The Morning Heresy 10/15/12: Some of Us Were Blushing

October 15, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

As Election Day approaches, it's not the presidential race that has the exclusive attention of the Florida political class. It's "Amendment 8," a proposed change to the state constitution to allow taxpayer funds to flow to religious institutions -- and a reaction to a lawsuit brought by the Council for Secular Humanism concerning a proselytizing prison ministry.   

A piece by Robyn Blumner in the Tampa Bay Times quotes CFI legal guru Steven Fox on the implications of the amendment, and Blumner concludes that its passage would mean:

. . . proselytizing by the likes of the Lamb of God Ministries, the local mosque or Scientology center, and, heck, even the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster could become just another government-funded program, with all of us compelled to foot the bill. 

John Kennedy at the Palm Beach Post looks at the underlying politics, as well as the idea that Amendment 8 is a stalking horse for the voucherization of schools. 

The Ledger and Tampa Bay Tribune are the latest Florida papers to editorialize against the amendment. 

Pakistan is sending Malala Yousufzai to the UK for medical care. 

CFI's Debbie Goddard looks at the ways student groups celebrated International Blasphemy Rights Day. 

Paul Brown (no, not THAT Paul Broun) reviews Thinking Fast and Slow, and Leo Igwe tackles 50 Popular Beliefs that People Think are True for Skeptical Inquirer

Lewis-Clark State College embarrasses itself with a credulous class on psychic power taught by a "clairvoyant." 

Secular Coalition has about a bazillion new posts on the political implications of the "rise of the Nones," so just go there and browse.  

David Sessions at the Daily Beast says the uptick in nones might have a lot to do with the radicalism of the GOP base

Hemant is fuming over the American Family Association's attempts to curtail an anti-bullying initiative in schools, writing, "Lying is what the conservative Christian groups do."

Transgender Malaysians battle Shariah-based discrimination

Atheist in the Harvard Political Review urges fellow nonbelievers to support a right to endorse candidates for preachers. 

Here's a nice, clear headline: Healthcare Cures That Don't Work

My former stomping grounds of South Jersey (meaning, where I was stomped on) is a hotbed of ghost hunting activity. Sharon Hill notes that all these groups haven't gotten any closer to, you know, finding ghosts. 

Freed Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich: "I want to continue the actions of Pussy Riot, but that means you have to be more careful and you have to be more cunning."

io9 has some ideas of the theological questions that science fiction should take a stab at. 

Quote of the Day        

Sam Harris vs. that "Heaven is Real" Newsweek story:

Whether you read it online or hold the physical object in your hands, this issue of Newsweek is best viewed as an archaeological artifact that is certain to embarrass us in the eyes of future generations. Its existence surely says more about our time than the editors at the magazine meant to say—for the cover alone reveals the abasement and desperation of our journalism, the intellectual bankruptcy and resultant tenacity of faith-based religion, and our ubiquitous confusion about the nature of scientific authority. The article is the modern equivalent of a 14th-century woodcut depicting the work of alchemists, inquisitors, Crusaders, and fortune-tellers. I hope our descendants understand that at least some of us were blushing.  

Note: I looked very hard for a picture of Sam Harris doing a facepalm, and came up with nothing. This is a problem, Internet. 

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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