Everything Important Happens in New Jersey

November 19, 2015

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

Quick teaser: We have a cool thing we've made that's coming out today (unless something goes horribly wrong). That's all you get! You'll just have to hope you're paying attention to this website or subscribed to our emails.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wins the National Book Award for Between the World and Me, and you can hear him talk about it with Lindsay Beyerstein on CFI's Point of Inquiry from back in August. 

France confirms that in the recent raid near Paris, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, alleged ringleader of the terrorist attack, was killed

NASA is going to Jupiter's moon Europa, and Eric Berger at Ars Technica has the details. You gotta like this from Rep. John Culberson:

I told [NASA] to do whatever it takes. All of humanity is going to want to know what’s under the ice. 

Carrie Poppy says she is "obsessed with Dr. Phil," but not as a fan. She writes at Skeptical Inquirer:

Dr. Phil’s show is a show about real people, not abstract academic concepts. When he sits down with someone suffering from a seriously incapacitating illness such as obsessive compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder, do they realize that this “doctor” merely completed a PhD program and wrote a dissertation on rheumatoid arthritis in 1979? 

Trump says we may have no choice but to close mosques in the U.S. Hey. Whaddaya gonna do, amirite? Hate ta do it, hate ta do it. 

Bangladesh is, let's face it, not handling things well. The country has apparently shut down access to social networking sites for "national security" after death sentences were upheld for two war criminals from the 1971 war of independence. Meanwhile, a parliamentary subcommittee is recommending that NGOs be punished for criticizing the government. That could, I assume, include us.

To put it how John Siracusa might, there are many things wrong with this article at Time by Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, where she says that "religion" -- not just Islam, but religion-writ-large -- has absolutely nothing to do with ISIS or whatever. For example: "The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of ISIS fighters are not particularly religious." That's a fact? You just know that? Wow. Why does this person not work for the U.S. military??

The good news: According to Pew Research, ISIS is loathed throughout the vast majority of the Muslim world. Except Pakistan, where a big majority says they "don't know" how they feel. Hmph. 

The Defense Authorization Act for fighting ISIS encourages religious diversity in the U.S. military, though makes no mention of the nonreligious.  

The Secular Coalition writes a welcome letter to the new Speaker of the House.  

Ben Carson's campaign releases campaign material with a map of something sort of like the United States, but I guess it's if the states all played musical chairs, and the New England got wicked drunk. I could see it.

Jackie Biskupski just became the first openly-gay mayor of Salt Lake City, capital of Mormon country. Meanwhile, the recent anti-gay edicts from the LDS church have created something of an exodus.

It just keeps getting worse for exemplar of Christian family morality Josh Duggar

Business Insider has a cool video about perceptions of deep time, where all the important stuff about animals evolving happens in New Jersey, and World War II almost gets hit by a truck in a crosswalk. It'll make sense. 

Reuters: Saudi Arabia's fight against extremist Islamic terrorism conflicts with its fervent support of, well, extremist Islam in the form of Wahhabism.

Andy Martino at the NY Daily News explores why the heck we're still talking about freaking Bigfoot (with a pretty clever headline). 

Pixar's upcoming short film looks ultra-cute, Sanjay’s Super Team, which makes superheroes of Hindu gods.   

Quote of the Day:

The Dalai Lama on the Paris attacks and terrorism:

We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. 

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Comments:

#1 Randy on Thursday November 19, 2015 at 9:28am

“ISIS is loathed”

Well, that’s something that sounds more reassuring than it actually is.

First, why do they loathe it?  Is it a matter of style over substance?  (Often, yes… Saudi Arabia—not among the surveyed countries despite having the two holiest sites in Islam—is run by largely the same views).

Second, we’re focusing on the wrong end.  Up to one in six average people (from samples that include non-Muslims) support an Islamist organization that burns people alive, crucifies them, throws them off buildings, and beheads them.

#2 Randy on Thursday November 19, 2015 at 9:59am

“It’ll make sense.”

Except for that part where Jesus is crucified 2,000 years ago in NYC.  Maybe the Mormons can explain it.

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