The War on Philosophers

November 11, 2015

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

It seems like the press has had a good chance to digest the whole Ted Cruz atheists-aren't-fit-to-be-president thing. Scott Timberg at Salon sees the larger GOP bias against non-Christians as an example of the party making itself electorally irrelevant in national contests. Christian Science Monitor's Husna Haq looks at existing prejudices against atheists, as well as how demographics will upend this over time. (And relatedly, Robyn Pennacchia ponders how a President Donald Trump might enforce his promise to make us all say "Merry Christmas.")

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The Leaky Universe

November 10, 2015

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

Amber Phillips at WaPo notes that Americans' refusal to accept the reality of climate change may have less to do with science-denial per se, and more to do with ignorance as to what scientists actually think

Holy moly. Forget alien megastructures. New data from the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope might have revealed "an eerie glow that could be due to matter from a neighbouring universe [complete with "different physics"] leaking into ours." Of course, it could also just be dust. But still!

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A Two-Bit Civilization

November 09, 2015

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

Happy Carl Sagan Day! Lots of CFI branches and student affiliates are marking the day with events, and for now, you can enjoy this compilation of Sagan's responses and "comebacks." 

Dan Vergaro at BuzzFeed reports on the potential for greater scrutiny of homeopathy from the FDA, with commentary from our own Michael De Dora: "They are on the shelves next to real medicine, they look like real medicine, and there is a lot evidence that people don’t know what they are buying." 

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You Can Have My Stickers

November 06, 2015

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

Lauren Markoe reports on how, surprise, politicians have no idea yet what to do with the growing population of religiously unaffiliated voters

Canada, Canada, Canada! Half of your new cabinet ministers skipped the "so help me God" part of their oaths of office.

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Posh Booing Noises

November 05, 2015

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

CFI's Michael De Dora appeared on HuffPost Live yesterday for a really substantive and thorough panel discussion on the crisis in Bangladesh. Do make time for it today. 

The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, calls on the Bangladeshi government to take action:

There is an urgent need for a concerted response to prevent more killings by promptly bringing the perpetrators to justice, and by taking effective measures to protect writers, publishers and any other people in Bangladesh who are being threatened with violence. The State must not allow extremist groups to take matters into their own hands. 

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First They Came for the Fact-Checkers

November 04, 2015

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

Ellen Barry at the New York Times reports on the horror in Bangladesh:

So far this year, four bloggers and one publisher have been hacked to death in Bangladesh — a tiny number for a country with a population of around 160 million. But anonymous threats are common, and the cumulative psychological effect has been profound, prompting public figures to steer away from discussing the terrorist threat openly. ...

With a handful of exceptions, “I can’t think of any Bangladeshi intellectual who is writing under his or her name on this issue,” [PEN International's Salil Tripathi] said. 

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Curbs Nervousness Amazingly

November 03, 2015

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

Pew releases a new study showing changing attitudes toward religion. The main finding is that as the religiously affiliated take a slight dip in numbers, and as the "nones" spike slightly up, they also grow further apart: the religious are a little more religious than they were, and the nones are more secular. (Oh, and the nones are the largest "religious" group within the Democratic coalition.) 

For a recent Skeptical Inquirer cover story, Gary J. Galbreath figures out what it is the crew of the HMS Daedalus saw in 1848 when they thought they saw a giant sea serpent.

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Unpublished

November 02, 2015

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

Bangladesh. Every day when I start work, I have this quick thought: "Did they kill another one?" This past Saturday, yes, they did. Faisal Arefin Deepan, a publisher of secularist books, was hacked to death in his office. Three other publishers at another company were also attacked, but thankfully survived. In our statement, we press the point that something affirmative must be done. TimeNPR, and the Dhaka Tribune pick up our response.

Poppy McPherson has a piece at BuzzFeed on the horrifying impact these killings are having.

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The Mourning Scare-esy!!!

October 30, 2015

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

Pakistan's supreme court would like folks to watch it with the false blasphemy accusations. I can think of a way to cut the number down: don't have a blasphemy law. Raza Habib Raja notes that despite the draconian religious laws of Pakistan, its people are far more moderate, and can have a voice if they choose.

I've been largely uninterested in the story about the high school football team that wants to pray publicly at games ...until the Satanists decided to get involved!  

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A Gaping Hole in the Fabric of Civil Society

October 29, 2015

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

Big news in the CFI universe, as Melody Hensley steps down after eight years as executive director of CFI–DC, and Ed Beck (the guy who I know works for us but for the life of me I can't tell you what he does) will take the helm in her place

CFI is hosting a conference on experimental philosophy next month ("X-Phi"), and David Koepsell helps explain what the heck it's all about

Sen. Barbara Boxer introduces a physician-assisted suicide bill akin to the one just passed in her own state of California, "which would allow individuals suffering from an advanced illness with intolerable pain or terminal illness to receive medication for the relief of pain and other end-of-life treatment to minimize suffering." 

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