10 Happy Dancing Lepers

May 27, 2014

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

Mark Oppenheimer of the New York Times came to the Women in Secularism 3 conference, and came away with stories of women leaving Islam for atheism

Amy Davis Roth took the opportunity of Women in Secularism to do some portrait-taking (and a few CFIers are in there).  

CNN.com looks at the challenges faced by atheists in the Bible Belt.  

Hey look! We have new interns to overwork! Say hi to Benjamin Cook and Max Nielson! 

Get your freethought on, with a one-of-a-kind conference about Robert Ingersoll and the history of freethought this August.  

Meriam Ibrahim has given birth

The Vatican gets another UN commission angry with it, as a UN panel on torture criticizes the Vatican for failing to deal with the sex abuse crisis. 

Geneticist Steve Jones says that Christianity has a big future, as secular Europe's population declines and Christian Africa's climbs.

I dunno. If there was a Crazy Bastard advantage, more atheists would be running things. 

Why shouldn't doctors just give patients what they think they want and make them happier? Steven Salzberg writes, "It turns out that patient satisfaction is tied to higher costs and, even worse, a higher death rate." Oh, well, I guess there's that. 

A South Carolina Bible college president is charged with turning foreign students into, um, well this article says "slaves."

Ojibwe child with leukemia doesn't want chemotherapy, and her parents oblige, and decide to give her with faith-based treatments.

Whoa, what's Scientology's Narconon doing in California public schools

Irene Klotz reports on the congressional hearing with scientists from SETI, who, no, do not believe that there's any truth in the show Ancient Aliens

And nobody googles more about UFOs than the good people of New Mexico, while in Maine, we apparently hold the cat pics crown. 

There might be a way to keep wormholes in space-time open long enough to be useful. I think Google is already laying down wormhole fiber in Austin. (Kidding.) 

Oklahoma parents lock their 6-year-old up in a room because they thought he was possessed.  

David Williamson of the Central Florida Freethought Community petitions to be able to deliver invocations at Osceola County Commission meetings. 

A new biography looks at the life of Loch Ness's scariest monster, occultist Aleister Crowley. 

Richard Dawkins refers to himself as a "secular Christian," which he didn't mean. He meant "cultural Christian," which isn't news. 

This town in Spain needs to change its name, like, now. 

10 happy dancing lepers, and a partridge in a pair tree. Cue Vince Guaraldi.

Ta-daaaa! 

Samuel Adu-Agyei of the Humanist Association Ghana writes a kind of mission statement for his group, lamenting religion's effects on Ghana:

Ritual killing is still going on in Ghana with people killing others for sacrifice to a god to become rich and wealthy. Do they really get the money after this unforgiving crime of manslaughter? The answer is NO! Yet all these falsehoods are being promoted by the heads of well-orchestrated religions to make their members believe there are other gods or deities to help them make money, but then when they die, they will be damned to hell for eternity. 

Quote of the Day

Carolyn Porco, she of the awesome Cassini mission, does a Q&A in the comments section of io9, and here relates her "dream missions":

I have a lot of dream planetary missions. I would love to see a mission back to Saturn to search for life, or at least pre-biotic chemistry, on Enceladus and also examine the liquid hydrocarbons on Titan. But doing both at the same time is so expensive (relative to current budgets) that it won't happen. So, I'm concentrating on Enceladus with a group of folks designing a mission, called LIFE, to sample the plume of Enceladus via two methods: (i) in situ, whereby instruments on board can determine the nature of the organics ... composition, chirality, etc, and (ii) bring a sample back to Earth-based laboratory for very detailed, in-depth analyses that would not be possible from a spacecraft. The sample return component would return some 14 years after launch: 7 years there, 7 years back. You can't be impatient if you want to explore the outer solar system!
  
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