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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What’s Not Important is to Be an Atheist

January 18, 2013

 

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

Pakistan's ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, is accused of blasphemy for allegedly making comments that one angry guy felt were derogatory to the Prophet Mohammad. Rehman is a supporter of reform of Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

Tom Flynn demolishes the recent article from Dennis Prager for his misunderstanding of atheism.

Because some folks asked what the CFI policy was on blocking folks on Twitter (though not in a nice way, like, at all), we decided to, you know, have a policy -- rare as it is. Here's the policy in full, and I blogged about it from my own perspective. Of course, all the comments are nasty, so I just can't win.

 

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Inanimate Objects Possessing Their Own Will

January 17, 2013

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

The Supreme Court of Pakistan dismisses the blasphemy case against Rimsha Masih. The law itself still remains, of course, but Rimsha has been deemed innocent of violating it. 

CSI-ers Ben Radford and Robert Blaskiewicz both weigh in on Sandy Hook conspiracy nonsense for Huffington Post.

Skepchick continues its profiles of speakers at Women in Secularism 2 with scientist Adriana Heguy, cofounder of the website Atheist Universe

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Not the Lucky Charms Leprechauns

January 16, 2013

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

Folks, I'm telling you, the CFI universe is generating all sorts of high-quality content today. I'm not even kidding. Dig this. 

Deseret News focuses on the religious-liberty battles happening at the state level, and looks to our own Michael De Dora for perspective:

I try to tell our people, 'You might think that what's going on in Congress right now is the most important thing right now, but it's absolutely not. You need to pay attention to what's going on at the school board, city hall and state levels because that's where things are happening.

There's this really great post from one of our CFI On Campus folks, Seth Kurtenbach, on how IBM's Deep Blue may have passed the Turing Test as far back as 1997, at the expense of Garry Kasparov's sanity. 

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Satan (Hearts) Rick Scott

January 15, 2013

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

Yesterday, Ron Lindsay joined the panel on HuffPost Live to talk about the practice of borrowing religious rituals between and outside of their originating faiths. Of course it gets heated.  

Who doesn't want to be more like Sherlock Holmes? (I mostly just want to be more like Benedict Cumberbatch.) On Point of Inquiryguest Maria Konnikova tells us how to think more like the literary supersleuth. 

CSI's Joe Nickell (nonreligious) talks about how he and his wife Diana (Baha'i) go together on "religabouts". . .

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Towards Increasing Non-knowing

January 14, 2013

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

Internet activist, co-creator of RSS, co-founder of Reddit Aaron Swartz kills himself in the midst of prosecutorial pressure after attempting to make freely available the contents of the JSTOR academic archive. 

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald refuses to stop a new regulation in NYC concerning parental consent for metzitzah b'peh circumcisions, which are the ones "involving direct oral suction of the penis" by the rabbi.   

Amanda Marcotte on scientists' limited political options:

Since scientists have no ability to stop Republicans from attacking science, their only real option is to take power away from Republicans by supporting Democrats.

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Here’s Where Science and Brainless Merge

January 11, 2013

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

Apparently the "nones" are leveling off, just as we were "rising," like, five minutes ago. Who can keep up? 

The Supreme Court turns down an appeal to stop embryonic stem cell research. 

Anti-gay pastor Louie Giglio takes himself out of the presidential inauguration ceremony. Sarah Posner unpacks the mess.

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The Silliness Bound Up in Being Human

January 10, 2013

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

CFI chief Ron Lindsay is asking for it. As he gets set to meet with the leaders of the other big groups of the skepto-atheosphere, Ron wants to know what you think about how best to address some of the latest controversies and concerns of the movement. I tried to stop him, but he never listens to me. Anyway, read his post and help him out.

CSI's Ben Radford at Yahoo News sounds the alarm on the threat to vaccination workers around the world due to urban legends and xenophobia.   

Meanwhile Faheem Younus at WaPo, a medical doctor and a Muslim, tells of his often-obstructed attempts to bridge religious divides in providing free flu vaccinations:

The ruthless flu virus was not going to screen Americans for their faith before attacking. I gave the flu shots to the worshippers at Bait-ur-Rehman mosque located in Silver Spring, MD. Free of charge. Free of expectation. Free of faith. 

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Phantasmagoric Biotheology

January 09, 2013

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

Don't miss this big CFI event in DC: CFI presents a symposium on the topic "Why Tolerate Religion?" with such heavy-hitters as Jacques Berlinerblau, Caroline Mala Corbin, Wendy Kaminer, Brian Leiter, Barry Lynn, and our own Ron Lindsay and John Shook. April 27 at the Wooly Mammoth theatre (where my wife has totally performed). 

Hoosiers take note: CFI wants you to contact your state legislature to stop the expansion of a religion-subsidizing school voucher program.

Elizabeth Drescher at Religion Dispatches warns against lumping all "Nones" with nonbelievers and secularists.  

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You Have Died of Dysentery, Jesus

January 08, 2013

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

HuffPo's Jaweed Kaleem explores the atheist take on death and lack of an afterlife, and talks to me and CFI-Indiana's Reba Boyd Wooden for some perspective. My quote's pretty fatalistic, but hey, that's me for ya. 

We're pretty excited about this one, folks. Point of Inquiry's got Phil Plait, talking the end of the world. 

The Verge: Kuwaiti activist Rashid Saleh al-Anzi sentenced to two years in prison for a tweet that "stabbed the rights and powers" of the country's emir. 

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