Freeloaders, Trees, and Lonely Rocks

July 3, 2013

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

RNS's Kimberly Winston looks at the growing phenomenon of homeschooling for humanists.

Luke Dittrich of Esquire publishes a big takedown of neurosurgeon Eben Alexander's accounts of the afterlife in Proof of Heaven. The article is behind a paywall, alas, but it's only two bucks. 

Indonesia's parliament passes a "Mass Organization Law" which, among other things, "prohibits groups from committing blasphemy." 

The man who never rests, Michael De Dora, has the latest CFI Advocacy Update for the Office of Public Policy. 

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds homicide convictions of parents who refused to allow their dying daughter medical attention, in lieu of prayer. 

False claims about the efficacy of homeopathy on a website are banned in Scotland for, you know, lying. The Advertising Standards Authority said:

We considered that the reference to these specific medical conditions meant the ad was targeted at consumers with a pre-existing diagnosis of these conditions or who were suffering from those symptoms. We considered the average consumer targeted by the ad was therefore particularly vulnerable. 

Predictably unsatisfied, religious groups link arms to fight the evil, despotic accommodations offered by the HHS in contraceptive coverage. 

Apparently, research says that atheists do not all think and behave exactly the same way. You don't say. 

Two new books of note:

  • Released this week: Frederic Rich's alternate-history novel Christian Nation about, among other things, a theocratic Palin presidency. 
  • Coming October 1: Karen Stollznow's God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States. 

Australia's new parliamentary secretary gets a lot of crap flung at him for being sworn in on a Quran. 

Aasia Bibi, a Pakistani woman jailed for blasphemy, may have to wait two more years in prison before her appeal is heard. (Learn more about cases like this at our Campaign for Free Expression.) 

Our friends at CFI-Tampa Bay have photos from the atheist monument dedication in Florida.

Jesse Prinz at Aeon Magazine on being dumbstruck by the numinous

Art, science and religion appear to be uniquely human institutions. This suggests that wonder has a bearing on human uniqueness as such, which in turn raises questions about its origins. Did wonder evolve? Are we the only creatures who experience it? 

Come to Lisa's Psychic Shop, and have YOUR curses lifted for UNDER $5000. 

Open magazine profiles Sanal Edamaruku, Indian skeptic leader charged with blasphemy for saying, hey, you know what, that Jesus statue isn't really weeping. 

U.S. priests convene to tackle big issues, get mostly nowhere

It's not just atheists in the Arab world being arrested for what they say. It's also rappers.

The Netherlands has its own "Bible Belt" apparently, and it's a belt full of unvaccinated measles sufferers

For, LaRae Meadows goes to SkeptiCal

NYT on Muslim's constant fear of attack by Buddhists in Myanmar. Time magazine cover feature on the crisis in banned.

Waga Odongo in the Daily Nation of Kenya:

The only criticism I have of atheism and atheists is that they are not nearly loud enough.  

Islamist leader in Russia calls for attacks on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi:

They plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims buried on our land by the Black Sea. We as mujahideen are required not to allow that, using any methods that Allah allows us. 

Tomorrow, Americans celebrate their victory over British tyranny (and therefore there will be no Morning Heresy). Yesterday, we apparently celebrated the coming tyranny of our alien overlords. I missed it. 

Coming to NBC Must-see TV: The Bible........2! 

Quote of the Day 

Our own Joe Nickell sketches various worldviews' versions of the Golden Rule. I love this:

  • Liberal: As you would like others to do unto you, do even better to them, including freeloaders, trees, lonely rocks.
  • Conservative: Do unto the rich, so that goodness may trickle down to others.
  • Libertarian: Resist doing unto others, so that they may receive inspiration from Individualist principles. 
  • Fundamentalist: Do always unto God, who will respond in mysterious ways.
  • New Age: Send positive energy through the universe, and spirits will repay you in kind.
  • Tea Party: Reduce taxes, lest they be used to do unto others.
  • Machiavellian: Do unto others whatever you like, but do it first.  

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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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