A Manifestation of a Foul Substance
May 1, 2014
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
It's the National Day of Reason (also the National Day of Prayer, so maybe it's really the National Day of Contradictory Concepts), and to mark the occasion we have a powerful piece by CFI's Lauren Becker on why we need to lose religion to save America.
Bill Nye goes on Seth Myers' show to tell the world: Don't ask me for a selfie while I'm defusing a bomb.
This is like a birthday present for skeptics: Harriet Hall knocks out a pretty darn comprehensive introduction to homeopathy for Skeptical Inquirer. Of course, it has only the essence of words that were once there. I'm kidding! But seriously, here's a homeopathic cartoon.
[I]nasmuch as there ever was a contest between strident religion and militant atheism, it seems there was no winner. In practice, however, indifference to religion looks very much like atheism, and even more like secularism.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issues an annual report on the (sorry) state of freedom of belief around the world. Brian Pellot rounds up the countries named by the report as awful on religious freedom rights, yet still not on the list for the US State Department. I doubt any of them will surprise you.
This is how it goes when a real science journalist goes on the execrable Fox & Friends: climate denial, anti-Obama propaganda, and conspiracy theories.
Meanwhile, Fox News keeps referring to the Military Religious Freedom Association as an atheist group (it's not) and its president Mikey Weinstein as an atheist (he's not).
Zuckerman says this data is further backed up by a study, in the 1980s, by another Penn State sociologist, Hart Nelson, who found that 85% of children raised by two secular parents remained secular as adults. What's more, two Scottish sociologists, Steve Bruce and Tony Glendinning, found that "if someone was not raised in a particular faith, the chances of acquiring one later in life are small." Very small, in fact, as Zuckerman notes: just five percent.
Duncan Pickard reports on the progress Tunisia is trying to make in their "Second Republic":
In the aftermath of decades of authoritarian rule, the question remains, however, how the new constitution can constrain the executive and create a balance of powers without resorting to religious or military domination?
Secularists in Iraq try to cobble together a coalition of smaller parties to bolster their chances in the election next week.
The FDA raises awareness of fake autism cures.
Mental Floss rounds up a list of obvious things Confirmed by Science™, such as "meetings suck." And here's some more science-related betcha-didn't-know fun in animated GIF form. (I didn't know how keys worked, so that was neat.)
There was all of a sudden a lot of talk about halal and kosher meat yesterday, as some Subway restaurants in the UK adopt halal meat and ban pork products, days after the appearance of a new law requiring the US government to stock food banks with sufficient halal and kosher foods. The thing is, halal can mean that the animal has been slaughtered without first stunning, which, you can imagine, is really awful, so there's a petition for the UK.
As the parent of wee children, I dig this thought from Sharon Hill:
KIDS KNOW ABOUT BIGFOOT AND NESSIE. Most of them think they are AWESOME. What better way to start a discussion about evidence than with a topic they have curiosity about!
A family's allegedly haunted house results in a book deal (ka-ching). They said there was "a manifestation of a foul substance found on the walls." Demon. Right. Had to be.
The Hope Diamond, if in fact cursed, needs a new name, I'd say.
There is a dot-tumblr-dot-com for everything, such as Tea Party Jesus.
Get out of my dreams, get into my car...NO WAIT YOU'RE A GHOST GET OUT OF MY CAR.
Ann Druyan likes your Cosmos tweets.
Quote of the Day
Our own Ms. Becker, from the above-linked essay:
It’s 2014 and, like Madison, we have a problem. There is a dangerous problem with the desire to base our national morality on Christian beliefs—or any religious beliefs. Of course it’s a good idea to have a strong moral foundation, but morals don’t need religion to be sound. In fact, history is replete with examples showing that morality does horrific damage when it is based on the authority of a god. God’s laws are absolutes and the things that make people want to cling to absolutes are the very things that make them dangerous: Absolutes shut down critical thinking. They do not allow debate. They allow no reflection. There is no moderation. There is no reason.
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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#1 mharbour on Thursday May 01, 2014 at 7:27am
“climate denial” ?
Did anyone actually deny the existence of climate?