Perceive Something Threatening

December 14, 2015

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

CFI's Michael De Dora is the guest on the Friendly Atheist Podcast - I haven't listened yet, but I assume he didn't embarrass us or anything. 

195 countries sign on to historic climate change accords in Paris, promising to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Ensaf Haidar says her husband Raif Badawi is on a hunger strike, and tweets: “I call on his majesty King Salman to pardon my husband. Please unite my children with their father."

Creede Newton reports on the quixotic legal quest to defend Ashraf Fayadh from being beheaded in Saudi Arabia for apostasy. 

Women voted in Saudi Arabia. I mean for the first time. Turnout was pretty low, however, as there doesn't seem to be a strong sense that, despite this crucial milestone, anything else will change.

Samanth Subramanian at The New Yorker reports in depth on the killings of secular bloggers in Bangladesh

Google CEO Sundar Pichai responds to the Trump ban-all-Muslims bluster, and the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment:

I firmly believe that whether you’re building a company or leading a country, a diverse mix of voices and backgrounds and experiences leads to better discussions, better decisions, and better outcomes for everyone. ... I feel we must speak out — particularly those of us who are not under attack. Everyone has the right to their views, but it’s also important that those who are less represented know that those are not the views of all.

Let’s not let fear defeat our values. We must support Muslim and other minority communities in the US and around the world.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is taken to task by The Verge for an uncharacteristic lack of skepticism in an interview with the head of Mars One. 

Andrew Liptak at io9 tells the story of why there was no Apollo 18 (except the They Might Be Giants record). 

Marco Rubio says he will appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Obergefell v. Hodges.

Oh great, more pastors running for office

Roswell conspiracy theorists have a lobbyist, and are pinning some hopes on the influence of UFO enthusiast John Podesta, who chairs the Clinton campaign.

Julia Belluz at Vox looks at how a bias toward "big data" in scientific research could be problematic: "It's very possible that important insights are being lost in the push toward large-scale science." 

CFI On Campus's latest Affiliate of the Week is the Ward Melville Secular Student Alliance

Gambia's president, Yahya Jammeh, declares the country to be an Islamic republic.  

Carly Fiorina refuses to back down on her claims about harvested baby parts in Planned Parenthood videos, claims which are entirely false, claiming a liberal plot. 

Paul Farhi at WaPo says Trump's ascendance signals the mainstreaming of nutty fringe conspiracy beliefs. I think they were already mainstream, but who's counting. 

Democrats are trying to overturn a decades-old ban on federal research into the public health impact of guns

Humanist Bob Scott is sworn in as mayor of Franklin, North Carolina, on a copy of the Constitution. 

Nic Kristof quizzes you on the finer points of religious scripture, to prove you don't know what you're talking about: 

Religion is invariably a tangle of contradictory teachings — in the Bible, the difference between the harshness of Deuteronomy and the warmth of Isaiah or Luke is striking — and it’s always easy to perceive something threatening in another tradition. 

Andrew Aghapour has a handy-dandy infographic on whether or not Deepak Chopra is full of manure

Quote of the Day:

Bill Nye weighs in on Star Wars vs. Star Trek, and chooses wisely:

Some of my best friends like Star Wars. Star Wars had the Force. And it’s really about family conflicts. And it’s Shakespearean… but in Star Trek, it’s an optimistic view of the future with science. They have anti-matter contained in magnetic fields, which is physics, which is a real thing. But in Star Wars, it’s just magic… The Force is like a ghost or magic or religion… There’s an invisible thing that has magical powers, superpowers… but in Star Trek they didn’t do that.
 
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Comments:

#1 Randy on Thursday December 24, 2015 at 6:48am

“it’s always easy to perceive something threatening in another tradition.”

You mean like when they write it down in plain and simple terms, and call it holy?

Yeah, I noticed that.

#2 Randy on Thursday December 24, 2015 at 6:56am

“Democrats are trying to overturn a decades-old ban on federal research”

There are other research bans, at least one from this century, that ought to be lifted as well, despite bipartisan objection to the research.

It is not government’s role to set the contours of research.

#3 Randy on Thursday December 24, 2015 at 7:10am

“Marco Rubio says he will appoint Supreme Court justices”

If the common wisdom is to be believed, at least two, possibly as many as four Justices, will be replaced in the next presidential term or two.

The balance is currently four moderates, one conservative, and four lunatics.

It is critical that the Republican lose, no matter who the Republican and Democrat nominees are.

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