The Morning Heresy 5/30/12: Heat Death of the Cosmos

May 30, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

You may not have noticed it, but yesterday, with his mainly ceremonial victory in the Texas primary, Mitt Romney passed the 1144-delegate threshold and became the first Mormon nominee for president by a major party.

There's a new Point of Inquiry episode, with Indre Viskontas exploring what the heck consciousness actually is with Christof Koch

CSI's Ben Radford on Bigfoot, DNA, and "the ignominious legions of hoaxers" 

Kimberley Winston at RNS on compassion among atheists:

Atheists and others who don’t adhere to a religion often say they can be good without God. Now, three new studies appear to back them up. 

Greta Christina is looking for very specific coming out stories from heathens 

SCA gets specific on its timeline to establish state chapters 

Glenn Beck's The Blaze is a little uncomfy with all this, fearing that "non-believers can continue their campaign for ideological dominance and equality." 

Andrew Sullivan on the implications of Mormonism and its "American-ness":

There's a reason . . . that Romney's foreign policy does not have a moderate, realist strain to it; that it is wedded to zero-sum conflict as the only way to engage the world. . . . Does Romney believe that America is uniquely divine among nations? How would that affect his decisions as president? Does he believe that the Constitution is also divine and a "necessary prologue" for the triumph of the LDS Church in America and across the world?  

Remember that high school in Tennessee that nixed an atheist student's op-ed? Now they're reassigning a yearbook adviser for allowing something pro-gay in the book 

LA Times: Animal Planet's mermaid special is...

An unnatural hybrid that was as disturbing as it was gruesome. A freak whose very existence threatens us all.

Hemant looks at a new Gallup poll on Americans' views on abortion, notes that the nonreligious are the most "pro-choice," which of course makes sense, since we don't think there's an invisible sky daddy telling us how to think about it 

Kim Rippere wonders if the movement can, in the public's mind, get out of the "basement and the treehouse" (and her citing of my little book has nothing to do with my linking this post, ahem) 

UN rep: Pakistan judges face pressure to convict on blasphemy charges, with death penalty 

Ben Railton, writing about Pat Tillman, poses a question that militarists, atheists, and everyone who seeks to claim Tillman should ask themselves:

Can we . . . remember Tillman, and every side of his story, or will we always already be making him into an icon and an idol, for one purpose or another? 

Tablet Magazine long interview with Sam Harris, "America's most dangerous man" 

Idaho liquor administrator: Thou shalt not sell booze that mocks Mormons 

Former SETI chief Jill Tarter is interviewed by ScienceNews on her move to fundraising:

. . . funding is critical. Last year’s hibernation of the Allen Telescope Array was a real wake-up call, and it indicated just how fragile our funding situation is. . . . now I’ve got to make sure that the money comes in the door for the SETI research with the telescope. And that’s just not happening the way we’ve been going at it, so we’re going to try and to do something different. That means my focusing on it completely. 

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: Climate science denial not based in science illiteracy 

160 Afghan girls poisoned for the sin of going to school (hat tip FA

The Star Trek hypospray is here? Perhaps this will ease the fears of the anti-vaxxers (probably not) 

Baltic anomaly: Swedes go hunting for 200-foot-wide UFO

Turkey's president wants to see the Muslim world secularize in a way that makes sense culturally:

If the idea of “being modern” is imposed from the top by authoritarian means, it doesn’t work. That amounts to social engineering. There is resistance to it because it is seen as importing Western values . . . When you speak of secularism to Muslim communities of the region, it is misunderstood because of this French implication. In practice, the implementation of secularism in the Arab and Maghreb countries has meant fighting against Islam in the name of secularism. So, we have to understand this sensitivity.

Sean Gillespie on the rise of the Skeptics of Oz event at the CFI on Campus blog

Jen McCreight asks (and I'm paraphrasing): Who are your champions of reason that you would place against a stormy backdrop in a heroic pose? 

I know what you need. Commencement speeches by physicists.  

Quote of the Day     

From the io9 review of Men in Black 3:

The random plot twists and unfunny jokes in Men in Black 3 are so oppressive, you’ll come away with a deep, gnawing sense of the futility and meaninglessness of existence. This is a film so empty, it leaves you eagerly anticipating the heat death of the cosmos.
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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)! 

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