Embrace the Eight, Not the Hate

September 18, 2013

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

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals puts the kibosh on for-profit corporations trying to exempt themselves from the Obamacare contraceptive mandate on religious grounds. 

CFI Summit keynote speaker Bill Nye wiggles his hips on Dancing with the Stars (I think the judges were way too harsh, for which I suspect anti-nerd bias), and then does a turn on Bill Maher's show. (I wouldn't expect that video to be up for long.) 

CFI Chair Eddie Tabash has two more Florida cities to conquer on his speaking tour: Daytona Beach tonight, Tallahassee tomorrow. 

David Niose explores the problem of atheists gettng into elected office, saying, "it’s not as if atheists are an embarrassing segment of society." I dunno, David. Have you been in the blogosphere lately?  

Legislators in Michigan want to help religiously-based adoption agencies discriminate against gay couples

The story of Ahmed Akkari has been mentioned in the Heresy before, but now, the man who helped foment the "Danish cartoon" violence is now repentant, and is profiled anew by The Daily Beast.

Marty Kaplan on new research findings by Dan Kahan:

[S]ay goodnight to the dream that education, journalism, scientific evidence, media literacy or reason can provide the tools and information that people need in order to make good decisions. It turns out that in the public realm, a lack of information isn't the real problem. The hurdle is how our minds work, no matter how smart we think we are. We want to believe we're rational, but reason turns out to be the ex post facto way we rationalize what our emotions already want to believe. 

13-year-old Sushma Verma, a young lady in India, begins her work on a master's degree in microbiology. Right on. 

Al Qaeda's leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, issues handy jihad guidelines, asking folks to chill with the Muslim-on-Muslim violence in places where they'd otherwise be able to set up bases of operations, you know, if not for all the killing.

Pakistani school principle Salma Tanveer, accused of distributing "blasphemous notes," is instructed to write something on paper so her handwriting can be compared to the illicit documents in question. 

Indian magazine Frontline publishes an interview with persecuted skeptic activist Sanal Edamaruku, as well as several pieces on reason and superstition. 

Steven Novella takes down "quantum neurology," which he says "is just straight-chiropractic vitalism by a new name." 

In 1973, Jimmy Carter reported an unidentified flying object he'd seen in 1969, but, "ruled out the possibility that he had witnessed an alien spacecraft," according to Politico.

Hey Joe Nickell, did that guy really die because of spontaneous human combustion? Joe: Nope

The Science Channel is going to do a show on the cryptid "Mothman," which I didn't even know was a thing. (The piece includes a citation to Joe Nickell's research.) 

51% of respondents to a YouGov poll say demonic posession is a real thing, and almost half believe in exorcisms. Why almost half? I guess a few demon-believers don't think there's any getting them out, once they're in. 

Annaka Harris releases her children's book, I Wonder, on the joy of curiosity and why it's okay to say "I don't know."  

A new documentary is about to premier, Mirage Men, about the people and stories behind UFO hoaxes and paranoia

Bus ad in Pennsylvania that says nothing more than "Atheists" (and two URLs for groups in small print) spurs the County of Lackawanna Transit System to ban all religiously-themed ads.

Oh, great: Egypt's again-revised constitution will probably keep the bit about Islam being the foundation of its laws. 

Stephen Hawkins says terminally ill patients should have the right to assisted suicide, but qualifies:

There must be safeguards that the person concerned genuinely wants to end their life and are not being pressurized into it or have it done without their knowledge and consent as would have been the case with me. 

Quote of the Day

Singer Neko Case on arachnid appreciation:

You spider-haters have to turn it around! embrace the EIGHT, not the hate! They are GOOD, like bats and sharks. Poor little guys.     

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