Heal the Bern

February 18, 2016

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

Today's top story: God, taking a cue from Stephen Fry, has left Twitter

While they can't claim a straight line of causation, scientists are warning that outbreaks such as the Zika virus could be greatly accelerated by global warming.

Donald Trump talks up the Scalia-was-maybe-murdered conspiracy theory, 'cause that's just sort of what he does. 

Harriet Hall seeks to clarify why newborns get a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease, Hepatitis B:

Theoretically, an infected person could inadvertently contaminate a doorknob or a toy with saliva, and a child could touch the object and transfer the virus into his own body by touching a skin lesion or putting his fingers in his mouth. Exposure doesn’t have to be by direct injection or through breaks in the skin; mucosal exposure is enough. 

Alan Blinder at NYT compares and contrasts the zealously religious politics of Franklin Graham (son of Billy) and Jerry Falwell, Jr. Man, God really is the ultimate nepotist, isn't he?

Music ensemble Alarm Will Sound has a piece based on the recorded voice of Daniel Dennett (!), an "atheist oratorio" called Mind Out of Matter, which will be performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on March 1. I happen to have a discount code: AWS16.

There's also a new musical about Thomas Aikenhead, the last person in Britain to be hanged for blasphemy: I Am Thomas (A play on the recent "Je Suis" meme). 

Jeb Bush, who, let's face it, is getting killed in this election, boasts how Florida's voucher scheme got kids into Christian schools, complete with a "Jesus loves you." 

Susan Jacoby talks to NPR about her new book on religious conversion

Turns out health savings accounts can make nice tax shelters for alt-med quackery

Members of Iranian metal band Confess could face prison time and even execution for:

...blasphemy; advertising against the system; forming and running an illegal band and record label “in the satanic metal & rock music style”; writing anti-religious, atheist, political and anarchistic lyrics; and conducting interviews with “forbidden” foreign radio stations. 

Georgia (the country) thinks better of passing an anti-blasphemy bill, at least for now. 

Religious scholar Stephen Prothero says Jesus would probably vote for Sanders, "the most Christian candidate in the race." That makes sense to me, because once you feel the Bern, Jesus could heal the Bern.

Chitra Nagarajan at The Guardian wants the world to not forget about the women and girls kidnapped and terrorized by Boko Haram. "So far, the scale of needs has outstripped response." 

The ACLU and CAIR are suing the infamous "Muslim-free" gun range in Oklahoma.  

South Dakota's legislature goes on an anti-LGBT spree

Quote of the Day:

Isaac Asimov (who helped found CFI's Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, then CSICOP) wrote to Carl Sagan (same) in 1973: 

I have just finished The Cosmic Connection and loved every word of it. You are my idea of a good writer because you have an unmannered style, and when I read what you write, I hear you talking.

One thing about the book made me nervous. It was entirely too obvious that you are smarter than I am. I hate that.

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