Suffering from an Inherent Paradox

January 3, 2014

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

Science Friday aired a 1996 interview with Carl Sagan over the holiday, and it's just great. 

As he gets set to leave his position as head of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the group primarily responsible for pushing anti-blasphemy resolutions at the UN, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu says OIC states should maybe consider being a little easier on non-Muslims. Hey thanks. 

Mother Jones profiles Bill Nye (where we learn that President Obama "lights up when he sees Bill"), and meanwhile, Bill agrees to debate Answers in Genesis's Ken Ham on creationism and evolution on February 4, which I think a lot of folks have mixed feelings about. 

Jakarta Globe reports on the growing ranks of atheists in Indonesia:

[D]espite the overwhelming odds, the rank of non-believers is growing — largely thanks to the Internet which offers an anonymous meeting place where non-believers can gather without the fear of reprisal. By utilizing social networking tools such as blogs and Facebook groups, Indonesian non-believers are discovering that there is a considerable amount of like-minded people in the country. 

No really, the Egyptian government thinks this TV puppet is sending coded terrorist messages. No, really.  

Kylie Sturgess at the Skeptical Inquirer website interviews Daniel Loxton and Donald Prothero about their book Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids. 

California state Superior Court judge says nonsectarian prayers at government functions are okay generally, though it's still okay to pursue legal action against specific instances.

February 8, CFI-Indiana hits the political pavement with its next Civic Day, with our own Michael De Dora, AU's Rob Boston, and Dr. Stuart D. Jordan of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  

In the hilariously-named Flower Mound, TX, the mayor there has declared 2014 The Year of the Bible, probably in order to get a lot of attention on news and blogs. Oh wait. 

Ohio considers legislation appointing a chaplain of the state senate. Great. 

Poor Josh DuBois didn't feel like the Obama administration was bending over backward far enough for "religious liberty," aka, special exemptions to deny women reproductive rights. 

"Portable churches" are becoming a thing, and it kind of sounds like my old touring theatre troup days. Except we were very upfront about our material being fictitious.  

Get yourself caught up with our Office of Public Policy's busy December

Starting a new RNS column is the grandson of Billy Graham, Boz Tchividjian (which rhymes with "religion," thus the name of his blog), in which he'll write about his fight against the sexual abuse of children by clergy. 

Cosmopolitan interviews Tamesha Means, who is doing legal battle with the Legion of Doom, the US Council of Catholic Bishops, for their anti-abortion policies at Catholic hospitals that put her life in danger and through enormous suffering. 

Ben Radford covers the acupuncture-as-placebo study, and reminds us that "dirty acupuncture needles have caused dozens of serious bacterial infections, including hepatitis B and C." Nice.

Secular charitable outfit the Pathfinders are seeking funding to build latrines in Haiti, where cholera is rampant.

Folks invest in godly businesses at the direction of their church and, well, you know what happens next

More moves to put prayer into school in South Carolina.  

Aw, look, Bigfoot is sleeping. Oh, never mind, he's dead.  

Indian alt-med doctor claims his herbal product “will remove toxins (chemicals and pesticides) from fruits and vegetable all over the world, including high level of radiation.” Sharon Hill notes, "So will soap." 

Quote of the Day

Alex Berezow is ready to give up on the American electorate

[I]t seems that every democracy suffers from an inherent paradox at the intersection of science and politics: A politician often cannot support scientifically sound policies while simultaneously being responsive to the concerns of his or her constituents. The cold, calculative nature of scientific reasoning simply has little in common with emotional voters. Therefore, until all of us are willing to relinquish our own irrational beliefs and punish politicians who indulge them, we should not expect — nor should we deserve — a government any different from the one we have.

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Comments:

#1 Mark W. on Friday January 03, 2014 at 9:44am

“Boz Tchividjian” sounds a lot like “botulism”.

#2 jeremyatc on Friday January 03, 2014 at 3:58pm

Quick medical correction (really to Ben Radford, not Morning Heresy): Hepatitis B and C are viral infections, not bacterial. Both are definitely serious and potentially fatal.

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