The Only Relevant Debate

April 23, 2013

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

AP reports on the Boston bombing suspect:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's [written] answers led [investigators] to believe he and his brother were motivated by a radical brand of Islam without major terror connections... 

Andrew Sullivan balks at the idea that these attacks might not have been religiously motivated:

[T]o dismiss the overwhelming evidence that this was also religiously motivated – a trail that now includes a rant against his own imam for honoring Martin Luther King Jr. because he was not a Muslim – is to be blind to an almost text-book case of Jihadist radicalization. 

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Big Macs Prevent Alzheimer’s

April 22, 2013

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

The global protest against the persecution of atheists and other dissenters in Bangladesh is this Thursday. Check this page for the latest news on where protest events are being held, and if you know of others, tell us! 

Before his arrest, Bangladeshi atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin posted this to the Richard Dawkins site:

Religious sentiments are so easy to be offended, that sentiment is always ready to be hurt. Religious fundamentalist always search google, facebook and youtube for the contents that hurts their sentiment and always cry to stop those Blasphemy! I don't know who told them to search those things and hurt themselves! This is so ridiculous and nonsense.  

John Chalmers at Reuters lends political and historical context to the crisis in Bangladesh.

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Shock and Grief

April 19, 2013

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

I am reading the news this morning with my jaw hanging open, as I imagine many of you are (I mean, a freaking grenade fight???). At the time of my writing, we know that the suspects are Chechen brothers, that they are white (literally Caucasians), that one was killed in the firefight with police, and another is reportedly surrounded in Watertown. It's almost unbelievable. 

For the purposes of this blog, I thought it might be useful to lend some clarity to the role religion might be playing in the suspects' motives. According to this 2004 interview at BeliefNet with Brian Glynn Williams, an Islamic historian, Chechen Islam, even when radicalized, is not the kind of stereotypical motivation for violence we often default to in our imaginations. . . 

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Scriptural Basis for Self-Serving Gutlessness

April 18, 2013

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

This morning we announced that atheist groups around the world, led by CFI, the International Humanist and Ethical Union, American Atheists, and CFI-Canada, will take part in protests against the persecution of atheists and other dissenters in Bangladesh. Right now there are planned protests in New York, DC, London, Ottawa, and Calgary. We need the freethought community to get behind this in force, to coordinate additional demonstrations in more cities in more countries. Here's where information will be kept up to date on any related events, and when tweeting about this, include the hashtag #DefendDissent.

Bangladesh's own BDNews24 reports on CFI's call to the State Department to put pressure on the Bangladeshi government. 

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Pagans, Bitcoins, and Microbes

April 17, 2013

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

Dave Weigel lines up the reasons why Boston conspiracy theorists may have "a tough road ahead" toward credibility. 

Someone with a little foresight snagged the bostonmarathonconspiracy.com domain, and did something useful with it.  

Muslim groups are scrambling to show their solidarity with victims and their revulsion at the attack. 

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Find Out a Little About Everything

April 16, 2013

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

Following the horror of yesterday's explosions in Boston, of course all those affected -- and all those who will be affected -- are in our thoughts, and have our deepest condolences; for the loss, the pain, and the shock and fear so many will now feel. Here's some information on what folks can do to help out. One thing was heartening: seeing so many people on Twitter (skeptics and otherwise) steadfastly insisting that when we talk about who might be responsible and why, we rely on evidence and facts rather than suspicions and assumptions.

Hemant has statements from local freethought groups

Of course, it took about five seconds for absurd conspiracies to get their moment in the spotlight. 

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The Paratroopers of God’s Army

April 15, 2013

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

Turkish pianist Fazil Say gets a suspended jail term for blasphemy, following a series of tweets last year the court considered to be "insulting religious values of a part of the population." 

Pope Francis appoints a commission of cardinals to advise on bureaucratic reform for the Vatican. Speaking of which, some Vatican representatives will be holding a "dialogue" with nonbelievers in Mexico.

Camp Inquiry's Karen Strachan is among the guests on the Skeptical Connections podcast. 

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Payot on a Plane

April 12, 2013

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

CFI sent out an action alert yesterday on behalf of the persecuted atheists in Bangladesh. We're formally asking the State Department to weigh in, and start to put pressure on the Bangladeshi government. You can add your voice here. Yesterday we learned that the atheist bloggers already arrested have been "grilled" for seven days, and a hearing for them has been postponed.

Two more young people in Bangladesh are arrested for blasphemy in the mean time, perpetrated on Facebook. 

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It’s Almost an Embarrassment

April 11, 2013

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

Okay, my nerd brain just exploded, reformed itself into a new nerd brain, and then exploded againHere's a panel discussion with Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Brian Greene, Ira Flatow, Neal Stephenson (!!!), Tracy Day, and Lawrence Krauss. 

The Bangladesh crisis spirals further out of control: Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of a Bangladeshi newspaper, is arrested for printing quotes from the persecuted atheist bloggers, or, "inciting people by publishing defamatory comments against religion." Stay tuned for more from CFI on this.

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The People You Think are Real

April 10, 2013

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

Daniel Loxton writes a thoughtful post on what he sees as the problems of conflating atheism and skepticism, and cautions his fellow atheists against smugness:

To promote the belief that atheists are different than other people does nothing but undermine our humanity. It denies the human complexity of religious nonbelievers. In doing so, it sells out atheists.

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef in trouble for dissing the Egyptian president, also now charged with "insulting Pakistan" and "spreading atheism." 

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