I Am Not Shake-and-Bake

October 17, 2013

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

The shutdown is over, but not before the House stenographer began shouting from the dais about how the Freemasons wrote the Constitution, who were "against God," and how "You cannot serve two masters."

The State Department's religious freedom ambassador, Suzan Johnson Cook, resigns.

The great Eye of Google maps the Galapagos.

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One Big Buzzkill

October 16, 2013

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

Tibor Krausz at Killing the Buddha rants against what he sees as the pig-headed arrogance of his fellow atheists:

Any self-respecting nonbelievers should champion a rational view of the world where informed decisions are based on empirical evidence, progressive morality and simple common sense, yes. But they also ought to try and live up to the exacting ethical standards that Enlightenment values entail — or, for that matter, to standards of morality that several liberal schools of religious thought require of the faithful. 

Yesterday, CFI announced the winners of our Twitter contest for International Blasphemy Rights Day. Congrats to @SkepticalPoet, @marit_rogne, and @krow9768 (who also have real names).

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Malaysia v. Amazing Mumford

October 15, 2013

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

Bill Nye talks to the Tacoma News Tribune for a front-page interview about the CFI Summit

Q: How does the Center for Inquiry fit with your own beliefs?

A: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. We want everybody in the world to be aware of that message. … The Earth is round. The universe is not only expanding, it’s accelerating. … These are extraordinary things, and they can be proven. When someone says I can determine your personality by the date of your birth, that can be shown to be absolutely not true in any way.

At Discovery News, our own Ron Lindsay casts doubt on the recent Jesus-as-hoax claims:

The reality is we are unlikely ever to know the ‘facts’ about Jesus . . . On the one hand, we have many who will take things on faith, accepting some subset of the stories as unquestionably true. On the other hand, there are those who insist that Jesus is an invented figure, a myth or a hoax. I think both of these extremes are almost equally implausible. 

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Your Sense of Humor is Based on a Brain Limitation

October 14, 2013

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

Last week religious conservatives gathered for the Values Voters Summit, where among other things, Rand Paul decried a global war on Christianity, and Allen West took exception to CFI's Living without Religion ad campaign (video here, around the 12 minute mark or so):

When you look at the growth of secular humanism -- I was over at the McPherson Square Metro station just two days ago, and there was an advertisement that said "Millions of Americans are happy without religion." [sic] That may be true. But millions of Americans would not have enjoyed the freedoms and liberties if it weren't for people that had religion. [Crowd applauds.] 

I am officially scared of Blemmyae, and so were people of the Middle Ages, apparently. (They were scared of a lot of things.)

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iCloud Communion

October 11, 2013

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

I can't believe I missed this when it first hit the web: Malala Yousafzai goes on The Daily Show and humbles everyone.

Bill Nye, keynoter of the CFI Summit this month, is launching a non-dance-related web series with NASA on its Juno probe of Jupiter. 

Rabbis are kidnapping husbands who won't consent to divorce with their wives. 

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A Community of Galactic Civilizations

October 10, 2013

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

Defeated former congressman Allen West is none too impressed by our Living Happily Without Religion campaign, and took to Facebook to tell us all why:

America has a Judeo-Christian faith heritage and promotes the free exercise of religion. However, it has been my experience in life that people who possess no deep faith are not happy. 

Hemant shakes his head:

I would urge you all to let West know that atheists and others without “deep faith” are perfectly happy without God… but I don’t think he’s capable of changing his mind no matter what the evidence says. 

Paul Thornton, letters editor at the LA Timeslays down the law on science-denial: If you send in a letter about how climate change is a hoax, you're not getting published, because it's not true.

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Fear My Fanfic!

October 09, 2013

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

Claudia Dreifus interviews Bill and Melinda Gates for NYT, and it's really quite interesting, but she clearly doesn't understand what Richard Dawkins means about "the selfish gene":

Bill Gates: I gave [Warren Buffett] a copy of “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” which is the Adam Smith book that predates “The Wealth of Nations.” It’s got the idea that generosity is sort of this inherent characteristic of mankind.

C.D.: So you don’t hold with Richard Dawkins about the “selfish gene”?

B.G.: Well, I believe in most things Richard Dawkins says. 

Adam Frank discusses one of the ways the shutdown harms science, the loss of ability for students at all levels to train. "In science, you don't get to skip a generation."

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You’re Looking At Me As Though I’m Weird

October 08, 2013

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

Peter Higgs (of boson fame) and François Englert win the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Meanwhile, Alexander Aan, the persecuted and imprisoned atheist of Indonesia, is among those the Guardian offers up as a possible Nobel Peace Prize winner (and you can vote for him in their poll). 

Prepare to have your mind blown by the utter sincerity with which Justice Antonin Scalia believes in the Devil. This interview with New York Magazine is a freaking doozy:

I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament. . . . He got wilier . . . You’re looking at me as though I’m weird.

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The Science of Keyboard Cat

October 07, 2013

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

Persecuted Egyptian atheist Alber Saber, though away from his home country as he struggles for justice, is nonetheless a proud papa. Welcome, Hypatia Alber Saber!

Politico runs a report largely critical of vouchers (aka, taxpayer funding for private and religious schools). I know, I'm surprised too. They quote secular wunderkind Zack Kopplin:

Nationwide, many schools participating in voucher programs infuse religion through their curriculum. Zack Kopplin, a student activist who favors rigorous science education, has found more than 300 voucher schools across the U.S. that teach the biblical story of creation as science; some also instruct children that the world is just several thousand years old and use textbooks describing the Loch Ness Monster as a living dinosaur. Parents at one such school in Louisiana received a newsletter calling secular scientists “sinful men.”

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Put This in Your Pipe for Separation of Church and State

October 04, 2013

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

Now how cool is this?! MLive expands on its coverage of the CFI Living without Religion campaign with short video interviews of some of the folks at CFI-Michigan, who talk about how they find meaning and purpose.

Some folks are surprised to find the body of Christ in their burger

Brian Pellot rounds up some other blasphemous examples that have been attacked by believers. 

Scalia opens mouth, makes secularists die a little inside...

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