Sitting in the Kitchen, Making Things Up

April 21, 2016

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

CNN publishes an op-ed by me and Michael De Dora on Bangladesh's great shame: the prime minister and other officials blaming the murdered secularists for their own deaths because of their "filthy words." We write:

By reprimanding the victims of these attacks, and doing little to bring the killers to justice, the Bangladesh government is abandoning its commitments and implicitly encouraging the killings to continue.

Michael is also quoted in this ABC News story on the Tennessee legislature's failure to override the governor's veto of the bill to make the Bible the official state book.

This warms my cold, dead heart: Harriet Tubman will grace the front of the $20 bill (though Andrew Jackson will stay on the bill, but move to the back). Alexander Hamilton stays on the $10, with leaders of women's suffrage on the back, and the $5 will get civil rights leaders on the back. When will this happen? It'll be a while.

Hemant says, correctly, that we should also take this opportunity to ditch "In God We Trust." Fat chance, I suspect. 

FFRF wants the University of Iowa to nix its designated "prayer rooms," but one organization that is just fine with the prayer rooms is the Secular Students at Iowa. Interesting!

There's a lot of under the radar curiosity about Hillary Clinton's interest in UFOs, but a few days ago she was asked if she believes in alien visitations, and said:

I don’t know. I want to see what the information shows. But there are enough stories out there that I don’t think everybody is just sitting in their kitchen, making them up. I think that people see things — what they see, I don’t know. But we have got to try to give people information. I believe in that. 

Is the pope Catholic? No, really, some Catholics aren't so sure anymore. 

Remember the star that folks thought might have "alien megastructures" around it? New data shows comets could be part of why the star seems so weird, but Phil Plait isn't sure:

The aliens idea may make this seem silly, but the data are real. Something is going on around this star. I don’t know what it might be, but what I can guarantee is that when we do figure it out, it’ll be something pretty amazing.

Sunil Laxman at India's The Wire says the real clash of civilizations is the battle between science and pseudoscience, "over which the fate of humanity [hangs]." 

Quote of the Day:

K. Anis Ahmed, publisher of the Dhaka Tribune, writes at India's Hindu Times about the "battle for Bangladesh's soul":

 It is not surprising that in a mostly rural country with low literacy rates, there is little comprehension or sympathy for anything intellectually as rarefied as atheism. But by targeting young freethinkers — atheist or not — the Islamists pose as defenders of religion, placing their progressive opponents on the defensive. ... The less we do to challenge the inhuman arrogance of violent extremists, the more we are in danger of allowing the normalisation of intolerance. To reach our most profound ideals, we Bangladeshis, and our government, must avoid appeasement, and muster the courage once displayed by those who died for our language, and for our independence.

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