Sun-Suckers

December 15, 2015

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

Stephen Law, our CFI–UK provost (because of course he deserves a fancier title than "director"), has two new pieces up. One is at Aeon magazine, where he explores why people are "remarkably prone to supernatural beliefs and, in particular, to beliefs in invisible agents." And at the CFI blog, he offers five ways atheists and the religious might find ways to constructively discuss their differences. Among them, he suggests that honesty is the best policy:

I for one would much rather understand what my intellectual opponent really believes about me than have them disguise it. After all, if a Christian really believes that, as an atheist, I am hell-bound, they surely have a moral duty to warn me.  

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Perceive Something Threatening

December 14, 2015

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

CFI's Michael De Dora is the guest on the Friendly Atheist Podcast - I haven't listened yet, but I assume he didn't embarrass us or anything. 

195 countries sign on to historic climate change accords in Paris, promising to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Ensaf Haidar says her husband Raif Badawi is on a hunger strike, and tweets: “I call on his majesty King Salman to pardon my husband. Please unite my children with their father."

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Crispy Bug Balls

December 11, 2015

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

Rick Jervis at USA Today looks at the tent revival that is the Ted Cruz presidential candidacy.

Republicans courting the Jewish vote are facepalming over Trump's Trumpiness:

“The Jewish community, collectively, has that institutional memory, and institutional scars from previous events in history where a group based solely on religion was persecuted,” said Lee Cowen, a Republican strategist, adding that Trump was damaging the party. 

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The Blue Squiggly Line

December 10, 2015

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

Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Dear tells the court he's guilty, declares himself "a warrior for the babies." The San Bernardino killers, meanwhile, seem to have been planning an attack as far back as 2012.

There have been an alarming number of articles about Americans being awful to Muslims in the past couple of days. This woman lectured and then threw coffee at Muslims praying outside, and hit the guy filming her. In Queens, a Bangladeshi shopkeeper is beaten by a guy who allegedly says he was there to "kill Muslims." 

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Relieve Stress in Rats

December 09, 2015

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

Yesterday, we announced that Brian Engler has been elected the newest member of CFI's Board of Directors. Brian is a really good guy, and we are very lucky to have him. 

German chancellor Angela Merkel is named Time's Person of the Year

Bill de Blasio will sign into law a bill allocating almost $20 million in public funds for private and religious schools to hire security guards "to protect students in private and religious schools against bias attacks, school shootings and other forms of violence."

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Trumps, All the Way Down

December 08, 2015

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

I'm still sick, and if I can't whine about it to you, my devoted fellow heretics, well, then...I guess I probably shouldn't do it in the first place. But still.

Speaking of sick! Donald Trump, you might have heard, called for a ban on Muslims coming into the country. No, he really did! Other GOP candidates condemned him, even though, you know, they advocated barring Muslim (and all other non-Christian) refugees from coming into the country, so someone will have to explain to them that they're condemning themselves. I'll wait. As Hemant put it, it's Trumps, all the way down.

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Nasty, Noisy Negativist

December 07, 2015

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

There was no Heresy on Friday because I was slammed with the flu. The irony is that I have long been allergic to the flu vaccine, but there's a new one without the allergen, and so this year I got my first flu vaccine in something like 25 years. Still got the flu. A doozie of a flu, which I am still suffering from. I think this means that all science is invalid, and that it's time to choose a really out-there religion.

Our own Joe Nickell is front and center in this VICE video piece on the alien myths around Roswell. It's really a great piece, featuring lots of familiar folks including Skeptical Inquirer editor Kendrick Frazier, and where Joe is referred to by a UFO researcher as a "nasty, noisy, negativist." Check this out, it's great.

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Saving the Souls of Robots

December 03, 2015

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

Another mass shooting. I'm going to have to put a shortcut for that phrase in my TextExpander. 14 dead, 17 wounded at least. Details and motives aside, one could not have been on Twitter last night and not been struck by the sudden backlash against the "thoughts and prayers" cliche always uttered by politicians and cultural figures, particularly those who have been more or less the water carriers for the NRA. But things went farther: for every politician who offered the "thoughts and prayers" platitude, ThinkProgress'Igor Volsky would retweet them and attach whatever the gun lobby has given to them. One typical example was: 

Then, this morning, New Yorkers woke up to this...

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You Can Eat a Black Hole

December 02, 2015

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

I was off for a few days, so, uh, what I miss?

Oh look! CFI joined up with some other Super Important organizations (USCIRF, Lantos Foundation, PEN) to hold a Capitol Hill briefing yesterday with Bangladeshi-American humanist Bonya Ahmed, survivor of the machete attack that took the life of her husband Avijit Roy. The AP covered it, but, like, somehow forgot to mention us. (This is where I get very Dangerfieldian.) However, and probably more importantly, the event was covered by major outlets in Bangladesh (The Daily Star and BDNews24), with us included.

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Phobos Will Put a Ring On It

November 25, 2015

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

Now hear this: Due to the holiday and other sundry events, The Morning Heresy will go on a brief hiatus, returning December 2. You'll be okay.

At National Journal, Ron Brownstein digs into Pew's religion data, and finds that white Christians no longer make up a majority of the country. There's a lot to unpack here, and Brownstein is, like, the best. 

Paul Bloom explores the way we come to believe things about science and religion, noting that both can require certain "leaps of faith" and deferral to the experts...

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