Andorian Filibuster

November 5, 2013

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

Thanks to the Kepler spacecraft, astronomers are reporting that there are perhaps 40 billion Earth-size (and maybe Earth-like) planets in our galaxy alone. Federation Council meetings are going to take forever. I can totally see the Andorian delegate filibustering some dilithium mining bill.

Greece v. Galloway will be argued before the Supreme Court tomorrow, on the constitutionality of prayers at legislative and governmental functions. SCOTUSblog previews. Check out CFI's amicus brief on the case, and our own Michael De Dora's thoughts on the case from August. 

It's Election Day, in case you forgot, what with it being an off-year. Voters in Washington state will decide today whether products containing genetically modified crops must be so labeled. 

Joe Nickell goes out on a bender for Skeptical Inquirer. Because it's a piece on telekinesis. Get it? Bender? I'll stop. 

NYT reports on what should be of no surprise: "Natural remedies" and "herbal supplements" are often enormously diluted, or not even made up of what their bottles claim. Yes, they are faking the fake medicine.

Robert Wright on the idea that our ideas of morality and justice are "a legacy of natural selection." 

Due to a loophole in California's new vaccination law -- a law intended to make it harder to claim exemptions -- more folks may opt out than before. 

Rick Gonzales on the split in his family after questioning the legitmacy of the Watchtower governing body for Jehovah's Witnesses:

After my mother died eight months ago, my dad, being all alone, went to the elders in the congregation he attended to see if he’d be allowed to visit with me. They said that since I was his son, he could visit with me at his house. But he could not discuss religion - nor could he share a meal with me at the same table

The UAE looks to punish those who claim to be sorcerers to fleece money out of the hapless (yay!), but one method might be to charge them with blasphemy (boo!). 

Psychics balk over required provisos that they are "for entertainment only." Careful what you wish for, y'all. 

FFRF aims its legal canon at the Pismo Beach City Council for its invocation prayers.  

Salon profiles some families in the context of the growth of "nones" among Millennials

Oklahoma man is hospitalized after being accidentally shot by men "hunting Bigfoot." 

Dawkins tweeted something and people are mad. Tune in next week for a repeat of that sentence. 

Quote of the Day

The LA Times editorial board on Greece v. Galloway:

Ideally, the court would ... recognize that, in an America in which an increasing number of citizens identify with no religion, even nonsectarian, lowest-common-denominator prayers can exclude and marginalize nonbelievers. Obviously a Jew who goes to a town meeting to petition for a permit will be made uncomfortable when he is urged to join in a prayer to "our Lord Jesus." But an atheist in the same position will be equally offended by a request that he join in a prayer to a generic God.

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