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December 20, 2012

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

Yeah, yeah, Mayan Apocalypse tomorrow, we're all gonna die, ha ha ha, let's move on

Alber Saber gives an interview to the AP:

"Egypt is a religious state," said Saber. "If you disobey the norms, you get judged and sentenced. I'm not a criminal, but I'm being judged and sentenced on my opinion." 

Yes, yes, that President What's-his-name is Time's Person of the Year, as it always is for a newly elected or reelected president. Like, every time. But two runners-up are notable for Heresy readers.

First runner-up, "Malala Yousafzai, the Fighter." Second runner-up is the pope of my particular religion, Apple CEO Tim Cook ("the Technologist"), and, again for my heretics, the third runner-up is Higgs boson scientist, "Fabiola Gianotti, the Discoverer."  

The Orleans Parish School Board in Louisiana prohibits the teaching of creationism or intelligent design in its schools. 

Freaking hilarious: The "labs" of the intelligent design-touting Discovery Institute's "Biologic Institute" are actually stock photos. Go see.  

Sci-fi author and scientist David Brin joins Chris Mooney on the latest Point of Inquiry, and Chris is totally stoked.

Christian Post profiles atheist groups giving aid to assist the families affected by the Newtown massacre.

Chris Stedman takes to Friendly Atheist to address criticisms of his book Faitheist.  Includes this bit which I liked:

. . . it has been suggested that interfaith work asks nonbelievers to put their beliefs aside in order to get along. I can’t speak for all atheist interfaith activists, but this is not the case for me. The pursuit of truth matters. I believe that a naturalistic worldview that prioritizes scientific skepticism provides the best lens to consider our world. 

Speaking of Stedman, Chris Burke of the University of Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers of Waterloo reviews his book at the CFI On Campus blog. 

January 27, Susan Jacoby comes to CFI-DC to talk about her new book The Great Agnostic, which is of course about Neil deGrasse Tyson. I'm kidding, it's about Ingersoll. 

Ben Radford helps explain to NBCNews.com why that kid-snatching eagle video is fake. (For the above image we send a hat tip to CFI Facebook page fan Heidi Love.)

Ben also reviews The Encyclopedia of Urban Legends for Skeptical Inquirer.  

Really interesting video from Anthea Butler at Religion Dispatches on religious responses to the Newtown massacre, which includes an acknowledgment that atheists may be in a better position to deal with they "why's" than those who want to find a place for God's role. 

Bringing folks to Jesus through concealed carry certification classes.

The New Yorker on the Mayan apocalypse and its effect on guru-seeking Chinese

Oh for the love of...atheist over-reactor has his human rights violated by "Merry Christmas" on a bus. 

Christian colleges celebrate court ruling requiring the Obama administration to carve out exemptions for them concerning the contraceptive mandate. 

Secular Coalition comes out against an amendment to a defense bill from defeated Senate candidate Todd "Legitimate" Akin which they say would explicitly allow servicemembers to discriminate based on religion. 

Discussing yet another holiday display kerfuffle, Hemant justifies the existence of FFRF:

A lot of people complain about the FFRF sign and others like it, saying the messages are too combative. But this is one of the reasons FFRF takes this route: It forces city officials to decide whether they want to follow the First Amendment (and probably anger religious conservatives in the process) or get hit with an expensive lawsuit (which they would lose). 

Herb Silverman graciously concedes the race to become an appointed U.S. Senator from South Carolina, for which he was never actually being considered. (Seriously though, Herb's piece is great.) 

Greta Christina at Alternet profiles six incidents of anti-atheist discrimination. 

The newly-dead Robert Bork was an atheist at one point? When he was being considered (and rejected) for the Supreme Court? Really

Atheist in Leicester, UK is charged with "causing religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress" for ripping up a Quran in front of Muslims. 

Wingnut Judge Roy Moore bends minds with his explanation of what's wrong with evolution:

. . . we know we were created but they say we evolved from whatever, something out of the ocean, you’ve got to understand that evolution affects your mental processes. When you think you have evolved then you think you’re better than those who have gone before you. If you’re better than those who have gone before you then you won’t make the same mistakes, you won’t think the same way, you know better, you’re smarter. The point is, human nature doesn’t change and human nature is what the Constitution sought to restrain. 

Quote of the Day

Manu Joseph at NYT writes about the mess of political parties in India, with parties specifically for individual religious views, including one for atheists. Says Joseph:

. . . in this entire assembly of parties, none represents the interests of women, who constitute more than half the population in a country where an unknown number of girls are killed in the womb and men deal with their loss of social power by committing violence against women. Substantial gender reforms cannot be enacted in India without antagonizing Indian men, and female politicians in major parties are reluctant to take that professional risk. Only a party willing to bet everything on women and uninterested in appeasing the men might stir the nation. Even some fathers of daughters might vote for it.  

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net! 

The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta

Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Friday December 21, 2012 at 1:25pm

“Oh for the love of…”  interesting choice of words, there.

“atheist over-reactor has his human rights violated by Merry Christmas on a bus.”  Regardless of your Christian bias, rights are rights, and the rights of non-Christians are plainly being violated by the municipality.

I shouldn’t, but I do expect better from people at CFI.

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