Amazing, Baffling, Incredible, Bizarre, Seemingly Miraculous

November 24, 2014

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

Examinations of exit polls from the midterms shows that 62% of those who never attend church or religious services went Democratic.  

One big reason Americans are so divided on climate change: belief in the end of the world. Aaron Blake says:

The fact that half of Americans cite the end times as a cause of recent severe weather events suggests a kind of fatalism that would certainly lead to less urgency when it comes to issues like climate change. 

We have a hot-off-the-metaphorical-presses action alert for folks in Michigan: A so-called "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" is being proposed that would provide all manner of religiously based exemptions from the law in situations like child care, pharmacies, bullying at school, and more. 

Emma Green at The Atlantic reports on survey data showing that the (to us) binary creationism-vs.-evolution debate in classrooms is far more muddled for most people.

Curt Schilling, somehow involved in sports so I'm told, rails against evolution on Twitter. His colleague at ESPN (I am told a TV network for sports) sticks up for science in his own tweets, and suddenly gets Twitter-suspended by ESPN. But ESPN says the suspension has nothing to do with this, so I dunno.

Newly-elected coucilmember of Frederick County, Maryland, Jessica Fitzwater, won't take her oath of office on a Bible:

I think it’s more appropriate to swear my oath on something I will be upholding. I’m not upholding the teachings of the Bible. I’m upholding the charter or the Constitution. 

James A. Haught, in a Charleston Gazette piece adapted from his Free Inquiry essay:

Science shows that reality is amazing, baffling, incredible, bizarre, seemingly miraculous. I can’t imagine why anyone needs supernatural beliefs, when science reveals stranger enigmas.

Lawmakers in Uganda draft a new anti-gay bill focused on the "promotion" of homosexuality. 

Montana's same-sex marriage ban is overturned, but some county clerks are not willing to issue the licenses.  

Salon: Karen Armstrong draws a line connecting Sam Harris to Nazi concentration camps, and Reza Aslan says atheists like Harris aren't really atheists (they're anti-theists). 

Egyptian court acquits the first doctor to be brought up on charges for female genital mutilation, and no reason is given for the acquittal. 

Phil Zuckerman writes about how women's rights are better respected in secular societies:

[T]here are many passages in many religious scriptures of all faiths that certainly celebrate gender equality; but they do not cancel out or make any less bitter the many patriarchal and sexist scriptures that do not. And of course, there are certainly many religious individuals who support women’s rights, just as there are many secular individuals who are quite misogynistic. The former should be celebrated, the latter condemned.

Religious-right hero Dr. Ben Carson says he feels God's fingers urging him to run for president. Ew. 

It's official, as far as the Texas State Board of Education is concerned: Moses inspired the U.S. Constitution and the Old Testament is a foundation of democracy.  

Andy Lewis shows how homeopathy has reached "peak stupid." 

Evangelical leader David Lane launches an effort to recruit 1000 pastors to run for office. Great.

Tough stuff from Sikivu Hutchinson on the need for humanists to embrace social justice:

[E]ducational apartheid and its relationship to state violence are not a priority for white Humanists because their children’s bodies are not on the 24/7 frontlines of racist profiling. Until the Humanist community steps up on anti-racism and intersectionality, it will continue to be the “kinder, gentler” cipher mopping up behind the “New Atheist” haters

Ben Radford on the relative silliness of the messages the aliens send us in the form of crop circles:

[B]y far the most damning internal evidence against this crop circle’s authenticity is the pseudo-biblical “alien” message itself: “Beware the bearers of false gifts and their broken promises. . . .” Of all the information that an extraterrestrial intelligence might choose to provide to humanity—ranging from how to contact them to engineering secrets of faster-than-light travel—these aliens chose to impart intentionally cryptic messages about false gifts, broken promises, believing in good, and hope for mankind.  

Joe Nickell tries to lend some sense to a report about cats who can predict death

Brian Whitaker says "British fears about Islamists and Saudi fears about atheists are two sides of the same coin." Perhaps, but that must be one weirdly shaped coin.  

Chicago Tribune runs a totally non-critical piece on acupuncture, touting its "benefits" and how patients think one of the practitioners is "a magician."

Oncologists are warned that breast cancer patients who are using alternative medicine treatments are at a greater risk of "adverse bleeding-related outcomes."

Google has Internet-providing balloons, which of course people think are UFOs.

Ads on Toronto's subway system spouting chemtrail conspiracies. Yikes. 

Quote of the Day

TL;DR version of the Old Testament:

God: You are my people, and you should not do the things.

People: We won't do the things.

God: Good.

People: We did the things.

God: *Guys* 

* * *  

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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Comments:

#1 BJ (Guest) on Monday November 24, 2014 at 8:46am

A few interesting things from my neck of the woods today.  Thanks for the action alert regarding our legislature.  Ol’ Jase Bolger sure can’t fix our roads, but he’s good at religious fluff.

Also interesting was that the creationism-vs-evolutionism beliefs survey was performed by an assistant professor at Calvin College.  This is the West Michigan college that’s known for running a few professors out of town after they published a paper suggesting that modern genetics makes the story of Adam and Eve impossible to be taken literally.
I wonder if the assistant professor who conducted the polling was aware that his employer watches these things carefully, and that his career was at stake with the results of his survey?

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