The Morning Heresy 5/25/12: Born Outside the Fence

May 25, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

Happy Towel Day! 

CFI-LA's Jim Underdown goes toe-to-toe with some alleged psychics on the Dr. Phil Show today! The drama! The suspense! The credulousness! I can hardly stand it.

Jim recounts his experiences on stage and backstage with some of his bitter, bitter ESP. Just Jim's retelling is very revealing:

I’m not sure of the timing of when I was revealed as a fake (psychic), but those whom I read – even those who cried – now scoffed at my abilities. Even the psychics tried to pile on with one saying that I am a psychic, though a bitter one. Wow. 

One of the (ahem) real psychics from the show faults Jim for rolling his eyes. Please allow me to now roll my eyes at this complaint about Jim rolling his eyes. 

WaPo publishes a piece by Hemant on how atheists are winning the Internet:

It wasn’t long ago when statements made in a pulpit were simply assumed to be true. Now, a child with an iPhone in the pew can find ample evidence contradicting whatever the men of God are saying. 

Oh great, now the churches are going to ban iPhones, which, as a devout SteveJobsian, is against my religion. 

At the American Conservative (!!!) Noah Millman wants to confront the misconception that moral behavior must stem from faith, with insight even for nonbelievers:

Arguing that people “need” religion strikes me as an enormous waste of time. It will not convince anyone who really believes otherwise, and the people it does convince will have been convinced out of fear. And fear is a cancer; it is no stable ground for faith. The only thing – literally the only thing – to do if you care about your faith – including the faith that you don’t need God to be good, if that’s what you believe – is to live it, for its own sake. If you do that, you don’t need to do anything else. If you don’t do that, nothing else you do matters. 

Fellow conservative, and Christian, Alan Jacobs agrees:

Shared religious commitment might be a strong, useful glue for the social order. Indeed I think it is likely to be, depending on which religion you’re talking about. But that’s no reason to believe in it.  

CFI Intern Stef McGraw blogs on the Godmother of Title XI, learns a little about fighting microinequities 

We have a new atheist political candidate, this one for Georgia's legislature, one Mike Smith. From his press release:

A Vietnam War veteran and former paratrooper, Smith now opposes all wars. "That includes the Republican wars against women, immigrants, gays, blacks, unions, and free speech."

Once shelved, George Washington's letter on religious freedom will see the light 

Austin Dacey on the real-world implications of anti-blasphemy and "defamation of religion" laws: "As goes Alexander Aan, so go we all."` 

My adopted home of Maine will once again try same-sex marriage on the November ballot, and 200 churches are raising money to oppose it, because, you know, that's what you oughta spend your charitable money on 

Kylie Sturgess posts video of the opening of the 6th World Skeptic's Conference and celebrates Towel Day

Bora Zivkovic in SciAm collects some potential science-related questions to ask the presidential candidates 

Missouri State Senator Jim Lembke tries and fails to construct a complete, coherent sentence on why his state needs a law protecting the right to pray:

I think what this does is it tries to protect those rights that are already secure but now that we have challenges over the decades and over 231 years in the courts challenging our religious freedom I think it's better for the states if we do make it clear that you have these freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and that we spell it out. 

Relatedly, UFO sightings in Missouri are up over the past year  

Did you know James Randi is going to be at CFI-DC on June 2? He totally is

Vic Losick tips us off to a new documentary he's produced:

"In God We Teach" tells the story of a high school student who secretly recorded his history teacher in class, and accused him of proselytizing for Jesus. The teacher, in danger of losing his job strenuously denied it. The specifics of the controversy lead directly to the church & state arguments that are in the news this election year. With Stephen Colbert, Alan Dershowitz, Neil deGrasse Tyson and others. 

The Kokomo Perspective (no, not the Kokomo from that awful 80s Beach Boys song) covers CFI and ACLU's suit to allow secular celebrants to solemnize marriages in Indiana 

The Legion of Doom sacrifices the poor in order to impose Bronze Age notions of sexuality on women. From Addicting Info:

[Cardinal] Dolan said that the Church would abandon Jesus’ effort to help the sick and feed the poor in protest of the contraception mandate that only applies to insurance companies and not the Church itself. 

Tunisian atheists are appealing their blasphemy convictions 

Hemant trumpets an expansion of Atheists Helping the Homeless 

Los Angeles Review of Books reviews Faith of the Faithless, which it says provides a vision of "what our politics ought to look like." 

Hank Fox sees little difference between the tobacco industry and the Catholic Church 

Quote of the Day     

Poor, befuddled Anderson Cooper, trying to figure out what the hell is going on with this awful woman who is defending her "round up the gays so they die out" pastor:

There would be more gay people born outside the fence to straight people...wouldn't there?

Anti-quote of the Day

The aforementioned awful woman:

People keep...once again! Harping, harping, harping on "electric fence, this and that." It's about the homah-SEXuals, and it's wrong!

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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The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta