The Morning Heresy 3/19/12

March 19, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

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Welcome to a new feature of CFI’s Free Thinking blog, “The Morning Heresy.” There’s so much going on in the news, both above and below the radar, that relates to the mission of CFI and its affiliate groups, so the management here decided it would be a good idea to get a kind of daily roundup of relevant items in order to keep everyone in the loop. Then it occurred to us, hey, this could be valuable to everyone in the secularist and skeptic movements — why limit it to a handful of inboxes in Amherst? So beginning today, every weekday morning I’ll be bringing you “The Morning Heresy,” right here at CFI’s website.

If you’ve ever subscribed to ABC News’ “The Note,” National Journal’s “Hotline,” or Politico’s “Playbook,” you already get the idea; the Heresy is a digest of quick-and-dirty links and news items, perhaps with a bit of pithy, coffee-fueled commentary, all in one handy place. I’d highly recommend you check every weekday morning to keep up to date on all things having to do with religion and irreligion, science and pseudosicence, and how they all affect our society and lives. (Yes, I know that it’s not really morning anymore on the east coast, but you’ve gotta cut me a little slack for day one. Good morning, west-coasters!)

And if you know of something that I missed or that you’d like to see included in the Heresy, send it to me at press-at-centerforinquiry-dot-net. (No promises I’ll include it, but one never knows what I might overlook. I’m only human, as far as you know.)

With that, here’s the first public edition of “The Morning Heresy,” which as you can imagine, kicks off with a lot about the Reason Rally this weekend!

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Coverage at (and picked up by The Christian Post) of the planned appearance of Nate Phelps, estranged son of Westboro Baptist Church’s Fred Phelps, at the Reason Rally

Bad Religion talks about the Reason Rally and their decades-long commitment to the cause

The Rally site has some “PRO-Tips” for attendees. My favorite? “Bring Handi-wipes or other sanitary hand-washing items.” Dirty atheists.

PZ is not so excited about Tom Harkin’s video at the rally, says, “Dave Silverman in going to hate me.”

Hemant to the naysayers: “If we got rid of every speaker who held an irrational belief, there would be no one left on that stage. So deal with it.” 

Similarly, Staks Rosch advises a “deep breath”

Adam Lee calls out the National Atheist Party for egging on the Westboro folks

The Reason Rally now has a Wikipedia page! (I think those things spontaneously generate, right?)

David Niose in Psychology Today talks up the Rally as a  “coming out” party

“For many in recent years, however, personal secularity has become an increasingly important aspect of their identity, a clear way of describing one’s basic lifestance in the midst of a political and cultural landscape that has become an anti-intellectual wasteland.”

Dave Silverman on CNN on the Rally and American Atheists’ countless billboards

Baltimore Sun covers the Baltimore Coalition of Reason billboards plugging the Rally

“David Silverman is calling it a’ glorious gathering of the godless.’ (He may not believe in God, but he’s clearly a believer in alliteration.)”

Ed Brayton plugs the Rally and CFI’s quotes in Politico 

CFI’s Ron Lindsay wants to clarify our goals as secular activists, Ophelia Benson amicably takes issue with one point  

(While he’s at it, Ron thinks it’s only fair that if Arizona women will be compelled to tell their bosses about their use of birth control, men should have to fess up about Viagra use) 

CSI’s Barry Karr’s guest post at The Odds Must Be Crazy on the coincidence of shared hometowns

John Shook questions Alain De Botton’s fluffy approach to religion

“Nowadays, the media only pays close attention to atheists either trying to send all religion to hell, or offering to praise religion to the skies.” 

Buffalo News calls upon CSI’s Joe Nickell to do some educating on the Shroud of Turin “controversy”

“What the Shroud of Turin believers do is completely turn the science on its head. They start with the answer, then find evidence to support it and throw away evidence that doesn’t support it. Nearly every rule of science has been broken in this rush to promote the shroud.”

Coverage of Ellen Beth Wachs and atheist groups’ “un-blessing” of Florida road: ABCFox

CSI’s Ben Radford in Live Science writes about a hole that HAD to be made by aliens

Dear Abby helps a psychic social worker deal with her visions 

Ohio church attempts “exorcism” of an entire women’s health center. Morning Heresy asks: Will
the building’s head spin?

Activists in Maryland want acupuncture covered under insurance

UK’s NHS: Homeopathy is “biologically implausible

Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian president, backs anti-gay laws, Tony Blair fails to speak against them

BBC: “Honor code” supported by majority of young British Asians, including 18% supporting physical punishment against women who “dishonor” the family

ChiTrib on religiosity’s role in the GOP Illinois primary

Bigfoot caught on tape again in Idaho

Indy Star: Indiana Supreme Court will hear school voucher case

Inside Higher Ed looks at the experience of atheist students on religious campuses

Discover Magazine blog highlights Ann Druyan Skeptical Inquirer piece from 2003

“I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is.”

Quote of the Day From a letter to the editor in the Des Moines Register by Ian Binnie:

“Pope Benedict XVI has instructed his American subordinates, the bishops, to be more aggressive in their opposition to gay marriage. . . .By doing so they turn the Roman Catholic Church into the nation’s largest, best funded and only tax subsidized SuperPAC.”