January 3, 2013

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

Look out! Today’s date is 1/3/13!!! That’s, like, two thirteens right in a row if you ignore the slashes! And you don’t add a zero before the single-digit numbers! And you don’t write out “2013” in its entirety! 

Speaking of which, the Washington Times, the paper founded by a guy who thought he was the messiah, reports on the fear of the number 13.  

Michael De Dora reports on the UN’s resolution calling for the end of female genital mutilation, “an irreparable, irreversible abuse of human rights of women and girls.” 

WaPo profiles Representative-elect Kyrsten Sinema, who is really tired of talking about her sexual orientation and her maybe-maybe-not lack of religious belief. 

Debates percolate on the Internet about Sinema’s spiritual beliefs, a dynamic fueled by the vague responses she gives when asked about this aspect of her life. The fascination with Sinema’s spiritual life is another source of pique for her. She is frequently referred to as agnostic or non-theist. But when I asked, she wouldn’t go into detail, saying merely, “I am not a member of a faith community.” What she does believe, she says, is that Americans deserve “freedom of religion and freedom from religion.” 

SciAm: The ancients of China and Rome also felt that every sperm is sacred

Putin signs into law a requirement for Russian students to be taught fundamentals of religion

Stumbled upon blurbs for a new book that may be of interest to readers: God in Proof, a history of sorts of folks trying to prove the Big Sky Daddy’s existence.  

Paranoia over Batman-conspiracy-based school massacres closes more schools.

Daniel Peterson at the LDS’s Deseret News points at the “unattractiveness” of secularism in the wake of recent tragedies. 

Ben Radford debunks a part of his own past! 

The Legion of Doom scrambles to obstruct gay marriage equality in Illinois. 

Angels visit Sen. Mark Kirk, recently brought down by a stroke:

What Illinois’ junior U.S. senator experienced was three angels standing at the foot of his bed. 

“You want to come with us?” Kirk was asked. 

“No,” he told them. “I’ll hold off.”

Netherlands ends subsidies for religious broadcasting.

Sam Harris tackles the gun issue

Passage of contraceptive law in the Philippines marks the waning of the Catholic Church’s influence there. 

Brian Hughes at the National University of Ireland, Galway, releases his class materials for his course “Psychology, Science, & Pseudoscience.”  

Quote of the Day

Kylie Sturgess interviews skeptic star of Talk Nerdy to MeCara Santa Maria, at the CSI website. Here she is talking about false equivalencies:

When it comes to science, oftentimes there’s a right answer and a wrong answer. Sometimes we don’t know. But when we talk about this side of the argument or that side of the argument, a lot of times what we’re actually talking about is science and anti-science, non-science, junk science, or pseudoscience. And it’s very difficult for the casual reader of science to be able to tell the difference, because that’s the tricky and intelligent thing about pseudoscience peddlers. That’s why we call it pseudoscience, it sounds like science. It uses the same words.

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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