I, For One, Welcome Our New Southern Baptist Robot Overlords

February 4, 2014

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

Tonight is the big Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate at the Creation Museum, which everyone in the skepto-atheist movement is either really excited about or totally livid and disappointed about. But either way, it's happening, so let's enjoy it! CFI branches and campus affiliates all over the country are hosting viewing parties, and Hemant Mehta and I will be liveblogging the debate at Friendly Atheist

Here are the ones I know about: 

The Southern Evangelical Seminary is saying that at an upcoming conference they will unveil a "humanoid robot that will be used for faculty and student research into the ethical dilemmas that can arise with the use of advanced technology in everyday life." Holy crap they're building robots! I wonder if it will look anything like this. (Actually, it looks like a Kickstarter to fund this very idea by the same guy, Kevin Staley, flopped.)

CFI's international programs director Bill Cooke claims blogging space at the website (finally!) and updates us on the fight against blasphemy laws in Poland. 

Pediatrician Russell Saunders in The Daily Beast says that if you're a parent who won't vaccinate your kids, you can't be a patient of his:

It’s not merely that I don’t want to have to worry that the two-week-old infant in my waiting room is getting exposed to a potentially-fatal case of pertussis if these parents bring their children in with a bad cough. ... What breaks the deal is that I would never truly believe that these parents trust me. Giving kids vaccines is the absolute, unambiguous standard of care, as easy an answer as I will ever be able to offer. 

Qasim Rashid says imprisoning Alexander Aan for being an atheist (Alex has just been released from prison) is doing Islam wrong, saying "Universal freedom of conscience is the very root of Islam." 

Gallup says that the number of nonreligious Americans has actually dropped from last year by a whopping 1.7%. Hmm. 

Christian groups in Australia trying to put a stop to the stage show Come Heckle Christ now have new allies: The Islamic Society of South Australia, whose Waleed Alkhazrajy says:

All the Muslims around the world share the same believe that any acts or reference to depict any of the Abrahamic faiths' prophets is a blasphemy and it is not acceptable. 

I'd forgotten about this: 9/11 truther finds his way into the press scrum with Super Bowl MVP Malcom Smith. 

This CNN wire story recommends homeopathy as a remedy to computer eyestrain. How do they get away with this? Have they no editors?  

If I go to a D&D game, and the Dungeon Master tells us to lie on the floor and concentrate on our breathing, I'm out. 

Maybe the early universe was home to some forms of life - it looks like the ingredients may all have been there.

Living in Iraq today is already fraught with danger and anxiety. Now what if you're also an atheist?

IBM is making psychic Twitter bots, perhaps more powerful than Horse_ebooks (RIP).  

Deadwood, SD may rescind its ban on "psychic" businesses, but, as the article states, "they probably already knew that." 

No, Bigfoot hasn't been shot, but if you want to kill something cryptid-ish, the Houston Press has some ideas

James Cook at The Week on how Peru is our only hope when the aliens come.

Friend-of-the-blog Tim Farley talks about the harm caused by alt-med on Boing Boing's You Are Not So Smart podcast

Jim Mulholland, a former pastor turned atheist, on his sympathy for parents who want to raise their kids under the tenets of a religion:

I try to remember my indoctrination. I was taught that without religious training moral development was problematic, if not impossible. This prejudice was difficult for me to abandon. Since my moral training happened within a religious context, it was hard to imagine raising children without that undergirding. What could possibly replace the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, the Golden Rule and the parables of Jesus? This anxiety may explain why many parents, though they no longer have much interest in religion, often return to their childhood religious communities when they become parents. They don’t know where else to go. 

Oh, this has nothing to do with skepto-atheism or anything, but Microsoft just named its new CEO, Satya Nadella, and he starts today. 

Quote of the Day

Remember how Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who gave the GOP's State of the Union response, really likes God? Well, she really, really does. Matthew S. Rindge extrapolates on her highly un-secular education, of which she boasted in her address:

Religion is the only subject in which some people are proud of believing the same thing at age 40 that they believed when they were 6. It is the only field in which development in critical thinking is seen by some as regression. ... This peculiar brand of nonthinking religion might help explain how a person of “faith” might vote against giving women equal pay to men (Lilly Ledbetter Act), or vote against including gays, lesbians, Native Americans, and immigrants as people that should be protected against domestic violence (Violence Against Women Act), or vote to cut food to hungry children and the elderly.

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Image inspired by Rob Boston

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