My Lab Partner, Han Solo

October 27, 2015

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

The House Science Committee is called "worse than the Benghazi committee" by Vox's David Roberts for its "open-ended, Orwellian attempts to intimidate some of the nation's leading scientists and scientific institutions." Phil Plait shows some of the ways committee chair Lamar Smith is looking to make life hell for scientists at the NOAA.

Richard Dawkins did an event in Florida with CFI–Tampa Bay and others, and video of the whole shebang is up. Herb Silverman, as usual, dressed for the occasion.  

Jeffrey Tayler at Salon looks at the political landscape, with some troubling polling on Americans' feelings about being a "Christian nation," and warns:

The situation, thus, is dire. We no longer have time for niceties. We need to speak out forcibly against faith and expose it for what it is – a delusion deleterious to liberty and the commonwealth. ... To believe something on the basis of no objective evidence, given the consequences, is, as William K. Clifford wrote, wrong everywhere and at all times. It is moral cowardice to believe something because you want it to be true. It is nothing short of moral treachery to cede, in the spirit of tolerance, the high ground to people with such beliefs. When we do so, we betray skeptics and nonbelievers everywhere, including, most of all, those in religious countries.

Looks like Hobby Lobby's Steve Green may be in trouble with the feds for trafficking in looted Biblical artifacts.  

In a big "important" document, Pope Francis says there are "absolutely no grounds for same-sex marriage," which of course he gets to decide based on something-something magic superbeing. 

But don't worry! The Catholic Church is going to solve climate change

Ben Radford takes a charitable view of claims of past-life memories from a kid:

It’s unlikely that this is a hoax or that anyone is trying to fool anyone else. Instead it seems like a mystery created by a series of misunderstandings and faulty investigation. 

Bobby Henderson (the FSM guy) shows Pastafarian headgear being allowed on a UK driver's license, and sees it as a sign of noodly progress:

I think the more instances of approval by government bureaucrats we get, the stronger our case for recognized legitimacy. It’s getting harder and harder for anyone to say this is all a joke, when we can point to dozens or hundreds of examples where government officials have looked over our documents and said OK. 

Rare good news: Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals overturns the blasphemy conviction of pianist Fazil Say. 

And back to bad news: Bangladeshi environmental activist Mohon Kumar Mondal was arrested in September for publicly questioning the wisdom of the Hajj pilgrimage. 

Tastes like...what

A short film about Captain Picard and Earl Grey tea. You are quite welcome. 

Quote of the Day:

The Force is with scientists in Canada after the recent election, because, according to Thomas Hayden at Wired:

...the fall of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government in the October 19 national election wasn’t just a relief—it was the rough emotional equivalent of blowing up the Death Star. And the fact that Liberal leader Justin Trudeau won with a surprise majority government, avoiding the mess and gridlock of power sharing, was like having dreamy Han Solo emerge from the explosion and sign on to be your lab partner. 

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