Homeopathic PowerPoint

July 26, 2013

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

The Student Leadership Conference is in full swing, and the metaphorical vibe is very good. Susan Gerbic is giving her talk right now as I type (sorry, Susan!), and she had a technical glitch in which her presenation screen went blank except for an arrow cursor. Brilliantly, she gestured to the screen and said, "Homeopathy, ladies and gentlemen!" 

Let's take a look at a couple of fun diseases that are making an exciting comeback!

Let's hear it for measles! Writes Margaret Wente at The Globe and Mail:

Some anti-vaxxers belong to fringe religious groups. But some are highly educated, hyper-vigilant, holistically minded parents who believe the environment is full of toxic substances that are potential threats to their children. Some think the medical establishment has no right to tell them what to do.

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Mark Career as Spam

July 24, 2013

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

Fair warning: Tomorrow I travel in the morning to hit the CFI Student Leadership Conference at the Meatball Mothership, so there may not be a Morning Heresy. If there is one, it will likely be short, rushed, and rife with errors. So other than being short, it will closely resemble the usual Heresy.

Later this morning, Forecast the Facts is organizing a protest at Google HQ to tell them to stop funding science deniers, and CFI is a partner in the effort. You can also partake in the CFI action alert.

Alan Turing, the guy who pretty much gave us computing, and who helped us beat the Nazis by decrypting the Enigma code, will be posthumously pardoned by the UK. What'd he do in the first place? Well, he was gay.  

Speaking of Turing, who better to play him in a movie than CUMBERBAAAATCH

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A Bright Dot Below the Rings

July 23, 2013

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

Cassini took our picture from Saturn! We're the bright dot below the rings. Did you smile? I think I blinked. Can we do it again?

Our public policy shop put out an action alert yesterday concerning the Buckeye State...hold on...<looks up what a "buckeye" is>...Holy crap, it's a tree! Whose real name is Aesculus, after the ancient Greek playwright! Wow!

What was I talking about? Right, an action alert concerning the Ohio legislature's attempts to impose draconian restrictions on reproductive rights, which, as we write, "are unsupported by scientific evidence and incompatible with logic, reason, and the basic human values of fairness and decency." Take action here.

Kimberly Winston reports on the push for humanist military chaplains.

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Messy, Raw, and Muddled

July 22, 2013

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

Let me tell you folks, Mondays are a beast for the Heresy. All the news from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday must be combed through in one morning, often making the Heresy late and probably too long (though I guess I could be more selective, but you know, information wants to be free or something). Maybe I should start a Kickstarter to fund a "Weekend Heresy" or like a Heresy newsmagazine. I'm sure that'll take off. 

Speaking of Kickstarter, here's one for a Bigfoot caller. No, really. Dig the developers' qualifications:

James is a fitness expert and internationally known bestselling author of over 28 books and Christopher is a former actor that now runs an ad agency and software development company.  

The wife and I saw the documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer this weekend, and I highly recommend it. The footage is absolutely remarkable, as is learning about the ins and outs of how "justice" was dispensed to these arts-activists. Amnesty International is circulating a new petition on behalf of the two members still in prison. Their case is among those highlighted on our own Campaign for Free Expression.

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Why Everything Deepak Chopra Says Can Be Ignored

July 19, 2013

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

"I'm an atheist and I'm embarrassed." So opens a piece at Jezebel by Lindy West, asking atheist not to be "dicks":

Religion is awful in a lot of ways, yes. But that doesn't mean you have to be awful too. . . . [T]his article isn't about forgiving or ignoring all of the atrocities—overt and covert—that religion sows. It's about being kind to individual human beings.  

Matt Dillahunty picks West's article apart, concludes she must have no experience with the movement or in engaging with theists:

Beliefs matter because they inform actions and actions have consequences. Caring only about actions is akin to only treating the symptoms. 

Liz Cheney is running for the Senate from Wyoming, and Ryan Koronowski rounds up some of her best/worst science-denying gems

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Do You Have a License for That Rabbit?

July 18, 2013

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

Rev. James Martin attempts to clear up that whole tweet-your-way-out-of-Purgatory thing.  

On June 24, the Apostolic Penitentiary (the Vatican office that deals with matters concerning sin,) issued a document that said the faithful who attend the upcoming World Youth Day in Brazil would receive a “plenary indulgence” for their efforts during pilgrimage. . . . At the end of the document, the Vatican noted that it was not just pilgrims to whom this applied, but another, newer, group: those who might participate “with due devotion, via the new means of social communication.”

You want more videos from Women in Secularism 2? Of course you do. And this pair comes with the announcement that CFI is in the early planning stages for 2014's Women in Secularism 3

Carl Zimmer in SciAm reports on research showing that "[biological] complexity can arise by other means [than Darwinian selection]—as a side effect, for instance—even without natural selection to promote it." 

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Zero Point Zero Seven Percent

July 17, 2013

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

Research partly funded by CFI and conducted by Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keysar at Trinity College, has a brace of fascinating findings on the views of Millennials:

By relatively large pluralities, the students say that economic inequality is a major issue in the U.S. They strongly believe in freedom of expression, and support same-sex marriage and reproductive rights as well as controls on the sale of handguns. The college students, known as Generation Y or the Millennial Generation, say assisted suicide for the terminally ill should be legalized and they do not believe that immigrants threaten American jobs. 

The full American Religion Identification Survey (ARIS) study is here as a PDF

England is about to enact marriage equality after passage in the House of Commons. 

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At Least No One Fell into Orbit

July 16, 2013

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

So, ABC done did it, it hired anti-vax crusader Jenny McCarthy to be one of the hosts of The View. James Poniewozik at Time nails it

[P]ersuading parents that needed vaccines cause autism isn’t just a zany, oh-no-she-didn’t opinion. It’s wrong. . . . The View’s Sherri Shepherd may once have wondered if the world might be flat, but at least no one fell into orbit as a result. Vaccines are actually a matter of life and death.

Emily Willingham at Forbes shakes her head:

Unlike some folks, I don’t doubt that McCarthy could be intelligent, serious, and outrageous. She’s been smart enough to parlay a background in—what, exactly?—into fame and a rather mystifying clamor from some quarters to hear and see more of her. . . . What we’d like to see, before McCarthy joins “The View” . . . is for her to chill her vaccine and autism stance and publicly state what the evidence demonstrates: She was wrong about both. 

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Atheist Airplanes vs. the Angels

July 15, 2013

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

Zimmerman thinks it was "God's plan" for him to kill Trayvon. God needs to rethink some of his plans.

CFI CEO Ron Lindsay joined the panel on HuffPost Live to talk about the unceasing (and rather muddled) search for proof of God's existence.  

Congratulations to James Randi who just married Devyi Pena, his partner of 27 years. 

Gary Wills on the complicated politics and symbolism of turning popes into saints. 

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Two Heffernans in One Heresy

July 12, 2013

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

Malala Yousafzai will address the UN today, and moments ago she was greeted by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Michelle Boorstein explores how the very word "religion" has become problematic, even to believers. 

The CFI Hammer of Reason™ is not done with you yet, Google! Go see our action alert and tell the folks in Mountain View to check their consciences and stop funding climate change deniers. 

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