Psychic Fraud to the Nines

September 03, 2013

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

Whew! This weekend, Hemant Mehta done got himself "Hitched." (Cute photo!) The Morning Heretic of course offers its sincere congratulations. But while he was being nuptial'd, Hemant tasked me with the stewardship ofFriendly Atheist. Despite this being an obvious mistake, I did my best not to crash his Ferrari of a blog.

What did I blog about? GLAD YOU ASKED. Well, an Indian novelist was charged with blasphemy, the South Jersey prayer-at-council-meetings fiasco got weirder, I found a great example of apologetics leading to nonbelief, E.W. Jackson nailed himself to a proverbial cross, EWTN explained how Hell actually works (and how Karl Marx is probably there), looked at the universality of messiah-wishes, and a teacher in India is fighting for his right to NOT pray in school. Like I said, whew!

It's always all about them: Build-up to a US attack on Syria seen by some Christians as a harbinger of the End Times. But what isn't, really? 

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A Fatwa to Kill da Wabbit

August 30, 2013

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

Christian research organization the Barna Group does a study on Amercians's perceptions of the Bible, which among other things finds that "antagonism" to the Bible is ticking up, and 54% agree that the Bible and politics "do not mix."

Saudi Arabia's cabinet passes a ban on domestic violence at home and at the workplace. 

Member of a Hare Krishna sect in Hawaii is arrested for threatening to behead Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. 

The IRS recognizes all legally married same-sex couples for tax purposes, regardless of the state in which they reside.

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Men are from Mars, Women…also from Mars!

August 29, 2013

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

An arrest is made in the murder of Indian skeptic activist Narendra Dabholkar.

An appeals court backs the Ohio hospital that wanted to treat a girl with leukemia, whose Amish parents refused chemotherapy for her.

Wow: a not-crazy theory says that life on Earth may have originated on Mars after hitching a ride on meteorites. 

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Science in Scare Quotes

August 28, 2013

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

50 years ago today was the March on Washington and Dr. King gave that speech.

Persecuted Bangladeshi atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin has been reaching out, despite the ongoing danger to his life and freedom. Here he is talking to Austin Dacey and to Hemant Mehta. Michael De Dora, our public policy director who runs the Campaign for Free Expression, has been working with Asif, and we expect to hear more from him. 

Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan Mozena, is trying to heavily downplay the role of religion in the country's recent turmoil. 

The CFI On Campus crew hung out Google style for their second On Air Session last night, talking Light the Night and Hug an Atheist.

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Rhythmic Fluctuations of Cerebrospinal Fluid for Fun and Profit

August 27, 2013

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

Kimberly Winston gives feature treatment to the Freethought Trail, a project of the Council for Secular Humanism, which is a self-guided tour through the sites of historic importance to the secularist cause in the 19th century.  

Ebook service Smashwords tampers with an atheist client's book about God's non-existence, sneaking in religious material, and refusing to own up. 

Tonight, tonight, toniiiiight, oh-oooohhhhh, we're gonna light the night! Tonight, oh-ooooohhhh. (Ahem. That is, tonight at 8pm ET the CFI On Campus On-Air Session will cover Light the Night and Hug an Atheist Week.)

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Stop Oppressing My Fake Medicine

August 26, 2013

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

Dylan Matthews at WaPo's Wonkblog expands on Matthew Yglesias's call to tax churches, and highlights Ryan Cragun's research for Free Inquiry, in which it is estimated that American taxpayers are subsidizing religion to the tune of over $80 billion a year (Matthews' revised number). The same study is cited in a Star-Ledger editorial, though not by name.

This is pretty big: 9th Circuit Court says California has to compensate an atheist drug offender for sending him back to prison because he refused a religiously-based addiction treatment. It's this kind of thing that makes things like the Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) program important.

CFI's Michael De Dora pens an article on the importance of storytelling in secular activism for the Dawkins Foundation's newsletter

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This is Part of the Weirding Way

August 23, 2013

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

Yesterday, CFI made known its condemnation of violence against religious groups in Egypt:

No person should be targeted for violence because of his or her religious affiliation. As atheists and humanists, though we may disagree strongly with the beliefs of other groups, we wholeheartedly reject oppression and violence carried out against those who hold those beliefs. Freedom of conscience is a fundamental human right.

Hemant Mehta notes that our words are "backed by action," and tells the rest of the skepto-atheist community that "we ought to be among the leading voices condemning a real assault on religious freedom." 

I was the guest pundit on yesterday's episode of Tech News Today on the TWiT network, and it was pretty fun. Also, the host referred to me as the Kwisatz Haderach.

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The Sluggish Pundit’s Dream

August 22, 2013

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

A new poll shows that a whopping 70% of Americans are against vouchers for private and religious schools. Well, that's what we think too, and we said so:

Voucher programs are a violation of our founding secular principles, and it is heartening to know that the American people see through its proponents’ façade of reform. 

Holy crap, skin cells can be turned into egg and sperm cellsTweets our boss Ron Lindsay:

Now that we know skin cells have the potential to become babies, will Catholic Church prohibit scratching?  

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Reality Distortion Field of Dreams

August 21, 2013

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

CFI files an amicus brief in the Massachusetts case about the Pledge of Allegiance, and it's not the usual "violates the First Amendment" argument. 

Coptic Christians face a wave of violence in Egypt at the hands of Morsi-supporting Islamists.

The American Muslim Political Action Committee will hold a mass demonstration in Washington on September 11 to protest "religious profiling."

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One of the Most Wonderful Soldiers of Rationalism

August 20, 2013

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

I'm sorry to open the Heresy with some grisly news from India. Here's the IHEU:

It is with deep shock and sadness that we report the assassination this morning (Tuesday, 20 August) of one of India's most renowned rationalist and Humanist leaders, Dr. Narendra Dabholkar.

He was reportedly shot four times by two men on a motorbike this morning on Omkarweshwar bridge in Pune, Maharashtra state. He was reportedly taking his daily morning walk when he was assassinated, a route that may have been known to his attackers.

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