The One Rock

June 15, 2015

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

The Reason for Change conference this past weekend was a huge success. Now you'd expect me to say that, being the organization's Chief Flack™, but it's simply true. The place was packed (sold out!), the panels and presentations were illuminating, engaging, and some even deeply moving. We had brilliant minds, brave champions of free expression, and a genuine sense of camaraderie and shared mission. I managed not to hurt myself when moderating a panel discussion (though I did have to borrow Matt Cravatta's shoes - long story). Ron Lindsay tweeted that Reason for Change was the "best conference by far during my tenure" as president. Receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award from us, Richard Dawkins said that CFI is "the one rock, the one reliable force" in the freethought movement. If I weren't so intimidated by people, I'd have given him a fist bump for that.

(And for everything that happened in the two weeks prior to the conference, check out last week's Cause & Effect newsletter.) 

Here's a request from the press one doesn't expect: 'What's your response to the transhumanist presidential candidate's position on airport security for atheists?' I answered, briefly

While you weren't looking, Mexico's Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. Lo siento, beat you to it, SCOTUS!

The Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John C. Nienstedt, resigns amid prosecutions over the church's failure to prevent the sex-abuse of children.

Saudi Arabia, once again, just can't believe that people are giving them guff about their persecution and abuse of Raif Badawi. I mean, the nerve!  

Margaret Talbot at The New Yorker does a deep dive into Craig Hicks' murder of Yusor Mohammad, Deah Shaddy Barakat, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill. (One thing I learned, Hicks really was freakishly obsessed about parking.)

Meanwhile in North Carolina, its legislature overrides the governor's veto of a bill letting county officials opt out of performing same-sex marriages. 

Joe Nickell tracks John Dillinger's ghost for Skeptical Inquirer

Susan Jacoby also got a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award at the conference (and gave a great speech), but on the Center Stage podcast, you can hear her presentation on the Great Agnostic, “Where Are You, Robert Ingersoll, Now That We Need You Again?”

As a reaction to the quack-buffoonery of Dr. Oz, the AMA is going to enact new guidelines for physicians in mass media.

Michigan's governor Rick Snyder signs into law bills that allow adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex or unmarried couples, because RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.

Newsweek covers world-ending asteroids, and what we can and can't do about them.

BBC exposes Leon Edwards, the guy who says autism sufferers should drink bleach. 

Hey Londoners: Are you down with Izzard 2020

Anti-vaxxers and anti-gay activists: a match made in heaven.

Kuwait’s Supreme Court upholds a prison sentence for Saleh Al Saeed, convicted of "insulting" Saudi Arabia

Amelia Cooper at Oxford's International Relations Council wants more world focus on the activities of the UN Human Rights Council because "what happens at the Council is of fundamental significance in shaping the international human rights framework: it affects us all." Cooper sites CFI and our Michael De Dora as excellent sources of the goings-on.

Lincoln Cannon says what I think is kind of obvious: Transhumanism is functioning as a religion for many adherents.

UFOs over Loch Ness because of course. 

Quote of the Day:

I don't see a lot of CFI's HQ in Amherst, existing primarily as an algorithm as I do, but Morgan Romano spotted this brick from donor BJ Kramer:

EX ORTHODOX JEW; BUT THEN I DISCOVERED BACON   

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Original image by Shutterstock.

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