piteous Massacre (Alleged)

March 26, 2015

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

It's Richard Dawkins' birthday today (I learn from Twitter), and you can drink a belated birthday toast to him when he appears at the Reason for Change conference in June!

Unrelated to skepto-humanism (for now anyway), turns out that the crashed Germanwings plane was downed intentionally by one of the pilots. I am dizzy just thinking about it.

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Liberate Planets from the Greys and Reptilians

March 25, 2015

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

CFI-Michigan's activism in opposition to a religious sign in a public park is covered in two pieces at MLive and at the Holland Sentinel. CFI-Michigan's Jennifer Beahan hammered home the central point at a meeting of the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners: "Frankly, it doesn't matter how many people want the sign replaced, it is still unconstitutional." Alas, the board voted in favor of the sign anyway, which quotes Psalm 19:1 - “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.”

The FDA may finally be taking the problem of homeopathic "medicines" seriously, as they announce public hearings on their use and regulation. CFI has been petitioning the FDA to move in this direction for some time.

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Thanks For Nothing, Jupiter

March 24, 2015

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

We've got an awesome Point of Inquiry this week, where Josh Zepps talks to Johann Hari about the century-old war on drugs, and how (according to Hari) so much of what we assume to be true about addiction and prevention are simply wrong.

Ted Cruz officially enters the GOP primaries, and makes no bones about who he is trying to appeal to. At Liberty University the Senator for Texas said:

Imagine millions of courageous conservatives all across america rising up together to say in unison, 'We demand our liberty.' Today, roughly half of born again Christians aren’t voting. They’re staying home. Imagine instead millions of people of faith all across america coming out to the polls and voting our values.

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The Editing History Will Back Us Up

March 23, 2015

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

Our boss Ron Lindsay announced this morning that he'll be resigning from CFI at the end of 2015. Though this grieves me mightily, he will certainly be going out with CFI in excellent shape, and he's leaving us a good long time to have a smooth transition to the next overlord. Richard Dawkins tweets:

There goes a good man. Thanks, Ron, and no doubt you’ll give the secular world a great last year in office.  

And because Ron likes to avoid controversy at all costs, here's his post on Israel...

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My Darkest Dystopian Paranoia

March 20, 2015

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

More reactions to the New York Times' awful smartwatches-and-phones-cause-cancer piece, with Daniel Engber at Slate calling it, "So weird, and so bad, and so weirdly bad." Dave Pell concedes the point, but tries to strike a middle ground about the general cloud of unknown that surrounds the larger impact of these devices:

Should I be at least a little concerned? I would think so. But I’m even more concerned by the fact that I probably wouldn’t move either device out of reach even if science confirms my darkest dystopian paranoia. And even if our physical health is in no danger, there is absolutely no doubt that our psychological and social worlds are in a state of chaos that is of our doing, but not fully in our control. And that scares us. 

The Times' public editor Margaret Sullivan says yeah, maybe it should have been vetted a bit more, and reveals that no one involved in science at the paper ever saw the article before it was published. Says it all, doesn't it?

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As Ye Have Dumped Water Unto the Least of These My Brethren…

March 19, 2015

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

NYT tech journalist Nick Bilton (who is usually among the very best) publishes a techno-panic piece about how smartwatches might-maybe-possibly cause cancer, and bases it on blatantly weak and tenuous inferences. To make matters worse, consults pseudoscientific Dr. Oz pal Joseph Mercola for comment. Russell Brandom at The Verge, in a piece that is subtitled "Cram it, Bilton," writes:

Bilton tackles an interesting and important question: could smartwatches be raising your risk of cancer? There are decades of research that could speak to the question, since all the relevant radiation is also emitted by cell phones. Unfortunately, Bilton ignores almost all of it, kicking the piece off by comparing the new Apple Watch to smoking cigarettes. 

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Our Curiosity Will Run Out

March 18, 2015

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

Yesterday our own Michael De Dora took Saudi Arabia to task at the UN Human Rights Council for its hypocrisy in hosting a religious freedom conference in the same city in which Raif Badawi and other dissidents are imprisoned and abused (video of his statement will be coming soon):

We welcome, indeed encourage member state involvement in the Istanbul Process [religious freedom conference]. However, given its human rights record, Saudi Arabia strikes us as an inappropriate setting for the next meeting. If Saudi Arabia is sincere about acting as host of the next meeting, it could begin to validate its role rather easily: release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally, drop all charges against them, and move to protect freedom of religion, belief, and expression. We urge them to do so, and urge member states to keep them accountable. 

First it's Ted Cruz going after NASA, and now the House Budget Committee insists that the Pentagon stop researching climate change

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Who’s the None-est One of All?

March 17, 2015

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

Truly disturbing, almost sounds like a parody of a blasphemy-law situation: Myanmar sentences a bar manager from New Zealand and two others to two years in prison for posting an "insulting" image of Buddha wearing headphones as a promotion for the bar. 

Michael De Dora will presenting to the UN Human Rights Council again later today, in the mean time we have our colleague Elizabeth O'Casey arguing in favor of free expression as a way to counteract religious violence.

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Hashtag-LizardTruth

March 16, 2015

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

CFI's Michael De Dora delivered what I think was a pretty powerful statement on free expression on and offline at the UN Human Rights Council, specifically stating that "states in this room" were guilty of violating this right. 

Adam Lee at The Guardian highlights CFI as one of the atheist/humanist groups working for social change

The Knights of Columbus refuse to march in the Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade because of the gayness that will be in proximity. I bet whatever monarch bestowed their knighthoods on them is very disappointed.

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