Made of Life-Stuff

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 01, 2017

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

Not that it matters, but I turn 40 today, and I'm not handling it well at all.

Our government affairs office has a new action alert to save the Johnson Amendment, so that churches don't become de facto superPACs for candidates.

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Mars Has Been Observed to Be Round

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 30, 2017

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

While nothing should surprise us anymore, plenty of things should still make us sick to our stomachs. It's kind of why Roy Moore exists in the first place. For example, ThinkProgress found the course material for a 2011 class on "Law and Government" co-authored by Moore, in which students are instructed that women should not be allowed to hold public office, and maybe shouldn't vote either.

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Walk-and-Talk

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 29, 2017

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

[SCENE: Interior, hyper-modern newsroom for a giant media company. Sights and sounds of typing on keyboards, phone calls, smartphone notifications, several television sets with news programming, bustle of a busy office.]

[Cut to elevator doors opening, where in walks PAUL, impresario of Morning Heresy Media, Inc., jacket draped over one arm, looking groggy.]

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Selling The Bible, Hobby Lobby Style

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
November 28, 2017

The recently opened Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., is a well-designed, visually appealing, ideally located, state-of-the-art used car lot, using the soft sell approach to peddle old, worn ideas. Its sales pitch, which is subtle, may well be persuasive to some, but it will appeal mostly to those who already have faith in the brand.

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The Mysterious Kathy Johnson

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 28, 2017

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

Reporters at the Washington Post not only turned the tables on an attempt by James O'Keefe's operation to embarrass them and manufacture a scandal, they turned the tables, flipped them upside down, cleaned the old gum that had been stuck there, fixed the legs so the tables didn't annoyingly rock anymore, flipped the tables right side up again, and then for good measure set up a fancy place setting for dinner, yanked the tablecloth from underneath the dishes and drinks without disturbing any of them. ....

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Arguments That Nobody Cares About

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 27, 2017

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

Tamar Hallerman and Greg Bluestein at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report on the many sides of the debate over the Johnson Amendment and political speech by religious organizations, and they found this smart guy to talk to: 

Nicholas Little, the legal director and vice president at the Center for Inquiry, a secular society group, said it is “incredibly difficult” for the IRS to enforce the Johnson Amendment. Not only is it hard to catch churches breaking the rule, he said, but there is “a taboo element in going after churches.” ...

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Gunmen or Maintenance Worker? Applause or Gunshot?  How Expectation Influences Perception

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
November 20, 2017

Countless real-life examples of false reports remind us that sincere, otherwise credible eyewitnesses can be influenced by many factors, including what they expect (or fear) to see.

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“Baby Killer” Nostrums

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
November 20, 2017

Nothing could have seemed more harmless than the picture of a mother and her baby with the words, “Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup for Teething Children.” Trouble was, the nineteenth-century pacifying nostrum contained morphine!

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Unread Manuscripts

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 20, 2017

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

Housekeeping note: I'm gone for the rest of this week, so hopefully nothing interesting happens for a while. 

The Economist gets down to brass tacks with climate change, detailing why lowering emissions isn't going to cut it, and that we're going to have to start scrubbing all the crap out of the atmosphere.

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The Great Cosmic Blog

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
November 17, 2017

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

Today opens the high-tech shrine to Yahweh's hot bestseller, the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. But lest you think it's all about promoting Christianity, the folks behind the museum want you to see it differently. Michelle Boorstein at the Post reports:

Museum leadership has also worked hard to show it wants to be seen as nonsectarian, more of an open place to explore the Bible than to be evangelized — sort of a counter to the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which argues that the Earth is just a few thousand years old. Cary Summers, the Bible Museum’s president, was a consultant on the Kentucky museum as well. The museum board is made up almost exclusively of conservative evangelicals (mostly white males), and the museum projects an implicit and religious reverence for the Bible. ...

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