The Taliban Card

January 31, 2013

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

Alber Saber's appeal of his blasphemy conviction in Egypt is rejected. Saber was at the hearing, which muddies the previous reporting that he had left the country. This article, however, makes it unclear as to whether Saber attended this hearing, as he has been otherwise reported to be out of the country.

At, Sharon Hill talks about the "sticky wicket" of the line-of-demarcation problem between science and what we call pseudoscience. 

Also: Anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy is going to headline a health event in Ottawa. Sharon says, "What a DUMB move." 

File this under "I wish I'd thought of it": San Diego Coalition of Reason launches billboard campaign saying "Atheism: A personal relationship with reality." Gold! 

Stuart Ingrouille tweets us a link to his new book on the flaws of Christianity, Unbelievable: Christianity as a House of Cards

I kid you not, Rabbi Adam Jacobs at HuffPo uses the Bee Gees as a metaphor for why a God-created universe is "ironclad."

Aaron Ra informs us that Iceland's parliament has passed a law giving equal status to secularist organizations equal footing with religions in terms of the law. In other news, CFI CEO Ron Lindsay reportedly seeking out office space in Reykjavik. Kidding!!

CSI's Ben Radford at LiveScience on the ongoing hunt for "ghosts":

The evidence for ghosts is no better today than it was a year ago, a decade ago, or a century ago.  

Remember that treatise on the skeptic movement from Steven Novella? PZ Myers has an equally-lengthy reply:

Science and skepticism are processes, tools we use to investigate phenomena. It is not conflation when you use that tool to investigate god-claims or sexist arguments or the Republican party platform, any more than it is when you use those tools to rip into the Burzynski clinic or take apart claims about diatoms in meteorites.  

Is there really an "Amish Mafia"? Lancaster, PA historian is skeptical, and aims to get to the truth behind it. 

Hemant Mehta refuses to stop writing books. He's got a new one out, which is a collection of his posts: The Friendly Atheist: Thoughts on the Role of Religion in Politics and Media.

CFI-Michigan's Jennifer Beahan talks about the management of volunteers in this video from the 2012 CFI Student Leadership Conference. 

Intelligent design-proponents the Discovery Institute is having a Darwin Day event. In other news, Grover Norquist to celebrate the legacy of Karl Marx. Kidding again!!! 

California church elder is suing a local mall for forbidding him to proselytizing to shoppers. 

Bill in Tennessee would require teachers to "out" gay students to parents.  

Quote of the Day: 

In yesterday's Heresy, I linked to an article about a kerfuffle over prayer at official township meetings in Burlington, PA. That article also mentioned a similar to-do in my former hometown of Galloway, NJ. A friend in the area, South Jersey Humanists coordinator Michael Cluff, then sent me this editorial from the Press of Atlantic City (by no means a progressive or liberal paper, usually endorsing Republican candidates for example) denouncing prayer at Galloway Township Council meetings! It's kind of an amazing piece, opening with "And the atheists? Who represents them on Galloway Township Council?" Here's a bit more:

Yes, we know. Congress, the state Legislature, counties and a number of towns open meetings with a prayer.

But we don't understand that either. Government and religion do not mix. Period. Is there a better, more current, more frightening example of mixing government and religion than the Taliban in Afghanistan?

And no, that's not an unfair example. It's an extreme, but common example. Unfortunately, the world is full of examples of sectarian strife of one degree or another.

Why go anywhere near there? 

Dude, they even played the Taliban card! I couldn't believe my eyes! Go Press of AC!   

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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