The Morning Heresy 8/29/12: Bibles Left Unthumped
August 29, 2012
Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Today is my wife Jessica's birthday! Happy anniversary of the end of your gestation, sweetie. I love you!
Did you watch any of the GOP convention last night? I sure did. I have thoughts about it, of course, but one thing relevant to this blog is how little I heard from the theocratic wing of the party. Very little, at least from the main speakers, about God or Jesus or what have you. Indeed, I only heard Mormonism mentioned once, by Ann Romney about her courtship with Mitt. Even Santorum was light on the fire and brimstone (but, shall we say, heavy-handed). Mike Huckabee comes on tonight, so, we may see some Bibles thumped yet.
But also in politics: Last night, nontheist former state senator from Arizona Kyrsten Sinema won the Democratic nomination for U.S. House in AZ's 9th District! She will face Republican Vernon Parker in November for this open seat. (More on Sinema from Hemant.)
Romney campaign comes out unequivocally against facts.
Michael Nugent suggests fashioning the drive for social justice within the secular movement into what he calls "Ethical Atheism," which is not explicitly in contrast to the Atheism+ branding, but is being taken that way. Anyway, it's all very good stuff.
James Croft: No, no, no, listen, A+ people, Humanism really isn't religious, guys. (And he's right.) Croft writes:
While Humanists need not embrace the exact nature or justification of [religious] practices, we recognize that some people do derive legitimate satisfaction and value from them. This does not mean we should withhold principled criticism, but it does mean that we should recognize that there is some value for some people in certain religious practices. If there are ways of secularizing the practices of religion which people find value, extracting any Inhumane elements while maintaining pieces of value, then Humanists recognize this as a legitimate choice for some. We also understand that many will not wish to do this, which is also a legitimate choice.
Here's a thing: I discovered yesterday that I'd been bamboozled on Twitter by someone posing as an Atheism+ supporter who preferred anonymity, and I was really nice to them, only to find they had been pulling our legs and was really there to mock the whole enterprise. This is why I don't trust anyone, you see?
On September 9, CFI's public policy guy Michael De Dora will join a Harvard Humanist Project panel discussion on "the need for love." I didn't know Michael was so lonely.
The guy who is to become the Archbishop of San Francisco (yes, that is a thing) is arrested for drunk driving.
On the latest Point of Inquiry, Indre Viskontas talks to Temple Grandin about animal welfare in the livestock industry.
Rachel Mann at the Guardian: Zombies = consumerism. Cure = The church.
Father of Rimsha Masih, the 11-year-old girl arrested for blasphemy, appeals to Pakistan's President Zardari for a pardon.
Ed Brayton reminds us of the horrors visited upon others accused of blasphemy in Pakistan, and even their family members.
Russian legislator proposes harsher penalties for blasphemy.
Just to keep it even-Steven, Cardinal Dolan will now also bless the Democratic National Convention. So, that's, um, great.
At The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, Kyle Cupp tortuously rejects a key component of church-state separation:
Can I still accurately call myself a secularist? If by this label we mean one who supports formal church and state separation, then yes; but if we mean one who desires law and public policy to be based in reason alone, then no.
Couple in Grimsby, Ontario fight to be allowed to distribute atheist book for 5th graders.
Tom Flynn gets his feelings about an atheist "prayer" off his chest.
Joe Nickell is unimpressed by ParaNorman.
Weird Cloud Atlas helps you figure out if you're looking at clouds or aliens, which I also didn't know was a thing.
Christof Koch, a California Institute of Technology neuroscientist, wrestles with the idea of a soul.
Chicago Now publishes a bizarre, borderline-offensive post about how, apparently. atheists are loud, awful domestic abusers. That's what I got from it, anyway.
DJ Grothe gives a positive review to Kylie Sturgess's The Scope of Skepticism.
Naturopath hilariously named "Les Moore" explains how new alt-med discoveries cleanse the brain or something.
Quote of the Day
From Michael Nugent's draft manifesto on Ethical Atheism:
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.
We should rigorously promote atheism as a core foundation of investigating reality, because once we permit supernatural ideas to corrupt our investigations, we are conceding that literally any claim can be made without the need for evidence to support it.
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The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta
#1 Ophelia Benson on Wednesday August 29, 2012 at 8:36am
Ethical Atheism is being taken as in contrast to Atheism+? I didn’t know that - I took it as being in similarity, not to say in companionship. That’s my sunny optimistic friendly disposition.
Psst - typo - Kylie, not Kyle.
#2 Ophelia Benson on Wednesday August 29, 2012 at 8:38am
Sturgess, that is. I see there’s also a Cupp. That one really is Kyle, for all I know. Sturgess not so much.
#3 Paul Fidalgo on Wednesday August 29, 2012 at 8:55am
Well I give up. <deletes blog>
And I am presuming that the Ethical Atheism thing is a contrast/augmentation of what’s happening with the plussers. But I could be wrong.
#4 Ophelia Benson on Wednesday August 29, 2012 at 9:07am
Yeah don’t delete blog. If I didn’t love it I wouldn’t be reading closely enough to spot a rare typo!
#5 Griff on Wednesday August 29, 2012 at 10:56am
I know this won’t work, but I’ll try anyway. Our government, by design, is to take NO POSITION on matters of faith. No position. None. Zip.
Secularism is a position. Just as religiosity is a position. The neither/nor principle—the basis for our concept of state-church separation—is obliterated when the state takes a side.
Kyle Cupp seems to have figured out the obvious: that the policy divide between left and right is a moral one, not something “based on” reason. You’d better school him before he breaks camp completely and commits the ultimate secular sin—i.e., consulting a dictionary. Once someone discovers that words have meaning, gone are his or her days of either/or certainty.