Putting the Levity in Leviticus!

November 18, 2013

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

Monday. Monday, Monday, Monday. So much news to catch up on for Monday's Heresies. Maybe I need to do a weekend edition. Ha! No. 

At Skepticon, American Atheists' Dave Muscato is threatened with a gun. He gives all the details he can here, but he's fine, and totally unharmed, for which the Morning Heretic is very, very glad. (I get all trembly and chokey-uppy just typing this.)

Last week, Neil deGrasse Tyson appeared at an event sponsored in part by CFI-Michigan, and here's an awesome exchange between the man himself and a super-smart 9-year-old about asteroid deflection. 

No kidding, Craig Venter is going to try and sort of "boot up" Earth cells with prospective Martian DNA

Government Accountability Office gives a big thumbs down to DC's voucher program, citing, well, a lack of accountability! 

If you liked the book Ender's Game (which I just read this weekend and I just loved it), this is a must-read piece from Rany Jazayerli about reconciling Orson Scott Card's pretty awful social views and the powerful messages of inclusiveness and the bridging of faith-divides in the book.

This is perhaps my favorite myth-debunking ever: There's no reason to "burn in" your headphones

Join CFI-Michigan as it helps get cell phones to soldiers.

Oh no. The FDA appoints Dr. Stephanie Christner, an anti-vaccination advocate, as the Consumer Representative for the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. 

CFI-NYC to host a discussion with Bert Gasenbeek, Chair of CFI-Low Countries this Wednesday.

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in a prison hospital in Siberia, exchanges letters with Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek.  

Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango, CO is accused of illegally withholding information about abortion from patients, even when medically necessary. 

Ryan Jacobs looks at why Icelanders oppose development plans that might disrupt the habitats of huldufolk, or, elves.

8-year-old Carl Sagan made awesome doodles of the future.

CNN profiles Dave Perry, a man who has devoted enormous energy to debunking JFK conspiracy theories, but who has one he still can't totally disprove: The CIA did it. (No, it doesn't mean that they did it or that Perry believes they did it.) 

Michael J. O'Loughlin: Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, Thomas Paprocki, is going "lead a prayer service next week to exorcise the gay-loving demons."

Ohio public school removes a memorial for a teacher which takes the form of a big ol' picture of Jesus. 

Kellie Moore profiles the work of Jason Testerman and Free Thought Exchange. 

Richard Gamble credits Lincoln at Gettysburg as forging an American "civil religion":

. . . Lincoln poured the 19th-century’s potent ideologies of nationalism, democratism, and romantic idealism. Together, these movements have become inseparable from the modern American self-understanding. They have become part of our civil religion and what we likewise ought to call our “civil history” and “civil philosophy”—that is, religion, history, and philosophy pursued not for their own sake, not for the truth, but deployed as instruments of government to tell useful stories about a people and their identity and mission.  

I was tipped off to the publication of a relevant new book by Laura Schwartz: Infidel feminism: Secularism, religion and women's emancipation, England 1830−1914 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali joins Maajid Nawaz and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf for a discussion about peace and violence within Islam. 

Myla S.-R. on Twitter wonders why DoSomething.org is asking people to tweet Bible verses. Good question. 

Marcelo Gleiser at 13.7 is concerned about "how far scientists are from the needs of most people; how far removed our discourse is from those who do not already seek science for answers."

Pennsylvanians' tax dollars at work: legislation proposed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the words “Under God” being added to the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Magneto is real, lives in Germany, and sticks beer cans to his head

Hey, you want to know which retailers are right with God, amirite? Use the American Family Association's "Naughty or Nice" guide, and never shop in sin again. (hat tip Rob Boston) 

Quote of the Day

Matt Thornton on Twitter notices a theological conflict of ink-ness (I'm sorry):

This genius put Leviticus 18:22 on his body but apparently forgot Leviticus 19:28 forbidding tattoos. Well done bud! 

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