Poke at It and Sniff It

February 24, 2015

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

I feel like the National Geographic Society is confused. On one hand, their latest magazine cover is a powerful acknowledgement of the assault on science from deniers, magical thinkers, and conspiracy theorists, with the feature store being the exploration of science non-acceptance by Joel Achenbach the Heresy linked to last week. But then our boss Ron Lindsay turns up this gem from NatGeo's books for kids, 1000 Facts about the Bible, released only a few weeks ago, which includes the parting of the Red Sea by Moses as, well, fact! NatGeo, which is it??

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Worldly Babbling

February 23, 2015

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

Mondays are crazy. Don't even think about delving into it without catching up with the previous 14 days with Cause & Effect, the CFI newsletter

Wei-Hock Soon, the scientist heavily cited by those who wish to deny humanity's role in climate change, is exposed as being bought by the fossil fuel industry to the tune of over $1 million. 

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We Deserve to Be Wiped Out

February 20, 2015

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

Ohio public radio covers the bill championed by CFI-Northeast Ohio to allow Secular Celebrants to solemnize marriages.

The brilliant and delightful Oliver Sacks reflects on his mortality, having been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He handles this kind of imminent end much, much better than I would

NYT's Laurie Goodstein looks at the challenge faced by American imams trying to keep ISIS from recruiting young men

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What the Hell, Indeed

February 19, 2015

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

Yesterday, we announced that CFI-Northeast Ohio has been working with Ohio State Senator Michael Skindell on a bill to allow Secular Celebrants to solemnize marriages in Ohio. The AP covers the story

Meanwhile, fifty Ohio lawmakers who aren't Sen. Skindell are sponsoring a "fetal heartbeat abortion ban," which effectively bans abortions as early as six weeks

President Obama yesterday: "No religion is responsible for terrorism — people are responsible for violence and terrorism." Yeah, sort of. 

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A Hopeful and Non-exclusionary Delusion

February 18, 2015

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

Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder calls for a national moratorium on the death penalty:

Our system of justice is the best in the world. It is comprised of men and women who do the best they can, get it right more often than not, substantially more right than wrong. But there's always the possibility that mistakes will be made. 

Ross Pomeroy at RealClearScience picks up on our statement to the media on skeptics vs. science-deniers, and backs our distinction:

A true skeptic never dismisses an idea out of hand. A true skeptic is willing to be wrong, and recognizes an echelon of evidence that will change their mindset. And most importantly, a true skeptic doesn't only question the beliefs of others, he also questions his own. Because skepticism isn't just about doubting things you disagree with, it's about keeping yourself honest, open, thoughtful, and true. 

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Marry Your Mop

February 17, 2015

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

Another day, and another response from CFI to violence and murder over expression and religion, this time in Copenhagen and Libya:

It is a deeply troubling commentary that so much blood is being shed because a tiny minority of extremists has decided that they cannot countenance having their ideas challenged in any form, be it in writing, in sketches, or even in the very existence of people who simply believe differently. To resort to violence and murder is to declare oneself incapable of rising to that challenge. It is a confession of the weakness of one’s position that it must be defended with bullets instead of words.

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Not Helping

February 16, 2015

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

More killing over free expression and, yes, cartoons. The Economist:

On Saturday afternoon, one person was killed and three police officers wounded when a gunman opened fire on a free-speech debate at a Copenhagen cafe hosted by a controversial Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks. Hours later, a Jewish man was killed and another two police were injured near a synagogue.  

Michael De Dora takes a serious look at the polarized responses to the Chapel Hill murders, making the case that the atheist can learn from the tragedy, without having to own it.

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Knuckleheads and Visionaries Alike

February 13, 2015

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

Today marks three years for me at CFI! I've had plenty of time to become jaded, like I've done at most of my other jobs (though in college when I worked at Blockbuster, I started jaded, so that doesn't count), and I still remain inspired and driven by the mission, character, and ethos of CFI and its people. In other words, you're going to have to drag me out. 

The New York Times covers our statement to the media on the difference between deniers of climate science and science-accepting skeptics (a.k.a. us). Justin Gillis writes:

The climate scientists see themselves as the true skeptics, having arrived at a durable consensus about emissions simply because the evidence of risk has become overwhelming. And in this view, people who reject the evidence are phony skeptics, arguing their case by cherry-picking studies, manipulating data, and refusing to weigh the evidence as a whole. 

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The Vast Majority Simply Don’t Care

February 12, 2015

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

Michelle Boorstein at the Washington Post looks to our own Ron Lindsay, as well as Sam Harris, to weigh in on the tension between atheism and Islam, in the wake of the horrific murders in Chapel Hill.

Elizabeth Stoker Bruening at The New Republic aims a somewhat accusatory admonition at "New Atheists":

Because it is more critical of religion than introspective about its own moral commitments, it assumes there is broad agreement about what constitutes decency, common sense, and reason. Yet in doing so, New Atheism tends to simply baptize the opinions of young, educated white men as the obviously rational approach to complicated socio-political problems. Thus prejudice in its own ranks goes unnoticed. 

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The Capacity to Do Good

February 11, 2015

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

Horror of horrors, as three young people in Chapel Hill, Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, all Muslim, are gunned down by a single monster of a human being. My heart is breaking as I type this for their friends and families. You will no doubt have heard that the alleged shooter at some point professed his support of "atheism" as some kind of cure-all for violence around the world, which is just stupid.

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