Be Increasingly Irrelevant

March 12, 2013

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

Lemme tell you, folks. My 7-month-old daughter kept me up most of the night last night. She's a great baby, don't get me wrong, and for someone with only negligible motor and verbal skills, she's really damn funny and charming. But less so at 4am. So I'm a little bleary as I present this morning's edition of the Heresy, so bear with me.  

Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command says that climate change is the greatest security threat to the Pacific region. Whew, good thing it's not real. 

Kansas City Atheist Coalition is banned from a St. Patrick's Day parade, out of "respect for the legacy of St. Patrick." 

Stellar neighbors we never knew we had: Two very nearby, mutually-orbiting brown dwarf stars discovered.  

(So me and my daughter watched a little TV last night as we stayed up. I put on the pilot episode of Star Trek, which I hadn't seen in, like, 20 years or something. It was pretty good, actually! Pike is an interesting character, and the treatment of women on a show that early in TV history is also notable... Wait, what was I talking about before? Oh right. Heresy. Links. Okay, I'm back.)  

Novelist Rebecca Goldstein has been added to the roster of speakers for Women in Secularism 2 -- and early bird registration ends Friday! 

Richard Dawkins and Sean Faircloth send an open letter to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to restore a Pakistani secularists' page.

Cody Hashman reflects on Sinéad O’Connor’s destruction of a picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live all those years ago:

I hope that her message, and the humanistic message of Marley’s song, will last much longer than the scars from the atrocities that she was trying to highlight on that cold, lonely stage in 1992.  

The Donilon brothers may rule the world in a way: One is national security adviser, one works for a cardinal-who-might-be-pope.

(Pope is a funny word, you know? Just say it out loud. Like, a few times. Pope! Pope! Pope! Popopopopope! Oh man, I need a nap.) 

Tennessee state senator Randy McNally -- who I understand also enjoys cartography...and yes, I'm sure I'm the first person ever to make a map joke -- seeks to make it essentially impossible, nay, criminal, to advocate for church-state separation

Meanwhile in the Volunteer State, Hamilton County in Tennessee mulls allowing an atheist "minister" to perform an invocation at a county commission meeting. 

Mississippi bill would allow for mass prayer at public school events.

Saba Imtiaz at The Revealer on the ransacking and torching of a Christian village in Pakistan because of blasphemy allegations, and its reverberations throughout the country. 

I doubt this will surprise: Paleontologist Gregory Paul concludes from a study that "religion is most able to thrive in seriously dysfunctional societies." 

Joe Nickell goes digging for dirt for Skeptical Inquirer...miracle dirt!!! 

(Hehehehehehhehhehehe....dirt. See what I did there? With the thing about dirt? Hmmm? Anyhoooooo.....) 

Gary Wills: "The next pope should be increasingly irrelevant." 

This cop busts fake psychics

In April, the CFI Institute will offer the course Science and Ethics: Crossroads and Conundrums with David Koepsell.  

TED talks: Ideas worth quashing

Seems that Mormons and some folks in Protestant faiths are starting to dig some of Catholicism's rituals, like Lent. 

Religious leaders in Texas get together to pray for access to contraceptives and women's health care generally. 

Headline of the day...or maybe of the century: Ahmadinejad Predicts Chavez Will Return Alongside Jesus, Hidden Imam 

Quote of the Day 

The president (with a hat tip to RNS, who gives it the same honor):

Look, it’s no secret that my vice president is still ambitious. But let’s face it, his age is an issue. Just the other day, I had to take Joe aside and say, ‘Joe, you are way too young to be the pope.’   

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