I Really Don’t Want to Be a Jerk

December 2, 2014

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

Yesterday we announced that the wife of imprisoned Saudi dissident Raif Badawi, Ensaf Haidar, had provided to CFI a rare look at a Saudi judicial document detailing the (non)offenses of Badawi and the medieval charged brought against him. 

Hemant Mehta reacts to the document:

To those who say faith is a virtue, go ahead and defend this. I don’t know how you can. All Badawi did was express his thoughts, which didn’t fall in line with a certain interpretation of Islam and was critical of the government. And based on the reaction he got, Badawi was right. It’s just appalling what’s happening to him.

(Hemant also has an excerpt from Ron Lindsay’s new book The Necessity of Secularism.)

Pew has updated data on countries that penalize blasphemy and apostasy, as Iran has sentenced Soheil Arabi to hang for Facebook posts “insulting the prophet.”

We have a fascinating new episode of Point of Inquiry, as Josh Zepps talks to Andrew Hodges, biographer of the great Alan Turing.  

Now this is interesting: Kimberly Winston talks to atheist anti-religion “trolls,” the dudes you see in comment sections and on Twitter goading the religious into arguments. Says “Atheist Max”:

I really don’t want to be a jerk. I’m determined not to attack the person, but the belief. I’m not sure if that has worked, but I’m looking for better ways all the time. 

CFI-Fort Lauderdale’s Jeanette Medea is featured in a Sun-Sentinel piece about an interfaith panel discussion on spirituality

Bob Smietana reports on new data showing that half of Americans want religion disconnected from civil marriage, including a quarter of Protestant pastors. 

Philip Kitcher, author of Life After Faith: The Case for Secular Humanism, tells Chris Stedman that the problem with “new atheism” is that it hasn’t offered anything to replace religion, and I’m all, so

This is kind of neat: a company that makes a popular software keyboard I use on both iOS and Android, SwiftKey, also helps Stephen Hawking communicate.

Do you like nature? I don’t. Do you like Nature? Like, the scientific journal? Guess what. All of it’s now free to read

Ben Radford is cited for his Chupacabra research in this piece about cryptids.  

Wow, turns out that the James Watson, super-genius, is also kind of a super-jerk:

[H]e really outdid himself seven years ago when he told the Sunday Times that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really.” He further said that while we may wish intelligence to be equal across races, “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.” 

Comets are cool, sure, but let’s get a gander at Pluto, as New Horizons is about to make contact after a 9-year journey. 

Behold the Antikythera Mechanism, perhaps the first “computer,” from 205 BCE. I can’t wait for the adventure film that presumes it to have magic powers that an evil organization MUST get its hands on. 

Zombie Muhammad is apparently now an Orthodox Christian and doesn’t like Stars of David and, oh I don’t know. 

Rick Santorum, who still exists, declares, unoriginally, that the concept of church-state separation is a Communist fabrication. So which church should not be separated from the state? I’m going to guess Rick’s.

American Atheists, they like billboards. (That kid is cute.) 

Chopra has a happiness formula.  

Here’s your yearly reminder that the Netherlands has a totally racist version of the Santa Claus shtick with his sidekick “Black Pete.” (“Zwarte Piet.”) 

Quote of the Day

Anthropologist John Terrell says human evolutionary history contradicts tenets of libertarianism:

The thought that it is both rational and natural for each of us to care only for ourselves, our own preservation, and our own achievements is a treacherous fabrication.    

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Image by Shutterstock 

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