Steven Seagal vs. Stephen Fry vs. Steve Jobs

March 18, 2014

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

Even if you don't totally understand it (and I don't), this is huge: Scientists detect gravitational waves ("ripples in the fabric of space-time") from the literal beginning of time, pretty much nailing down the Big Bang. Nature wants to help us understand this big deal.

As promised, I opined at Friendly Atheist on how to respond to Fred Phelps' imminent demise: Do nothing. (Except be nice to each other, but have Phelps have nothing to do with it.)

HuffPost Live had me on later in the day to talk about this, with two guys who are way more important than me: HuffPo's own Paul Raushenbush and Frank Schaeffer. Point of Inquiry's Josh Zepps hosted. 

Point of Inquiry this week has a conversation between host Lindsay Beyerstein with David Gorski on the dark rise of "cancer quack" Stanislaw Burzynski.

Dawkins and Krauss are going on tour promoting their film The Unbelievers. Another great way to see the movie, though, is with Krauss on a cruise to the Galapagos!

TV huckster Kevin Trudeau gets 10 years. Speaking of hucksters, Mark Driscoll is sorry for his hucksterism, and is quitting social media.

Tom Flynn gives us some photographic updates on the renovations being done on the Ingersoll Birthplace Museum ("Ingerhut"). 

Folks on CNN, always looking to fill airtime I guess, begin to speculate on the potential supernatural causes for the Malaysian plane's disappearance.  

Pantheon, a new project from M.I.T.’s Media Lab, figures out who the most famous people of the past 6000 years are. Jesus is only number 3, and much to my horror, Steven Seagal beats out Steve Jobs.

The amazing Stephen Fry (not as famous as Segal or Jobs) does a series of videos on humanism for the British Humanist Association. 

That "God will not be mocked" congressional stenographer was not crazy, but allowing God to speak through her.

Missouri public radio profiles the work of Missouri University's MU SASHA (Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists and Agnostics), a CFI On Campus affiliate. 

I've just found out about a cool new site, The Godless Family Resource, which is "devoted to developing a variety of resources for atheist, agnostic, humanist, and nonbelieving families." It's going to have a regular webcast, and I'm tentatively scheduled to be a guest on March 30.   

Emily Bazelon cautions us that in battling Hobby Lobby's and the religious right's twisted versions of "religious liberty" we don't forget to fight for the real thing

CFI's Center Stage podcast (dig its epic opening theme music) posts a 2009 presentation by our current education director David Koepsell on "The Corporate Gold Rush to Patent Your Genes."  

Ryan Jacobs at Pacific Standard looks treatments for werewolves. (Those who believe they are werewolves, of course.)

Australian scientists are working to better communicate with policymakers

Harriet Hall gives a thumbs up to Nathanael Johnson's book, Natural: A Skeptic’s Quest to Discover if the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing, and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier. 

Man who murdered 9 people in an Arizona Buddhist temple in 1991 gets 249 years

Hey, did we ever figure out who got Moses' body? Was iiiiit....SATAN? Find out on the latest episode of The Human Bible.

Debate heats up in Pakistan over its ban of YouTube, ostensibly to protect its poor citizens from being exposed to blasphemy. 

Physicist W. Kim Johnson on those deadly cellphone EMF waves:

There is no repeatable evidence published in mainstream science journals that shows there is any detrimental effect on humans caused by cell phones, though there are many people who have something to sell to you that purport to protect you from something that simply doesn’t appear to exist.

Steven Pinker and Rebecca Goldstein (a Women in Secularism III speaker) get anima-TED. Get it??? Ahem. 

A voucher proposal in Florida (of course) would not only send public funds to private and religious schools, but funnel it through a GOP-championed political organization.  

CFI-Indiana is celebrating Giordano Bruno's birthday today with a little radio drama. 

Monsignor Thomas Halik is bullish on his prospects with atheists:

The struggle between faith and atheism is not a struggle between two teams, like in football. The struggle between faith and atheism runs through the heart of every human being. Believers have an unbeliever inside, and the so-called unbelievers have also a believer inside of them. I am very excited when I have the opportunity to try to communicate with the believer hidden inside those who declare themselves to be unbelievers. 

CFI board member Barry Kosmin and his colleague at Trinity College Ariela Keysar embark on a new survey of Jewish college students, following on their work with CFI on religious identification of college-age Americans.

Reacting to damning testimony to the UN, Sam Harris tweets:

There appears to be only one difference between hell and North Korea. North Korea exists. 

Pope Fluffy is not afraid of the mob

Via Joe Nickell, get yourself a swig of Warner’s Safe Kidney & Liver Cure

Beards. Believe

Quote and Counter-quote of the Day

I needed both of these. Philosophy professor Lawrence Torcello says that intentionally lying about science is tantamount to a crime:

The importance of clearly communicating science to the public should not be underestimated. Accurately understanding our natural environment and sharing that information can be a matter of life or death. When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on. With such high stakes, an organised campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent. 

Reason's J.D. Tuccille is horrified:

Just when does the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition meet to decide what is still subject to debate, and what is now holy writ? And is an effort to "undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus" always criminally negligent? Can it ever be simple scientific inquiry? Or even heroic?

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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Comments:

#1 Paul Andreassen (Guest) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 at 9:37am

I absolutely agree with you that we should ignore Phelps. Ignoring him in death is no more and no less than what he deserved in life ( I haven’t heard any announcemnts so I hope I’m not spreading rumors of his demise).

#2 craig gosling (Guest) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 at 10:14pm

Phelps will die without knowing he was wrong and without punishment.
He deserves worse. By escaping punishment he encourages his followers to follow in his footsteps. Hopefully during the natural course of things his memory will fade into oblivion and few will ever know who he was. Fred who? I have already forgotten.

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