Music, Kisses, Life

November 16, 2015

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

At least 129 innocent civilians were killed Saturday in Paris in a coordinated terror attack of suicide bombings and hostage executions, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility. But you know that already. France is carrying out a massive retaliatory military strike, and the city of Paris is on lockdown as police raids swarm across France and Belgium.

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It is a Tale Told by an Acupuncturist

November 13, 2015

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

Religion News Service publishes an op-ed by me on the Bangladesh crisis, and how religious groups ought to join us in trying to stop the killings, that is if they sincerely care about a literally mortal threat to religious freedom (and Washington Post is also running it):

We in the American secular humanist community are doing all we can to save lives and change the course of events in Bangladesh, from the grass roots to the halls of American and international diplomatic power. We have done the same in the past, passionately and proudly, when conservative Christian groups asked for help supporting their fellow believers, like Asia Bibi in Pakistan and Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan. But we can only do so much. Our resources and reach are limited, and frankly dwarfed by those of American churches and conservative Christian organizations. So we’re asking for their help.

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Cocky Hospital

November 12, 2015

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

Astronomers have their eyes on GJ 1132b, the closest Earth-like exoplanet yet found. Actually, since its temperature is estimated at about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, it's actually more Venus-like than Earth-like.

In Bangladesh, the prime minister continues not-helping, saying, "I belong to a religion and I would be upset if someone offended my sentiments by writing something obscene or preposterous. ... There will be a similar reaction from Hindus, Buddhists or Christians, if someone hurts their religious beliefs." To which several leading activists in the country say, "Instead of bringing the killers to justice, the government high-ups have suggested that writers show restraint. Writing seems to have become a crime bigger than murder. This is completely unacceptable."

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The War on Philosophers

November 11, 2015

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

It seems like the press has had a good chance to digest the whole Ted Cruz atheists-aren't-fit-to-be-president thing. Scott Timberg at Salon sees the larger GOP bias against non-Christians as an example of the party making itself electorally irrelevant in national contests. Christian Science Monitor's Husna Haq looks at existing prejudices against atheists, as well as how demographics will upend this over time. (And relatedly, Robyn Pennacchia ponders how a President Donald Trump might enforce his promise to make us all say "Merry Christmas.")

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The Leaky Universe

November 10, 2015

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

Amber Phillips at WaPo notes that Americans' refusal to accept the reality of climate change may have less to do with science-denial per se, and more to do with ignorance as to what scientists actually think

Holy moly. Forget alien megastructures. New data from the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope might have revealed "an eerie glow that could be due to matter from a neighbouring universe [complete with "different physics"] leaking into ours." Of course, it could also just be dust. But still!

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A Two-Bit Civilization

November 09, 2015

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

Happy Carl Sagan Day! Lots of CFI branches and student affiliates are marking the day with events, and for now, you can enjoy this compilation of Sagan's responses and "comebacks." 

Dan Vergaro at BuzzFeed reports on the potential for greater scrutiny of homeopathy from the FDA, with commentary from our own Michael De Dora: "They are on the shelves next to real medicine, they look like real medicine, and there is a lot evidence that people don’t know what they are buying." 

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You Can Have My Stickers

November 06, 2015

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

Lauren Markoe reports on how, surprise, politicians have no idea yet what to do with the growing population of religiously unaffiliated voters

Canada, Canada, Canada! Half of your new cabinet ministers skipped the "so help me God" part of their oaths of office.

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Posh Booing Noises

November 05, 2015

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

CFI's Michael De Dora appeared on HuffPost Live yesterday for a really substantive and thorough panel discussion on the crisis in Bangladesh. Do make time for it today. 

The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, calls on the Bangladeshi government to take action:

There is an urgent need for a concerted response to prevent more killings by promptly bringing the perpetrators to justice, and by taking effective measures to protect writers, publishers and any other people in Bangladesh who are being threatened with violence. The State must not allow extremist groups to take matters into their own hands. 

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First They Came for the Fact-Checkers

November 04, 2015

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

Ellen Barry at the New York Times reports on the horror in Bangladesh:

So far this year, four bloggers and one publisher have been hacked to death in Bangladesh — a tiny number for a country with a population of around 160 million. But anonymous threats are common, and the cumulative psychological effect has been profound, prompting public figures to steer away from discussing the terrorist threat openly. ...

With a handful of exceptions, “I can’t think of any Bangladeshi intellectual who is writing under his or her name on this issue,” [PEN International's Salil Tripathi] said. 

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Curbs Nervousness Amazingly

November 03, 2015

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

Pew releases a new study showing changing attitudes toward religion. The main finding is that as the religiously affiliated take a slight dip in numbers, and as the "nones" spike slightly up, they also grow further apart: the religious are a little more religious than they were, and the nones are more secular. (Oh, and the nones are the largest "religious" group within the Democratic coalition.) 

For a recent Skeptical Inquirer cover story, Gary J. Galbreath figures out what it is the crew of the HMS Daedalus saw in 1848 when they thought they saw a giant sea serpent.

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