Let’s Not Make a Joke of Ourselves

February 6, 2014

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

So there's this National Prayer Breakfast going on, perhaps you've heard of it. And there's the president. Likable guy, smart, heart in the right place, but there he is doing this quasi-official ring-kissing of religion. What's do be done? Lots, actually. Here's one idea for a counter-balance: Tell your congresshuman to support Rep. Rush Holt's Darwin Day resolution (and pass it on, too). That'd be a good, heartening thing.

This is super-cool: Come to the Women in Secularism III conference, stay for the secular celebrant training!  

The leader of the LDS Church is being ordered to appear before a judge in England to face fraud charges against all of Mormonism. Wow, can they really do that?

Two summonses direct Thomas S. Monson of Utah, the Church president, to attend a March 14 hearing in the Westminster Magistrates Court of London to answer accusations that key tenets of the LDS faith are untrue and have been used to secure financial contributions. 

I did my own post-debate take on the Nye-Ham debate, and I conclude that the whole thing was a net-win for science and reason:

Whatever your disposition, Nye is an extremely likable guy, even when his jokes bomb, and I think his strategy, combined with his affability, helped to turn down the temperature on some of the hostility toward science and scientists that many in that audience may have harbored. Maybe by just a few small degrees. 

Bill Nye went on Lawrence O'Donnell's show after the debate to talk about his performance, and Bill is kind of aw-shucks.    

Come, join us on a Buzzfeed tour of the Creation Museum's "Dinosaur Den." Don't worry, all the dinosaurs are friendly herbivores...even the T-Rex! 

Young Earth Creationism is so ridiculous that even Pat Robertson has had it:

Let’s face it, there was a bishop there [James Ussher] in the Middle Ages there, 1800-something, who added up the dates listed in Genesis and he came up with the world had been around for 6,000 years. There ain’t no way that’s possible. ... To say that it all came about in 6,000 years is just nonsense and I think it’s time we come off of that stuff and say this isn’t possible. ... God's in control of all life, but we’ve got to be realistic that the dating of Bishop Ussher just doesn’t comport with anything that is found in science and you know you can’t just totally deny the geological formations that are out there. ... [something about a "Pterosaurus Rex"] Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves.

After the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child came down hard on the Vatican over the sex abuse crisis, Tom Flynn notes a grim irony:

What makes the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal so deeply strange? It's the only instance I know of, ever, in which a nineteenth- and twentieth-story conspiracy theory nurtured among nativist bigots has turned out to be, um, factual. 

Meanwhile, the Vatican's own survey of its own flock in Germany and Switzerland shows that, yeah, even Catholics say the Church is waaay out of touch. 

Researchers at Baylor University -- a Christian university -- shows that Evangelicals have higher-than-average divorce rates, which I think they're not supposed to.

Dean of the Air Force Academy: Hey, everybody, stop proselytizing

Mayor Bill de Blasio says NYC will schools will be observing Muslim holidays

200 authors including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and Jonathan Franzen sign an open letter against Russia's anti-gay and blasphemy laws. 

Eric J. Lyman provides a reality check on all the crazy, radical things people think Pope Fluffy is believed to have said:

Did you hear that Pope Francis plans to call a Third Vatican Council? Or that he uncovered previously unknown Bible verses? Or that he sees the story of Adam and Eve as just a fable? Here’s the problem: None of it is true.

Pope John Paul II's personal diaries are released, revealing a bit of self-doubt, but no word on who he considered his BFF or who he really "like-likes." 

Researchers at the University of Utah are hungry for brains. To research. From Mormon missionaries. Braaains! 

At LiveScience, Ben Radford looks at the appeal of the phenomenon of "synchronicity," which "provides meaning and order in an otherwise random universe." Interestingly, in the song "Synchronicity II," The Police reference the Loch Ness Monster, which is the kind of thing that skeptics like Ben are doubting, but people like to believe anyway, just like they like to believe in synchronicity! It can't be a coincidence!!!

Basic human rights for women and children are going right down the toilet in Afghanistan, with a new bill that will essentially be given carte blanche to attack their wives and kids. Karzai has yet to sign it.

Jann Bellamy on the absurdity of "licensing" naturopathic practitioners:

All of this has led me to conclude that the state legislatures do not have internet connections. Because, if they did, it would be pretty easy to Google around and figure out just what this naturopathic “medical” education entails and how practicing naturopaths apply their education and training in actual practice. 

Yugoslavian church depicts Karl Marx in Hell, which I think is harsh.  

Quote of the Day

Ambaa, the "White Hindu" at Patheos, is very cool with atheists:

In my experience they have a strong code of honor that they stick to with more dedication than many religious people. There’s no one they’re answering to except themselves and they expect a lot of themselves. There’s no sense of trying to please a being outside of themselves and so there is no temptation to try to get away with anything or to get frustrated at feeling like they aren’t pleasing that other being.

While religious people tend to fear that without God enforcing morality, chaos would rein down and neighbors would be killing neighbors, all the atheists I know are tremendously honorable people who do the right thing because it is the right thing and they believe in themselves. 

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