Prejudice and Bigotry and Error

December 2, 2013

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

LA Times headlines CFI's big holiday Times Square ad in its piece on atheist billboarding. (Here's our announcement from last week.)

Kimberly Winston covers the Thanksgivings of seculars, with insights from CFI's own Sarah Kaiser and Jennifer Beahan.

Our Office of Public Policy weighs in on the announcement that SCOTUS will take up Hobby Lobby's help-help-I'm-being-oppressed challenge to the Affordable Care Act:

The Center for Inquiry has always, and will always, defend the right of individuals to worship or not worship as they choose. However, we will also always fight to ensure that the government does not unfairly prioritize or promote religion, forcing it into people’s lives. 

Law professor Bruce Ledewitz says that if folks like Hobby Lobby get their way, they may inadvertently kill the Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

[I]f RFRA really means what the plaintiffs in the Affordable Care Act litigation claim that it means — that religious believers are free to invoke the protections of the act no matter how minuscule their legal obligations appear to be and despite a commercial and even profit-making context — then RFRA is unworkable and will inevitably be repealed.  

For that special critical thinker in your life, here's some CFI swag for the holidays

USA Today: Islamic superstition and conspiracy theories are preventing people from getting polio vaccines in some countries, and outbreaks result.

Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola release their new book on clergy who are secretly atheist, Caught in The Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind

Your allergy or aversion to gluten need no longer hold you back from THE LORD

The Center for Media and Democracy is none too happy with Google's funding of some anti-science outfits, just as CFI has criticized them for their activities. 

In an interview, Tunisian activist Amel Grami discusses the plight of women and secularism:

Some activists who are well known have received death threats, so we cannot go to these areas without risking our lives. And secondly, there is now a division of space, and many areas dominated by Salafists are deliberately avoided. A small number of people who use violence have become powerful, and even the policemen are afraid.  

Atheist toast

The Calgary Herald editorializes against "herbal remedies" used on sick children:

If adults wish to practise alternative medicine on themselves, that’s their choice and the consequences will befall only them. But a child has no choice in the matter, and while treating a minor sunburn, for example, with tea tree oil is harmless, when it comes to infection or illness, the parents have an absolute duty to take the child to a doctor for treatment. 

RealClearScience has a listicle-slideshow thing of highlighting some of the pseudoscientific crap you can buy.

A picture of the Virgin Mary cures a man's blindness. That's awfully nice of her. 

According to a study, the Grand Canyon makes people feel all God-y. The headline is, of course, offensive. 

Two men in Saudi Arabia are arrested for the crime of offering free hugs

Trinity Broadcasting co-founder Paul Crouch is dead at 79

Here's a handy-dandy map of America's lake monsters

Des Moines is afraid for its precious bodily fluids

Whoever killed Indian skeptic Narendra Dabholkar is still out there

Dutch MPs are getting squishy about scrapping the country's blasphemy law. 

At Cosmopolitan, David Ingber allows an astrologer to try and make him a believer. 

Global Post looks at the history of the intermingling of church and state in the U.S. 

WSJ on how superstition and "the illusion of control" can be useful, according to a study:

[F]or people under pressure to compete or perform, superstitious behavior can create a placebo effect that can improve the outcome.  

A golfer loses a sponsorship from an atheist businessman for his open support of Glenn Beck and Ted Cruz. 

Interesting infographic on religion and marriage in the U.S. 

xkcd shows that it's a beautiful day in the planetary neighborhood

Quote of the Day

"Being offended is part of how we learn." That's how a short video with Jonathan Rauch begins that's getting a lot of attention in skepto-atheist circles. He says:

Prejudice and bigotry and error are not the enemy of knowledge. They're the raw material of knowledge. The enemy of knowledge is that kind of certitude that won't let you put prejudice and bigotry and error out there and won't let you test it. Because if you can't test the bad stuff in order to weed out the good stuff, all you have is bad stuff. 

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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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#1 Randy (Guest) on Monday December 02, 2013 at 8:34pm

“...weed out the good stuff…”

When I weed, I weed out the weeds, not the good stuff.

For this metaphor to work, the weed would have to be good. 


OK then.

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