Gas Music from Jupiter

October 11, 2016

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

Do you like The Morning Heresy? Forget I asked that. Do you like the work done by CFI? There we go, of course you do. Well let me tell you, this is the time to support that work, because Louis Appignani is offering to match every donation up to a quarter million dollars! This is a big, big deal. The thing is, we have to actually meet the quarter-million goal by December 31. So it's also a big challenge. So, you know, help out! Double your power and keep me employed. Forget that last part. Help us advance science and reason!  

Point of Inquiry looks to a time when being an atheist wasn't the super-hip and crazy-popular thing it is now. Ahem. Lindsay Beyerstein talks to Leigh Eric Schmidt, author of Village Atheists: How America’s Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation.

Bonya Ahmed posts the text of her presentation to the Women in Secularism 4 conference last month:

We have built a very very complicated and unfair world. We need to keep a very open mind when we try to talk about the issues and problems of humanity. ... I think it is imperative that we connect these dots with the global picture, the complicated web of global politics and economic structures. 

Alex Jones is "just going to go ahead and say it." He knows that Hillary Clinton is literally "demon possessed," and a few sentences later says, "she's a frickin' demon." Apparently "people around her" say she and Obama smell like sulfur, and Obama attracts flies indoors when no one else does. Well, good thing we know.

CSI Fellow Steven Novella explains on a Business Insider video why acupuncture is "an elaborate placebo." 

Christianity Today's editorial director, Andy Crouch, rejects Trump with all his soul:

He has given no evidence of humility or dependence on others, let alone on God his Maker and Judge. He wantonly celebrates strongmen and takes every opportunity to humiliate and demean the vulnerable. He shows no curiosity or capacity to learn. He is, in short, the very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool. 

WikiLeaks has a BIG SCOOP that Clinton ally John Podesta wants to EXPOSE THE TRUTH about UFOs!!! Because that hasn't been reported on a million times before, nor has Podesta talked about it openly. 

Angelo Stagnaro at the National Catholic Register thinks he's got a checkmate-atheists move, but it's one that presumes atheists think the universe is infinite, which I'm pretty sure no one does.  

Japan's Kayuga spacecraft on the Moon gets some beautiful pictures of Earth from the lunar surface. 

Religious historian Paul Harvey ponders what drives devout Christians to continue backing Trump.

Okay, so Trump wants to ban Muslims (excuse me, "Xtreme vetting"). Apart from being morally repugnant, Michael Schulson explains some of the logistical problems: 

Just imagine trying to get all self-identified Christians in America to come up with a single standard for Christianity. You’d have some conservative evangelicals telling Mormons that they aren’t really part of the club. Many would question the bona fides of prosperity gospel preachers. There would be small Bible churches insisting that everyone else is a heretic. Plus, some people would be confused about themselves—do I really count? Do I want to count? 

Hello, Phobos

And now, actual gas music from Jupiter. (Well, aurora music.) The Firesign Theatre is probably amazed.  

Quote of the Day

Independent candidate for governor of Utah, who actually goes by the name of "Superdell Schanze" (which sounds like the name of a German high-end Windows PC), says you better vote for him or else the Creator of the Universe will be mad.

You are against perversion and perversion of marriage. You are against more encroachment on your 2nd Amendment rights. The voice of the people and the constitution are being utterly mocked!!! Vote SUPERDELL Schanze or face the judgments of God. 

Yikes! The best part of this story, however, is not the quote, but the fact that of the many crimes for which he's been either charged or convicted, one of them is "wildlife harassment." 

* * *

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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 at 3:49pm

“Michael Schulson explains some of the logistical problems”

Under whatever variation, the goal has remained to reduce the incidence of terrorist attacks on US soil (e.g. WTC, Pulse) whether by visitors/refugees/immigrants or their children.

The ideology which leads to this is well known.  No, it’s not all brands of Islam.  But one of the purposes of a border, a country, is to reduce risk to citizens and residents.  We need to get good at this.  There is no right to enter a country.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 at 4:13pm

“presumes atheists think the universe is infinite”

The article seems to have difficulty understanding that infinity is not a number.  You cannot say that ∞ = ∞.  All ∞ means is “keep going”.  It’s an instruction, not a value.

If you want to count things that “keep going”, you use values like ℵ₀ (the size of the counting numbers), which is less than 𝔠 (the size of the real number set).  Both are infinite, but not equal.

Further, it’s not possible to measure physically anything infinite (nor infinitesimal) so we can never empirically prove that the universe is infinite.  However, we do know that it is at least larger than we can possibly see, due to the finite speed of light in a vacuum, combined with the apparently accelerating stretching of space, everywhere.  Given that, does it even matter whether it is infinite or not?  We’ll never know.

Of course, some atheists DO believe in the infinite… whether it’s infinite time, or infinite multiverses.

#3 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 at 4:16pm

Alex Jones is “just going to go ahead and say it”.

Doesn’t he always?

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