The Shiniest Cog in Nature’s Wheel

January 22, 2014

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

I can't believe it's not GMO: Wired covers the work of mega-ultra-super-ag corporation Monsanto, which is using regular old cross-breeding for its new, improved crops, not genetic modification.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia believes in witchcraft. So do 69% of Indonesian Muslims, apparently.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's Home Minister is against a mandatory prayer law being debated in one city, but part of his problem seems to be about whose job it is to enforce religious participation.

AP has more horrifying details of the "exorcism" that ended in the stabbing deaths of two babies and stabbing injuries of two kids:

[Zakieya Latrice] Avery was part of a dance troupe at a nearby Christian church where "her job was, as a lover of Christ, was that she was going to keep demons away," [Capt. Marcus] Jones said.

Lindsay Beyerstein has us cast a skeptical eye on the stripping of voting rights from those convicted of crimes with guest Jason Stanley on Point of Inquiry.

Wowee: GOP candidate for U.S. Senate from Alaska Kathleen Tonn does a whole speaking-in-tongues thing in a steam room to confuse Satan. Well, someone's confused.

A movement is afoot in Finland to abolish its state church

Ben Radford must explain the obvious to a crop circle conspiracy theorist:

[J]ust because you personally would not do something a particular way doesn’t mean that it is at all strange or suspicious that someone else chose to do it a different way.   

Reporters without Borders is raising awareness of the attacks on, and subsequent arrest of, journalist Jitendra Prasad Das in India, charged with blasphemy for publication of a picture of Mohammed.

Meanwhile, India officially recognizes Jains as a minority faith, making them eligible for certain types of funding. 

AU's Barry Lynn opines on the challenges to the contraceptive mandate:

If the court does decide that corporations have a religious conscience, there is simply no telling how many business owners and others will seek exemptions from any law they decide violates their "religious freedom." 

A petition is being run for UK Lib Dem Maajid Nawaz who is in trouble for not being offended by a Jesus and Mo cartoon. Mo responds.

Police in Zimbabwe run screaming from a goblin. Yeah I dunno. 

Chris Sosa is not comfortable with the term (or what he perceives to be the philosophy of) "humanism":

[Humanism is the] glorification of a single, often destructive, species without viewing life as the complex matrix it happens to be. The separation between humans and other life forms is magnified through reflexive perception to a degree that doesn't best represent our actual place. We share a language and happen to be the most powerful evolved species on the planet. Patting ourselves on the back for being the shiniest cog in nature's wheel may feel good, but is it wise?  

Quote of the Day

Cindy Hoedel at the Kansas City Star comes out to her readers as an atheist in her column:

I suspect a large number of the 33 million are in-the-closet atheists who don’t want to be the only person in their family, workplace or book club to use the “A”-word. Let me go first: My name is Cindy, and I am an atheist. Wow, that sounds weird.

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Image via Shutterstock

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 writchey2 on Wednesday January 22, 2014 at 10:53am

The project to end hereditary religion successfully completed a 24 hour international protest, the third and so far biggest of its’ history. Links to the entire 24 hour web broadcast are available at this URL:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1375277589384871/1376092365970060/

#2 Mark W. on Wednesday January 22, 2014 at 1:37pm

In Chris Sosa’s “Don’t Call Me a Humanist” piece mentioned above, he describes what his definition of humanism is using a quote from… wait for it… a talking-head from the Discovery Institute! (Yes, the intelligent design folks.)

#3 Mario (Guest) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 at 2:57pm

Humanism is the “glorification of a single, often destructive, species”?  Actually, humanism—at least, the type shilled for by the media—is the glorification of a small minority of said species.  Specifically, entertainers, journalists, and other non-scientists desperate for the smartness cred rightfully granted to mathematicians, physics profs, NASA engineers, etc.  Readers and viewers conclude that if Entertainer A (or TV Talking Head B) is as clever as Newton, they, hey, so are they.  Except that Entertainer A (and TV Talking Head B) is probably as intellectually close to Newton as an ant to Bill Gates.

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