What if They Gave a War of the Worlds and Nobody Came?

October 30, 2013

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

Huge: Hamza Kashgari, imprisoned for the past two years by Saudi Arabia for tweeting about the human aspects of Muhammed, has been released. Kashgari is a focus of our Campaign for Free Expression.

Meanwhile, an atheist in Egypt is reportedly under investigation for starting a Facebook atheism group. 

Former CFI intern Monica Harmsen has produced this great promotional video for the Living without Religion campaign with the folks at CFI-Michigan. 

CFI legal director Nick Little is quoted in this Reuters piece on Internet psychic scammers. 

Michael Schulson thinks we in the reality-based community are doing ourselves a disservice by aggressively debunking climate change deniers:

[C]limate change denial is a sociological phenomenon, not a strictly scientific one, and its most effective response may be found less in scientific attack, and more in the realm of sociology, psychology, and, yes, religion. 

You know how Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast, 75 years ago today, set off a nationwide panic? Well, what if they gave a war and nobody came? 

The Air Force Academy won't require cadets to swear anything to a deity, and of course this is deeply upsetting to Real Americans. 

Suzan Johnson Cook, recently-resigned U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom, says she quit to make more money

At the On Campus blog, Amanda Supak of the University of Wisconsin Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics on why her group invited people to stone them. Not the face!

Harriet Hall reviews Paul Offit's Do You Believe in Magic? for Skeptical Inquirer

Berlin shoemakers open a Kickstarter to make baby booties "dedicated to the only supreme beings [babies] believe in; Mummies, Daddies and Boobies." 

New Point of Inquiry co-host Lindsay Beyerstein checks the recent media hype over "krokodil," a cut-rate heroin substitute. 

Speaking of media hype, Dan Lewis allays one big fear at Halloween:

For nearly 30 years, University of Delaware sociologist Joel Best has been investigating allegations of strangers poisoning kids’ Halloween candy. As of this writing, he hasn’t identified a single confirmed example of a stranger murdering a child in this fashion.

Emily Suzanne Clark reviews a talk by Leigh Schmidt on public atheism in American history

Quote of the Day

Daniel D'Addario at Salon wonders why the hell Americans are listening to people like Jenny McCarthy and Suzanne Somers when it comes to health and medicine:

These actresses’ work lies at the intersection of two uniquely American desires: the love of celebrity and the distrust of academic authority. The reflexive distrust of orthodoxy . . . has been a part of American life since snake-oil wagons rambled through towns. Americans know better than the medical establishment — no wonder TV’s Dr. Oz, with his throw-everything-at-the-wall approach to treatment, is so popular, or why visualizing wealth is a popular thought system despite no non-anecdotal proof it works, or why it’s so easy for some minds to leap to “death panels” when imagining a nationalized healthcare system. 

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