What the Hell, Indeed

February 19, 2015

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

Yesterday, we announced that CFI-Northeast Ohio has been working with Ohio State Senator Michael Skindell on a bill to allow Secular Celebrants to solemnize marriages in Ohio. The AP covers the story

Meanwhile, fifty Ohio lawmakers who aren't Sen. Skindell are sponsoring a "fetal heartbeat abortion ban," which effectively bans abortions as early as six weeks

President Obama yesterday: "No religion is responsible for terrorism — people are responsible for violence and terrorism." Yeah, sort of. He goes on:

[ISIS and Al Qaeda] try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors in defense of Islam [but] we must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie. ... Of course, the terrorists do not speak for a billion Muslims who reject their ideology. They no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God, represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism.

Look, no one would mistake Rudy Giuliani for a scholar, but what the hell is this:

You’ve got to be able to criticize Islam for the parts of Islam that are wrong. You criticize Christianity for the part of Christianity that is wrong. I’m not sure how wrong the Crusades are. The Crusades were kind of an equal battle between two groups of barbarians. The Muslims and the crusading barbarians. What the hell? 

What the hell, indeed. 

J.M. Berger at Brookings critiques the recent Graeme Wood article on the religious aspects of ISIS:

Understanding whiteness is relevant to understanding white supremacy, just as understanding Islam is relevant to jihadism. And to be sure, religion matters to ISIS. A lot. But the concept of an exclusive identity matters far more, to the point that ISIS will engage in virtually unlimited theological gymnastics to justify it. 

Brian Pellot at RNS condemns all of our constant condemnations. Which I then condemned

A pediatrician "prays on it" and decides to refuse to care for a same-sex couple's baby. WJBK notes that "the American Medical Association says physicians cannot refuse to care for patients based on sexual orientation, but doctors can refuse treatment if it's incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs." You see the paradox here, I presume. 

CFI's David Koepsell writes that universities and commercial interests are getting too cozy, but that Enlightenment values can be realized through "innovative new manners of research and dissemination of knowledge."

Oklahoma must really want to be the worst state. Yesterday we had the whole "let's kill advanced placement classes in history so kids don't learn anything bad about Amur'ka" bill, and today we have "if you issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple you'll be fired" bill. 

Chris Stedman writes in the UAE's The National in support of free expression and "treating one another with dignity and respecting all people’s right to live and express themselves freely." The hitch is that The National removed all of his original references to Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair. Stedman says he will donate what he makes from the article to Badawi's and al-Khair's families. 

Ben Radford presents a case study of media misinformation from PBS's Nova, of all things. 

Rolling StoneClimate change is a threat fully recognized by the U.S. military and national security establishment, no matter what tantrums are thrown by the deniers in Congress. 

Frank Drake (of the Drake Equation): Stop wasting time sending messages to aliens, work harder to search for them instead. 

One of the two girls who perpetrated the "Slender Man stabbing" last year is said to have truly believed she was acting in her own self-defense:

Taking the stand during the second day of a preliminary hearing, psychologist Deborah Collins testified that she has interviewed the girl several times and concluded she honestly believes Slender Man exists. ... Collins also testified that the girl told her she uses Vulcan mind control to keep negative emotions at bay and believes Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort visits her when he’s not away on business trips.

A political science professor thinks he's being followed by a ghost, and apparently this needs to be in the New York Times. Slow news day, guys? 

Hey look: My state of Maine is tied as the second-least-churchy. Vermont is tops. The most churched? Utah. 

Fake-psychic Sonia Marks in Ohio is sentenced to five years probation and a fine of $187,000 for a whole lot of fraud. 

Correction: Obama is not the Anti-Christ, but perhaps the seventh king. 

Jacqui Cheng on Twitter:

"Don't know why anyone would want to make politics out of weather!" My 90yo grandmother on climate change denialists  

Quote of the Day 

Jeb Bush is going paleo, for America. Jonathan Chait says:

The whole appeal of the Paleo diet is a primal fantasy that appeals to men enchanted with some vision of primitive brute strength. All this is to say that perhaps Jeb Bush will fit into the Republican primary just fine. 

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Original image by lev radin / Shutterstock.com

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 Randy on Friday February 27, 2015 at 11:35am

“Stop wasting time sending messages to aliens, work harder to search for them instead.”

Really?  Suppose the aliens have come to the same conclusion.  LOL!

Regardless, I suspect smart aliens do not want to be found.  First contact with cultures on Earth by other Earthlings is a good example of why.

#2 Randy on Friday February 27, 2015 at 11:41am

“Rolling Stone”.  Ah yes, such a reputable news organization.  They never have to, say, retract a story because they didn’t bother to actually investigate claims.  Associating good science with bad reporting is supposed to help ... how?

Or is it Rolling Stone who is being helped?

#3 Randy on Friday February 27, 2015 at 11:45am

“unlimited theological gymnastics”

The only question is which side the gymnasts are on.  I see a lot more people on the “rings” and “uneven bars” over here, than I do over there.

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