The Capacity to Do Good

February 11, 2015

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

Horror of horrors, as three young people in Chapel Hill, Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, all Muslim, are gunned down by a single monster of a human being. My heart is breaking as I type this for their friends and families. You will no doubt have heard that the alleged shooter at some point professed his support of "atheism" as some kind of cure-all for violence around the world, which is just stupid.

Here's our official statement, which reads in part:

We hope that what ultimately emerges from this tragedy is a deeper understanding between people of all faiths and no faith that each one of us has the capacity to do good, to help in our own small ways to make the world a better place. Despite our differences in beliefs, we are all part of the global human community, and we are all responsible for each other. 

CFI's Michael De Dora joins figures such as Richard Dawkins, Carolyn Porco, Hemant Mehta, Daniel Dennett, and others to urge the Irish government to hold a referendum on its blasphemy law.

BBC News covers Prince Charles' advocacy of Raif Badawi during his Saudi Arabia visit, including an interview with Raif's sister Samar. To be a fly on that wall.

Meanwhile, Austria and Saudi Arabia threaten to kick each other out of each other's countries over Badawi. 

One of the best ways to deal with Saudi backwardness might be to snicker at it on television

Kansas governor Sam Brownback by executive order takes LGBT Kansans off the list of "protected classes." Because I'm sure gays are just fine in Kansas. 

Ben Radford looks at the Brian Williams honesty problem through the lens of false memories

Marco Arment worries about the anti-vax position becoming a social norm:

Now, being anti-vaccine is just another societally acceptable difference of opinion, a pants color, a team you’re on, an option to tick on your Facebook page. The most scary and dangerous thing about anti-vaxxers today isn’t that they exist — they always have, and always will — it’s that their “personal choice” brings almost no consequences or restrictions ... so they’ll only keep getting more numerous

Susan Gerbic really, really wants to catch a fake-psychic in a "hot reading," and lots of intrigue ensues

Mormon podcaster John Dehlin is booted out of the LDS Church for "apostasy." 

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights reports on the perilous situations faced by rights workers in the Gulf region. 

William Saletan on the right's overreaction to Obama's "Crusades" reference:

Conservatives are correct that we’re in a global struggle over Islamic violence. But the struggle isn’t between Islam and Christianity. It’s between people who want religious war and people who don’t.  

The right is also unhappy about one their heroes, Dr. Ben Carson (a 2016 presidential candidate) being labeled an "anti-LGBT extremist" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

Religion, the get-out-of-everything-free card, also exempts religious organizations from having to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Why would you not want to comply with that??? 

The Vatican is rethinking some of its positions on whether it's cool to conquer aboriginal heathens

Neil deGrasse Tyson is like Gru from Despicable Me"I got the MOOOOON!" 

Quote of the Day 

Robert Moore exercises his personal choice on another issue. As a driver, he's now an "anti-braker":

After doing some more digging, I found a nefarious plot - Mechanics: The very people who we trust to work on and care for our cars - get PAID to install and change brakes! You might THINK they care about our safety, or our cars - but they’re just in it for the $49.99 brake pad installations. ... So all I’m saying is, do your research. Don’t just listen to the NTSB and big automotive. I made a personal decision for my family, we just said no to brakes.  

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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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Comments:

#1 Randy on Wednesday February 11, 2015 at 1:15pm

“We hope that what ultimately emerges from this tragedy is a deeper understanding between people of all faiths and no faith that each one of us has the capacity to do good”

That could have happened anyway.  It never happens, and it won’t this time.  The main take-away from this is that each one of us has the capacity to do evil, including (as you report it) a person who committed violence as a cure for violence.

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