Monks and Their Molotov Cocktails

July 30, 2013

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

Saudi liberal Raif Badawi is sentenced to 7 years in prison and 600 lashes -- 600! -- for blasphemous blogging. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin has his plea for permanent bail rejected, and is sent back to jail on blasphemy charges.

Ron Lindsay went on HuffPost Live yesterday for a very interesting discussion on religious homeschooling, and the meaning of religious persecution. 

Soraya Chemaly has five suggestions as to why there are not more women in the movement. 

With Point of Inquiry on hiatus, we're running classic episodes, starting with this 2007 interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson by DJ Grothe. 

The Heresy is a little late to this, but by now you have likely seen the infamous Fox News interview with scholar Reza Aslan on his book about Jesus. Yeah, it's bad. Whatever you think of Aslan, it looks like he's having to explain himself to a grouchy 3-year-old. 

Robert Long sees interviewer Lauren Green as engaging in what C.S. Lewis called "Bulverism," saying, "even if Green’s line of questioning weren’t laced with xenophobia, ignorant about the purpose of scholarship, or breathtakingly incurious, it would still be problematic" for failing to address Aslan's book on its own merits. Hemant reminds us, however, that Aslan has been no friend to our own movement. Sam Harris has been going after him tooth and nail on Twitter for what he sees as Aslan's pomposity.

14 seconds to prove global warming is real, in a way even Google can understand

Rebel monks in Greece are being evicted from their monastery, but not before they hurl freaking Molotov cocktails at their enemies. (This is the source of this post's picture.)  

While Pope Francis makes waves by not being a scary, nasty, gross Vicar of Christ, Miranda Celeste Hale warns us not to get too cozy with him

[I]f someone is a malicious ideologue, I much prefer that they be open about their maliciousness and their unwavering commitment to a rigid and regressive ideology. Francis doesn’t do that, though. He couches his callousness in pseudo-tolerant and pseudo-progressive rhetoric and hides his dangerous attitudes and beliefs behind a facade of avuncular populist everyman friendliness. 

Now up for auction: Nanotyrannus lancensis versus Chasmosaurine ceratopsian, two dinosaurs locked in combat, fossilized. Going to the highest bidder, however, means this amazing find will likely not be used for science.

Ashley Paramore posts a video describing her sexual assault at a skepto-atheist conference in order to bring the wider issue to the fore. 

Dave Silverman is weary of those who worry about the atheist movement looking bad. 

Elaine Ganley at the AP looks at whether France's secularism is getting a little, well, mean-spirited toward Muslims

Jaweed Kaleem on a card game designed to help families deal with death and grieving. 

Maureen Dowd posits that Huma Abedin remains with Anthony Weiner because of her Saudi Arabian upbringing. Haroon Moghul calls this "reductio ad Islam."

We're going to have to watch out for this guy: Eric Metaxas, evangelical heir to the late Chuck Colson.

Joe Nickell continues his investigation of Scottish enigmas at Skeptical Inquirer

Moscow police reportedly bust up a psychic scam shop

What seems to be space junk fell on a village in Zimbabwe

Eric Jayne of Minnesota Atheists gets an op-ed in MinnPost, and he just wants folks to play ball.

Norway has a real Nessie (a fossil, of course), a plesiosaur named "Gully." 

A new, alien face on Mars? (This one is a real reach, folks.) 

The number of kids in Florida going to private schools with taxpayer help is up 27%, and many of them are of course going to religious schools. 

SSDs are fast, hard drives are spacious, but the best data storage device may be your DNA

Quote of the Day

James Croft on why he gets up in the morning to do the whole godless thing:

[H]owever dispirited and burnt out I sometimes feel, something keeps me coming back to Humanism, and it is simply this: Humanism represents the highest human values in a way unmatched by any other social movement or lifestance. No other movement can claim so proudly that they put the highest human values right at the center of their worldview, unadulterated. In Humanism there is nothing valued above the dignity of persons, the primacy of reason, and the necessity of hope for the future. Humanism represents the single best hope for the future of our species: given the potential threat of climate change it may be that if our species has a future at all could be dependent on how Humanistic a world we create. 

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul, Ed, Lauren, anyone who can fire them, or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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