Beer-Stained Shroud

April 19, 2016

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

We have a must-read from Carrie Poppy at Skeptical Inquirer: an exposé of sorts of the inner working of Peter Popoff's televangelist operation, from a former employee.  

Point of Inquiry this week talks to journalist Tamar Wilner about another instance of a person who claims he can heal you and almost certainly can't, the case of Stanislaw Burzynski

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They Might Be (Satan’s) Giants

April 18, 2016

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

Sarah Palin, promoting the science-denying documentary Climate Hustle, says Bill Nye is not a real scientist, which might be technically true, but is also beside the point. But Melanie Ehrenkranz at Mic says he actually is a scientist:

Nye, the science educator, television host and CEO of the Planetary Society and fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, where he also taught as a visiting professor. Nye worked at Boeing for years before becoming an entertainer. He is still an active scientist: Nye even developed sundials used in NASA's Mars rover missions. 

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Filthy Words!

April 15, 2016

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

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh goes off the deep end in attacking freethinkers for criticizing religion (emphasis mine):

I consider such writings as not free thinking but filthy words. Why anyone would write such things? It's not at all acceptable if anyone writes against our prophet or other religions. This is a characteristic fault, expression of distorted or filthy mindset. I hope no one would write such filthy things. ...  Everyone should maintain decency. Otherwise in case of any uncivilised attitude, the government wouldn't take the responsibility

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Team Inky

April 14, 2016

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

Johann Hari is back on Point of Inquiry, talking about the horrors of the drug war, and how on the eve of a big UN conference on drugs, many nations are beginning to reach a consensus about what a disaster it's been. 

Saudi Arabia's religious police (aka "the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice") will no longer be allowed to "chase" or arrest anyone, but will primarily act as "promoters" of virtue "in a gentle and humane way," and, of course, as informants.  

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FSM on the Far Side

April 13, 2016

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

Yuri Milner, Stephen Hawking, Ann Druyan, and a bunch of other smart folks are going to send a swarm of baby-probes, pushed by lasers, to Alpha Centauri within a generation. Said Hawking, "Today we commit to the next great leap in the cosmos, because we are human and our nature is to fly."

People around the world claim to hear "the Hum," a mysterious auditory phenomenon that might be very low frequency waves, or might be entirely imagined. Colin Dickey at The New Republic takes a long look at what's going on.

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Electrons and Fish

April 12, 2016

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

Jeff Sharlet has a feature in NYT Magazine looking at the Trump phenomenon as a kind of hyper-macho prosperity gospel:

“You had so many killings [by illegal immigrants],” Trump shouted. “So much crime.” But then he held up a finger, and his voice dropped into a deep and deliberate monotone: “It’s gonna end.”

There it was: the positivity, not a promise or a prediction. A fact. 

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Kepler Red Alert

April 11, 2016

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

Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent claims responsibility for the murder of Nazimuddin Samad in Bangladesh, for being an "enemy of Allah." The country's Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan says something that made my jaw drop.

The bloggers, they should control their writing. Our country is a secular state... I want to say that people should be careful not to hurt anyone by writing anything -- hurt any religion, any people's beliefs, any religious leaders.

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Latin for Waffle

April 08, 2016

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

Students protest in Bangladesh over government inaction to the killing of Nazimuddin Samad and other secular writers. We have put out an action alert urging passage of House Resolution 396, which demands that Bangladesh affirm its secular constitution, protect minorities, prevent the growth of extremism, and guarantee human rights for all.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-Justice League) introduces the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act (REHYA) which supports comprehensive, reality-based sex education, and CFI is one of the bill's supporting organizations.

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More Woeful Pageants

April 07, 2016

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

Another atheist activist hacked to death in Bangladesh, 28-year-old law student Najimuddin Samad. The day before he was killed, he had posted to Facebook criticizing the government's ability to maintain law and order, and has previously posted about atheism and his criticisms of radical Islam. We have responded, which is noted in reports on the killing by the APNPRBuzzFeed, and elsewhere. This is the first attack of this kind in 2016, following several of them in 2015.  

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Associate Citizens

April 06, 2016

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

Well, Tennessee looks about to adopt the Bible as the official state book. Katie Rogers at NYT reports:

During a Senate floor session on Monday, Senator Steve Southerland, the Republican who sponsored the bill, argued that it is about honoring the Bible’s historical and cultural contributions to the state. He said that a Jewish friend of his had agreed the Bible is a historical text. ... The legislation does not say which version of the Bible would be used. 

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