Hoax und Überhoax

September 24, 2013

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

NPR's On the Media tells the outrage-inducing tale of producer Sarah Abdurrahman's detention, along with her family, at the U.S.-Canadian border. Her husband recounts the following exchange with a border agent, hours into their detention:

He asks me if I’m Muslim, but he kind of does it in this weird way, like – he like, can I ask you, are you – what, um, eh, um, are you Mus – are – what, what religion are you, like that, you know. Like he kind of like dances around it. And I was like, “Yes, I’m Muslim.” 

Robert Blaskiewicz shakes his head at a reviving 9/11 Trutherism, one which seems to be focusing on the allegedly "controlled" collapse of Building 7.

The Human Bible episode 28 is up, where we learn that loving your enemy as yourself may just be a way to ""make your enemy feel like a jerk."

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Your Brain is Not Sending Out Waves to the Universe

September 23, 2013

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

James Croft and Greg Epstein talk up "godless congregations" in a piece for the latest issue of Free Inquiry:

[T]hese emerging humanist communities represent an entrepreneurial social project, born of creative individuals willing to take risks and rethink old ideas. 

Tom Flynn, in the same issue, sticks up for a stricter secular humanism without all the togetherness:

[T]here is something tragic in the rising popularity of congregational humanism among the young. . . . [W]e are seeing the human cost of Christian literalism’s late-twentieth-century ghost dance.  

According to a survey by LifeWay Research, about one third of Americans think prayer and Bible study are sufficient to "cure" mental illness.  

GOP Rep. Raul Labrador puts forth legislation to keep the government from discriminating againt businesses who want to discriminate against gay people. Guess who likes this idea.

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Bringing a Halberd to a Game of Laser Tag

September 20, 2013

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

Pope Francis makes everyone lose their minds with a long interview granted to Jesuit publications, the English version being published in the magazine America (by the way, is that something we can do? Have an atheist magazine and just call it, like, United States?) In it, His Cuddliness says that the Church has been too "obsessed" with the hot-button issues of abortion, birth control, and homosexuality. 

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You Smell Papal

September 19, 2013

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

CFI's UN representatives raise the alarm on the human rights crisis of servile marriage. Said CFI's Dr. Elizabeth O'Casey to the UN Human Rights Council:

Culture and religion . . . must never legitimise anachronistic practices that violate the core principles of equality, autonomy and dignity upon which human rights are based. 

Carrie Poppy gets very drunk, and ingests a hangover remedy called "Blowfish," all for science.

Clerics in Pakistan recommend amending the country's harsh blasphemy laws to prevent their abuse. Their solution? The death penalty for false blasphemy accusations. Um, guys? 

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Embrace the Eight, Not the Hate

September 18, 2013

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

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals puts the kibosh on for-profit corporations trying to exempt themselves from the Obamacare contraceptive mandate on religious grounds. 

CFI Summit keynote speaker Bill Nye wiggles his hips on Dancing with the Stars (I think the judges were way too harsh, for which I suspect anti-nerd bias), and then does a turn on Bill Maher's show. (I wouldn't expect that video to be up for long.) 

CFI Chair Eddie Tabash has two more Florida cities to conquer on his speaking tour: Daytona Beach tonight, Tallahassee tomorrow. 

David Niose explores the problem of atheists gettng into elected office, saying, "it’s not as if atheists are an embarrassing segment of society." I dunno, David. Have you been in the blogosphere lately?  

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Science, Reason, and Secular Bargains!!!

September 17, 2013

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

Let there be an expanding brane! Existence as we know it may be the result of a 4-dimensional black hole. Okay!

Why do people keep looking for Atlantis? Our own Joe Nickell lends a hand to Slate's Emily Tamkin to answer the question. 

Eugenie Scott once again graciously demeans herself by generously granting pathetic little me another pre-conference interview for the CFI Summit, and I once again manage not to swoon. In this one, Dr. Scott looks at the state of pro-science struggles, and differentiates between the skeptic and humanist movements. (Here's her interview from last year before CSICon 2)

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Inflicting Vivacious Whimsy

September 16, 2013

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

CFI-Canada (acting independently from us, the U.S. CFI) comes out against the Charter of Quebec Values which bans the wearing of religious symbols for public employees:

A secularism charter should take the crucifix off the wall at the National Assembly, remove Christian prayer at public city council meetings, and revoke special property tax exemptions for religious buildings. The Charter has precisely the wrong aim, to take religion away from people, while ignoring institutional favouritism which biases the public square away from state neutrality and is therefore the more serious threat to equality of treatment between believer and nonbeliever.

One letter-to-the-editor writer agrees. Atheist Idan Shoham writes to the Montreal Gazette:

To me, religion is something to be tolerated. It’s fine to ridicule (religious) ideas, but it’s not fine to discriminate against (religious) people. What business has the government to regulate the hats religious people wear? 

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Look Out for That Oort Cloud, It’s a Doozy

September 13, 2013

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

Happy Friday the 13th! To celebrate, watch this enormous rock as it barely misses the planet. Universe Today reports:

About 230 kilometers in size, 324 Bamberga reaches 0.81 astronomical units from the Earth this week. No other asteroid so large gets so close.

Meanwhile, Voyager 1, for real this time, or so they tell us, has actually, like, for sure, left the Solar System. Definitely. OR NOT. I dunno anymore.  

Suit challenging the "In God We Trust" motto on U.S. money is dismissed by a federal court. 

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Pastor Jones, the Police Mustache You a Question

September 12, 2013

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

Tim Farley busts out a big box of tools for monitoring legislation relevant to skeptics, including CFI's new bill tracker

Kentucky governor Steven Beshear saves the state's adoption of new science standards, despite a rejection by the state legislature. 

Chris Chambers is very skeptical of the proposed Mars One manned mission to the Red Planet, as there has been insufficient consideration of how crazy everyone on board will inevitably go. 

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An Ounce of Adulteration

September 11, 2013

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

Quebec seeks to enact rules for public servants, prohibiting them from wearing all manner of religious symbols and accessories, in a purported effort to "help create a distinct identity" for the province. 

After Ball State University insists it will not hawk "intelligent design" in science courses, the Discovery Institute (referred to as a "think tank" in what I assume is a very loose definition of the term) lashes out at the school for "promoting atheism and bashing intelligent design." 

The Dawkins foundation and MAAF are working together on care packages for U.S. military personnel

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