A Dog Might As Well Speculate on the Mind of Newton

November 03, 2014

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

Bill Nye was our keynote speaker at the CFI Summit last year, and we have the audio of the first part of his presentation at our Center Stage podcast. The next big conference is happening June 2015, with keynote speaker Rebecca Goldstein.

In case you missed it, Point of Inquiry did a special Halloween extra, where new producer Nora Hurley interviews Joe Nickell, and Joe attempts our 18th annual Houdini Séance. 

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I Have a Peculiar Character

October 31, 2014

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

We have a special bonus Point of Inquiry going up later today, a Halloween extra with our own Joe Nickell, who attempts to contact the spirit of Harry Houdini, and talks about Houdini's skeptic side. Stay tuned.

And when it's posted, you'll ask, well who's that person Joe's talking to in this episode? Why it's Point of Inquiry's new producer Nora Hurley! We welcomed her officially yesterday, and we're happy she's on board.

One more Joe Nickell thing: He has a new blog post in which he describes a sub-genre of books on the occult, which he terms "haunting hokum"...

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Judas Was Just This Guy, You Know?

October 30, 2014

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

Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly acknowledges that he's gay for the first time. In a piece for Bloomberg Businessweek he writes:

Let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me. ...

If hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy. 

The U.S. Navy approves its first Atheist Lay Leader, a kind of nonbelievers' chaplain. 

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Block the Camera and Scoop Up the Cash

October 29, 2014

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

Pope Francis is fluffy for exorcists, thanking them for sharing the church’s “love for those possessed” by Satan. Folks this is right after he made news for saying he's cool with evolution. Come on, Pope Fluffy! What's with the two-steps-forward, two-steps-back thing?

An Antares rocket, contracted by NASA from the private company Orbital, explodes six seconds after liftoff. No one was hurt. The rocket was sending supplies up to the ISS. 

Good on the Today show, they more or less humiliated a parade of fake-psychics who charged a hefty fee to detect the spirits within a brand new house. 

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Put Them in an Alpha or Theta Wave State

October 28, 2014

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

The Course of Reason blog has a really good post on Brittany Maynard and the religious response to her decision to end her life:

Religion has a funny way of deluding people into thinking that suffering a prolonged and painful death is worthwhile to potentially see Heaven. It is hard for secularists to wrap their mind around this concept because we do not have a paradise at the end of our lives. We just have a wooden box buried under six feet of dirt.

Relatedly, CFI-DC's Simon Davis interviews Dr. Atul Gawande for VICE about tough end-of-life questions.

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The Spiritual Equivalent of an Ethno-botanist

October 27, 2014

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

Some folks in politics and the media want to scare the crap out of you about Ebola. Others want you to calm down and know there's nothing to worry about. Then you read this interview by James Hamblin with Dr. Steven Hatfill in The Atlantic, and you start to think everyone is full of crap. Or I do, anyway. If Hatfill's name is familiar, it's because he's the guy the Bush administration fingered as the Anthrax guy back in 2001, and he totally wasn't.

Douglas Adams, a sentient puddle of water, and Ken Ham. Stephan Law puts them all together, and, well, it fits!  

Michael Specter at The New Yorker checks your FODMAPS and does a deep dive into the War on Gluten...

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Five Percent Haunted

October 24, 2014

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

Yesterday, we officially announced our 2015 international conference, Reason for Change, happening in June at the CFI mothership in Buffalo. It's kind of a big deal.

Raif Badawi, imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for his dissent, is awarded the PEN Canada One Humanity Award, and he asks Alishba Zarmeen to accept it on his behalf

A doctor in NYC is found to have Ebola, and now everyone really is completely freaking out. NYTimes is doing full-on interactive maps tracking where the guy went in the city and everything. 

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Devoid of Any Aesthetic or Artistic Value

October 23, 2014

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

We've got a really great new Point of Inquiry this week, folks. Lindsay Beyerstein talks to Katha Pollitt about her new book Pro: Reclaiming Reproductive Rights, and how pro-choice folks feel compelled to hedge their support of abortion rights, thereby ceding ground to the anti-choice crowd. 

The conviction of Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (now free on amnesty) is upheld by Russia's constitutional court, finding violation of the ironically named "Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations," saying, "If some actions are demonstratively insulting in nature and are devoid of any aesthetic or artistic value, they go beyond the limits of the lawful use of freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution." 

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A Raging Freak on the Internet

October 22, 2014

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

Jailed Saudi dissident Raif Badawi is the recipient of the PEN Canada One Humanity Award. CFI is referenced in the announcement. 

Yesterday we sent letters to the governors of Illinois and Wisconsin, asking them to work with us to allow Secular Celebrants to solemnize marriages in their states, now that the federal court's ruling for our Indiana case is final. Illinois and Wisconsin fall under the same circuit court jurisdiction as Indiana. 

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Space Lawyers!

October 21, 2014

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

CFI chief Ron Lindsay's new book, The Necessity of Secularism, is available for pre-order, and comes out December 1, which is my birthday! Coincidence?!?!? Probably!   

Kate Greene was part of a NASA experiment of mock Mars missions, and comes away with a pretty solid case based on a wide array of practical factors for women, as opposed to men, being first on Mars.

Saskia Vermeylen, meanwhile, explores issues of jurisdiction, sovereignty, and property rights of hypothetical Moon missions and colonies.

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