Ceres, and Unfortunate Events

March 2, 2015

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

The punishment just keeps on coming. Raif Badawi may be re-tried under the charge of apostasy, and thereby face the death penalty.

Following the brutal murder of Avijit Roy by Islamic extremists in Bangladesh, our own Michael De Dora (a friend and admirer of Roy’s) made the media rounds over the weekend to discuss Roy, his work, and the larger meaning of this tragedy. He spoke twice on CNN (here and here), with deeper coverage from CNN’s Ray Sanchez. Roy lived in the Atlanta area of Georgia, and Michael spoke to Georgia pubic radio about him, as well as Buffalo-area WGRZ television, and a lengthy panel discussion on BBC Radio’s World Have Your Say. I’m sure there’s some I’m missing. 

Our response was also noted in more outlets than I can keep track of, which I have mixed feelings about, being that it’s about the death of someone we respected, worked with, and genuinely liked. The New York Times, the LA Times, and other outlets have highlighted Roy’s work in our magazine Free Inquiry, which sadly presaged his attack. I’m sure there is much more discussion to come.

Our boss Ron Lindsay is a signatory to a joint statement saying, “We stand united in our grief for Avijit Roy with Mukto-muna [Roy’s website] but remain undefeated.” Also undefeated? Mukto-muna itself.

And then, of course, we lost Leonard NimoyOur little tweet about him struck a chord. Recommended, this remembrance from The New Yorker and this conversation about him on the podcast The Incomparable.  

We earn ourselves a kind of ranty hit-piece at the New English Review (???) about how we evil skeptics are “doing Monsanto’s dirty work.” Sure. 

The Advocate picks up our tongue-in-cheek demand that the American Family Association make enemies of us. 

I have my second go as “international correspondent” for the AtheistAus Podcast, hosted by Kylie Sturgess (recorded before the attack on Dr. Roy).

At Skeptical Inquirer, Kylie interviews enemy-of-pseudoscience Edzard Ernst.

When you want to know about mysterious bright spots on Ceres, who do you talk to? Well, NASA is baffled. CFI board member Leonard Tramiel lends some perspective for WRAL.

ISIS threatens to kill employees of Twitter for shutting down the group’s accounts. I would take that threat seriously. 

Cherry Teresa notes the weird irony that Neil Young, who “don’t sing for nobody,” now sings for a snake oil audiophile product

Jamila Bey, representing American Atheists, speaks at the CPAC conference, declaring herself a conservative. Wait, what? No really. Our own Debbie Goddard tries to work it all out.

Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins says the conservative movement has room for atheists. Wait, what? What is happening???

Arthur Findlay College in the UK offers courses in psychic readings for career fraudsters. I mean mediums.   

Jeffrey Tayler at Salon outright rejects the idea that Craig Stephen Hicks’ murder of three Muslim students has anything to do with atheism:

Reason, consensus, and secularism – I defy anyone to exploit these lofty, laudable concepts to arrive at anything but progress. 

Kimberly Winston covers The Hotline Project by Recovering from Religion. 

The New York Times editorializes against Mayor de Blasio’s compromise with orally-circumcising Orthodox rabbis. 

The Great Barrington Historical Society and Museum decides to accept and enshrine a local’s account of a UFO arrival

Stephen Law on Baudrillard “drifting into gibberish.”

Good question: do ghost sightings correlate at all with microbes in the air

66 percent of Americans say confronting climate change is a “moral duty.” Not that you’d know it. 

University of Toronto has an instructor on staff who is also a featured speaker at a university conference who promotes homeopathic (non)vaccines

Brian Cox goes on Conan to talk about how he likes to annoy Deepak Chopra

Here come the net neutrality truthers

Quote of the Day 

Mr. Nimoy, on Star Trek:

It’s all about trying to make the world and the universe a better place. I’m proud to be connected with it. I think we need that in our lives. We need ethical, heroic people trying to do the right thing to help others and to improve life on this planet and in the universe.


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