Here’s Where Science and Brainless Merge

January 11, 2013

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

Apparently the “nones” are leveling off, just as we were “rising,” like, five minutes ago. Who can keep up? 

The Supreme Court turns down an appeal to stop embryonic stem cell research. 

Anti-gay pastor Louie Giglio takes himself out of the presidential inauguration ceremony. Sarah Posner unpacks the mess.

In this interview, Hemant Mehta says atheists aren’t a bunch of mean jerks. Speak for yourself, Mr. Generalizations. 

Hemant also excerpts a new book, Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer

Alan Jacobs (one of my favorite writers, I should say) at The American Conservative is having trouble with Susan Jacoby’s NYT atheism op-ed:

Atheism is a metaphysical stance with no obvious ethical entailments. “There is no God and therefore I should be compassionate” is a syllogism with evident missing parts. If you don’t believe in a loving God who wants us also to be loving, any compassion you demonstrate doesn’t derive from your not believing something, but from your believing something about what human beings owe to one another. (I have known compassionate atheists, but their compassion derived from those positive beliefs that they would have shared with some but not all of their fellow atheists.) 

The super-enthusiastic Sarah Kaiser highlights the Secular Student Alliance at Presbyterian College as our CFI On Campus affiliate of the week.

Sharon Hill is the skeptic enforcer on an article about sweetened drinks and depression:

STOP RIGHT THERE. You just got a citation issued by the Science Police. 

Oh snap! 

Surly Amy promises more Surly Grants for conferences, including a grant specific for men to attend the Women in Secularism 2 conference. Neat idea! 

Speaking of WiS2, Mark David Barnhill is spurred to attend due to the idiotic attacks on the conference on the interwebs:

So thank you, guy with the sophomoric, nearly clever parody account. Thanks for a gentle reminder just when I needed it. I’ll make it work. I’m going.  

Peter Berger sees the sense in humanist community as help for those in the wake of a tragedy, but doubts its potency:

. . . religion offers something much more central than community in the abstract: It offers a community gathered around the message that death is not the final word about an individual life and nothingness not the final destiny of the universe. At any rate this is the message shared by the Abrahamic faiths that came to Newtown. Whether this message is true or not, humanism in the sense of “no faith” cannot offer a plausible alternative. 

Yesterday, our boss Ron asked folks for input into the goings-on of the HEADS meeting. Stephanie Zvan takes him up

Aliens come to Amherst. (Massachusetts, not New York. CFI HQ is safe.) 

David Gibson reports that fewer Americans see homosexuality as sinful.  

Quote of the Day

Steve Kabelowsky on the preponderance of Bigfoot programming:

Sometimes TV shows need to be brainless fun, you know, give our minds a chance to relax and zone out. It’s the reason why we can call the TV the idiot box. However, some of these programs that focus on the research tracking bigfoot, treat themselves like the greatest of scientific documentaries. Here’s where science and brainless merge. 

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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