Vigorously Not Cooperating

December 19, 2013

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

Persecuted Indian skeptic leader Sanal Edamaruku launches a new international magazineRationalist.

Speaking of launches, European Space Agency launches Gaia, a space telescope fitted with a billion-pixel camera, to construct a three-dimensional map of the galaxy. 

And speaking of incredible images, io9 rounds up the the most awe-inspiring science images of 2013. 

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Blind Faith in Miraculous Power

December 18, 2013

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

Americans' trust in clergy has hit a new low, according to Gallup, though they're still way more trusted than Congress.  

SPEAKING OF WHICH. St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt steps down from his public role as he faces child sex abuse allegations. But remember, Satan is behind gay marriage

An opposable thumbs-up as Texas science textbooks with actual science in them are cleared for adoption

CFI's Michael De Dora writes to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to urge them to include protection of the nonreligious in the Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2013.  

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Forged in Chaos

December 17, 2013

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

Joe Schwarcz at Skeptical Inquirer takes Dr. Oz down many, many notches

Archdiocese of New York win an injunction against the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act for its nonprofit affiliates. 

Josh Zepps has a very funny and thoughtful conversation with libertarian humorist P.J. O'Rourke on the latest Point of Inquiry

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The Religious Freedom Panic Squad

December 16, 2013

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

This is looking kind of murky, but it looks like Russia's supreme court found problems with the sentences given to members of Pussy Riot, and they might get an earlier release. Meanwhile, member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, transferred to Siberia, will remain in a prison hospital until her term is up. 

Well look at that. Jupiter's moon Europa looks like it might have water-spurting geysers. No mention of pirate twin activity.*

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Heliocentrism is So Second Millennium

December 12, 2013

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

Yet another "student religious-freedom" bill emerges, this time in Michigan. Reports Brian Smith:

Under the proposed language, instructors would not be permitted to grade a student's work differently based on religious content, and schools could not prevent students from participating in religious activities on campus before or after classes. Schools also would not be able to limit access to facilities to religious organizations if the facilities are made available to the general public. 

Holy moly, there's a sneaky-looking "documentary" coming next year that promotes, wait for it, geocentrism. And the trailer is full of scientists who I'm pretty damn sure are down with Copernicus. And, ugh, that's Captain Janeway at the beginning. (hat tip Rob Boston, who I'm kind of upset with for showing this to me) 

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The Best Pope of the Year!

December 11, 2013

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

Time names Pope Cuddly as Person of the Year, choosing human interest over the genuine news impact of its runners-up. Oh, there I go again, being grouchy. But I definitely think he's the best pope of the year, hands down. (Meanwhile, the magazine also officially corrects its earlier assertion that Mr. Pope had "rejected church dogma.") 

I cannot wait to read this: Jennifer Michael Hecht, one of my heroes, pens a big piece in Politico's magazine on the plight of the open atheist in American politics. (A topic I cover at some length in my wee little mini-book here.)

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Egomania and Cowardice

December 10, 2013

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

IHEU releases its 2013 Freedom of Thought Report on the state of persecution for atheists around the world.  

Lindsay Beyerstein conducts an extremely informative interview with Americans United's Barry Lynn on the latest Point of Inquiry. A great primer on the major church-state cases going on.

The Time magazine entry for Pope Francis's nomination for Person of the Year included the assertion that the pope "reject[s] church dogma and luxury." It has since been changed to omit "church dogma." 

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Less Canyon Than Itty-Bitty Crack

December 09, 2013

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

CFI-LA's Jim Underdown takes exception to the recent Time magazine assertion that there are "no atheists in the Grand Canyon," and what he has to say is quite lovely:

[O]verwhelmingly, there it was. That mighty, magnificent chasm 6 million years in the making is the physical embodiment of the word awesome. From the first glow of dawn until the long evening shadows engulf all but the rim, this colossal labyrinth of carved rock changes personalities hour-to-hour, season-to-season, eon-to-eon. It never shows the same face twice. 

Bill Nye pens (and records on video) an open letter to the president encouraging NASA's funding be held at $1.5 billion.

Satanists want a monument of their own alongside the Ten Commandments outside the Oklahoma statehouse, and the ACLU has their back.

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Angling on Exoplanets

December 06, 2013

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

Apologies for the late posting - The Morning Heretic as All-the-time-Daddy had to go bring his Baby Heretic to the doctor, but all is well and Baby Heretic is blaspheming happily.  

Wow: Humanist Community Day declared by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. I guess he's not running for president. 

(Someone should tell this to Boston University, where the campus humanists were barred from the school's interfaith panel.)

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Tedious, Difficult, Infuriating Work

December 05, 2013

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

CFI has taken over the fantastic Freethought Books Project, which provides skepto-atheist books to prisoners and hooks them up with volunteer pen pals at CFI branches. It's great.  

I'm just wondering, are you guys listening to the relaunched Point of Inquiry yet? Hey, it's me talking here. I'm just getting caught up after holiday travel and whatnot, and I'm telling you. It's great.

Rob Boston has a new book coming out in March: Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do. Sounds right up our alley. 

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