Captured by a Vacuum Cleaner

November 12, 2014

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

Hey man, things are tough all over. I totally get it. But you know what? The European Space Agency is about to land a thing on a freaking comet! Come on, a comet! It's supposed to make contact at about 11am ET. Watch the Rosetta mission livestream here

A recent court case involving a federal prison inmate who wanted his humanist study group authorized ended up with a federal judge deciding that secular humanism is a religion. I'm sorry, what? Well, folks on CFI's leadership team have something to say about that, with an important piece by Tom Flynn, Ron Lindsay, and Nick Little: "Secularism Humanism: Not a Religion":

In the larger domain of social rhetoric, [Judge Haggerty’s decision] will likely resonate like a cannon-shot. … it seems likely to provoke an entirely unnecessary revival of those old tropes about the ‘religion of humanism.’

(David Niose says this isn't such a big deal.) 

Steven Pinker is the guest on Point of Inquiry this week with Lindsay Beyerstein talking about his new book The Sense of Style, and generally making us all feel better about the foibles of our grammar. 

Meanwhile, the show's other host Josh Zepps is the guest on Joe Rogan's podcast, which I haven't heard yet, but I'm sure is delightful. Right? 

Last year, CFI-DC helped host the Ingersoll Oratory Contest, and now we have video of all the performances

How do you make the whole world think of little of you as possible? Organize a campaign against Malala Yousafzai, as a network of Pakistani private schools is doing with an "I am Not Malala Day." 

Jake Brown at the Course of Reason blog writes about the way the Gulf Coast State College Center for Inquiry On Campus celebrated Carl Sagan Day, with a week full of events.

The most accurate clock ever (no, not the Apple Watch) is showing scientists just how fluid of a concept time actually is.  

Let's talk about AOL, or as I called it back in the time of the dinosaurs, "America Online." (Chat rooms, y'all.) First, kudos to them for being the next corporation to back out of the climate change-denying ALEC lobbying group. But then of course, they also pay this guy to be a "digital prophet" (actual job title).

Pope Fluffy demotes Cardinal Raymond Burke from his post of head of the Vatican's highest court for being insufficiently fluffy. 

More importantly, the pope has set up a new Vatican panel to more speedily deal with sexual abuse cases

The U.S. bishops are wondering why they're not as popular as Francis.  

Kenya's bishops, meanwhile, are telling women that a tetanus vaccine is really a sterilization plot from the West. Heckuva church you got there, Francis.

ThinkProgress profiles Lauren Kurtz of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, a "network of attorneys who will volunteer to represent embattled climate scientists in court free of charge."

Hemant Mehta wants help with getting up a list of all the atheist officeholders in the U.S. But why? So he can round them up in FEMA camps?!?!?! 

Turns out Joseph Smith had as many wives as God took days to flood the Earth. 

Faith-healing parents in Oregon are convicted of manslaughter for letting their daughter die without medical care. 

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is targeting Wheaton College for requiring that its ROTC Assistant Professors be "of the Christian faith." 

I'm trying to decide whether this article is a joke or not: A KKK chapter is looking to rebrand as "the New Klan," and is recruiting minorities to join. 

India is going to have a minister of alt-med and yoga. Great. 

An interesting question posed at Quora: "Is it reasonable to be skeptical of professional skeptics, such as CSICOP?" 

So I think those Epic Rap Battles of History are pretty hit or miss or miss or miss, but this one is relevant at least to your interests: Ghostbusters vs. Mythbusters.

"Introducing hydrotherapy for cats." Noooooooo. 

Quote of the Day

Matt Crowley at Skeptical Inquirer on the claim that cameras can steal your soul:

If the soul were something besides light, then we might worry it could be captured by a vacuum cleaner, a fishing line, or a Ziploc bag.  

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Image by Shutterstock. 

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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