Our Goal is Eternity

January 7, 2016

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

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore tells state courts that they may not issue same-sex marriage licenses. Refusing to do so is a "ministerial duty," he says. WHAT A GUY.  

Marco Rubio goes the Full Jesus in a new ad, in which he says, over a sweet and mellow piano underscore:

Our goal is eternity, the ability to live alongside our Creator and for all time, to accept the free gift of salvation offered to us by Jesus Christ. The struggle on a daily basis as a Christian is to remind ourselves of this. The purpose of our life is to cooperate with God’s plan, to those who much has been given much is expected and we will be asked to account for that. Were your treasures stored up on earth or in Heaven and to me I try to allow that to influence me in everything that I do.

As a reminder, the office he is running for is President of the United States.

Not running for president is Ted Cruz's dad, who says it's "appalling" that Houston has a gay mayor, calling it "the wicked electing the wicked." 

Paris and Charlie Hebdo mark one year since the attack that killed 17 people. 

Lots and lots and lots of groups are filing amicus briefs with the Supreme Court over Texas abortion restrictions, including us of course, with sign-on by the Dawkins Foundation. Their boss, Robyn Blumner, gets quoted at ThinkProgress:

We hope the court is able to put abortion politics aside and focus on the illegitimacy of the medical claims propping up the restrictions. When science claims are used to infringe a constitutional right they had better be valid, but that’s not the case here.  

Sam Harris closes up shop on his Project Reason, turning it into a private foundation to fund other groups. 

At Aeon, Gordon Pennycock says it's time we take seriously the threat of bullshit:

Bullshit is much harder to detect when we want to agree with it. The first and most important step is to recognise the limits of our own cognition. We must be humble about our ability to justify our own beliefs. These are the keys to adopting a critical mindset – which is our only hope in a world so full of bullshit. 

Christian homeschooling movement icon Bill Gothard is accused of rape, harassment, and other crimes by ten women. 

Carrie Poppy delves into the the Myers-Briggs personality test, and finds that while it is not without insights, "it’s an art not a science."

Professor James Tracy, the guy in Florida (of course) who has made a name for himself by saying the Sandy Hook massacre was a government conspiracy and harassing victims' families, is fired by Florida Atlantic University.    

Peter Van Buren tries to make sense of the recent executions in Saudi Arabia, and says they may be a show of toughness from King Salman, and a bone throne to Wahhabists.

The U.S. is smack dab in the middle of this chart showing public opinion about how important religion is to their lives. Ethiopia is at the top, China at the bottom. 

Thomas Mallon in The New Yorker looks at the John Birch society and the foundations for our modern radical right, drawing a straight line to Ted Cruz.

Kate Smurthwaite says the atheist movement is too "pale, stale and male" (all of which apply to me, by the way), and declares, "It’s high time more women got off the fence and outed themselves as atheists. There’s nothing wrong with being Godless – it might even be good for us."

Avinash Patil, discussing secularism at an India atheism conference, says the murder of noted skeptic Narendra Dabholkar has not quieted rationalists:
In fact, it has united us into a force to reckon with and we are more determined than ever to take forward our mission of promoting scientific temper.

A disabled man in Kentucky says he doesn't believe in God, so Laura Reid, allegedly, beats him with his cane, and steals his wallet and cell phone

Aliens living on habitable moons shouldn't get too comfy, as the gas giants around which they orbit may decide to go all Unicron on them and swallow them up. 

Nessie enthusiasts must be like, "I have had with these motha****in' eels in this motha****in' loch!"  

Cartoonist Pat Bagley shows us that God seems to want so many different things

Quote of the Day:

Lord Martin Rees on the future, or lack thereof:
I never thought it was likely that civilization would be wiped out completely, but that it could suffer significant setbacks. I still feel that way. We're going to have a bumpy ride. There are basically two kinds of problems. We're putting a lot of pressure on Earth's resources and biosphere. And technology is advancing faster than we can cope with it. ... We have the technology to provide a good life for the 7 billion people in this world. But we are not doing enough, especially for the billion people at the very bottom. And if we can't collectively respond to this urgent moral imperative, there is little hope of concerted action to achieve long-term sustainability, and avoid leaving future generations with a depleted and hazardous world.
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Original image by Shutterstock

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#1 Randy on Thursday January 07, 2016 at 10:58pm

Kate Smurthwaite: “having twenty-five percent representation is not the same as equality”

Actually, it might be exactly that.  When it comes to the popular leadership of the skepto-atheist movement, gender equality is achieved when people who offer something unique and valuable to this movement are not hindered from doing so, on account of their sex (even it’s male).  All evidence I’ve seen is that this movement readily accepts female leadership, except when they have nothing to offer (like anyone else).

Equality is NOT a math problem. If you do that, you end up with Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, which is a prominent example of inequality, as Canadian professor Fiamengo recently proved in her YouTube video “Because It’s 2015”.  With math.

Also, there is no such thing as “too male” or “too pale”  That’s sexist and racist bigotry.  If she wants to say that issues like reproductive rights aren’t being addressed (which she’s quite wrong about… unless she means men’s reproductive rights) she doesn’t need to do ad hominem attacks.  All she has to do is invite atheists who share her concerns to become more active on these issues.

#2 Randy on Thursday January 07, 2016 at 11:02pm

“bone throne”

Pretty sure it’s a “bone thrown”.

#3 Randy on Thursday January 07, 2016 at 11:12pm

“ministerial duty”

The word doesn’t necessarily mean “religious”.  It can also mean “administrative”.  I read the decision when it was initially issued by the Alabama Supreme Court (and I don’t think he was part of that decision…), and that’s what he means here.  By noting that it is ministerial, the magistrate judges then aren’t rendering judgments which can be reviewed by higher courts, but are acting on behalf of the executive branch.  That requires a different way to deal with them.

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