Disagreement over Whether We Must Agree to Disagree about Whether We Must Disagree Agreeably

April 03, 2013

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

The leaders of several major skepto-atheist organizations sign on to a letter calling for civility in the recent disputes between skepto-atheists, and suggesting alternatives to online bomb-throwing.

Most of the big orgs have attached themselves to it, including CFI and the Council for Secular Humanism, though not surprisingly, not everyone is pleased. Secular Woman and American Secular Census have opted to refrain from signing on, not out of a disdain for civility, necessarily. Rebecca Watson calls it "stone tablet communication." On the other hand, Hemant Mehta calls it "a place of common agreement" and commends the signatories.

Many of the articles from Free Inquiry's groundbreaking issue on the US military's atheists are now online. 

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The Sky is What Mattered

April 02, 2013

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

CFI chief Ron Lindsay joined a HuffPost Live panel, along with Frank Schaeffer, JT Eberhard and others, to talk about bringing up kids with or without religion. It gets heated, as these things usually do.

Hey neat: Here at the Heresy, we've been linking to an ever-growing number of articles about Frans de Waal's The Bonobo and the Atheist and his distaste for "new atheism." Well guess who's on Point of Inquiry this week?? Dennis Rodman!!! No, I'm kidding, it's Frans de Waal. 

Our Office of Public Policy wants you to tell the White House to get a spine on contraceptive coverage in the health care law.

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Even the Aliens are Feeling the Sequester

April 01, 2013

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

Oh hey, vaccines don't cause autism. Who knew? From a big new study in the Journal of Pediatrics

We found no evidence indicating an association between exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides contained in vaccines during the first two years of life and the risk of acquiring autism spectrum disorder, autism disorder or autism spectrum disorder with regression . . . These results indicate that parental concerns that their children are receiving too many vaccines in the first two years of life or too many vaccines at a single doctor visit are not supported in terms of an increased risk of autism.

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All the Squabbling Skills

March 29, 2013

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

CFI chief Ron Lindsay wants activist atheists to learn from the LGBT movement in how it has prioritized and appealed to broadly-shared values:

Going after “symbolic” targets—crosses, mottoes, and so forth—may not always be the best strategy. It depends on the situation, of course, because some of these cases are easy wins based on precedent and some situations are just too outrageous too ignore. But I think it is fair to say that having the words “In God We Trust” on our money does not strike many religious people as an intolerable assault on the human dignity of nonbelievers. Don’t get me wrong. I abhor that motto as much as anyone else, but we should be realistic about where we focus our efforts.

Trevor Boeckmann of CFI On Campus affiliate UNIFI argues against the secular movement's use of lawsuits to further its aims (and has the best headline I've seen in a long time, "Suing Ourselves in the Foot"). 

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Pastors of the Dead in Comfortable Chairs

March 28, 2013

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

Yesterday, I called CFI-Indiana's chief Reba Boyd Wooden a "media darling" for appearing so frequently on local news and whatnot. And let me tell you, I am thrilled whenever that happens because she does such a great job representing CFI and what we stand for. Well, I have to assume that the press in Indiana agreed with me, because she was unavoidable on Indiana media yesterday. The state is on the cusp of passing an extremely restrictive and punitive anti-abortion bill, and Reba went to the statehouse to offer testimony in opposition, which was covered by Fox 59WISH-TV 8, and The Statehouse File

Right wing pundit Erick Erickson says, I presume with a straight face, that marriage equality and religious freedom are "incompatible." CFI's Michael De Dora blows that idea apart.

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The Cruel and the Ridiculous

March 27, 2013

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

The Nine heard arguments about gay marriage and California's Prop 8 yesterday, which weirdly included some speculation as to the fertility of the late senator Strom Thurmond.  

Crowds, protesters, and activists swarmed the capital, and CFI was there, too. CFI policy analyst Ed Beck got into a back and forth with a minister, and was photographed by the Washington Post, with Michael De Dora behind him. ("My face is melting," Ed told me.) Also, Business Insider featured a tweet from Michael on the most notable signage at the rally. His is the second one down.

CFI-Indiana's Reba Boyd Wooden (a media darling, let's be honest) appears on the Indianapolis ABC affiliate's news coverage of the case, and she guesses that the Roberts Court may not want to be remembered as being "on the wrong side of history."

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Some Witches Use Their Power in a Positive Way

March 26, 2013

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

Happy Let's-Argue-About-Gay-Marriage-At-The-Supreme-Court Day! Yesterday, CFI sent out a message telling folks about our efforts to support marriage equality in this week's cases involving Prop 8 and DOMA, along with allies like the American Humanist Association.

Our own Michael De Dora trumpets the defeat of voucher amendments to the Senate's budget last week. 

CFI-Indiana's Reba Boyd Wooden posts her acclaimed testimony against vouchers to the state legislature. 

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Their Audiences Pee in Their Pants with Delight

March 25, 2013

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

Good news: One of the voucher amendments CFI asked you to tell your Senators to vote against was defeated on Friday, 60-39. Even Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), not well-liked by many skeptics for his support of alt-med, spoke strongly against the voucher amendments. 

Robert Evans at Reuters reports on the efforts of CFI and the IHEU to get the UN to stand up for the rights of nonbelievers as it does for other persecuted religious minorities. Said Dr. Elizabeth O'Casey of CFI:

Many people who recognize no supernatural being are suffering and even dying for trying to exercise their right to hold and profess their views. 

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Prawnmageddon

March 22, 2013

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

This is happening now-ish: 2014 Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 8) is being debated today in the US Senate, and it's got vouchers in it. Our Office of Public Policy would like you to urge your senators to nix that part

So, I was just talking to the Universe, and I was like, hey, Universe, not that you asked, but you don't look a day over 13 billion. Then the Universe was all, thanks, Paul, but I'm actually 13.82 billion! And I was all NO WAY. 

io9 has a list of fictional omnipotent beings, like Q, who are also jerks. Weirdly not on the list: Yahweh.

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An Obscure Gem of a Nonprofit

March 21, 2013

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

Emily Willingham at Forbes: Be watchful for panicky stories about how there are more folks with autism than we thought:

. . . if you look at the numbers and the report itself, you’ll see that overall, the numbers of people born with autism aren’t necessarily increasing dramatically. It’s just that we’re getting better and better at counting them 

Chris Stedman offers tips for Christians in connecting with non-Christians without making everyone mad. (And cites our new report on fundamentalism in the military.) 

At Buffalo's ArtVoice, Ian Murphy of The Buffalo Beast calls out CFI as a "positive influence" in the region, but calls us "an obscure gem of a nonprofit," which is weird, but we'll take it.

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