I’d Like You to Know That I’m Particularly Smart

May 4, 2015


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

Shocking news to us at CFI. Claiming responsibility for the murder of our friend and ally Avijit Roy: Al Qaeda. We’ll have more to say about this. 

Relatedly, Michael De Dora will be part of a congressional briefing with friends from the Hindu American Foundation on the Roy murder and religious extremism in Bangladesh on June 10.

Catch up on the last two weeks of CFI activity with Cause & Effect, the CFI Newsletter

A disaster on wheels: Far-right anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller hosts a Dallas conference that includes a contest for drawing Muhammad, featuring Geert Wilders as a speaker, and two men open fire on the event, only to be killed themselves by police. 

We’ve got video of Michael’s testimony to the FDA on the marketing and regulation of homeopathy from a couple weeks ago.  

Preston R. Bost at Skeptical Inquirer looks at how research shows conspiracy-minded folks aren’t crazy, but in their own way, rational. 

This seems significant. Hillary Clinton says that in order to ensure women’s rights to reproductive freedom and care, “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.” (Emphasis mine.) Sarah Posner reports that because of shifting cultural attitudes to things like same-sex marriage, Clinton may not have to try too hard to reach religious voters this time around.

At The Guardian, Adam Lee says atheists can avoid a “sure path to irrelevance and demographic decline” by continuing to welcome women and minorities, and cites CFI’s Women in Secularism conferences.

Without explanation, Harpo Productions (Oprah’s company) pulls the plug on Dr. Oz’s “radio minute” spots

Adam Gopnik supports PEN’s honoring of Charlie Hebdo despite the “naysayers.”

A 2009 essay by Jimmy Carter on why he left his church (discrimination against and subjugation of women and girls) suddenly goes viral.

Sam Harris tries and fails to meaningfully engage with Noam Chomsky. 

City council of Venice, Florida votes against having “In God We Trust” displayed in the chamber. Wait, did I read that right? Voted against? Wow. 

E.J. Dionne highlights Sen. Chris Coons’ address to the Secular Coalition, in which he challenges both believers and nonbelievers for harboring prejudices agains the other.

AU’s Simon Brown shows that Obama isn’t alone in being labeled as insufficiently Christian. It’s been happening to presidents since, well, the beginning of the presidency. 

Javier Espinoza at the Telegraph reports that creationism is still being taught in many UK schools despite threats to have their funding revoked. 

Guy Lyon Playfair, some kind of paranormalist, talks about a haunting experience now being made into a movie, and when confronted with Joe Nickell’s assertions that it’s all bunk, says:

Nickell can p*** off. The man knows nothing. They are absolutely useless, these people. They are just expressing their own stupidity and laziness in not doing proper research.


5 “faith facts” about Dr. Benjamin Carson, GOP presidential longshot. tl;dr: faith, prayer, Judeo-Christian, prayer, etc. 

Sachi Mohanty at the Hindustan Times writes of being the rare atheist in India:

People will perform any ritual – while wearing funny headgear – if it’s prescribed as part of their parent’s religion. Many old men (and women too) in my family spend hours every day worshipping their dear gods. Cumulatively, they spend perhaps more than a 1,000 of their waking hours every year in doing flower arrangements and other rituals and perhaps reading a book. Of course, when it comes to reading books, religions prescribe the reading of the same book, again and again, endlessly and mindlessly.

Quote of the Day:

With so many big events on the horizon, it’s good to keep a sense of humor about it all. The Toast has a list of things one hears at many Q&A sessions after presentations, but I think number 1 sums it all up well enough:

“I’d like you to know that I’m particularly smart. Here are some subjects I consider myself to be very smart about. There is no question.” 

* * *  

Original 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)centerforinquiry.net! 

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