The Radical Unity of Narratives

January 12, 2015

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

As I talked about in the Heresy last week, Saudi Arabia carried out the first 50 of its 1000 lashes on Raif Badawi on Friday. Condemnations came from such voices as the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the European Union, the Washington Post, and countless others. Our own Michael De Dora discovered this footage which seems to be of the event itself, from someone obviously trying to hide the fact that they were recording it.

Amnesty International reports: “Raif raised his head towards the sky, closing his eyes and arching his back. He was silent, but you could tell from his face and his body that he was in real pain.”

Paris was flooded by peaceful demonstrators in a show of solidarity for Charlie Hebdo and free expression, and those marching together included world leaders like François Hollande, Angela Merkel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, King Abdullah, and David Cameron.

CFI-UK’s Stephen Law examines the arguments against publishing Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons poking fun at figures of Islam:

[T]he kind of satirical material publishers have held back from publishing – and should be publishing now – is the kind of material they have been happy enough to publish when lampooning other faiths, despite the fact that it also causes offence.

David Brooks says the Hebdo attacks should be “an occasion to end speech codes. And it should remind us to be legally tolerant toward offensive voices.”

France sends police and military to protect Jewish schools from possible attack.

21-year-old Egyptian Karim al-Banna is sentenced to three years in prison for announcing his atheism on Facebook.

CFI-Michigan’s Jennifer Beahan and Shirley Draft sat down for a great interview about the need for community and support among nonbelievers on WGVU radio.

Ross Pomeroy reminds us that debunking myths is not as simple as presenting the facts:

What matters most is the overarching narrative. For a single fact or even a group of facts to topple a mindset is an immense task.

I’m puzzled by Kristin Dombek’s essay at NYT on how astrology is kind of okay:

Critiques of astrological thinking that assume it is opposed to science tend to ignore the “sort of” and “as if”: the radical utility of narratives that provide a sense of connection to a cosmic drama.

Five years after the earthquake in Haiti, treating the epidemic of depression and mental illness requires doctors to collaborate with voodoo priests to treat people.

Our Office of Public Policy’s bill tracker is getting busier.

Variety reports on the Discovery Channel’s plans to reclaim some credibility.

Carly Weeks at The Globe and Mail reports on the problem of marketing alt-med cold remedies to parents. “There’s really no evidence any of them work.”

Could a new dream-recording app help determine who is and isn’t having prophetic dreams? Meh.

You knew this already, but research confirms that men have trouble believing that there is sexism in the sciences.

Fossil fragments of a “uniquely Scottish” ichthyosaur are found, leading to dumb “Nessie’s relative” headlines.

Kansas City Star profiles the nonreligious community group Kansas City Oasis.

King, North Carolina opts not to wage an expensive legal battle with Americans United over a sectarian war memorial.

The Onion reports that 9/11 was only half of an inside job.

Do my telomeres took small to you?

Quote of the Day

Nate Resnikoff pred
icts the next-next Star Wars movie:

STAR WARS VIII: De-Sithification of the Stormtroopers Has Left Us Without an Effective Military Command Structure

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Image by Shutterstock.

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