Obama’s Exaflop

August 03, 2015

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

The 2015 CFI Leadership Conference has come and gone, and it was really great. It was my fourth such event, and I really sensed the generational shift in attitudes and priorities to a degree I never had before. One highlight for me was when Michael De Dora enjoined all attendees to get on their phones to call their U.S. Senators and ask them to oppose S.1881, the bill to defund Planned Parenthood. It was so cool to see an auditorium full of young leaders contacting their lawmakers to make change. Here's the group photo

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Your Beak is Too Short

July 31, 2015

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

The CFI Leadership Conference is underway, and I have been dubbed the Captain of the Merchandise Table (okay I dubbed myself that, but I think I need four rank insignia pips). 

We announced our support this morning of a House resolution by Rep. Tusli Gabbard urging Bangladesh to seriously address violent extremism, in the wake of the murders of atheist bloggers by Islamists. 

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Caffeine and Pickled Vegetables

July 30, 2015

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

The CFI Leadership Conference kicks off this evening, and I'm currently in transit. (I mean, right now I'm sitting at my computer, but, like, today I'm mostly traveling is what I'm saying, not like I'm driving and typing at the same time.) The theme is "Moving Freethought Forward," and I think my job is to make sure that while we're moving it forward we don't bump it into walls or knock over anything expensive. 

With Berkeley, CA's new warning label law for cell phones, Carina Storrs at CNN looks at what the science actually says about radiation and phones...

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A Crammed, Exotic Cocktail

July 29, 2015

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

A sobering and fascinating Point of Inquiry, as Harvard foreign relations expert Stephen M. Walt talks to Josh Zepps about what happens if and when the Islamic State stops being a crisis or a revolution, and just becomes, well, a state.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court says no to a rehearing of the case to keep the Ten Commandments monument at the State Capitol. Republicans threaten a constitutional amendment to clear the way for it.

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Ideal for Assassinations

July 28, 2015

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

The Boy Scouts of America ends its ban on openly gay adult leaders, but local units sponsored by churches can still opt to discriminate. The Mormon Church is so mad, they threaten to start their own scouts.

In USA Today, Tom Krattenmaker takes the next logical step to urging the BSA's welcoming of atheists:

Ultimately, it would be self-defeating for the Boy Scouts to forfeit the chance to spread Scouting skills and values among the population of people who identify as atheist, agnostic, or otherwise not religious. More and more youths are growing up in non-religious homes; why would the organization squander the opportunity to serve and influence these boys? 

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Chocolate Snakes (Alleged)

July 27, 2015

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

It's my daughter's third birthday today. I love her so damn much.

Catch up on the last fortnight of activity from the CFI community with Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter.

Greg Epstein calls Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me "the quintessential atheist and humanist text of my generation."

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Prayers Are Not Pixie Dust

July 24, 2015

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

Yesterday my MacBook Pro's display went haywire, so as it is nursed back to health by Apple Geniuses, I am using my wife's older MacBook Pro with an old spinning-disc hard drive, as opposed to the SSD in my newer machine. Folks, as we embark on our march of progress morality, medicine, technology, and human rights, let us all vow to forsake the spinning-disk hard drive forever more, banish them to the dark ages of molasses-slow computing from whence they came.

NASA (which is on a freaking roll lately) announces the discovery of the most Earth-like exoplanet yet found, Kepler 452b, orbiting in the "Goldilocks zone" of its star, with a year of 385 days. CFI's president and CEO Ron Lindsay immediately appoints me to lead our initiatives there...

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The Case of the $500,000 Palm Reading

July 23, 2015

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

A glimmer of hope for moderate Islam is on a mountain in Pakistan: Tim Craig at WaPo profiles the success of Karimabad.

Tobin Grant looks at research that shows that religious equality is definitely not the norm around the world, as most of the population lives somewhere that gives at least preferential treatment to one religion, and a huge percentage lives where the state is overtly hostile to any at all. 

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New Horizons Was Born in Kenya

July 22, 2015

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

We have a new action alert, urging you to tell Congress to quit the ridiculous attacks against Planned Parenthood, the victims of faux-stings by right wing activists. The New York Times agrees that the attacks are absurd:

Lawmakers responding by promoting their own anti-choice agenda are rewarding deception and putting women’s health and their constitutionally protected rights at risk. 

In Seattle, only 81.4 percent of kindergarteners have been vaccinated against polio. Reports Isolde Raftery at KUOW:

That’s lower than the 2013 polio immunization rates for 1-year-olds in Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Algeria, El Salvador, Guyana, Sudan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Yemen, among other countries, according to data from the World Health Organization.

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I Don’t Have High Expectations

July 21, 2015

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

Medical ethics, particularly when we're talking about end-of-life issues and patient autonomy, have changed a lot over the past couple of generations. On Point of Inquiry this week, Lindsay Beyerstein talks to Dr. Barron Lerner about what we've learned and what we're still figuring out.

(Also check out Lindsay's interview with Paul Offit, now published for Skeptical Inquirer.) 

Ethics, good god, what are they good for? David Koepsell looks at the value of ethics education, when "those trained in ethics appear not to behave any better than any other group." 

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