The Sluggish Pundit’s Dream

August 22, 2013

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

A new poll shows that a whopping 70% of Americans are against vouchers for private and religious schools. Well, that's what we think too, and we said so:

Voucher programs are a violation of our founding secular principles, and it is heartening to know that the American people see through its proponents’ façade of reform. 

Holy crap, skin cells can be turned into egg and sperm cellsTweets our boss Ron Lindsay:

Now that we know skin cells have the potential to become babies, will Catholic Church prohibit scratching?  

This Canadian dentist may be way ahead of all that, though, as he tries to clone John Lennon from tooth DNA. 

Here's a White House petition I think we can get behind: A call for the administration to withdraw its amicus brief to the Supreme Court in favor of legislative prayer.

Thomas J. Coleman III is the project manager on the UT Chattanooga study on how atheists identify themselves, and he explains some of the thinking behind it at the On Campus blog. 

The Economist's Erasmus column looks at the melding of religious and military rhetoric in Russia as the Patriarch Kirill marks the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory against the Nazis in Kursk.

Meanwhile, Orthodox Christians in Russia set up a center to combat "atheist extremism," whatever that is.  

Christopher Carroll looks at the various attempts over the years to get at "the real Jesus." 

NYT on how Hasidic Jews are stepping up pressure to have the city accommodate its particular religious tenets and traditions.

campaign is launched in Indiana to resist a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. 

Ratzinger: God told me to resign. Of cooourse he did. <pat pat pat>  

An employee of Ken Ham's Creation Museum is hit by lightning. He's fine.  

Kansas right-wingers get in a tizzy over an elementary school project about world religions that -- gasp! -- featured the Five Pillars of Islam.

WaPo has a video feature on the "growing" anti-vaccine movement, and uncritically interviews an anti-vax leader. 

Hollywood Reporter profiles Ricky Gervais, and gets a little atheism in there. 

UK Islamic TV channel Al Ehya Digital Television is fined £85,000 for broadcasting the assertion that it's cool to kill infidels.

The friendly Family Research Council is lobbying the military to stop awarding paid leave when personnel have same-sex weddings, 'cause!

Climate scientists are now really, really, even-more super-certain that global warming is a thing. 

"Quantum thrusters" could be the key to faster-than-light travel. Harold White at NASA attempts to explain:

We're looking for a change in path length of the photon on the interferometer, because that would be potential evidence that we're generating the effect we're looking for. We've seen, in a couple different experiments with several different analytic techniques, a change in optical-path length. We're making one leg of the interferometer seem a little shorter because of this device being on, versus the device being off. That doesn't mean that it's what we're looking for. 

The New Republic reposts a 1981 piece by Niles Eldridge on the "growing creationist movement." Prescient. 

Forget the Loch Ness Monster. I'm more afraid of these giant salamanders, the "Eastern hellbender"!! 

Quick programming note: I'll be the guest pundit on's Tech News Today, airing at about 1pm ET. I will endeavor not to embarrass secularism. 

Quote of the Day

Nick Cohen is unimpressed by the attacks against Dawkins for alleged bigotry:

It’s August, and you are a journalist stuck in the office without an idea in your head. What to write? What to do? Your empty mind brings you nothing but torment, until a thought strikes you, ‘I know, I’ll do Richard Dawkins.’ Dawkins is the sluggish pundit’s dream. It does not matter which paper you work for. Editors of all political persuasions and none will take an attack on Darwin’s representative on earth. 

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul, Ed, Lauren, anyone who can fire them, or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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#1 Jeff (Guest) on Thursday August 22, 2013 at 4:47pm

I wanted to tell you that not only do I find your “The Morning Heresy” posts informative and interesting but thank you for changing the links so that they open in a new window.
Thanks, and please continue with your excellent work!

#2 Paul the Morning Heretic on Friday August 23, 2013 at 5:45am

You’re welcome, and thank you!

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