The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Our boss Ron Lindsay announced this morning that he’ll be resigning from CFI at the end of 2015. Though this grieves me mightily, he will certainly be going out with CFI in excellent shape, and he’s leaving us a good long time to have a smooth transition to the next overlord. Richard Dawkins tweets:
There goes a good man. Thanks, Ron, and no doubt you’ll give the secular world a great last year in office.
And because Ron likes to avoid controversy at all costs, here’s his post on Israel:
Support for Israel, at least humanist support for Israel, has been predicated in large part on the understanding that Israel is a democracy that respects fundamental human rights, arguably the only such government in that region of the world. Yes, Israel has from time-to-time taken military action that may seem unduly harsh and punitive, but these actions have been accepted as unfortunate but necessary measures to confront the threats against Israel. Permanent suppression by military force, which is what an indefinite occupation of the West Bank and Gaza would entail, is not acceptable. It certainly is not consistent with humanist principles.
But hey, other things happened too over the past two weeks! Dig the latest Cause & Effect newsletter.
Over the weekend, folks rallied in DC to demand justice for Avijit Roy, murdered last month in Bangladesh. CFI’s Michael De Dora and Ed Beck were on hand.
Ed Brayton gives our own Michael De Dora mad props for his work at the UN Human Rights Council:
It’s so great to watch Michael become a rock star at the UN and to have the fortitude to speak truth to power with such boldness.
I supposed that in time, more and more supposed “atheists” and “non-believers” will feel more free to talk about their Belief in the FSM. I completely understand why some of us say we see FSM as satire. But times are changing.
“If I had been there, I would have burned her, too.” That is a not-uncommon reaction in Afghanistan to the mob-killing of a mentally ill woman accused of burning pages of a Quran.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali opines in the Wall Street Journal on Islam’s need for a reformation:
I do not seek to inspire another war on terror or extremism—violence in the name of Islam cannot be ended by military means alone. Nor am I any sort of “Islamophobe.” At various times, I myself have been all three kinds of Muslim: a fundamentalist, a cocooned believer and a dissident. My journey has gone from Mecca to Medina to Manhattan. … I left the faith, despite the threat of the death penalty prescribed by Shariah for apostates. Future generations of Muslims deserve better, safer options. Muslims should be able to welcome modernity, not be forced to wall themselves off, or live in a state of cognitive dissonance, or lash out in violent rejection.
This is nuts: Some monster in California submits a proposition for the state ballot that would legalize the murder of gay people, I’m not kidding, and because of the absurd rules surrounding initiatives, attorney general Kamala Harris may be forced to sign off on it (even though the state’s Supreme Court would likely invalidate it before it ever actually reached the ballot).
CFI-L.A.’s director Jim Underdown has begun a regular radio feature called “You Are Smart”:
The two-minute feature is like an elevator pitch: a brief snapshot of evidence-based thinking that anyone could express in the few minutes it takes to ride an elevator to the desired floor.
Not only is Neil Young’s high-res audio Pono player based on flaky pseudoscience, seems his claims to have been “working with” Steve Jobs on the idea was also, let’s say, not reality-based.
Looks like San Antonio’s police department opens every day with prayers.
Tim Farley doesn’t like Dr. Oz, but he likes misinformation even more, and that’s why he eradicates lies about Oz on Wikipedia:
Because of his current fame, Dr. Oz has been a repeated target for attacks. I’ve removed an accusation that he is a bad surgeon, undone some veiled anti-Muslim sentiment from his article and removed weasel words about his training. I’ve even erased the phrase “quack doctor” from his biography! … Skeptics should not tolerate name-calling and bias on Wikipedia, whether it is for us or against us. And the editing history will back us up when we point this out.
Derek Beres at Big Think on homeopathy:
While [the placebo effect] has incredible implications for how we heal ourselves, it does not excuse homeopathic companies from making a profit pimping placebo pills. It amazed me that people posted studies supporting the efficacy of homeopathy sponsored by the British Homeopathic Association. These were the same people that would denounce a cancer drug study sponsored by Pfizer, unable to see the inconsistency in their logic.
Brian Clegg suggests health warnings on alt-med products, such as for homeopathy: “WARNING — contains no active ingredients. If taken in place of medical treatment could result in harm or death”
Robin Ince explains the thinking behind his pro-science one-man-show:
The main thing is to not offer a harsh critique of where we think people are wrong. Instead, I try to offer the beautiful imagery and ideas that things like the theory of evolution can give you. I try to talk about the journey that has led to the variety of life on the only planet that we know of that actually has life.
A co-founder of Greenpeace comes out as a climate change science-denier.
Ted Cruz is announcing his presidential candidacy at Liberty University. Hemant reminds us:
Remember: The first official act of Cruz’s campaign is speaking at the university founded by the guy who blamed 9/11 on feminists, gays and lesbians, the ACLU, and those who supported abortion rights. How much more symbolic can you get for what lies ahead?
Quote of the Day:
Personally, I thought that his claim of having participated in an exorcism performed on his friend in college would have been more of an issue than it was, but that was just me.
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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