Happy Y2K12.95

December 12, 2012

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

As insidious as many folks find a confluence of numbers within a date, I think folks will feel much better about 12/12/12 knowing that it’s National Sound Check Day (“one-two, one-two, one-two”). Could also be National 2/4 Time Signature Day. Anyway, CNN rounds up some of the superstitions surrounding today’s date.

CFI’s John Shook makes the case for humanism’s strength as a moral foundation:

[Humanist] principles are advanced as proposals, working well for most of humanity so far, and testable in the course of future human experience. Forms of democracy, for example, are not static dogmas; as another example, additional human rights may need to be respected in the future. 

In Free Inquiry, Ophelia Benson writes about the disconnect between atheism and feminism, and specifically calls out Michael Shermer:

Why isn’t the gender split in atheism closer to 50-50? Shermer explained [on The Point], “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.” [ . . . ] Would Shermer have said that if the question had been about race instead of gender? Would he have said “it’s more of a white thing”? It seems very unlikely. 

In eSkeptic, Shermer responds at length, including:

. . . I believe the actual sex ratio is 50/50. And for the record I don’t believe for a moment that women are not smart enough to do nonbelief thinking, or any other type of cognition for that matter. 

Sen. Claire McCaskill is tired of not being able to use her iPad during takeoff (me too!):

The current rules are inconvenient to travelers, don’t make sense, and lack a scientific basis. Airline employees have the incredibly important job of keeping us safe in the air—their efforts are better spent worrying about rules that actually accomplish that goal.

On C-SPAN, author and filmmaker Tom Shachtman talks about the relationship between science and the Founding Fathers (who as we all know wanted a Christian theocracy). 

According to Zack Kopplin, Louisiana’s voucher program is shelling out $11.6 million to schools teaching creationism.

Speaking of shelling out, American Atheists puts up a Christmas billboard in Times Square

Mano Singham on whether sciencey folks should police themselves from using words like “faith” and “belief,” calls it “an exercise in futility.”  

This site is crazy: Starting from when you arrive at this page, it shows you each birth and death in the U.S. as it’s recorded. Whoa. 

Pale Blue Dot gets the kinetic text treatment. 

A bill in UK’s parliament would allow gay marriages, but not in the “established church.” 

Yuri Milner’s Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation drops $3 million on Stephen Hawking and CERN scientists for being awesome.

Mosquiitos are not impressed by your high-pitched noises. 

Who needs stem cells when you’ve got pee? What? 

The New Statesman interviews Elise Andrew, the woman behind the Facebook page “I Fucking Love Science.” 

Christian conservative radio host Matt Barber wants to punch FFRF in the mouth, whatever that looks like. 

Despite constitutional questions, McPherson, Kansas’s police department will go ahead with plans for volunteer chaplains

A good response to reports of UFOs in San Francisco: “Absolutely, tequila was maybe an influence here.” 

Steven Kalas of the Las Vegas Review-Journal challenges a critic who doesn’t like his characterization of the “religious right.” 

Q: What happens when you overexpress gene HOXD13? A: OMG LEGS ON A FISH!!! 

Quote of the Day

My favorite movie actor ever, Sir Ian McKellan, on Twitter:

I don’t believe in God, but I know Gandalf exists.

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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