You’re Looking At Me As Though I’m Weird

October 8, 2013

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

Peter Higgs (of boson fame) and François Englert win the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Meanwhile, Alexander Aan, the persecuted and imprisoned atheist of Indonesia, is among those the Guardian offers up as a possible Nobel Peace Prize winner (and you can vote for him in their poll). 

Prepare to have your mind blown by the utter sincerity with which Justice Antonin Scalia believes in the Devil. This interview with New York Magazine is a freaking doozy:

I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament. . . . He got wilier . . . You’re looking at me as though I’m weird.

Speaking of crazy, here's Michele Bachmann, um, Bachmanning about how Obama is helping terrorists (obviously) and blah blah end of the world:

I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, as I look at the End Times scripture, this says to me that the leaf is on the fig tree and we are to understand the signs of the times, which is your ministry, we are to understand where we are in God’s end times history. 

At Skeptical Inquirer, Joe Nickell investigates a "translator" of alien language, and finds "just what we would expect if [Cassandra] Vanzant were indeed only producing psychobabble." 

Catherine Dunphy talks to Faith in Feminism about the Clergy Project. (And you can hear from Catherine in her own voice on my podcast.)

CFI's Michael De Dora will join CFI-Northeast Ohio over the interwebs for a meeting on citizen lobbying tomorrow night.

Seems like the Legion of Doom wanted the GOP to shut the government down over contraceptive coverage. (Think Progress reports this as more absolute, and I think from the letter itself it's more implied than demanded.) 

Our Living without Religion billboard has inspired a very odd online poll from WOOD Radio in Michigan, which asks, "Is the ‘You Don’t Need God’ billboard a slam on Christians or just acknowledging non-believers?" Really? A slam?

The Christian Post picks up on the campaign

Behavioral scientists Jane L. Risen and A. David Nussbaum write how superstitions like knocking on wood, alas, sometimes do help, but not because of magic. 

BBC reports on a breakthrough at the National Ignition Facility (no I never heard of that either):

[D]uring an experiment in late September, the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel - the first time this had been achieved at any fusion facility in the world. 

Robyn E. Blumner on being both a nonbeliever and Jewish:

Almost as soon as I could fathom nature's physical laws, I abandoned any belief in the supernatural. But there is a funny thing about being a Jew. You can reject the religious component entirely and still be one. 

A pseudonymous author writes of the challenges of being an atheist in Pakistan, of call places, and how friends in Australia do not often understand what a "very, very big deal" it is. He also laments:

I always thought it was a tad pointless to advocate freedom of expression in a place like Pakistan, where the majority had empty stomachs. 

Bizarrely, a language arts teacher at a New Jersey public school invites a paranormal "investigator" into class.  

Chris Stedman talks to Kimberly Winston about the Yale Humanists being denied inclusion in the Yale Religious Ministries. 

Drive-through churches. 'Nuff said. 

Shock of shocks, churches take advantages of legal loopholes to deny pensions to workers

Following the banning of "religiously offensive" shirts at the London School of Economics, John Sargent writes:

[L]et us have interfaith dialogue but also include humanists and atheists - not only to work together as a community but to take each other out of our comfort zone. Inclusivity does not mean giving each other a free ride to how we feel and preventing dialogue altogether. Things need to be said and freely expressed - even if on a t-shirt. 

Alicia Keys thinks there are aliens on Earth, but that's not totally surprising considering last year she accepted that Blackberry "creative director" gig. 

The granddaughter of fake psychic (and real convict) Rose Marks also gets prison time for the scams. 

Quote of the Day

Steven Salzberg throws cold water on the purported benefits of vitamin supplements:

On the evidence, supplementing your diet with any of these 5 vitamins carries little or no benefit, and may cause you harm.  This is why we do science, people. Our intuitions aren’t always right: just because a little bit of something is good for you does not mean that a lot of it is even better. 

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