Our Visceral Distaste is Not to Be Taken Lightly

November 8, 2013

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

CFI chief Ron Lindsay looks at the transcript of the oral arguments in the SCOTUS prayer case Greece v. Galloway, and comes away feeling that atheists were "thrown under the bus" by plaintiffs' attorney Douglas Laycock:

Laycock, knowing that he could probably not get a Court majority to eliminate the prayer practice entirely, decided to take the angle that you only have to please the majority of people. Only the majority of people have to be treated equally. Oh, great, so the Establishment Clause was intended not to protect minority rights, but rather the sentiments of the majority. You know, all these years, I had that backward, Doug. Thanks for straightening me out. 

Sarah Posner reports that George W. Bush will keynote a fundraiser for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that wants to convert Jews in order to bring about the return of Jesus. She notes the reaction of Commentary magazine, which warns, "it must be understood that the visceral distaste that the overwhelming majority of Jews have for the Messianics is not to be taken lightly." But to all those who are surprised by this, I have to say, were you not paying attention to this guy the past 13 years?

Now, I'm not at all making an equivalence here, okay? At all. But I can't help but be reminded of Mel Brooks in History of the World: Part I singing the Inquisition song:

The Inquisition, let's begin
The Inquisition, look out sin
We have a mission to convert the Jews (Jew ja Jew ja Jew ja Jews) 

According to an EU survey, almost a third of Jews in Europe are considering emigrating from their home country because of a rise in anti-Semitism across the continent.

If you're not sure who to thank for the passage of ENDA in the Senate, you might want to thank the Mormons

Secular Coalition expresses disappointment (shared by CFI) that ENDA retains its religious exemptions.  

High school runner refuses to run when assigned number 666. If I had that number, I might run even faster!

Here's an artsy Instagram pic of our own Michael De Dora addressing CFI-Los Angeles by Cherry Teresa. 

Declassified documents on Area 51 show that the secrecy was about the development of stealth technology and the study of "covertly acquired" Soviet jets. Oh, no aliens, in case you were wondering.

Daniel Burke at CNN has noticed that a lot of atheists, on Twitter at least, seem to really, really like Pope Francis. Many have been moved particularly by this embrace.

Michelle Boorstein covers the atheist Sunday Assembly visit to DC, hosted by CFI-DC.  

Mark Jackson discusses the exploratory drive behind the practice of theoretical physics:

Why do people not universally share this joy of scientific discovery? Probably because the language nature speaks is mathematics - one that most people are not fluent in. Unfamiliarity breeds distrust, and I think this may be the reason society has developed a prejudice against scientists. The “mad” or “evil” scientists are staple archetypes of popular culture, 

A new book by psychologist Dr. Paul Vitz, a former atheist, purports to reveal that atheism is a result of losing respect for one's real-life father. For the record, I love my dad, and we're super-cool with each other. 

Yesterday, the Heresy talked about our Reptilian Overlords. Well, it looks like the Curiosity rover has found one. ON MARS. 

Watauga County School District in North Carolina nixes posters reading "In God We Trust." 

John Carlson writes that Albert Camus' nonbelief should serve as an example to "new atheists" who "throw their strident atheism in the face of believers." 

Quote of the Day

Esther Inglis-Arkell has a fantastic explanation of "survivorship bias," which helps fake psychics convince people of their abilities, and uses economists as an example of how it works:

I had an economics teacher who joked that the best way to make millions as an investment adviser was to send out, to thousands of people, two variations of a letter. One would predict one trend in the stock market and the other would predict the opposite trend. Let the market take its course. Strike the people that got the inaccurate letter from your mailing list. Then send out another set of letters. Repeat the pattern until you've got only a few clients, and each one of them is absolutely convinced that you're infallible.      

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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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