The Berenstain Bears Go to Prison

February 24, 2017

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

Yesterday we unleashed upon the public our official CFI Progress Report for 2016. Now hold on there, bucko, this ain't no dry piece of propaganda. No indeed! So you stop rolling your eyes right now. For one thing, it's gorgeous. We of course have the PDF/print version of the report, designed by Chris Fix, which would look cool even on the richest Silicon Valley titan's coffee table. But we also have a beautiful and fluid website version of the report, less a "document" and more, well, yeah, I'm gonna say it...an experience. Designed by Matt Licata, I'm blown away by how good it looks. Eat it, Squarespace!

Oh, and it might be important to note that the prose contained therein, the "narrative," as one might say, was composed by me, and it took a really long time and a lot of work so you could at least pretend to appreciate it. I appreciate all the help I got from our Outreach and Development teams to get the needed elements together. Anyway, it's a great product, and it tells the story of a nutty year. So give it a look-see.

We responded to the abysmal Trump order to reverse protections for transgender students. In part:

“This is a callous and spiteful act on the part of the President. The basic rights of our most vulnerable students should not be left to the whims of states and individual localities,” said Nicholas Little, CFI’s Vice President and General Counsel. “The resulting patchwork quilt of regulations will subject transgender students in much of the country to discrimination by school administrations, and leave them unprotected from bullying by fellow students and school employees.” 

Yesterday, our own Michael De Dora was the guest on Afternoons with Bob Breakenridge to talk about blasphemy laws and the recent charge against a man in Denmark for burning a Quran. 

"Get out of my country," says this horrid person who shot three people in a bar in Kansas. Thnking two of them were Muslims, he killed one and injured the other, and injured a third man who tried to stop him. 

Rumana Ahmed, a National Security Council staffer who served in the Obama administration, writes in The Atlantic about her experience working under the Trump regime, and why she had to leave after just eight days. An important read. 

This "survey" about the evil media that the Trump operation sent to folks? It may not be recording survey results at all, and just getting people riled up so they'll send money. This isn't 100% clear, but Devin Pike has been digging through the code.

Caitlin Aamodt at Discover looks at the "Mandela Effect," the phenomenon of shared false memories among many people. So named for when the Berenstain Bears were kept in a South African prison. Or at least that's what I believe I remember.

A story in the Indianapolis Star about the attacks on Planned Parenthood features CFI–Indiana's chief Reba Boyd Wooden, in her role as the head of the Health Access and Privacy Alliance. 

Pope Fluffy has some words for Christians who are bad hombres:

So many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others. How many times have we heard -- all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere -- 'But to be a Catholic like that, it's better to be an atheist.' It is that: scandal. 

Uh, thank you?

Maybe this is the kind of Christian that His Fluffiness is talking about: the kind that tells a teenage girl “You should be dragged in the street and shot" because she got a Ten Commandments monument removed from a public school. 

Justin Scott confronts Sen. Chuck Grassley about the attempts to repeal the Johnson Amendment, and Grassley's response will not fill you with hope

Christopher Douglas at Religion Dispatches makes a pretty big claim: "Fake news has its particular historical origin in Christian fundamentalism’s rejection of expert elites." He says:

Christian fundamentalism was characterized in particular by its rejection of two theologically disturbing bodies of knowledge that emerged from the 19th century: the theory of evolution, and the historical-critical method of Bible scholarship. While mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches have had considerable success in coming to terms with these expert knowledge consensuses, Christian fundamentalism is defined primarily by its rejection of them. 

In his latest "10% Fail" post, Ben Radford discusses a laudable project he supports, for a magazine aimed at empowering girls in science, but that also used some dubious data to make a point.

Here's just one example of anti-vaccine misinformation harming real people, in this case, a whole hockey team in Medicine Hat, Alberta. 

Quote of the Day:

Avijit Roy was murdered two years ago this Sunday, and we at CFI still feel it. At the Dhaka Tribune, Nur E Emroz Alam Tonoy says his death can't blunt the impact of his ideas:

Writers and authors shape human culture, our entire existence can be summed up with the written word. No one has the authority to censor someone’s thoughts, not any government and not any religion.
 
Our country was built upon secular beliefs, and such beliefs are increasingly being propagated through technologies such as the internet, giving way to a new generation of young writers thirsty to carry the torch once borne by martyrs such as Avijit Roy.
 
Religious fundamentalists have become desperate, their very ideologies are now cornered.
 
It’s only a matter of time until the machete-wielders realise that death can never be the end of reason.
 
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Photo credit: Si Longworth (Army Photographer) via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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