The Morning Heresy 10/19/12: Now Pork-Free!

October 19, 2012

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

CFI's Michael De Dora heralds the news that a bloc of Islamic nations is dropping is efforts to lobby the UN to adopt binding blasphemy laws, but cautions:

. . . concerned secularists should not sit back and relax. As evidenced in the Center for Inquiry's new report "Dissent Denied," many countries around the world simply international agreements and have in place blasphemy laws that punish innocent people for victimless crimes. But also, the OIC has signaled that, instead of pushing for a blasphemy ban, it will appeal to member states to apply hate speech laws to criticism of religion. 

Speaking of free expression, Michael joined the panel on HuffPost Live to talk about Twitter's recent censoring of a neo-Nazi group in Germany.

Greta Christina opens up about a new challenge for her: A cancer diagnosis. She asks for some help, and the atheosphere is responding. 

James Croft illustrates why "coming out" evangelical is not the same as coming out as gay:

When I walk down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand I am not worried that someone will write a strongly-worded article mocking my choice in partner – I am afraid that someone will shout vile epithets, follow us with violent abuse, attack us, kill us. 

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals rules the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional

At Friendly Atheist, I tease out some of the highlights of a new study about anti-atheist discrimination

Sharon Hill wants more accuracy and clarity in reporting about the effect of things like cell phones and wifi routers on "electormagnetic sensitivity."

A document dump reveals 14,500 pages of records of cover-ups and complaints about child sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America

Meanwhile, the UK's Scouts ban a boy for being an atheist

Dinesh D'Souza d'sgusts his d'sciples with his d'generate d'portment, and is d'smissed.  

Dana Priest at WaPo: Behind the attack on Malala Yousafzai may be the leader of a Taliban cell whose broadcasts earned him the nickname "Mullah Radio." 

Don't let meningitis spoil your hajj. Now there's a pork-free vaccine.

(That is a nominee for the most silly-sounding sentence I've ever written.) 

Preacher who pesters university students succumbs to peer pressure and leaves. 

NCSE is encouraged by a new report on American attitudes about the reality of climate change. 

Evangelist Alex McFarland says that Christianity is losing ground to secularism because in the 1970s the churches failed to accept the hippies.

Be Scofield at HuffPo, while mainly encouraged by Atheism+, sees problems:

It's problematic for the most vocal proponents of Atheism+ and its social justice agenda to also be the quickest to either want to destroy or refuse to take seriously the "refuge" that religion can play.  

You can now sign up for the CFI Institute's course, "Critical Inquiry: The Appeal to Reason." 

Grant LaFleche: We need more atheist charity at the local level.

Homeopath snake-oiler says to stock up on fake remedies just in case there's an epidemic. 

The Secular Coalition wants to be able to see Russia from its state chapter

This hovercraft will find Bigfoot!!! 

Pacific Standard lists 10 non-existent beasts who get overshadowed by the likes of Nessie and Sasquatch. My favorite name? The "Pope Lick Monster." The Star-Ledger of NJ has its own round-up of "cryptids."

Trying to make a case for Florida's Amendment 8, Dea Wilkins makes the following false claim about the Council for Secular Humanism:

Based on the current law, the Council for Secular Humanism has mounted a constitutional challenge to a prison ministry. If successful, it will deny that ministry the ability to deliver much-needed services to those who are incarcerated, simply because of the faith-basis of the organization. This is discriminatory on its face and underscores the need to protect the time-honored tradition of government–nonprofit partnerships which can efficiently provide services for the most needy in our communities.

Wrong! The Council's suit has to do with faith-based institutions that are using public funds for sectarian purposes, not secular purposes. 

What else was there? Oh yeah! CFI's got a new DC executive office! I hear it's nice. 

Quote of the Day        

Sean Lawrence Otto in SciAm on the existential danger of anti-science attitudes in US politics:

By falsely equating knowledge with opinion, postmodernists and antiscience conservatives alike collapse our thinking back to a pre-Enlightenment era, leaving no common basis for public policy. Public discourse is reduced to endless warring opinions, none seen as more valid than another. Policy is determined by the loudest voices, reducing us to a world in which might makes right—the classic definition of authoritarianism. 

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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

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