Scholars the World Over, Abandon Your Studies!

January 16, 2015

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

It’s Religious Freedom Day.

The second round of floggings for Raif Badawi were to take place today, but due to his medical condition, it is reported that the next lashings have been postponed so he can heal from the first lashings. Ali Rizvi goes on CNN to lend his personal perspective to the story. 

This footage of press speaking to a State Department representative about this is not encouraging, as she asserts, “We’re not in the business of demanding things.” But she does support your right to make a snowman, so there’s that.

The Guardian has some selections of Raif’s own writings:

Secularism respects everyone and does not offend anyone … Secularism … is the practical solution to lift countries (including ours) out of the third world and into the first world. 

So even though it doesn’t necessarily feel like it, it is Religious Freedom Day, and our Office of Public Policy has some constructive action you can take

At Huffington Post, our boss Ron Lindsay goes after the pope’s mother!!! Not really. BUT REALLY. No, not really:

If Pope Francis does not want religious beliefs criticized, then he should advise all believers to keep their views private–as private as his relationship with his mother. 

Likewise, Brian Pellot goes after the pope’s backward view of free expression:

Religion, just like everything else, is fair game for satirists. In suggesting that faith be protected from public scrutiny just because some consider it sacred or sensitive, Pope Francis negates the very essence and definition of free speech.

CFI’s David Koepsell writes that when speech offends, the cure is more, better speech. Public censure is fine, bringing the law to bear is not. 

We didn’t quite believe this one when we first heard it: Oxford University Press is forbidding the use of words like pig, sausage, and pork in children’s books order to avoid offending Muslims. 

Suzanne Moore calls herself “faithophobic“:

Last week I asked for us to continue in our disrespect and I meant it. Why must I have respect for religions that have little respect for me? That seek to curtail the rights of women? That find me unclean?  

Turns out Alex Malarkey, “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” never really went there. You don’t say. 

American churches are shown to be heavily segregated by race, and a new study shows that most churchgoers are fine with that

Scientific paper says that Earth has crossed four of nine dire “planetary boundaries” — extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide; and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous into the ocean — pushing us out of “safe operating space.”

Meanwhile, most Americans don’t care much about the problem of global warming, but more care than used to.  

Mario Aguilar at Gizmodo looks at Neil Young’s new Pono player and the fad of “high-resolution audio,” which is rife with pseudoscience:

To the human ear, audio sampled above 44.1 kHz/16-bit is inaudibly different. … The point is that you don’t need fancy hardware to make music sound good, and that no amount of hardware will make your ears hear better than the limits of biology and physics. 

John Podesta, White House power broker, UFO enthusiast.

Quote of the Day

Raif Badawi, who’s pretty damn funny:

Actually, this venerable preacher has drawn my attention to a truth that had been hidden from me and my dear readers – namely, the existence of the so-called “Sharia astronomer”. What a wonderful appellation! In my humble experience and in the course of my not inconsiderable research into the universe, its origins and the stars, I have never once come across this term. I advise NASA to abandon its telescopes and, instead, turn to our Sharia astronomers, whose keen vision and insight surpass the agency’s obsolete telescopes. Indeed, I advise all other scholars the world over, of whatever discipline, to abandon their studies, laboratories, research centres, places of experimentation, universities, institutes etc. and head at
once to the study groups of our magnificent preachers to learn from them all about modern medicine, engineering, chemistry, microbiology, geology, nuclear physics, the science of the atom, marine sciences, the science of explosives, pharmacology, anthropology etc. – alongside astronomy, of course. God bless them! They have shown themselves to be the final authority with the decisive word in everything, which all mankind must accept, submit to and obey without hesitation or discussion.  

* * *  

Image by Shutterstock

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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)! 

The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta