Snicker-Proof

June 1, 2015

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

CFI is establishing an emergency fund to assist freethought writers and activists under threat in countries such as Bangladesh. Facing death threats from the same monsters who killed other allies, Taslima Nasrin arrived in the U.S. last week under CFI's assistance, and we are taking donations now to help her get safely settled. 

Mondays are weird. Don't even attempt Monday until you're up to speed on the previous fortnight with Cause & Effect

Skeptical Inquirer editor Kendrick Frazier takes a broad look at four decades of skeptic activism, and likes where things are going. 

The L.A. Times, endorsing passage of the bill that would remove belief exemptions from required vaccinations, puts it bluntly:

Society's right to safeguard its health, especially that of its vulnerable children, trumps individual belief.

Vermont is way ahead of California, though, having signed into a law its own removal of belief exemptions from vaccinations.  

The Council for Secular Humanism's page for the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum has a newly updated mini-documentary on the man himself.  

And on the same subject, CFI's Center Stage podcast is back, with the opening lecture of last year's Ingersoll conference presented by Council's Tom Flynn. 

The Planetary Society reestablishes contact with its LightSail spacecraft. Whew. 

A Swiss conference featuring Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef (check him out on Point of Inquiry) and "Danish cartoons" publisher Jorn Mikkelsen (editor of Jyllands-Posten) is relocated to a boat because of fears of attack. (If the radical Islamists have joined forces with sharks, it's all over.)

Molly Worthen at NYT seriously considers the intellectual and moral foundations of modern atheistic movements, and argues firmly that nonbelievers should find some kind of moral grounding from which to begin. 

Interfaith Muslim activist Tahera Ahmed is refused an unopened can of soda on a United flight because the flight attendant feared she would use it as a weapon

Australia's Labour Party, the current opposition, proposes a new bill to legalize same-sex marriage nationally

Sarah Boesveld on the religious and "messianic" impulse behind "clean eating":

The more self-righteous we are about what we eat — because it’s ethical or healthy or local — the more we also tend to judge others on what they eat. Or worse, who they are. There’s a reason someone says ‘I am a vegetarian,’ rather than ‘I eat vegetarian.’   

A charter school in Colorado won't let its valedictorian deliver his valedictory because he planned to come out as gay

Timothy Egan at NYT rips into Jeb Bush for his waffling on science issues, calling acceptance of scientific consensus "arrogance":

Is it arrogant to say that smoking causes lung cancer? That you shouldn’t text and drive? That the American diet and lifestyle cause Type 2 diabetes, which is killing people? There is some wiggle room in each of those assertions. But you test them at your peril. Since when did prudence become a vice in a family whose presidential patriarch was guided by what “wouldn’t be prudent”? 

Kansas woman claims that the Archdiocese running her kid's daycare lodged a false child abuse charge against her after she tried to stop the bullying her kid was enduring.

The guy who hosted the draw-Muhammad-and-bring-guns event in Phoenix now wants $10,000,000 for security and a Senate campaign. Of course he does. 

Outgoing Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan bans female genital mutilation

snicker-proof UFO conference.

National Geographic interviews Jerry Coyne about his new book and Sgt. Pepper's

Americans claiming to be pro-choice cracks 50%, getting the first meaningful lead over the antiabortion position since 2008.

Quote of the Day:

A judge in New Jersey orders the Bergen Dispatch to remove a news article from the Internet forever, to which the paper responds:

While the Bergen Dispatch reviews its options we have confirmed that Bergen County does currently remain part of the State of New Jersey and that currently New Jersey is still part of the Union of states that is governed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. As such, Bergen County citizens continue to enjoy the right to freedom of speech and the right to a free press. 

So that's a 'no.' 
* * *  

Original image by Shutterstock.

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 Monday June 08, 2015 at 12:52am

“bans female genital mutilation”

While that’s true, I think a more accurate description would be “bans genital mutilation, but only on girls and women”.

As far as I am aware, MGM (which in Nigeria has a high rate of other consequences beyond the mutilation itself) is still permitted.

Nigeria has communities where circumcision happens for a reason I don’t think I’ve heard before: to make the sexes appear more different.  This reason, which plainly applies to males and females equally, highlights the hypocrisy of banning only half the procedures.

#2 Randy on Monday June 08, 2015 at 1:03am

“I am a vegetarian”.  I am not.  I don’t eat mammals.  I eat other animals because I apparently need something called B12, and I suspect that the vitamin people get it from the same place I’m currently getting it, regardless of what they say.

And I do judge mammal-eaters.  How can I not?  I made a decision for a reason.  To not judge would be to say I had no reason.  Now, I’m not saying it’s a particularly good reason. But it’s better than eating mammals.

#3 Randy on Monday June 08, 2015 at 1:16am

“nonbelievers should find some kind of moral grounding from which to begin”

Well, not as such.  Nonbelievers do not agree as a group, and it’s not reasonable to expect us to.

Rather, we will gather around various competing philosophies.  Some have already done so as humanists, or plussers, or what have you.

But it’s not necessary.  Even the religious do not share a common morality, despite having books that tell them what it is.

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