Molded into a Heffalump

May 30, 2014

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

Turkey's high court reverses the country's ban on YouTube, saying the ban violates free expression (yay Turkey!), but then a Twitter user is sentenced to 15 months in jail for having a Twitter handle with "Allah" in it and doing a satirical take on the deity (boo Turkey!).  

After PETA ties dairy to autism, Arit John at The Wire sums up the mess:

The problem — other than the offensive play on the "Got Milk?" slogan — is that the research available has been discredited by at least two independent overviews. A 2010 overview by the University of Texas at Austin of 14 studies on the link between autism and casein- and gluten-free diets found that the "overall study quality was poor" and only the least scientific studies implied the diet improved behavior. 

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These Cyborgs for God

May 29, 2014

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

Alas, when it comes to U.S. currency, in God, it is presumed, we all trust. Alas.  

The U.S. State Department isn't convinced that Nigeria's government knows where the kidnapped girls are.  

These are not necessarily in our skepto-atheist wheelhouse, but two big things in the tech and culture spaces weigh on the Heretic's mind...

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Eaten by the Shark You Jumped

May 28, 2014

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

Lindsay Beyerstein brings much-needed skeptical perspective to the issue of capital punishment with special guest Dahlia Lithwick of Slate on Point of Inquiry

CFI's international programs director Bill Cooke evaluates the conflict in Ukraine, and sees religion as a huge factor.

Sarah Posner blogs-heads with Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance, and in this clip, he talks about his attempts to get the Obama administration to make good on its promises regarding faith-based initiatives. Posner's tweet has a spoiler about whether they did.

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10 Happy Dancing Lepers

May 27, 2014

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

Mark Oppenheimer of the New York Times came to the Women in Secularism 3 conference, and came away with stories of women leaving Islam for atheism

Amy Davis Roth took the opportunity of Women in Secularism to do some portrait-taking (and a few CFIers are in there).  

CNN.com looks at the challenges faced by atheists in the Bible Belt

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The Morning [CENSORED LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU]

May 23, 2014

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

We learned from Right Wing Watch and Ed Brayton that the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice has been talking out of both sides of its mouth on blasphemy laws, condemning them in one place and endorsing them in others. I take them to task:

Now we see that for the ACLJ and its affiliates [free expression] extends only to Christians. For dissidents in Russia, be they non-Christian, gay, atheist, or simply at odds with the regime, CFI will seek to defend their freedom of expression; the ACLJ and its friends will work to see them behind bars. 

Robert Mackey at NYT on Twitter agreeing to censor "blasphemous" tweets in Pakistan:

This censorship comes as challenges to Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy law have become increasingly deadly, amid a flurry of arrests, killings and assassination attempts on secularists.

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I Hereby Declare War on Peace and Happiness!

May 22, 2014

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

Kimberly Winston reports on the efforts of CFI and its interfaith coalition partners to keep a prayer plaque out of the World War II memorial, here at the Washington Post.

(Winston also interviews Zeke Piestrup, who has a new documentary film about Mr. Apocalypse himself, the late Harold Camping.) 

Here's a new visualization of an old problem: Atheists portrayed as jerks and weirdos on TV. Hmm.

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A Rush to Embrace the Stupid

May 21, 2014

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

CFI has joined a coalition of religious and secular groups asking Congress not to add a prayer to the WWII Memorial

Sharon Hill writes at Skeptical Inquirer about attending a conference mixing academics with the paranormal, and she comes away better for it:

[J]ust after I had been outed as one of the “skeptics” in the crowd, one lady rather brusquely asked, “So you’re one of the skeptics? Why are you here?” For the same reason you are, lady, to learn and explore evidence and ideas. ... It's impossible to get that deeper concept if you are prejudiced against the field entirely. Likewise, if you pigeonhole skeptics and close off the skeptical commentary, you risk continuing to waste effort, make mistakes, and fail to progress.

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A Lot of Things That I Don’t Like

May 20, 2014

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

The first of the Women in Secularism III reflections start to come in, starting with this enthusiastic recap from Jim Newman at Skeptic Money

The photos of the conference from pals-of-CFI Brian Engler and Bruce Press are up to browse, enjoy, and humorously caption. 

Sarah Jones of Americans United (who was a speaker at WiS and was awesome) writes at Faith Street about identifying specifically as a "None"...

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LARPing in the Sky with Diamonds

May 19, 2014

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

Women in Secularism III was a huge success. Inspiring, enlightening, some even shocking and challenging. Expect to hear more from us on all the great stuff that went on at the conference. In the mean time, check out some photos of the event by Bruce Press, a member of our DC branch (Brian Engler will have some great ones soon, too). Also, Chris Stedman has an interview with conference speaker Barbara Ehrenreich

CFI responds strongly to the death sentence put on Sudan's Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim Ishag for apostasy with a demand for her release sent to the Sudanese UN ambassador, and further reaction in our released statement:

Religious belief must never be coerced and free expression must never be punished, through threat of imprisonment, violence, or any other means. This cannot go unanswered, and the world will not stand for it. 

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Sad Goat Man

May 16, 2014

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

Women in Secularism III kicks off today! Kimberly Winston previews the conference with a piece at RNS with CFI's own Debbie Goddard and Melody Hensley. We'll be tweeting about the conference all weekend with the hashtag #WiSCFI, though expect that some unpleasant folks will also be chiming in with same, so arm your block and mute buttons.

CFI responded to the death sentence of pregnant Sudanese woman Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim Ishag, charged with apostasy for marrying a Christian man, by reaching out to the Sudanese government and demanding she be freed. In our press release, we say:

Religious belief must never be coerced and free expression must never be punished, through threat of imprisonment, violence, or any other means. This cannot go unanswered, and the world will not stand for it. 

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