And I’ll Form the Head

January 15, 2015

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

Like a skepto-humanist Voltron, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism have officially merged with CFI to form one, unified Center for Inquiry. No longer three separate corporations, Devastator-like we have assembled into a single gestalt beast, one single organization. And I'll form the head. (No I won't.)

Right-wing media "watchdog" group NewsBusters unloads its clumsy snark on us for our statement to the media asking that climate change deniers not be referred to as skeptics. They say the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry is "bullying" and "Orwellian-sounding" (???) and comes down on us for being "a group which, among other things, campaigns to prevent religious groups from being allowed to own hospitals." The nerve! Anyway, the whole piece is kind of a great advertisement for everything we do here, so, thanks, NewsBusters! Whatever it is you're for!

Pope Fluffy goes soft on free expression, saying it's not okay to ridicule religion, making a troubling and awkward analogy to someone insulting his mother and getting punched:

There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others. They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to [someone] if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit. 

And this is where we've wound up: The editor of Jyllands-Posten, who first published the infamous "Danish cartoons," explains on the BBC why they are *not* now publishing the new Hebdo cover: When the backlash erupted, no one in the international media had their back. "Sometimes the sword is mightier than the pen ... violence works."

Free Inquiry, however, did republish the Jyllands-Posten cartoons.

Tomorrow there will be a rally outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington to protest the imprisonment and abuse of Raif BadawiNicholas Kristof noted Raif's plight in his column, saying, "To be blunt, Saudi Arabia legitimizes Islamic fundamentalism and intolerance."

Human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen is arrested in Malaysia for "sedition" for a tweet criticizing the Malaysian Islamic Development Department. 

You'd think this whole "rabbis using their Herpes-infected mouths in the circumcision of babies" thing would be a slam dunk. No, right? Just stop it, signed, humanity. But apparently, it requires "compromise" by the mayor of New York City. I don't even. 

Can this man predict random binary choices (like coin flips) with his psychic powers? The Independent Investigations Group tests his ability.

A church in Colorado refuses to hold funeral services for a woman because of pictures of her smooching her wife.  

CSI Fellow David Morrison is awarded the American Astronomical Society’s Education Prize. You can read his Skeptical Inquirer pieces here.

Phil Zuckerman looks at how hard it is to raise moral children without the grounding of religion. Oh, not at all actually!

Recent research also has shown that children raised without religion tend to remain irreligious as they grow older — and are perhaps more accepting. Secular adults are more likely to understand and accept the science concerning global warming, and to support women's equality and gay rights. ... Atheists were almost absent from our prison population as of the late 1990s, comprising less than half of 1% of those behind bars, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons statistics. ... The unaffiliated and the nonreligious engage in far fewer crimes.

Missouri considers yet another "teach the controversy" bill.

City council of Winfield, Alabama, unanimously votes for a resolution saying that God is the "owner" of their town. Does he now have to pay property taxes?

Folks are trying to get Petco to stop selling a "homeopathic" calming medicine for dogs that is 13% alcohol. Wow.  

In case you need your brain to implode (and who doesn't), here's Frank Turek on why atheism proves God's existence:

We could put it this way: The shadows prove the sunshine. There can be sunshine without shadows, but there can't be shadows without sunshine. In other words, there can be good without evil, but there can't be evil without good. So evil can't exist unless good exists. But good can't exist unless God exists. 

Quote of the Day

Too good to be true, and yet it is. A misprint on a Florida (of course) sheriff's rug:

IN DOG WE TRUST    

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Image by Shutterstock

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