Leave the Science to the Religious and Political Leaders

June 19, 2015

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

Today's guest Morning Heretic is Stef McGraw, with the help of CFI Outreach intern Peter Wood. I don't remember where Paul is so I'm just going to assume that he's preparing to announce his candidacy in the Republican presidential race.      

I'll follow Paul's lead on this and not go for any jokes, because there really aren't any. The man who killed 9 people in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday is being held, and his anti-black views that motivated this horrific act are pretty clear.

CFI released a statement on the Charleston shooting, making it clear that religious differences do not justify acts of violence and terror, and we stand firmly against those who deny our common humanity.

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Prove Those People Wrong, Heroically

June 18, 2015

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

You already know the terrible news, an act of grotesque terrorism: A white man slaughters 9 people in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The Post and Courier reports, horrifyingly:

Church members at Emanuel AME were gathered for a prayer meeting when gunfire erupted in the 19th century building. A female survivor told family members that the gunman initially sat down in the church for a bit before standing up and opening fire, according to Dot Scott, president of the Charleston NAACP. The gunman reportedly told the woman he was letting her live so she could tell everyone else what happened, Scott said. 

I'll be honest, I'm not quite sure how to pull off the whole wise-ass news blog thing when things like this happen, and they seem to keep happening. I guess I'll play it by ear. Bear with me. 

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Snail Appeal

June 17, 2015

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

Ah, Trump. You're going to make things so much more fun. Anyhoo, Ryan Koronowski at ClimateProgress rounded up all of Trump's crazy it's-cold-so-climate-change-is-fake tweets, such as "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive." Wheeeeee!

As the world trembles in anticipation of the pope's climate change encyclical, the contents of which are already known [shrug], Pew looks at the attitudes of Catholics and the public at large toward climate science. 

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BTW the Sun Just Exploded

June 16, 2015

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

The secular movement lost one of its pioneers. All of us at CFI send our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Anne Nicol Gaylor, principle founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who died at the age of 88. Here's FFRF's announcement.

Yesterday, CFI's Committee for Skeptical Inquiry announced a big $25,000 challenge to the right-wing, science-denying Heartland Institute, who thinks global warming stopped in 1998 (lol): If the average global temperature goes up, they donate $25k to a science education charity if our choice. Let's see if they bite. 

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The One Rock

June 15, 2015

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

The Reason for Change conference this past weekend was a huge success. Now you'd expect me to say that, being the organization's Chief Flack™, but it's simply true. The place was packed (sold out!), the panels and presentations were illuminating, engaging, and some even deeply moving. We had brilliant minds, brave champions of free expression, and a genuine sense of camaraderie and shared mission. I managed not to hurt myself when moderating a panel discussion (though I did have to borrow Matt Cravatta's shoes - long story). Ron Lindsay tweeted that Reason for Change was the "best conference by far during my tenure" as president. Receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award from us, Richard Dawkins said that CFI is "the one rock, the one reliable force" in the freethought movement. If I weren't so intimidated by people, I'd have given him a fist bump for that.

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God Kills Hitlers

June 11, 2015

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

Reason for Change kicks off today! Uh oh, I better get on a plane. But first, real quick, some links, then I gotta dash.

The California bill to end belief exemptions for vaccinations is headed for the full Assembly - if you're in California, tell your representative to vote for it!

The Wall Street Journal comes down hard on the UN for failing to give consultative status (which CFI has) to Freedom Now, saying that the obstruction by dictatorships is an example of how the UN "betrays human rights." 

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The Same Plane as Santa Claus

June 10, 2015

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

The New York Times urges Saudi Arabia's King Salman to pardon Raif Badawi:

His death, or his crippling for life, another real possibility, would be a blot that even Saudi Arabia — known for administering harsh physical punishments that include amputations and beheadings — would find difficult to live down. 

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds many of the most onerous restrictions placed on abortion providers in Texas, reducing the number of such providers from 41 to "less than a dozen." 

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This is an Amazing Mistake

June 09, 2015

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

Today on Capitol Hill, CFI is joining allies to host two congressional briefings on the persecution of secularists around the world. Tomorrow, we focus on Bangladesh. 

Point of Inquiry this week takes a sobering look at the phenomenon of anti-abortion terrorism with guest David Cohen.

After Saudi Arabia upholds its sentence against Raif Badawi (no surprise there), our own Michael De Dora offers commentary to pieces at Religion News Service and (cough) The Daily Caller. The U.S. State Department urges the Saudis not to continue Raif's flogging, but frustratingly refuses to specifically ask the king to pardon him...

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Don’t Tell Chopra

June 08, 2015

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

This is, sadly, not a surprise: Raif Badawi's sentencing is upheld after a "review" by a Saudi court.

The New York Times calls for the military to let transgender troops to serve openly

In Skeptical Inquirer, Charles S. Reichardt and Ian A. Saari look at why evolution is rejected by highly-educated believers.

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Don’t Let the Pigeon Breed in the Caliphate

June 05, 2015

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

Melissa Binder at The Oregonian covers the CFI-backed Secular Celebrant bill in the state that recently passed the Oregon House. 

Okay, granted, the fact of ISIS is scary and dangerous, and it's a very, very serious subject. But ZOMG:

Senior clerics fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have issued an instruction banning pigeon-breeding claiming that “the sight of the birds' genitals as they fly overhead is offensive to Islam.”

I...I just can't even.  

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