Put This in Your Pipe for Separation of Church and State

October 4, 2013

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

Now how cool is this?! MLive expands on its coverage of the CFI Living without Religion campaign with short video interviews of some of the folks at CFI-Michigan, who talk about how they find meaning and purpose.

Some folks are surprised to find the body of Christ in their burger

Brian Pellot rounds up some other blasphemous examples that have been attacked by believers. 

Scalia opens mouth, makes secularists die a little inside:

Scalia characterized [Thomas] Jefferson as a religious man, quoting from his Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, the forerunner to First Amendment protections on religious freedom. The statute begins, “Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it … tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion. …”

Scalia quipped, “Put this in your pipe for separation of church and state.” 

Guys, I know you will have trouble accepting this, but it turns out that the "most convincing" Loch Ness Monster photo ever taken was...are you sitting down?...a hoax!!! 

Research shows that if you believe one conspiracy theory, you might just be the type to believe many more. Emily Willingham:

Debating a conspiracy buff isn’t helpful, it seems, because adherence to a conspiracy theory tends to reflect a broader way of thinking about the world, not just specifically about the alleged conspiracy at hand. The authors [of the study] also note a tendency of conspiracy theorists to have a certain set of personality traits, including paranoid ideation and schizotypy [mild schizophrenia]. 

Prof. Brian Cox, in an interview with Kylie Sturgess, prefers Star Trek over Star Wars:

Star Trek, at its best, I think operates on a way higher level to Star Wars. I’ll probably get slagged off for that! Everyone will know what I mean, I hope. . . . At its best, the writing in Star Trek is amazing. I think it’s probably just because if you make so many of them you can afford to make a statement. Some of them are just action and running around. The same with “Doctor Who,” actually: you can have some running about with loads of monsters, but you can also have some brilliant science fiction writing. 

On October 13, Amanda Knief visits CFI-DC to dish on being a secular super-lobbyist. On October 18, the CFI mothership in Amherst hosts Christopher Silver who will talk about his research into the demographics of atheists.

Yesterday, our Office of Public Policy sent an alert to our supporters in Michigan to contact their legislators about a bill that would allow discrimination by adoption agencies. 

Natalie Kaufman recounts her fulfilling experience of her student group's participation in Blasphemy Rights Day:

I think that every person, regardless of beliefs or opinions, should participate in Blasphemy Rights Day. At the bottom of it all, religion is not the point—the point is freedom of expression. People deserve the right to question beliefs or religion and spark discussions without fear of punishment.  

New research shows that literary fiction (War and Peace as opposed to 50 Shades of Greymakes you a better person. I tie this back to Shakespeare

A writer for Science tries to suss out how scammy these pay-to-publish "journals" are, and the answer is "very":

[John] Bohannon had written an intentionally incompetent cancer research paper with numbers that didn’t add up, internal contradictions and conclusions that made no sense. . . . Yet 157 research journals from around the world offered to print it without corrections or editing.  

Hobby Lobby is sort of sorry about not carrying Hanukkah stuff.  

The Yale Humanist Community is rejected for religious recognition by Yale's Chaplain's Office. Somewhere, Tom Flynn is smirking.

Christopher Wanjek takes on "magnetic therapy":

[S]ome proponents of magnetic therapy [claim that] magnets somehow alter the body's electromagnetic energy balance.  The problem here is that there's no recognized concept among most physicists and medical doctors called electromagnetic energy balance — or life-flow, or energy flow, or chi. 

NYC fake psychic Sylvia Mitchell is on trial for, of course, bilking folks out of lots and lots of money. 

UFOs in the UK promote creative writing

When some dude creeps out of the forest claiming to have amnesia, be skeptical

A candidate for mayor of Oklahoma City, who looks to be a friend to seculars, is doing things differently:

Says one longtime Oklahoma politico of Shadid’s campaign so far, “It’s as if Shadid thinks he’s running for mayor of Berkeley.  Promoting himself as the candidate for atheists and advocating property tax increases are things that I would normally consider political suicide.  I have never seen a supposedly credible candidate break so many rules of Oklahoma politics.” 

This cat keeps saying "go away." Done.

Quote of the Day

Eileen Pollack does a big NYT Magazine piece on why women are held back from careers in science, finding that the culture is still arguing them out of it:

“The Big Bang Theory” is a sitcom, of course, and therefore every character is a caricature, but what remotely normal young person would want to enter a field populated by misfits like Sheldon, Howard and Raj? And what remotely normal young woman would want to imagine herself as dowdy, socially clueless Amy rather than as stylish, bouncy, math-and-science-illiterate Penny? 

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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. 

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