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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A Baggie of Dirt

July 20, 2015

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

David Cameron announces a 5-year plan to combat Islamic extremism in the UK, telling young British Muslims attracted to the Islamic state:

You won't be some valued member of a movement. You are cannon fodder for them. They will use you. If you are a boy, they will brainwash you, strap bombs to your body and blow you up. If you are a girl, they will enslave and abuse you. That is the sick and brutal reality of ISIL. 

Three pieces from the latest Free Inquiry have been posted and made publicly available: Ron Lindsay's op-ed pushes the "good without God" meme further to "better without God"...

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When Everything Falls Apart

July 17, 2015

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

Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been pardoned by Bahrain's king after his four months in jail for criticizing the government. Giving an interview to RT, he says:

This positive step towards me is a positive one, but you have thousands of other behind bars. They are behind bars just because of their struggle, or because they speak, because they criticize the government in a way or another.Those people have to be awarded and they have to be welcomed rather than to be put behind bars. 

Another week, another mass shooting. In Chattanooga, the shooter (now dead) said to have ties to Islamist terror groups, kills four U.S. Marines.

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Ancient Obfuscations

July 16, 2015

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

We're always glad to get updates from George Ongere at CFI-Kenya, and in his latest report he has some great news: Their Humanist Orphans project has gotten official certification from the Kenyan government, which was no easy feat. 

Wow, look at the surface of Pluto. And while you're at it, dig this close-up of its pal Charon.

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A Bit Like a Bad Blog Post

July 15, 2015

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

New Horizons is a huge freaking success. Alice Bowman, the operations manager says, "The spacecraft was happy." 

President Obama tweets that "Pluto just had its first visitor!" John Podesta, known UFO enthusiast (let's say), counters:

.@POTUS: how can you be sure this was Pluto's first visitor? #justasking

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Kuiper Belt Object of Our Affection

July 14, 2015

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

Hello, Pluto! NASA's New Horizon does its flyby of the coolest Kuiper Belt object, like, ever. 

Mark Oppenheimer profiles the doings of one of the most amusing and odd aspects of the religious freedom debates of recent years: Those wacky Satanists

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Universal Ham Sandwich Coverage

July 13, 2015

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

The previous two weeks had much win in them. Get the full scoop in Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter

Nick Little, our legal director, has a great blog post on why states' Blaine Amendments are so important, regardless of their origins:

If a religious organization accepts state money, it should play by the same rules as everyone else. A secular humanist should not have to pay taxes to fund a rehabilitation facility claiming that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way out of addiction. Similarly, a Catholic should not have to fund a fundamentalist Baptist school which teaches that the Pope is the antichrist. And a Jewish citizen should not have to pay taxes which fund an Islamic counseling center. 

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Doctors, Attorneys, and Candlestick Makers

July 10, 2015

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

We've got our first closeup picture of Pluto and its partner-in-gravity Charon. Beautiful. 

Bonya Rafida Ahmed, who survived the attack by Islamists in Bangladesh that took her husband Avijit Roy, denies reports that she identified any suspects in the murder, and says none of the Bangladeshi authorities have contacted her at all since May. 

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