New Religion: Not Liking Flu Shots

January 4, 2013

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

Buzzfeed rounds up some firsts for the 113th Congress (first Buddhist senator, first openly gay senator, etc.), but it's US News that focuses in Kyrsten Sinema as the first "none," as in "no religion."

The image to the right is from the Hindu American Foundation, which is pretty excited about the first Hindu congressperson, Tulsi Gabbard, here being sworn in by John Boehner on a Bhagavad Gita -- which I'm sure threw him for a loop.  

Reason magazine feature covers the growing entanglement between the Orthodox Church and Putin's state. 

NPR covers the plight of Greece's Philippos Loizos, the atheist responsible for the "blasphemous" parody Facebook page of "Elder Pastitsios." (More background here.)

8 Indiana hospital employees fired for refusing to get a flu vaccine. One attempt has been to make it a "religious exemption" -- sort of:

Hoover's lawyer, Alan Phillips, says his client had the right to refuse her flu shot under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits religious discrimination of employees. Religion is legally broad under the First Amendment, so it could include any strongly held belief, he said, adding that the belief flu shots are bad should suffice. "If your personal beliefs are religious in nature, then they are a protected belief," Phillips said. 

CFI's Sarah Kaiser profiles CFI On Campus afiiliate with the best acronym, "MU SASHA." Say it out loud, many times. (Bonus: MU SASHA includes former CFI intern-servant-hipster, and former Morning Heretic emergency fill-in, Tony Lakey! Hi, Tony!) 

CSI's Ben Radford at Discovery on the Sandy Hook student whose mother believes his psychic premonition kept him from school on the day of the massacre. 

Gay marriage bill heads to the floor of the Illinois state senate

Dallas Observer talks to Aron Ra about all that is wrong with a "Merry Christmas" bill being considered in the state legislature. 

UK atheist comedians begin their own church of sorts, The Sunday Assembly, "a godless gathering for people who want to hear funny and interesting people talk, sing songs and celebrate life."

AIDS patients in Gabia hospital treated only -- not complementarily -- with herbs

New free e-book from Bill Mutranowski, You Bloggin' to Me? How the Self Illusion Trolls Us and Why Skeptics Should Care, says skeptics are hampered by our attachment to old notions of "the Self."  

James Croft launches a new project, ROUSE Them, which is based on "a set of principles and resources for eliciting the best in other people." (FYI, "ROUSE" stands for Rodents Of Unusual 

Quote of the Day

A creepy lecture from World Controller Mustapha Mond in Huxley's Brave New World that I rediscovered recently:
. . . civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise.

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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#1 leftover on Friday January 04, 2013 at 8:29am

So…not even a thank-you for pointing out an error, Paul? And deleting my comment as well…
Is this a typical response to scrutiny from CFI writers?

#2 Paul the Morning Heretic on Friday January 04, 2013 at 8:47am


Message to readers: The previous commenter did indeed point out an error of mine misattributing the Quote of the Day to that other dystopian novel 1984. I quickly fixed the error and to avoid confusion, removed the comment since the error was now gone.

My apologies if this, in itself, caused confusion.

The typical response to scrutiny is to correct errors when pointed out, which is what was done. What I failed to do was make a big stink about it. But now a stink has been made.

#3 leftover on Friday January 04, 2013 at 8:58am

So…the typical response to scrutiny here is to quickly cover-up any mistakes because to admit to them would…create a Big Stink?

How very progressive of CFI…quick to disparage others but completely unwilling to admit to the most minimal of errors on their part. You better delete all the comments then, Paul. I wouldn’t want you to violate the boundaries of CFI Dogma.

#4 Andy Anderson (Guest) on Friday January 04, 2013 at 11:58am

So what exactly do you want then? A gold star sticker? A blurb at the top of the article proclaiming your ability to spot a trivial mis-attribution and bring about its prompt correction? Perhaps a YouTube video of the CFI staff personally thanking you? The ability to author your very own article laying bare the CFI’s ‘cover-up’ of petty mistakes?

The error in question isn’t even really a substantial part of the article, nor does it support any arguments the author is attempting to make, so what the hell is the point of you going on the way you are?

#5 really? (Guest) on Friday January 04, 2013 at 1:57pm

Please, let us take a moment to fall all over ourselves congratulating “leftover” for his ability to point out an error. Well done, “leftover.” You are the greatest reader ever.

#6 BlandOnTheRun on Saturday January 05, 2013 at 10:20am

I’m with leftover on this. It would have been better to reply to the comment, acknowledging the error and thanking him/her for spotting it. No harm in leaving the comment visible, surely.

#7 Andy Anderson (Guest) on Saturday January 05, 2013 at 11:11am

#6: I agree with you, that would have been a better approach. I also prefer to be very up-front about corrections and admitting when I got something wrong.

There’s no good reason for ‘leftover’ to be going on about “typical response[es] to scrutiny” and “cover-up” and “CFI Dogma” over not getting a public pat-on-the-back for pointing out a minor mistake in the form of a mis-attribution that doesn’t even have anything to do with any of the articles presented. It’s childish and petty and contributes nothing at all to useful discussion.

It does kind of make me wonder if this is how major factual errors and corrections get dealt with, though.

#8 Darlene (Guest) on Sunday January 06, 2013 at 12:42pm

OMG, I’m so glad somebody else made the mistake of mixing up quotes from those two books! :D

#9 Military Historian on Sunday January 06, 2013 at 5:41pm

Paul you are not only wrong, the way you handled the correction opens you to criticism for hiding the fact you made the error in the first place.

The typical response to someone going to the time and trouble to offer a correction is to thank him/her, and make the correction without deleting the correction notification.

For those who are not familiar with this paradigm, I suggest you open a serious history book, and locate the part where the author thanks those who read and commented on the manuscript.  An important component of this exercise is to point our errors before they appear before the eyes of thoughtful people.

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