To Serve Man

November 19, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Selections from the latest Free Inquiry are up online, which features two special sections: One drawing from and inspired by the Women in Secularism conference (introduced by Melody Hensley here) and the other on blasphemy laws (Tom Flynn’s editorial here).

At the Rutgers Humanist Chaplaincy website, our own Michael De Dora makes a powerful case for our involvement in the struggle against blasphemy laws around the world:

. . . imagine that, after finding and speaking with others who share your concerns about religion on the Internet, an angry mob shows up at your workplace. The group is irate that you have announced your doubts about religion online, and made others feel it is acceptable to do the same. They drag you outside and beat you. Perhaps a worried co-worker calls the police. Officers arrive and arrest you for your blasphemous remarks. Months later, you are sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined a hefty sum.

(Also check out Michael’s post about why he doesn’t go to baptisms at Rationally Speaking.)

Persecuted Egyptian atheist Alber Saber will receive a verdict on his blasphemy trial November 28.

The CFI Facebook page has passed the lucky 13,000 mark. I’m so excited, I may break a mirror.

Stephen Prothero: Despite congressional “firsts” (first Hindu, first Buddhist in the Senate, etc.), the Congress is on the whole pretty much as old, white, Christian, and male as ever.

Buddhist writes editorial against polling places in churches: “We can’t trust religion to guide our election processes, and we can’t trust religion to even be near our election processes.”

Sharon Hill, following an apparently similar interviews she and I did separately with Kylie Sturgess, reflects on the role of the Internet curator.

Steve McSwain is weary of politicking preachers who are just plain wrong about Christianity: “Contemporary preaching is all so convoluted these days by ministers who seem to be equally confused and misguided.”

SciAm: New study says placebos are less effective for people who are quick to anger. GOD DAMMIT.

Gary Marcus at The New Yorker picks apart Ray Kurzweil’s very squishy theory of what the human mind actually is.

NPR’s Science Friday takes legal action against creationist outlet “Real Science Friday” for trademark violations, cybersquatting, and false advertising.

DJ Grothe on meaning without God. (Spoiler: There *is* no “ultimate meaning” without God, and that’s okay.)

Philip Jenkins: Where the hell are all the cults?

CFI On Campus’s Sarah Kaiser highlights Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics (AHA) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Stephen Manfield at HuffPo talks about Abraham Lincoln’s “atheist period“:

Friends recalled that he openly criticized the Bible, that he called Christ a bastard and that he labeled Christianity a myth. He even wrote a pamphlet defending “infidelity.” To protect his political aspirations, friends tore the booklet from his hands and burned it. Lincoln was furious. He had become the village atheist.

Take this popsicle and eat it, for this is my body.

Robert Sheaffer and Ben Radford agree: Those Denver UFOs are probably bugs.

Blasphemy charges officially filed against Greek production of the play Corpus Christi. Because of the gay in it.

Judge allows a Christian publishing company to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate.

In Catholic popularity contest, the bishops do okay, but those nuns are running away with it.

Fundamentalist Mormon cult leader Warren Jeffs issues doomsday predictions from prison, businesses close in response, and then reopen.

We Are Atheism interviews CSI’s Joe Nickell about his self-identification.

New Scientist talks to Shi-min Fang who is working on exposing the fraud in scientific research in China, which he says is “deluged with pseudosciences, superstitions and scientific misconduct.”

Elizabeth Knapp presents her script for her short play Sagan’s Garage.

Oklahoma judge sentences teen, who caused the death of a passenger in his car when he drove drunk, to a decade of church attendance.

Next year, a near-Earth object (no, not this one, a real one) will get way too freaking near.

No really, Kung Fu nuns visit CERN.

Church of Scientology caught up in a federal suit over a woman’s death.

Investigators looking into reports of a UFO sighted by a guy also named Denzel Washington.

Why does Jesus hate small businesses?

Damn you, Comic Sans!!!! <shakes fist>

Quote of the Day

(Perhaps I need to have a separate “Tweet of the Day.” We’ll see.)

Newark mayor and superhero Cory Booker tweets:

I’ll take an Atheist who Serves over a person who Prays to God, Preaches of God, Celebrates God but fails to serve mankind.

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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