Let’s Invade Puny Mars

May 2, 2014

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

Tomorrow is the demonstration at the Saudi embassy in DC for Raif Badawi, the imprisoned atheist dissident. Come and help us speak out for free expression.

Lauren Becker's National Day of Reason essay yesterday was so well-liked, we meme'd it

The Satanist monument for the Oklahoma Statehouse? It exists. And, like, wow.

Remember how a young girl in South Carolina wanted to get the state to designate a mammoth as the State Fossil, but is being stymied by conservatives in the legislature? She's got a petition up now, so we can all help her out. 

An annexed Crimea means it lives under Russia's laws, which includes its anti-gay laws.  

Phil Plait marks this post about Dr. Oz as NSFPWDWTHTA (Not Safe for People Who Don’t Want Their Heads to Asplode). 

Assuming my death is not an unpleasant and sudden surprise, I may follow this guy's lead: A terminally ill guy, an atheist, throws himself a wake in New Orleans. 

Mark Edward dishes on the secrets of the fake-psychic industry on UK's ITV. 

Kylie Sturgess marks 4 years writing her "Curiouser and Curiouser" column for Skeptical Inquirer

That whole wife-of-Jesus thing that was definitely not a forgery? Probably a forgery. Just as I thought: a sham marriage.

Women in Secularism III uses the Rosie the Riveter icon as its logo, and it so happens that Rosie's factory has just been saved from demolition

We have a busy public policy office, so check this out to catch up with all that we're juggling. 

Folks still seem to think chemtrails are a thing

A mosque in Pakistan named for a political assassin needs to expand to keep up with demand. Comforting.

Alom Shaha weighs in on the arguments over alleged Islamophobia in secularism:

If we do not recognize this diversity, we make it easier for bigots to spread anti-Muslim hatred. We also risk making entire swaths of people feel like second-class human beings, and make it harder to work alongside those who would otherwise be our allies in campaigns for social justice and other issues.

Shaha's book for young atheists, meanwhile, is being donated en masse by the British Humanist Association to UK schools. 

Here's a map of Mars overlaid on a map of Earth. Makes Mars seem kinda puny. Let's invade.

OnlineChristianColleges.com has an admittedly interesting infographic about the book of Genesis and some of its internal conflicts on facts (duration of Noah's flood, for example). Though still squarely in defense of Genesis as authoritative (we can't be sure of where Eden was because of the flood, you see), it's neat nonetheless. 

"America’s Top Mohels"...shudder. 

Hemant rounds up a bunch of public officials' Day of Reason proclamations

Anuradha Sharma and Vishal Arora report on the rise of "fundamentalist Buddhism" throughout Asia, and yes, it's violent.

A shaman in Colombia winds up killing a British student who drank his herbal concoction, and the shaman takes no responsibility, saying, “When it’s time to die, you die.” 

A company called GeoResonance claims its almost-certainly-nonsensical magnetic something-or-other has detected the missing Malaysian plane, to which Miles O'Brien of CNN (the Missing Airplane Network) says:

My blood is boiling. I've talked to the leading experts in satellite imaging capability at NASA, and they know of no technology that is capable of doing this. I am just horrified that a company would use this event to gain attention like this. 

Oh, and I love this part of the article: "GeoResonance Managing Director Pavel Kursa, citing intellectual property concerns, would not explain how the imaging works." Ooooof course not.

Bruce Benderson says there should be no more marriages, at least none recognized by government, because that's "a blatant defiance of the separation of church and state." Sounds like someone I know

Dana Ullman, who describes himself as an "evidence-based homeopath" (a category which, once written down, creates a singularity), tries to pump up homeopathy's cred by talking up the late Gabriel García Márquez's apparent belief in its efficacy. 

So yesterday's Heresy had a special section just for really horrible news, because there was so much of it. Today, I'm doing a silly, frivolous section for balance:  

Radiologists take a selfie

The Grand Unified Theory is discovered, and it's pretty much what I could have told you. 

The iPhone was nicknamed the Jesus Phone when it was first announced. But "under certain circumstances," this phone "may control God." Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

Quote of the Day

The non-governmental, independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan issues a report on the state of human rights, and here's who they diagnose freedom of religion there:

Pakistan’s record in protecting members of its religious and sectarian minorities from faith-based violence and discrimination has been far from impressive in recent years. In fact, the year under review saw continuation of the recent trend of violence and impunity that seemed to reinforce each other. The growing problems for the minorities came from extremist militant groups seeking to justify violence and brutalities in the name of religion. Secondly, the challenges came from the local factors; and finally, from the government’s failure to protect members of minority religions and sects from faith-based violence or to confront hate speech, intimidation or intolerance. This year also nothing was done to weed out discrimination against non-Muslim citizens written into law or to introduce safeguards widely acknowledged to be needed in order to prevent abuse of the blasphemy law. 

I would say "abuse" and "blasphemy law" are redundant, but still. 

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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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The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta

Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Friday May 02, 2014 at 1:49pm

I give no pass to anyone (including, but not limited to, Muslims) whose most special book contains instructions from someone placed above human law, to slaughter people not like themselves (or gloat about their future slaughter).

If a person is not willing to say that’s a terrible book to be avoided, really, what more could there possibly be to discuss? 

Anti-Muslim “prejudice” only exists among those people who haven’t at least read parts of Islam’s foundational book.  But having been informed by that book, it’s no longer “prejudice”, just rational judgment.

It is inescapable that a person’s Judaism, Christianity, or being Muslim, is rooted in the holiest book that describes the religion.  Without that book, there is no history, no definition of the deity, no foundation for rules, no basis for belief.

Islam is not a race.  It’s a choice.  (To the extent that it’s imposed on children, and people are threatened with death upon leaving, it’s not a choice, and I wager most Muslims are in fact victims of such abuse.  The fact that most Muslims had Islam imposed on them makes it even worse, demanding criticism, not somehow conferring immunity from it).

And, Mr. Shaha, it is exactly BECAUSE I have experienced bigotry against myself for multiple reasons that I understand that speaking out against a bad idea, and its promoters (some of whom are under duress), is not bigotry, but is a key positive function of participating in society.

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