We Made Him Up, That’s Fine

October 7, 2016

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

Hurricane Matthew is turning out to be a real horror story, almost malevolently pummeling an area and then coming back for more. Note how I ascribe a kind of agency to the storm in a rhetorical flourish. But 'ah-ha,' say the conspiracy theorists, as THEY know the truth: That the storm was either 1) mostly fictional, and being exaggerated in order to scare people about climate change, or 2) actually engineered by the U.S. government, at the order of President Obama, so that it might destroy Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago. 

(The biggest problem with option 2, really, is that it seems to me to be an incredibly inefficient and costly way to wreck Trump's estate. But I guess that's BIG GOVERNMENT for you.)

If you want to help the people impacted by the very, very real hurricane, Foundation Beyond Belief is stepping up

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the the country's decades-long civil war. 

Ben Radford has become the most sought-after expert on the topic of scary clowns, and I can no longer keep up with all his appearances. Here he is on my FAVORITE audio-show, On the Media, and on CBC Radio.  

Sean Illing at Vox talks to Alain de Botton on what happens after we agree there's no God. De Botton says:

I suppose I'm interested in the kind of atheism that starts with the assumption that of course God doesn’t exist, we made him up, that’s fine. Now let’s move the conversation forward and look at questions like: What can religions teach us and provoke us with today? This is an atheism that knows how to engage with some of the ambitions of religion but has nothing to do with the supernatural. 

Tom Chivers at BuzzFeed reports on the overuse of alternative therapies on children by parents, in particular for autistic kids, and how not disclosing those treatments to doctors can lead to trouble.

Pakistan passes a law against honor killings and a law against rape. You'd think those would have already been illegal, but there were loopholes for when family members "forgave" the perpetrators. 

This is a few days old, but I just caught it: A stream of "Riker Googling" during a debate between Janeway and Dukat

The "Pulpit Freedom" crowd have gotten a bill into the U.S. House, the "Free Speech Fairness Act," which seeks to weaken to Johnson Amendment -- when what is really needed is for the Johnson Amendment to be more consistently and firmly enforced. You know what to do, click click

Ian Johnson at NYT reports that China's President Xi Jinping is enacting measures to place more scrutiny on religious practice with more intense monitoring of religious activity and harsher punishments for violations.

Perhaps for the next five minutes or so, the Trump campaign seems to maybe not be backing a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. 

At The Humanist, Sincere Kirabo has a couple of articles about Women in Secularism 4: One an overview of impressions, and another an interview with speaker Soraya Chemaly.

The Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science, a program of the Dawkins Foundation, launches TIES Partnerships, a network for teachers and biologists in nearby areas to connect with one another. 

Quote of the Day

Kurt Niece at The Advocate has no qualms about saying that religion is the 21st century's biggest bully:

How many wars, how much death, and how much havoc has been wrought over who is most loved by the biggest, baddest God? How many people have been subjugated and diminished by priests and clerics, over the millennia? How many Buddhas dynamited, and how many skyscrapers destroyed by airliners? How many people, in this country alone, have been enslaved and oppressed, because the Bible or the Koran said so? How much longer will "faith" be confused with morality? ... Here's the justified superlative: Is there any bigger conundrum than nice people all over the world doing really crazy shit in the name of religion? 

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Photo credit: captain-silver via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Friday October 07, 2016 at 4:10pm

“how many skyscrapers destroyed by airliners”

I’m going to guess…. 3 ?  I mean WTC 7 wasn’t directly hit, and was pretty small in comparison, but it qualifies… right?

#2 Randy (Guest) on Friday October 07, 2016 at 4:14pm

“Is there any bigger conundrum than nice people all over the world doing really crazy shit in the name of religion?”

Yes.  You’ve zoomed in too far.  The real question is: “Is there any bigger conundrum than nice people all over the world doing really crazy shit in the name of dogma?”.  I think you’ll find similar crazy shit can be laid at the feet of economics, capitalism, psychology, and even science.  Consider our cooking planet, for example.  Religion didn’t do that.

#3 Randy (Guest) on Friday October 07, 2016 at 4:21pm

(from Sincere’s article) ” a continued lack of balanced representation within secular circles”

Isn’t it time we ditched the idea of “balance”?  It doesn’t exist in nature, and it’s a fiction in humanity.  This concept is merely used to justify things like your recent proudly-sexist conference.  And you won’t get a pass on it from me.

“This conference brought together a diverse lineup of speakers”

That is exactly what it did NOT do, by design.

#4 Randy (Guest) on Friday October 07, 2016 at 4:33pm

“Now let’s move the conversation forward”

There are things called “philosophy” and “social science” and “economics” that have been trying to answer these questions for decades and centuries.

It’s not going well.

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