We’re Not Going to Kill Today

December 16, 2014

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

People had a lot of good things to say about Ron Lindsay's talk at this past summer's leadership conference on "The Scope of Humanism," and now the video's up! My favorite bit is the part about how skepticism is included in that scope. 

We have an update on CFI's Freethought Books Project from Sarah Kaiser one year into our stewardship of the program, and don't forget to check out the FBP Amazon wishlist to donate more books to the program!

A study by Christopher Hassall and Ian Bushfield tracks the gender and racial diversity of atheist conference speakers over time, and finds that while things are headed in the right direction, the bar was set very, very low. 

CFI-DC's Simon Davis has found himself quite a niche as a writer for VICE, now with a regular column all about morticians and death. Merry whatever!

Real Clear Science posts a list of the 10 worst of examples of junk science in 2014. Includes dowsing, demons, and denialism.

Reacting to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's statement on not confusing "skeptics" with "science deniers," Forbes contributor F.D. Flam complains, "That’s not very evidence-based. What if we don’t have evidence as to whether a person is in denial?" 

BuzzFeed reports that in Cairo a cafe is raided by police for harboring Satanists or atheists or something, an action seen as part of a larger crackdown on nonbelievers. 

Indian parliamentarian and Hindu priest Yogi Adityanath says he's going to convert him some Christians and Muslims on Christmas Day. 

The full 9th Circuit Court heard oral arguments yesterday on the Innocence of Muslims YouTube video that sparked so much violence.  

Nobody noticed, but last month the UN Convention on Migratory Species approved a treaty recognizing that some non-human animals have their own "cultures." Philippa Brakes writes about what it means.  

Phil Plait to parents who don't vaccinate their kids who go to public schools: You suck.

When you send your kid to a public school, this is no longer a personal decision. It’s a very public one, and you are putting thousands of people at risk for diseases that can cause grave harm, and even be fatal. 

As David Saperstein is confirmed to head the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Sarah Posner delves into the politics of the pick and the fights to come. 

This is gross. A&E will run a show in which a guy sets up sex workers To Catch a Predator style, to be humiliated and proselytized to. 

Ron sums this up pretty well: "Horse's ass (the one in clerical robes) protests same-sex marriage." 

Hey, how's that whole search-for-life-on-Mars thing going? Nicholas St. Fleur catches us up. 

Satanists score a holiday display at the Michigan State Capitol.   

Here's an awesome video looking at the humanism of Star Trek. "We can admit that we're killers, but we're not going to kill. Today."

Business Insider does a cute, quick video debunking some common food myths

Wow, it doesn't take much to find yourself getting busy with the Führer.  

Quote of the Day

Michael Marshall on the claims of "psychic" Paula O'Brien that she has correctly predicted over 3500 pregnancies:

The maths of her claim alone should give us pause for thought: assuming Paula was modestly rounding down her timeframe from three years, that would still mean Paula needed to correctly predict almost four new pregnancies every single day, without breaking for so much as a holiday. That’s not even taking into account the odd (presumably rare) inaccurate prediction. That’s quite a feat of dedication, and a work ethic I have to express admiration for – especially considering the amount of time she must need to spend following up every prediction to be sure it actually came true. Perhaps she has someone in her team do those follow-ups.

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