Prejudice and Bigotry and Error

December 02, 2013

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

LA Times headlines CFI's big holiday Times Square ad in its piece on atheist billboarding. (Here's our announcement from last week.)

Kimberly Winston covers the Thanksgivings of seculars, with insights from CFI's own Sarah Kaiser and Jennifer Beahan.

Our Office of Public Policy weighs in on the announcement that SCOTUS will take up Hobby Lobby's help-help-I'm-being-oppressed challenge to the Affordable Care Act:

The Center for Inquiry has always, and will always, defend the right of individuals to worship or not worship as they choose. However, we will also always fight to ensure that the government does not unfairly prioritize or promote religion, forcing it into people’s lives. 

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Look at All Those Corpses, Noah!

November 27, 2013

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

Get warm and fuzzy, folks, because CFI just launched a video ad in Times Square for Thanksgiving! The baby in the ad was not consumed by any nonbelievers. 

Maria Beelen of On Campus affiliate Center for Inquiry–Grand Valley, recounts the mounting of the big Neil deGrasse Tyson event they held where this happened

Hobby Lobby manages to get its "poor-us-we're-oppressed" religious freedom case to the Supreme Court

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Are You More Clairvoyant Than a 4th-Grader?

November 26, 2013

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

First off, yesterday CFI gave a big, sincere "thank you" to everyone who contributed to our drive for typhoon relief. Again, thank you. 

Lindsay Beyerstein interviews Paul Offit about alt-med on the latest Point of Inquiry

Two pieces at Skeptical Inquirer look at the fallout fake-psychic Sylvia Browne's life. Bryan Farha recounts the ways he and others exposed her as a phony over the years:

A few days after Sylvia made several predictions on the Montel Williams Show for the entire upcoming year of 2005, I asked my niece’s fourth grade class, individually, to predict on the same measures. Data analyses indicated that the fourth-graders were, collectively, 25% more accurate than Sylvia was—and these children were literally guessing on many items they knew nothing about (like world affairs, natural disasters, and politics). This was the real Sylvia Browne. 

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Infinitely Dense and Infinitely Hot

November 25, 2013

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

Today is my boy's 4th birthday. He had a party last night and wore his Batman costume because he is just that awesome. Happy birthday, son. I love you and I'm so proud of who you are. 

It's back! Right now, you can register for the third Women in Secularism conference, May 16-18, 2014 in Alexandria, VA. And speaking of women in secularism, CFI-DC's Melody Hensley has just earned Secular Celebrant status in Washington, DC, and she might be the first secular humanist in the U.S. ever to do so. Melody says, "This is a huge win against religious privilege. We want these laws in every state in the U.S."

Remember how Dave Silverman wasn't allowed to get his atheistic NJ license plate, and then the state relented? Well as I write at Friendly Atheistit's happened again to someone else, and this time, they said if they wanted, they could get a plate that says "Baptist." 

I'll admit it: When compiling the Heresy every day, I get a little weary of dumb Bigfoot stories that all pretty much go the same way, and I lose interest. Sharon Hill, however, makes an important point about active Bigfoot skepticism...

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Rockin’ Around the Green Hairy Claw

November 22, 2013

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

Reba Boyd Wooden of CFI-Indiana is interviewed at length on the subjects of nonbelief and agnosticism at the Indianapolis Recorder, the areas largest African American-focused paper. 

CFI's Joe Nickell posts his thoughts on the death and "sad legacy" of fake-psychic Sylvia Browne, writing, "Some might say I helped drive nails into Sylvia’s coffin, and if that is true I accept full responsibility." 

Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention: Husbands and wives as equal partners in marriage, in which there are "wives who aren’t submitting to their husbands," is a "false gospel." 

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Eleven Years Off

November 21, 2013

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

Famed fake-psychic Sylvia Browne is dead at 77. Of course, she predicted 88, but whatever. (Hat tip to Tim Farley for that tidbit.)

Quora is like a Wikipedia for Q&A. What's protecting it from pseudoscientific infestation? As I show at Friendly Atheist, not much, it seems.  

Sarah Posner, having broken the W-raises-money-for-Jews-for-Jesus story, breaks down why it makes so many folks angry:

The crux of the criticism of Bush's fundraising for MJBI was not a sense that Messianic Judaism threatens Judaism's survival, but rather that Jews find the proselytizing and the claims of Jewish spiritual "blindness" offensive. That's a view shared by Jews of the many stripes identified in the Pew survey, ranging from Orthodox to secular.

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Delving Into Molecular Innards

November 20, 2013

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

Fascinating: Scientists and physicians are relying on "spiritual healers" in Uganda to alert them to folks showing symptoms of the plague, and to help get them real medical attention:

"We trained traditional healers how to spot the symptoms of the plague," says [medical anthropologist Mary] Hayden, who now works at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. "We gave them cellphones with the hospital's number programmed into it. And we gave them bicycles so they could help get people to clinics." 

Ron Lindsay weighs in on the "hand-wringing" over religious liberty in the marriage equality debate:

The suggestion that the government can require religious institutions to perform a marriage ceremony for anyone is a bogeyman, a phantom worry. . . . The government must respect religious beliefs, and should not compel a person to perform an act affecting that person’s body that is inconsistent with that person’s beliefs.  But that does not imply the religious can attempt to control the actions of others.  

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Here Comes the Mufti! Here Comes the Mufti!

November 19, 2013

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

Dig it: Josh Zepps has got Bill Nye for the latest episode of the shiny-new Point of Inquiry!

NASA launches a new mission to Mars, the MAVEN probe, which will explore the planet's atmosphere.  

It's a Ban Ki-Moon kind of day. First, he's urging the European Union to take the lead in fighting climate change (not mentioned: probably because we in the U.S. are really, really not). Then, he goes and declares today World Toilet Day for reasons that are totally not funny but it's still okay to think that it's fun to say "World Toilet Day." 

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Putting the Levity in Leviticus!

November 18, 2013

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

Monday. Monday, Monday, Monday. So much news to catch up on for Monday's Heresies. Maybe I need to do a weekend edition. Ha! No. 

At Skepticon, American Atheists' Dave Muscato is threatened with a gun. He gives all the details he can here, but he's fine, and totally unharmed, for which the Morning Heretic is very, very glad. (I get all trembly and chokey-uppy just typing this.)

Last week, Neil deGrasse Tyson appeared at an event sponsored in part by CFI-Michigan, and here's an awesome exchange between the man himself and a super-smart 9-year-old about asteroid deflection. 

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Andy Kaufman Was Bigfoot the Whole Time!

November 15, 2013

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

Quack cancer doctor Stanislaw Burzynski gets front-page treatment in USA Today, with a series of stories on his practice under the banner "Science or Snake Oil?" 

Brantley Hargrove at the Dallas Observer does a long piece on the saga that is the Texas battle over evolution in textbooks. 

Former GOP science policy adviser Mischa Fisher writes in The Atlantic that the Republican Party is getting a bad rap as being anti-science. I take to Friendly Atheist to say, meh, I'm not so sure about that, but I do concede one point:

It’s possible that by shouting from the hilltops that Republicans hate science and they Democrats love it (or, more specifically, that secular humanist atheist liberal poindexter college professor elitists love science), it becomes more and more toxic for Republican leaders to embrace, lest they look like the aforementioned pinkos to their base. 

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