I Hope You’re Not Squeezing Their Liver or Pancreas

August 01, 2013

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

CFI's Debbie Goddard joined Sikivu Hutchinson, Jamila Bey (both Women in Secularism alums) and Ronnelle Adams on HuffPost Live to talk about atheism in the African American community.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom reminds Saudi Arabia of its obligations under international human rights treaties, as it condemns the persecution (and coming physical abuse) of dissenting activist Raif Badawi, convicted of blasphemy.  

Aasia Bibi, accused of blasphemy in Pakistan and held in a women's prison, is in terrible danger, as security is weak and she is targeted for violence from both within and without the prison. 

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Tactful Phrasing, Polite Omissions, and White Lies

July 31, 2013

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

The AP covers the Raif Badawi story, the Saudi liberal activist convicted for "insulting Islam" and sentenced to a prison term and 600 lashes, noting that the judge spared Badawi the charge of apostasy, which would have meant the death penalty. Muslims for Progressive Values slams Saudi Arabia over this case, and its violation of its duties under international treaties.

David Mizner looks more broadly at the human rights crisis in Saudi Arabia

Given Bawadi's conviction, and yesterday's verdict in the Bradley Manning trial, this effort seems all the sillier: A Kenyan lawyer, Dola Indidis, wants to overturn Pontius Pilate's conviction of Jesus of Nazareth. Little late, dude.

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Monks and Their Molotov Cocktails

July 30, 2013

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

Saudi liberal Raif Badawi is sentenced to 7 years in prison and 600 lashes -- 600! -- for blasphemous blogging. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin has his plea for permanent bail rejected, and is sent back to jail on blasphemy charges.

Ron Lindsay went on HuffPost Live yesterday for a very interesting discussion on religious homeschooling, and the meaning of religious persecution. 

Soraya Chemaly has five suggestions as to why there are not more women in the movement. 

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Spiritually Itchy

July 29, 2013

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

CFI's Student Leadership Conference has just wrapped up, and I think it's safe to say that almost everyone has been inspired (and exhausted). Most importantly, though, folks laughed at the jokes in my talk, so that makes it an undeniably big success. 

While the secular youth were getting jazzed to change the world, this weekend also brought the Pope-a-palooza, as he made his big trip to Brazil (where he picked up a bunch of soccer jerseys). Blowing many people's minds, when asked about gay priests, he said:

If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? 

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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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