You Get 28%

February 04, 2013

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

On Friday, the HHS announced a new policy allowing religious organizations to opt out of the contraceptive coverage rule of the Affordable Care Act. Our own Michael DeDora responded with deep skepticism, and also lamented a seeming lack of backbone on the part of the administration:

It is also troubling that HHS has given so much influence to the religious lobby on a major health and public policy decision. This drawn out debate over something as basic as birth control is a perfect example of the harmful influence of religious belief on public policy.

Sarah Posner cites Michael's analysis in her own breakdown of what's important about this new rule:

It's one thing for the Court to decide when a law violates the religious freedom of a citizen, and another for political pressure to be applied by a particular religious group (or a collection of religious groups sharing a particular religious view) to gain an exemption from a generally applicable law. 

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The Internet Will Find You

February 01, 2013

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

Wendy Kaminer at The Atlantic on the prospects of atheist would-be Boy Scouts:

Atheists who want to join associations that disdain them have to change the culture, not the law. Like gays and lesbians, they have to challenge popular notions of sin and immorality. And they have to sever the connection between godliness and patriotism, especially if they want to join the Scouts. 

Our own Tom Flynn relishes in his predictive triumph: It's been good for atheists to out themselves over the past decade or so, so says science

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The Taliban Card

January 31, 2013

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

Alber Saber's appeal of his blasphemy conviction in Egypt is rejectedSaber was at the hearing, which muddies the previous reporting that he had left the country. This article, however, makes it unclear as to whether Saber attended this hearing, as he has been otherwise reported to be out of the country.

At CSICOP.org, Sharon Hill talks about the "sticky wicket" of the line-of-demarcation problem between science and what we call pseudoscience. 

Also: Anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy is going to headline a health event in Ottawa. Sharon says, "What a DUMB move." 

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What Are Ya, Some Kind of Secular Humanist??

January 30, 2013

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

CFI's boss Ron Lindsay suspects that while the Boy Scouts of America may open up to LGBT Americans, the prospects for it doing the same for atheists are grim:

Allowing atheists to become scouts would constitute a tacit admission that we don’t need God for morality. And if we don’t need him for that, what do we need him for? 

RealClearReligion's Jeffrey Weiss, however, sees hope for would-be atheist scouts.

Herb Silverman is less than impressed.

The modified policy would, in effect, kick the can down the road to local sponsors, who could continue the abominable policy of deeming gay teenagers too “immoral” to participate in Boy Scout activities. 

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Crop Circles and Christian Sex

January 29, 2013

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

Now this is cool. Point of Inquiry snagged Paul Krugman. I'm going to listen right now instead of work. What? 

Boy Scouts of America discusses ending its ban on gays. Now, what about atheists while you're at it? 

Hilarious: Intelligent design-touting group the Discovery Institute cites our own Ben Radford's debunking of crop circles to back up their quasi-creationism.  

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Saber Rattles

January 28, 2013

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

Blasphemy-convicted blogger Alber Saber leaves Egypt while on bail, and unloads on the Egyptian powers-that-be in a new interview with Daily News Egypt

CFI boss Ron Lindsay is the guest on Skeptically Speaking, talking about the ethics of medicine, euthanasia, and what's to come in medical technology. 

Also in podcast-land, our own Michael De Dora is the guest on Meet the Skeptics

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Maybe They Haven’t Had Coffee Yet

January 25, 2013

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

Remember 2012? Man, that year was crazy. So crazy, we decided to take a comprehensive look at the work of CFI throughout the year, with an eye to 2013, and -- ta-da! -- we have our very first CFI Annual Report, just out today.   

The Rhode Island House of Representatives votes big in favor of gay marriage equality.  

Really cool mini-documentary video: The US government didn't fake the Moon landing because they couldn't have, they didn't have the technology to do so. As in, they would have been unable to. Adds filmmaker S.G. Collins, "The US government lies all the time about all kinds of things, and if they haven't lied to you today, maybe they haven't had coffee yet."

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Freedom is a Gift from Odin

January 24, 2013

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

The Secular Census releases a report on women's experiences in the freethought movement, based on their survey data. From the conclusion:

Women seem to want groups that do more than criticize religion. They are attracted to positive messages and education. They'd like their groups to share their values and take positions that reflect those values. They'd like their interactions to be positive; they seem quite willing to abandon groups where they have had to deal with problem behavior, including unwanted advances. They could sometimes use some help with childcare.  

Of course, to really delve into this topic, you're going to want to register for the Women in Secularism 2 conference, happening in May in our nation's capital (presuming your nation is the United States). And now there are a whole ton of videos from last year's conference posted online. 

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Saudi Religious Police vs. Dinosaurs

January 23, 2013

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

NYT opens up a whole "Room for Debate" series on what, to me, is a dumb question, "Is Atheism a Religion?" Despite the dumb question, there's some interesting stuff in there. 

Physicist Sean Carroll sits with Chris Mooney on Point of Inquiry to talk about "the particle at the end of the universe." 

Here's a bill you'll like. Dig H.Res.41.IH: "Expressing support for designation of February 12, 2013, as Darwin Day and recognizing the importance of science in the betterment of humanity."  

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No Bright Line That Can Be Readily Drawn

January 22, 2013

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

The president got himself sworn in once again yesterday (ceremonially, as he was sworn in officially the day before in private), and if you heard the speech and the surrounding to-do, you know that there was at least one really good thing for the reason-based community, and one not-so-good thing.

The not-so-good, man, was that inauguration God-heavy. Lots of biblical-this, scripture-that, God-given-this, we-pray-for-that. David Gibson has more on those themes. (And Cathy-Lynn Grossman reminds us that "so help me God" is an informal add-on to the oath.)

On the plus side, the president made a big stink in his speech about climate change, which surprise almost everybody. He rejected the nonsense about it being a hoax, and made clear that it was a generational responsibility to respond to the reality of the crisis. So that was cool. 

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