Garry Called Me Up and Asked If I Would Write His Link Blog

March 25, 2016

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

Indiana's governor-dudebro, Mike Pence, signs into law a ban on abortions where the fetus has a known disability, which critics say "only serve to shame women who are seeking out a legal medical procedure." Just to twist the knife into secularism's guts, Pence says, "I sign this legislation with a prayer that God would continue to bless these precious children, mothers and families."   

A reader asks Tom Flynn how secular humanism could have prevented something like the Brussels attack. Tom's answer is that all by itself, it couldn't. But secularists can be "influential out of proportion to our numbers":

America and Europe need to demonstrate by their example that a secularism that presumes no divine warrant, buffers public forums against distraction by purely religious arguments, and relies on consequential rather than command ethics leads to preferable social outcomes. 

Nick Little makes starkly clear what the plaintiffs in Zubik v Burwell and their allies are really after:

[This is] where religious privilege has taken us the in the post-Hobby Lobby world. For religious groups, being allowed to not participate is no longer enough. They want to prevent contraception, not just avoid having to provide it. And while their utter inability to provide a legal justification for this is amusing to lawyers, it will, if permitted, have devastating real life consequences.   

Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the first Reason Rally, and this year's rally chief Lyz Liddell reflects on what's changed and what we have to look forward to.

Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto recently hosted an event cosponsored by our pals at CFI–Canada with Lawrence Krauss, Stephen Meyer, and Denis Lamoureux, "What Is Behind It All? God, Science and the Universe," and the video is up.

WBUR's On Point radio show discusses the "rise of the nones" in a show that includes Phil Zuckerman. 

As you can imagine, the GOP race for president is something that "American Muslims are watching in growing horror," which is mobilizing them drive their voter turnout

A court in New Jersey rules that a youth ministry is not a "youth serving organization" and therefore a registered sex offender is given the all-clear to mentor 12 to 17-year-olds. 

Oh hey this is fun. At the Christian Post, Matt Moore ("a Christian blogger who was formerly engaged in a gay lifestyle") says our "inward battles" are really battles with literal demons:

Believers, we have real enemies. Satan is real. Demons are real. And they are relentlessly utilizing every tool at their disposal to destroy our faith. We must really believe this if we are to interpret our experiences rightly and fight accordingly! If demonic forces afflict us and we respond as if the problem is merely a chemical imbalance or the effects of a bad diet (again, these all can be valid causes), we are going to get nowhere fast. We can take medication and cut sugar out of our diet all day long, but if we don't acknowledge the reality of demonic attacks and fight them accordingly, we are destined to be defeated.

Who needs transitional fossilsThis fish be walkin'

Steve Harvey's show wants to know if you're dating an atheist. I'm sure there's nothing weird about this. 

I already miss Garry Shandling. The last thing I think I ever heard him say was "Hail Hydra," and even that was hilarious.

Quote of the Day: 

Mary Elizabeth Williams laments the decision to present an anti-vax pseudo-documentary by the loathsome Andrew Wakefield at the the Tribeca Film Festival.

There are not two sides to every story. Not every issue requires us to legitimize an opposing view. Like, for instance, when the other perspective is totally crackpot. For example, if you’re a disgraced fraud, maybe you’re really not the best source for information about vaccines.

And let's add on Michael Specter's reaction too:

This is a criminal who is responsible for people dying. This isn’t someone who has a ‘point-of-view.’ It’s comparable to Leni Riefenstahl making a movie about the Third Reich, or Mike Tyson making a movie about violence toward women. The fact that a respectable organization like the Tribeca Film Festival is giving Wakefield a platform is a disgraceful thing to do. 

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Comments:

#1 Bruce Van Dieten (Guest) on Friday March 25, 2016 at 2:03pm

On the anti-vax bit, I’m sorry to have to disagree vehemently. I am not supporting the anti-vax side. We must learn that we cannot censor, surveil, limit movement, expression and free speech in order to impose safety. We can’t keep people safe from crazy ideas by attempting to keep those ideas from finding their way into the public forum. Protest the ideas. We should. But please don’t ask to limit the expression of those ideas. First, it doesn’t work. Second, it may come back to haunt us.  In many ways, it already has. You only have to ask scientists in my country of Canada what that paternalism can look like.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Saturday March 26, 2016 at 10:33pm

Having read the NJ court decision, I agree with the court.  This is the legislature’s doing.

I wasn’t buying any of the court’s reasoning, until the quoted portion of the legislation on page 10: “organizations in the community including schools, religious and youth organizations”

By separating religious organizations out from youth organizations, and the plain fact that the youth group is wholly part of the church, it’s clear that this group, though it involves service to youth, is not in the state’s definition of “youth service organizations”.

That’s what happens when you let fools write the law.

#3 Randy (Guest) on Saturday March 26, 2016 at 10:36pm

Wycliffe College.

It was like nails on a chalkboard.  I don’t know… should Lawrence even do these things?

#4 Randy (Guest) on Saturday March 26, 2016 at 10:39pm

“a ban on abortions where the fetus has a known disability”

So, reverse eugenics?  That’s going to work out well.

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