After Backlash from Muslim Groups, Brandeis University Will No Longer Be Giving an Honorary Degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Last week, Brandeis University announced that it would be awarding honorary degrees to five notable figures, including atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali for her advocacy of women’s rights around the world:

Hirsi Ali, in her bestselling books Infidel and Nomad, made no secret of the fact that Islam, as interpreted by militants, extremists, and even (in some cases) casual believers, was not only untrue but harmful to the world. Between female genital mutilation, honor killings, the idea of martyrdom, and the murder of her friend Theo van Gogh, you can understand why she has courageously put her own life on the line to speak out against the horrors of the faith. In her mind (and many atheists agree), the problem isn’t radical Islam. It’s Islam, period. Much like how Sam Harris criticized religious moderates in The End of Faith for providing cover to the extremists, Hirsi Ali minced no words in a 2007 interview when describing her goal of trying to defeat Islam as a whole because she didn’t believe the religion of peace was capable of being saved in its current form.

Almost immediately after the announcement of her honorary degree, Muslim groups began to protest her selection.

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The Onion Tackles Childhood Vaccinations; Downside? ‘You Have to Go to a Place’

The Onion tackles the pros and cons of vaccinating children in a way that perfectly reflects the anti-vaxxer mindset:

That’s just a glimpse. You’re gonna want to read that entire list :)

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The Judge Whose Decision Led to Town of Greece v. Galloway Expounds on the Establishment Clause

As we wait for the Supreme Court to rule in Town of Greece v. Galloway, the case involving public prayers at government functions, let’s recall what Judge Guido Calabresi (below) wrote for the United States 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in May of 2012. The panel said at the time that the sectarian prayers in Greece, New York were unconstitutional:

We conclude, on the record before us, that the town’s prayer practice must be viewed as an endorsement of a particular religious viewpoint. This conclusion is supported by several considerations, including the prayer-giver selection process, the content of the prayers, and the contextual actions (and inactions) of prayer-givers and town officials. We emphasize that, in reaching this conclusion, we do not rely on any single aspect of the town’s prayer practice, but rather on the totality of the circumstances present in this case.

Calabresi, however, doesn’t think the media has characterized his argument properly. It’s not that he’s against prayer; it’s actually much more complicated than that. In an interview with Marie Griffith at Religion & Politics, he elaborated on that idea:

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Atheism from A to Zed

Writer and comedian Catherine Deveny introduces us to the Atheist Alphabet while taking us on a whirlwind tour of Melbourne (which reminds me: damn, I need to visit there one day…):

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Star Trek‘s Kate Mulgrew: ‘I Am Not a Geocentrist’

Earlier today, Terry posted about a forthcoming movie called The Principle by director Katheryne Thomas. The movie suggests that our sun revolves around the Earth — not the other way around.

Narrating the film is former Star Trek actress Kate Mulgrew, which seemed like quite the change of pace for her, going from a pro-science series to an anti-science movie.

Physicist Lawrence Krauss, whose video clips appear in the film, has already voiced his opposition to being used without his approval.

Now, Mulgrew is speaking out, too. On Facebook, she just posted about how was not exactly a willing participant in this project:

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