The Parents Are Becoming Very Upset

January 2, 2014

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

Welcome to yet another jaunt around the Sun, folks.

The New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert looks at the life and work of Georges Cuvier, who pioneered the study of species extinction, though rejected early concepts of evolution. It's for subscribers only, but my wife read it in print, which apparently is not extinct. 

Benjamin Bratton at The Guardian worries over TED talks becoming “middlebrow megachurch infotainment.” I tack on:

[TED hosts] plenty of talks grounded fully in reality and hard science. Other times, they host talks that genuinely spark new ways of looking at complex problems, or draw connections that deserve attention. But I suppose the point is that it’s hard to know which is which, and especially to the secular layperson, to decide requires a little too much faith. 

Hemant Mehta does a video of his top ten stories concerning atheism for 2013. Meanwhile, Hemant is accused by the Illinois Family Institute of "promoting hostility toward Christianity and goodwill toward sexual deviance." I think he should put that on his business cards. 

Pope Fluffy has not abolished sin. Sorry, Hemant. 

Adnan Masih of Pakistan is reportedly charged with blasphemy for reading the wrong book and adding offensive marginalia. 

Doug Stanhope, a comedian I never heard of, raises $126,000 for atheist Oklahoma tornado victim Rebecca Vitsmun, and then is kind of a dick about it:

"I didn't do it because I felt sympathy because she got all her shit destroyed by a tornado," he said. "I did it simply to be a prick to her Okie-Christian neighbors, hoping that they were still eating off of FEMA trucks when someone drove up and presented Rebecca with a giant cardboard check."

Scott Gavura writes about "detox" pseudoscience for the new year.

Fayette High School in Missouri is holding prayer sessions whether you like it or not. 

Pastor Ryan J. Bell is trying a weird experiment:

I will "try on" atheism for a year. For the next 12 months I will live as if there is no God. I will not pray, read the Bible for inspiration, refer to God as the cause of things or hope that God might intervene and change my own or someone else's circumstances. 

Valerie Tarico gives 10 reasons for optimism for seculars in 2014, at the Transhumanist IEET website. 

The Atheist Centre of India will celebrate its 75th year with a conference at Siddhartha College of Arts and Science on January 5. 

An aurora on Saturn. Wow.

About a quarter of graduates of the Interfaith Youth Core are, well, so much "faithed."  

It's a crop circle! It's a microprocessor! It's in Braille kind of! 

Quote of the Day

This is a somewhat unintentional quote of the day. It's from Phil Vischer, the creator of the Christian kids' franchise VeggieTales:

I want to encourage parents and Christian educators to teach critical thinking skills… do you know why we don’t do that? . . .  ‘Cause we’re afraid our kids will actually use them. . . . And they might come to a different conclusion than we have come to . . . [S]ome in the home-schooling movement [have] been encouraging home-schoolers to learn forensics and debate so that they can debate the world… And so home-schoolers are debating and kids are learning how to debate, but what’s happening that no one foresaw is some of these kids are using their new critical thinking skills to question their parents’ beliefs, and parents are becoming very upset.   

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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. 

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