The Morning Heresy 8/22/12: $2000 Curse Insurance

August 22, 2012

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

Michael De Dora has good news about the outcome of a meeting between the State Department and representatives of the secular movement regarding the freedom to doubt. 

The latest Point of Inquiry podcast features Arie Kruglanski talking about closed-mindedness, but I know I'm totally not interested, and there's nothing you could say to make me change my mind. 

The Loch Ness Wet Lump, the nationally admired photo that proves Nessie's existence? Probably - gasp! - a hoax

CFI welcomed with gratitude a grant from the James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust intended for upgrades to computer technology at the Amherst HQ. Apparently, this was even exciting enough for the Buffalo News and Buffalo Business First to cover!  

A guest-poster at Friendly Atheist attends a faith healing service, and is underwhelmed.

Sharon Hill on a pricey iPhone add-on to help you detect whether your organic food is safe:

Apparently it will work as a radon detector and help you judge when a nuclear accident has taken place. Or something.  

Adam Lee on his atheist activism:

If the only thing we aim to accomplish with our atheist activism is feeling superior - if our only goal is to get together and chortle about how much more rational we are than those benighted religious people - then I don't want to be part of the atheist movement. 

(What's that? He said my Skepchick post was his favorite of the series? I hadn't noticed.) 

San Diego State University's paper The Aztec profiles Prof. Roy Whitaker who teaches classes in atheism and "Hip-Hop and Religion."

Todd "Legitimate" Akin vows to stay in the Missouri Senate race, goes "Full Fetus" on his campaign page. 

Susan Froetschel at WaPo wonders if the Akin scandal will start to push women away from religion:

The code from fundamentalists sends a message that good women are not raped. 

The Washington National Cathedral's official magazine does a Q&A with Obama and Romney on their faith. Here's a link to download the full PDF

$2000 bucks to keep a psychic from putting a curse on you. Sounds like a bargain. 

Ben Radford writes about the fruitless quest of a bad-luck-stricken ex-Baywatcher who just can't find Noah's Ark

Also from Ben, the FDA has unearthed some sketchy activity from manufacturers of homeopathic junk. 

Vitamins touted as alternative anti-psychotic in Canada, health officials doing nothing about it. 

The Curiosity rover best watch out for an attack from Martian dead piexls. Zombie pixels? 

SCA's Lauren Youngblood warns of the threat to our understanding of history from the likes of David Barton. 

Greta Christina at Salon/AlterNet on the secular scientists who have had enormous impacts on civilization. 

Harvard Humanists' James Croft backs the "Atheism+" idea, even though it overlaps conceptually with humanism:

But if other people want to organize under a different banner toward similar goals I’m happy to march beside them. I just want to ensure we share resources, don’t compete unnecessarily, and learn from what has already been accomplished. 

NYT Magazine does a long profile of Clergy Project graduate, deconverted former pastor Jerry DeWitt, who says:

I know people who went to a more liberal kind of Christianity and were happy with that. The problem is, for me, there was a process involved in moving from Pentecostalism to a more liberal theology, like Grace Church. What makes me different is that process didn’t stop, and it took me all the way. In the end, I couldn’t help feeling that all religion, even the most loving kind, is just a speed bump in the progress of the human race. 

Pakistan's President Zardari orders a probe on the blasphemy charges against 11-year-old Ramsha Masih to see if the law was "misused"....

Quote of the Day      

Nina Shea at National Review -- yes, THAT National Review -- in a condemnation of anti-blasphemy laws:

When asked about the case at yesterday’s press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland spoke in terms of “misuse of the blasphemy law.” It is time for U.S. diplomats to recognize that this is not a problem of “misuse.” No reform or legal tweaking can perfect this law. It is an irredeemably unjust statute that is routinely used to persecute minorities, crush reformers, and in the process subvert the rule of law and individual freedoms.

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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