They Might Be (Satan’s) Giants

April 18, 2016

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

Sarah Palin, promoting the science-denying documentary Climate Hustle, says Bill Nye is not a real scientist, which might be technically true, but is also beside the point. But Melanie Ehrenkranz at Mic says he actually is a scientist:

Nye, the science educator, television host and CEO of the Planetary Society and fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, where he also taught as a visiting professor. Nye worked at Boeing for years before becoming an entertainer. He is still an active scientist: Nye even developed sundials used in NASA's Mars rover missions. 

Things are messy with Saudi Arabia right now, but nonetheless the WaPo editorial board says President Obama should confront the Saudis about Raif Badawi this week. 

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN, Abdallah al-Mouallimi, explains why atheists are considered the equivalent to terrorists (emphasis mine):

If [an atheist] was disbelieving in God, and keeping that to himself, and conducting himself, nobody would do anything or say anything about it. If he is going out in the public, and saying, “I don’t believe in God,” that’s subversive. He is inviting others to retaliate

Sounds like a certain Bangladeshi prime minister I know. 

Jason Wilson at The Guardian looks at the way the Followers of Christ "negotiate" with the law in states like Idaho and Oregon to allow them to practice "faith healing" on kids, meaning that they can deny children actual medical care, even at the expense of their lives. 

This Wednesday, you can join the CFI Institute's online course "The Theory and Practice of Skeptical Investigation: An Introduction."

SNL does their own version of God's Not Dead, one woman's quest to prove that God's not gay. 

How vindictive can you get? This vindictive: Texas's attorney general Ken Paxton sought to void a same-sex marriage that was performed before SCOTUS ruled on Obergefell. Happily, the Texas Supreme Court dismissed the case.

Kuwaiti human rights activist Sheikha al-Jassem is charged with blasphemy for saying that the constitution of Kuwait ought to supercede the Quran in government. 

26-year-old student Khairuldeen Makhzoomi is kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight and questioned by the FBI for being heard speaking Arabic

Bernie Sanders lives it up at the Vatican, talks up Francis's economic message, and gets a quick handshake meeting with His Fluffiness.

Edzard Ernst warns against the pseudoscientific alt-med beliefs of Prince Charles in the Spectator:

There would be nothing wrong with Charles’s ignorance, of course. He is not a medic — if he were, this quackery might get him struck off the medical register. He does not need to know such things. But, if he is ignorant about certain technicalities, should he write about them? At the very least, when giving such concrete medical advice about diagnostic methods, should he not recruit the expertise of people who do know about such matters? 

Robert Kaplan at The Atlantic looks at Islam's role in the formation of modern Europe, and says, "Islam is now helping to undo what it once helped to create." 

A Portland, ME church has a googly-eyed Jesus, blocked by a tree. 

Lizzy Schick at Harvard Political Review reviews the difficulty a prospective atheist candidate would have in pursuing the presidency. 

Larry Alex Taunton, who has a book about Hitchens, says Hitchens considered conversion to Christianity, and says, "I think I substantiate it in the book." Or does he trans-substantiate it??? Huh?? Get it???

This guy named Dr. Dennis Lindsay (who I have to assume is related to CFI president Ron Lindsay) tells Jim Bakker that Satan uses giants to wreck things, and will be sending them after Israel:

We all know about Stonehenge, right? That’s just one of hundreds and hundreds of gigantic places around the world that testify that some sort of supernatural power or giants were involved in its construction. 

Quote of the Day:

Some guy in the Finger Lake Times says CFI's Council for Secular Humanism is "a disguised religion." Don't tell Tom Flynn. Anyway, Jim Crenner rebuts:

In fact, Secular Humanism has no missionary ambitions, declared or otherwise. Grounded in reason and the principle of the separation of church and state, Secular Humanism simply argues that religion does not belong in public education. It contends that “nature (the world of everyday physical experience) is all there is, and that reliable knowledge is best obtained when we query nature using the scientific method” (CSH website). From this it follows that there is no objective evidence for supernatural realms or supernatural beings, and Secular Humanism is a-theistic, which simply means it leaves out gods. 

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