It is Actually Hollow

June 12, 2013

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

I, your Official Morning Heretic™, will be going on vacation after today, and returning June 20th. During that time, the Heresy will be in the capable hands of Lauren Becker, our director of marketing, and Ed Beck, who, um, I don't know what his job is.* The similarity of their surnames is entirely coincidental. Please go easy on them. On to the news. 

NYT on the public slaying of teenager Muhammad al-Qatta in Syria after he allegedly said something flip about the prophet:

Muhammad’s killing . . . focused anger on hard-line Islamists, including foreigners, some of whom have seized on the conflict in Syria as an opportunity to impose their mores. For Muhammad’s mother and some her neighbors, the tyrannies were indistinguishable, trapping many Syrians in a vise. 

Texas Christian University gives the green light to a campus atheist group. 

SCA wants you to tell your congressfolks to support an amendment allowing for nontheistic chaplains in the military.  

Mayor Craig Fletcher of Vero Beach, Florida realizes that saying that the city should only recognize groups that "believe in Jesus Christ" was pretty awful, and apologizes:

I want to offer my sincerest apologies to anyone whom I may have offended by my remarks last Tuesday at the City Council meeting. It was a horrific statement and on reflection was way out of place for an elected official to take such a strident stance. I hope everyone will find it in their heart to forgive me. 

Oh heck yes: Indre Viskontas has Daniel Dennett on Point of Inquiry

David Gibson reports that a new study by progressive religious group Faith in Public Life charges Catholic "purists" and hardliners with creating a "Catholic McCarthyism" environment which stifles the charitable work the church could otherwise do. 

At Skeptical Inquirer, David Morrison reviews the book The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe.

Mayor Margarita Arellanes Cervantes of Monterrey, Mexico (that's a lot of Ms) decides that running a city is too hard, and gives her city to Jesus. This is why I will also be leaving the Heresy up to Lauren and Ed, because they are like deities to me. 

Court of Appeals rejects FFRF's case against Arizona governor Jan Brewer's "day of prayer" declaration, because, in part, "there is no evidence any of the individual plaintiffs is an Arizona taxpayer."  

Atheists of Florida oppose a special subsidy for Cape Coral's churches on utility assessments, in which churches get a whopping 85% discount. 

CFI intern Monica Harmsen relates her experience as an ex-Muslim, and is none too happy with Sam Harris's Twitter feed. (It's "an interesting place.") 

14 mausoleums and a host of other religious artifacts have been (and are being) destroyed in Timbuktu due to the al-Qaeda-linked violence there. 

Columbus Dispatch reports on yoga/alt-med practitioners who work with Alzheimer’s and hospice patients.

On Islam gives this helpful and totally comforting answer to a reader's question: "Can a Muslim be an atheist?"

If one does not believe in Allah, then he, as an atheist, has to be treated as a non-Muslim. This means that it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to accept him as a husband. Also, he will not be treated in the funeral services as a Muslim.

Most importantly, on the Day of Judgment he will be considered a disbeliever.

If he lives in a Muslim country, scholars or concerned authorities should help him repent to Allah and take away all the doubts that he might have. There are no further punishments except by the state and legal courts. 

"No further punishments except..." Great

Egypt Independent tries to clarify what, exactly, counts as "blasphemy" in Egyptian law. 

Brian Dooley of Human Rights First wants the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa to take Egypt's human rights abuses seriously.

Pew: Iranians are just fine with a government based on Sharia.  

Freaky UFO image from the Netherlands could really just be a bug

Maddowblog: GOP Congress has some innovative ideas about how to get the economy moving. KIDDING! They're just doing lots of abortion stuff

Drew Miller at PolicyMic has "six things you didn't know about atheists," but you actually probably did, since you're reading this. 

*I'm kidding. 

Quote of the Day 

This video says there's, like, a "theory" that says an advanced civilization lives at the center of the Earth. Says author Rodney Cluff:

The "Hollow Earth theory" is that this Earth is not molten inside; it is actually hollow.

WHOA THERE, RODNEY. In English please! Try to turn down the volume on the techno-babble, okay??    

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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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

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