If Scientific Accuracy is Your Jam

February 24, 2014

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

Today's Morning Heresy starts the week on a terribly sad note, as over the weekend freethought activist and friend of the blog Eric Broze died suddenly of unknown causes. Even if you don't know Eric, you're probably aware of some of his work for the movement, which includes the Coming Out Godless project, done with his wife Rose Schwartz, and spearheading the United Church of Bacon based in Las Vegas. 

I didn't know Eric well by any means, but we had worked together on a few small projects online (I helped out a little with some early web copy for the Church of Bacon site) and we had just been in conversation last week for some cross-promotion for the CoB and CFI. I should note that in all his offers of help, Eric never asked for anything in return. Indeed, that's what I know most about him: he never failed to offer his assistance, his expertise, or his camaraderie, and all because, as far as I could tell, he was just like that. Like I said, I didn't know him well at all, but any problem or need I ever whined about online, he'd be the first to raise his hand and offer any help he could provide.

Here's an "In Memoriam" post about Eric at Ed Clint's blog. Rose is accepting donations at the Paypal address rose@radful.com. 

Here's the rest of the news.

CFI's Debbie Goddard is featured on NPR's Tell Me More, talking about her experience as an African American nonbeliever (and it's quite moving).  

Peter Foster says the U.S. is "secularizing" faster than we think, and may soon hit a major tipping point akin to the recent shift in favor of same-sex marriage. 

Thank you, Michael Schulson, for writing this at The Daily Beast: "Whole Foods: America’s Temple of Pseudoscience":

If scientific accuracy in the public sphere is your jam, is there really that much of a difference between Creation Museum founder Ken Ham, who seems to have made a career marketing pseudoscience about the origins of the world, and John Mackey, a founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, who seems to have made a career, in part, out of marketing pseudoscience about health? 

Paul Bloom argues at length against the idea that we conscious beings are merely meat-computers with no real rational thought process. 

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first openly-gay professional athlete in one of our four major sports: Jason Collins is signed to the Brooklyn Nets for 10 days. 

Meanwhile, Auburn Tigers coach (I believe we're now talking about football, but bear with me, I am sports-allergic) Gus Malzahn says his team would be welcoming to an openly-gay player. The fact that this is notable in 2014 is kind of sad, but good on ya, Gus.

AP: Alabama has a lot more wall-of-separation breaching bills coming down the pike. 

Vanity Fair does a big piece on the missing Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige. 

Reformist newspaper in Iran, Asemanis shut down and its manager is jailed for "spreading lies and insulting the holy precepts of Islam." 

Bangladesh's High Court stays the proceedings against the four arrested atheist bloggers (for whom CFI organized worldwide protests last year), and asks for a good reason to not shut the whole case down.

Adam Alter at The New Yorker: Not only is magic positive-thinking stuff like "The Secret" useless for attaining life success, it can actually make things crappier, both on the individual and even macroeconomic levels.

Federal appeals court denies an injunction to the University of Notre Dame's compliance with the contraceptive mandate.

Ben Radford ponders the effects of the death-by-snakebite of snake-handling pastor Jamie Coots on the faith of his flock:

[I]t would be more surprising if Coots's followers' faith was shaken: After all, the whole point of serpent handling is about affirmation of faith; for them to lose faith because of what happened to him would be the ultimate betrayal. 

Samuel Freedman reports on the growth of a secular movement within Alcoholics Anonymous

Rand Paul is conveniently finding religion, and Elizabeth Stoker doesn't buy it:

GOP Christians tempted by Paul’s proselytizing should ask themselves this: If libertarianism arises out of a wholly separate ethical framework than Christianity, what authority underlies that framework, and why should they, Christians, respond to it? 

Swearing in a bunch of cardinals, Pope Francis asks the assembled red-hats to oppose "any discrimination," and awkwardly, most of the cardinals seem more into the weirdly-lurking Ratzinger. 

17-year-old Palestinian dies during an "exorcism." 

Allegedly-Satanist alleged serial killer Miranda Barbour probably hasn't done the "serial" part, nor the Satan part either.  

Russian skeptics invent a satirical prize for pseudoscience, the Obscurantis Prize. 

The Raelians are trying to cozy up to Buddhism in Cambodia. 

FFRF asks the police department of La Crosse, Wisconsin to stop using police chaplains

Hey Jerry Boykin, what will be Christ be like when he finally comes back? 

[Like a] mighty warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe … I believe that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies ’cause he’s coming back as a warrior carrying a sword. And I believe now — I’ve checked this out — I believe that sword he’ll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15. 

Quote of the Day

Australia's The Age reports on the movement for secular weddings, and quotes CFI-Indiana's Reba Boyd Wooden on why we don't just sign for some fake religion online:

We won't do that because we are fighting for a principle. The big deal is you shouldn't have to pretend to be religious.

* * *  

Image of Eric and Rose via @ChristopherMehl

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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