Tedious, Difficult, Infuriating Work

December 05, 2013

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

CFI has taken over the fantastic Freethought Books Project, which provides skepto-atheist books to prisoners and hooks them up with volunteer pen pals at CFI branches. It's great.  

I'm just wondering, are you guys listening to the relaunched Point of Inquiry yet? Hey, it's me talking here. I'm just getting caught up after holiday travel and whatnot, and I'm telling you. It's great.

Rob Boston has a new book coming out in March: Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do. Sounds right up our alley. 

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Erik Estrada Saves Jesus

December 04, 2013

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

Secular Coalition for America hits the Hill today with briefings on its policy guide for both the House and Senate. Our own Michael De Dora, who had a hand in the policy guide, will be speaking. Meanwhile, our Office of Public Policy puts out its advocacy update for October and November

Kylie Sturgess at CSICOP.org interviews Robin Ince and Trent Burton, makers of the love-letter-to-science app, The Incomplete Map of the Cosmic Genome.

Ken Chitwood profiles Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar, a secular humanist and refugee from Iraq. 

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ACLU v. Legion of Doom

December 03, 2013

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

This strikes me as a big deal: The ACLU is suing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (or, as I call it here at the Heresy, "The Legion of Doom") over its directives to Catholic hospitals to deny all abortion services, calling it medical negligence. Pass the popcorn.

Reason Rally musical headliners, veteran band Bad Religion, has a new, totally Jesus-y, honest to goodness Christmas album. Sold. 

Josh Zepps talks to Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, the first Hindu Chaplain for Columbia University and New York University, on the latest Point of Inquiry

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Prejudice and Bigotry and Error

December 02, 2013

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

LA Times headlines CFI's big holiday Times Square ad in its piece on atheist billboarding. (Here's our announcement from last week.)

Kimberly Winston covers the Thanksgivings of seculars, with insights from CFI's own Sarah Kaiser and Jennifer Beahan.

Our Office of Public Policy weighs in on the announcement that SCOTUS will take up Hobby Lobby's help-help-I'm-being-oppressed challenge to the Affordable Care Act:

The Center for Inquiry has always, and will always, defend the right of individuals to worship or not worship as they choose. However, we will also always fight to ensure that the government does not unfairly prioritize or promote religion, forcing it into people’s lives. 

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Look at All Those Corpses, Noah!

November 27, 2013

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

Get warm and fuzzy, folks, because CFI just launched a video ad in Times Square for Thanksgiving! The baby in the ad was not consumed by any nonbelievers. 

Maria Beelen of On Campus affiliate Center for Inquiry–Grand Valley, recounts the mounting of the big Neil deGrasse Tyson event they held where this happened

Hobby Lobby manages to get its "poor-us-we're-oppressed" religious freedom case to the Supreme Court

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Are You More Clairvoyant Than a 4th-Grader?

November 26, 2013

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

First off, yesterday CFI gave a big, sincere "thank you" to everyone who contributed to our drive for typhoon relief. Again, thank you. 

Lindsay Beyerstein interviews Paul Offit about alt-med on the latest Point of Inquiry

Two pieces at Skeptical Inquirer look at the fallout fake-psychic Sylvia Browne's life. Bryan Farha recounts the ways he and others exposed her as a phony over the years:

A few days after Sylvia made several predictions on the Montel Williams Show for the entire upcoming year of 2005, I asked my niece’s fourth grade class, individually, to predict on the same measures. Data analyses indicated that the fourth-graders were, collectively, 25% more accurate than Sylvia was—and these children were literally guessing on many items they knew nothing about (like world affairs, natural disasters, and politics). This was the real Sylvia Browne. 

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Infinitely Dense and Infinitely Hot

November 25, 2013

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

Today is my boy's 4th birthday. He had a party last night and wore his Batman costume because he is just that awesome. Happy birthday, son. I love you and I'm so proud of who you are. 

It's back! Right now, you can register for the third Women in Secularism conference, May 16-18, 2014 in Alexandria, VA. And speaking of women in secularism, CFI-DC's Melody Hensley has just earned Secular Celebrant status in Washington, DC, and she might be the first secular humanist in the U.S. ever to do so. Melody says, "This is a huge win against religious privilege. We want these laws in every state in the U.S."

Remember how Dave Silverman wasn't allowed to get his atheistic NJ license plate, and then the state relented? Well as I write at Friendly Atheistit's happened again to someone else, and this time, they said if they wanted, they could get a plate that says "Baptist." 

I'll admit it: When compiling the Heresy every day, I get a little weary of dumb Bigfoot stories that all pretty much go the same way, and I lose interest. Sharon Hill, however, makes an important point about active Bigfoot skepticism...

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Rockin’ Around the Green Hairy Claw

November 22, 2013

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

Reba Boyd Wooden of CFI-Indiana is interviewed at length on the subjects of nonbelief and agnosticism at the Indianapolis Recorder, the areas largest African American-focused paper. 

CFI's Joe Nickell posts his thoughts on the death and "sad legacy" of fake-psychic Sylvia Browne, writing, "Some might say I helped drive nails into Sylvia’s coffin, and if that is true I accept full responsibility." 

Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention: Husbands and wives as equal partners in marriage, in which there are "wives who aren’t submitting to their husbands," is a "false gospel." 

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Eleven Years Off

November 21, 2013

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

Famed fake-psychic Sylvia Browne is dead at 77. Of course, she predicted 88, but whatever. (Hat tip to Tim Farley for that tidbit.)

Quora is like a Wikipedia for Q&A. What's protecting it from pseudoscientific infestation? As I show at Friendly Atheist, not much, it seems.  

Sarah Posner, having broken the W-raises-money-for-Jews-for-Jesus story, breaks down why it makes so many folks angry:

The crux of the criticism of Bush's fundraising for MJBI was not a sense that Messianic Judaism threatens Judaism's survival, but rather that Jews find the proselytizing and the claims of Jewish spiritual "blindness" offensive. That's a view shared by Jews of the many stripes identified in the Pew survey, ranging from Orthodox to secular.

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Delving Into Molecular Innards

November 20, 2013

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

Fascinating: Scientists and physicians are relying on "spiritual healers" in Uganda to alert them to folks showing symptoms of the plague, and to help get them real medical attention:

"We trained traditional healers how to spot the symptoms of the plague," says [medical anthropologist Mary] Hayden, who now works at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. "We gave them cellphones with the hospital's number programmed into it. And we gave them bicycles so they could help get people to clinics." 

Ron Lindsay weighs in on the "hand-wringing" over religious liberty in the marriage equality debate:

The suggestion that the government can require religious institutions to perform a marriage ceremony for anyone is a bogeyman, a phantom worry. . . . The government must respect religious beliefs, and should not compel a person to perform an act affecting that person’s body that is inconsistent with that person’s beliefs.  But that does not imply the religious can attempt to control the actions of others.  

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