The Most Arch Act of Piteous Massacre (Alleged)

March 26, 2015

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

It's Richard Dawkins' birthday today (I learn from Twitter), and you can drink a belated birthday toast to him when he appears at the Reason for Change conference in June!

Unrelated to skepto-humanism (for now anyway), turns out that the crashed Germanwings plane was downed intentionally by one of the pilots. I am dizzy just thinking about it.

The Daily Star of Bangladesh has two important stories on the murder of our friend Avijit Roy. First, it turns out we have an as-yet-unsung hero in this story: Photographer Jibon Ahmed was on the scene of the attack, and seeing that no one was coming to the aid of Avijit and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya, put down his camera and came to help, and probably saved Bonya's life:

Elbowing his way through a more-than-150-strong crowd of onlookers including at least four policemen, to get a transport for taking the couple to a hospital. All but Jibon had either abandoned or did nothing for the dying couple, perhaps because they didn't want to shoulder any legal harassment or risk their lives by stepping against the attackers. 

Thank you, Mr. Ahmed.  

Also, we get a report on how witnesses to the attack are largely keeping their mouths shut for fear of meeting a similar fate to Avijit.

The Barna Group releases a big Atheism in America survey, showing that one-quarter of all those Americans who don't attend church are "skeptics" (which they define as atheists + agnostics). 

Gaming convention Gen Con says to Indiana, you wanna pass a bill to legalize discrimination? Fine, but then we don't spend money in your state

Meanwhile, a bill in Michigan would allow religious discrimination by taxpayer-funded adoption agencies. What now? Aw, hell no. Michiganders, you know what to do

The Mars One mission seems to require a great leap of faith to take it at all seriously. And that leap just keeps getting bigger.

Suzanne Goldenberg at The Guardian reports on the efforts by climate change deniers to bring legal action against the documentary Merchants of Doubt

We assume that the historical Richard III was a terrible guy, but it turns out that the evidence for the worst of his alleged crimes, the murder of his young nephews ("The most arch act of piteous massacre that ever yet this land was guilty of") is very much lacking.

A right-to-die bill championed by the late Brittany Maynard passes California's Senate Health Committee.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, enemy of Twitter, blames atheists for harming relations between Turks and Kurds. 

This video purports to show a UFO being carted away down a Nevada highway with a police escort. The UFO is uncovered, dramatically lit, and the police have lights flashing, attracting as much attention as possible. Which is totally how you would do it.

A Catholic priest in Poland is sentenced to seven years in prison for the sexual abuse of children. 

Man, toxins are everywhere

Quote of the Day:

Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican, says the right-to-discriminate bill is a mistake:

I don’t believe this legislation truly represents our state or our capital city. Indianapolis strives to be a welcoming place that attracts businesses, conventions, visitors and residents. We are a diverse city, and I want everyone who visits and lives in Indy to feel comfortable here. [This bill] sends the wrong signal. 

 
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Original image by Shutterstock.

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