March 16, 2015
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
CFI's Michael De Dora delivered what I think was a pretty powerful statement on free expression on and offline at the UN Human Rights Council, specifically stating that "states in this room" were guilty of violating this right.
Adam Lee at The Guardian highlights CFI as one of the atheist/humanist groups working for social change.
The Knights of Columbus refuse to march in the Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade because of the gayness that will be in proximity. I bet whatever monarch bestowed their knighthoods on them is very disappointed.
When politicians and scientists alike punt on questions of religion's veracity versus science, Lawrence Krauss insists we work to "plant the seeds of doubt" in kids.
Facebook introduces new guidelines for what it will and will not censor, and sometimes where it will censor it.
Just as the conspiracy theories about his death were starting to surface, Putin shows up. He hasn't explained where he's been, though. #LizardTruth*
Are we already in the Anthropocene epoch? Some scientists say not only are we in it, but we have been since 1610.
German anti-vax "biologist" Stefan Lanka announces that he so completely rejects the existence of a measles virus, that he'd give €100,000 to whoever coud prove it was real. Someone did, of course, and he refused to pay, but a court is making him cough it up.
Anti-vax conspiracy-thinking is posing a threat to the prevention of another big Ebola outbreak.
Bob Blaskiewicz writes that parents who have been critical of Stanislaw Burzynski's snake oil cancer treatments are getting legal threats, which in turn means Bob is also getting legal threats.
Jeffery Goldberg at The Atlantic looks at the rise in Europe's right-wing anti-Semitism and the hostility toward Jews from radicalized Muslims and wonders if Jews ought not stick around. (I haven't read this yet, but as you can imagine, there are some strong responses to this, such as Freddie deBoer who tweets, "Everything else aside, for a supposedly general-interest magazine, @TheAtlantic's obsession with the evils of Islam is simply stunning.")
Oh no, one of Carl Sagan's sons is a 9/11 truther.
Bill de Blasio seems to be doing all sorts of favors for religion, now allowing for in-school prayer for pre-K.
Jason Horowitz at NYT profiles religious-political fixer David Lane, who's working to connect the right GOP presidential nominee with "an army" of Bible-believing voters and activists.
Joe Nickell looks back on the Amityville non-horror.
Some of the most pointed ISIS-mocking satire is coming from Muslims, according to NYT.
Hector Garcia at Salon rebuts the idea that religion is good for societal health.
Wanna see me try and sleep while connected to a rat's nest of wires? Of course you don't, but you can read about it instead.
Here's Rod Dreher, Rod-Dreher-ing (aka, "being wrong"):
Culture and civilization is only possible when you have a code that says, of some behavior, “thou shalt not.” ... You cannot say “thou shalt not” (e.g., “Thou shalt not deny same-sex couples the right to marry”) without having an ideal in mind. I mean, you can do this, but if you want to leave the religious element out of it, you have to concede that you are only doing so as an exercise in force and repression. There can be no meaningful appeal to morality outside of belief in some sort of metaphysics. This is why the Marxists made History into a godlike force. This is why New Atheists worship Science.
Megan Hustad at NYT compares TED to an evangelical church:
I grew up among Christian evangelicals and I recognize the cadences of missionary zeal when I hear them. TED, with its airy promises, sounds a lot like a secular religion. And while it’s not exactly fair to say that the conference series and web video function like an organized church, understanding the parallel structures is useful for conversations about faith — and how susceptible we humans remain. The TED style, with its promise of progress, is as manipulative as the orthodoxies it is intended to upset.
Quote of the Day
To explain the (*) reference above, here's Titus Andromedon on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, as he attempts to repair something with spirit gum:
Come on spirit gum, if you can keep Obama's human mask on over his lizard face, hashtag-lizardtruth, surely you can do this!
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 Randy on Monday March 16, 2015 at 10:34am
“states in this room”
It would be hard to fit even tiny San Marino inside a room, so ... solid? liquid? gaseous? Have we been betrayed by matter? Oh my! :O
#2 Randy on Monday March 16, 2015 at 10:36am
“Facebook introduces new guidelines for what it will and will not censor”
Now imagine if your phone company did that.
Now imagine if your megaphone manufacturer did that.
Now tell me the difference.
#3 Randy on Monday March 16, 2015 at 10:41am
Could be right about TED… The format is low-content + smug self-satisfaction + expansion.