If the Borg and the Clone Wars Had a Baby

August 2, 2013

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

CFI has been challenging the folks at Google to examine their consciences, and stop giving financial support to climate science deniers. Apparently scientists within Google feel the same way

Daniel Fincke brings together a panel of secular activists to discuss the internal controversy over the FFRF suit to remove the Star of David from the Ohio Statehouse's Holocaust Memorial. CFI's Michael De Dora was among them.

And look how busy Michael is: Here's the Advocacy Update for the Office of Public Policy for July. 

Gary Gutting at the Times makes what appears to be a serious case for the existence of Zeus. Hemant is aghast, and I wonder if he's just trolling us

Herb Silverman notes a glaring omission from the University of Tennessee study that gives atheists a kind of taxonomy:

My biggest disappointment about the study is that it left out the largest category: closeted atheists. They are the elephants in the room and the ones most likely to change the culture by coming out.  

Forum 18 reports that atheist writer Aleksandr Kharlamov and Presbyterian pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev are being held in Kazakhstan for (essentially) blasphemy

Bangladesh's High Court bans its largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, from running candidates in 2014 elections, because it "conflicts with the secular nature" of the constitution, which I imagine would be a surprise to some bloggers there. 

Have you ever heard the term "croppies"? I hadn't until Sharon Hill used it here, lamenting that all the good ones are gone.

BBC catches wind of The Block Bot, a list/service on Twitter that many in the skepto-atheist community use to mass-block abusive or harassing accounts. Tim Farley, who has some experience with dealing successfully with abusive tweeters, lays out the service's pros and cons.

Also via Tim, looks like Lanyrd, the conference-Twitter guide, has a new tool for finding speakers by topic. Here's a sample search for atheism. And there's me

PZ is coming to DC to have a little QT with the locals, do a little PR, with help from the secular students at GW. (See what I did there?)

Speaking of acronyms, our on Campus Affiliate of the Week is the McMaster Association of Secular Humanists (MASH). 

Student priests in Germany get the boot for getting their Hitler on

Hollis Phelps on the decline in religiosity among Millennials:

Nietzsche . . . knew that word of God’s death takes a little while to get around, and it seems that it’s just now getting around among evangelicals.  

Headline of the Day, from Vice: "Mississippi Police Want to Arrest the Satanists Who Turn Dead People Gay"

Update of the Day, from same: UPDATE: "Westboro Baptist Church issued some dumb statement." 

Maybe those Satanists know something about this giant pentagram in Kazakhstan.

Quote of the Day

Rebecca Helm on the "true unicorn of the sea," a totally non-mythical hyper-colony of tunicates called the pyrosome:

If the Borg and the Clone Wars had a baby it would be a pyrosome. One long pyrosomes is actually a collection of thousands of clones, with each individual capable of copying itself and adding to the colony. And unlike members of the Borg, which are mentally connected, pyrosome members are physically connected– actually sharing tissues. And while the Borg live in a big scary ship, pyrosomes are the big scary ship.  
 
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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Friday August 02, 2013 at 7:56pm

“use to mass-block abusive or harassing accounts.”

I think you mean “use to mass-block contrary opinion” as that is clearly why most names are on the list.

It’s promoted as a way to get rid of abusers (“level 1”) but until recently, the different levels weren’t even publicly visible to the casual observer.  The system drives usage toward blocking all levels, in other words, censoring contrary opinion.

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