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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Believing Grasshoppers Can Speak

March 20, 2013

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

Malala is going back to school

James Parco, author of the important new CFI report on fundamentalism running rampant in the U.S. military, is the guest on State of Belief, the radio show of the Interfaith Alliance. 

Also, the new issue of Free Inquiry, available now, has a special section on atheists' battle for equality in the military, guest edited by MAAF's Jason Torpy.    

Maryam Namazie on the Muslim Brotherhood's assertion that a declaration decrying violence against women conflicts with Islam: "I could have told you that." 

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Flinch-Worthy

March 19, 2013

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

Dr. Elizabeth O'Casey, CFI's Geneva UN representative, takes the UN to task for not including the nonreligious in resolutions on freedom of religion:

The EU's refusal to include any direct reference to non-believers as a group meriting special protection from religious intolerance fails people like Kacem. It also fails the one in six people across the globe who do not self-identify as religious. That's a lot of people to fail. 

She of Pandagon and Slate (and a speaker at Women in Secularism 2), Amanda Marcotte, is the guest on the latest Point of Inquiry

Kimberly Winston covers atheists' exploration of religious practices, like Lent, and talks to our own Tom Flynn about why he thinks it's not so smart.

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Mostly Warps and Rarely Fulfills

March 18, 2013

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

Our boss Ron Lindsay is back at work after being on a leave of absence (not that you'd know it):

Been gone for a few weeks. Living in a cave in north Pakistan. Little known fact: Al-Zawahiri snores. 

NYT focuses on Pope Francis during the Argentinian "Dirty War," as he offers a "complex description of his role during the dictatorship." 

Still, at the very least, this pope offered his popeliness to nonbelievers:

Given that many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church, and others are not believers, I give this blessing from my heart, in silence, to each one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you, but knowing that each one of you is a child of God. May God bless you. 

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Former Hillary Clinton Advisor Authors Atheist News Roundup

March 15, 2013

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

Yesterday, CFI gave its official response to the election of Pope Francis, mainly in the context of social issues, Meanwhile, Argentina's "Dirty War" dogs the new pope.  

A bill in the US House by Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma calls for protecting religious minorities in the Arab world. Though it does not mention anything about the nonreligious, it does call for an end to blasphemy laws.

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes, in this spirit of Arab Spring revolution, that religious minority freedoms and rights must be protected; and

(2) urges in the strongest terms that the United States Government lead the international effort to repeal existing blasphemy laws. 

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Non Habemus Google Lector

March 14, 2013

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

You of course are aware of the biggest news story that came down yesterday, affecting perhaps a billion people around the world, and impacting every aspect of our culture: Google Reader is shutting down.

Oh, also, there's a new pope. Frank-something.

There's going to be a lot to digest about this guy over the coming days and weeks. Key things for our folks to know is that, yes, shock of shocks, he's a doctrinaire conservative in terms of things like sex and abortion, though he is also said to have a social justice streak in terms of things like poverty... 

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Stop Giggling When I Say “Cometary Panspermia”

March 13, 2013

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

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain declares March 14 to be the International Day to Defend Apostates and Blasphemers, highlighting the persecution of folks like Alexander Aan, Alber Saber, and other dissidents highlighted by our own Campaign for Free Expression, and CFI's president and CEO Ron Lindsay is a signatory to the effort. 

If this is true, it's a big deal: Carl Franzen at The Verge reports on news about the Red Planet:

NASA just announced that its Curiosity rover has discovered evidence that Mars had the conditions necessary to support life in ancient times, specifically microorganisms.  

And not just "kind of" support life:

"We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life that if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it," said John Grotzinger, Curiosity's chief project scientist. 

And if this is true, it may be an even bigger deal: Cardiff University scientist Jamie Wallis claims to have found fossilized microbes in a rock...from space. Says Wallis:

This provides clear and convincing evidence that these obviously ancient remains of extinct marine algae found embedded in the Polonnaruwa meteorite are indigenous to the stones and not the result of post-arrival microbial contaminants. 

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Be Increasingly Irrelevant

March 12, 2013

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

Lemme tell you, folks. My 7-month-old daughter kept me up most of the night last night. She's a great baby, don't get me wrong, and for someone with only negligible motor and verbal skills, she's really damn funny and charming. But less so at 4am. So I'm a little bleary as I present this morning's edition of the Heresy, so bear with me.  

Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command says that climate change is the greatest security threat to the Pacific region. Whew, good thing it's not real. 

Kansas City Atheist Coalition is banned from a St. Patrick's Day parade, out of "respect for the legacy of St. Patrick." 

Stellar neighbors we never knew we had: Two very nearby, mutually-orbiting brown dwarf stars discovered.  

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Looking for Bigger Rocks

March 11, 2013

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

Douglas Adams would be 61 today. And still, I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle. Today's Google Doodle brilliantly honors Adams. Keep clicking the Guide to see really great little animations. (Notably, the Guide in the image looks a lot like a second-generation Kindle.) Here's a permalink to the doodle.

Rob Boston takes to AlterNet to showcase five young people doing battle with anti-science forces in their public schools.  

AFP: Over 100 homes of Christians are burned in Lahore, Pakistan by a mob of over 3000, following allegedly blasphemous remarks from a young Christian. 

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Deliberately Breaking All Codes of Politeness or Manners

March 08, 2013

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

Wow there's a lot of news for a Friday. Let's start with something nice. Go ahead and enjoy theseSmithsonian Magazine's finalists for their 2012 photo contest.  

CFI's Michael De Dora is about to whip some would-be secular activists into shape with a training workshop with CFI-NYC on March 17.  

Human rights org Article 19 releases a report on the efforts around the world to ban so-called "homosexual propaganda":

These bans must be seen in the worrying context of attempts to manipulate international human rights law to take account of ‘traditional values.’ 

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