Some As-Yet Unimagined Catastrophe

April 29, 2015

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

Alan Levinovitz at Wired profiles the journey back from alt-med devotion by two parents with two autistic sons:

After months of soul-searching, Jim Laider took to the internet to announce his “de-conversion” from alternative medicine—a kind of penance, but also a warning to others. “I had this guilt to expunge,” Jim says. “I helped to promote this nonsense, and I didn’t want other people to fall for it like I did.” 

CBS Sunday Morning relies on our own Joe Nickell to lend skeptical perspective to a woman's claim that her husband's ghost is hanging around. 

Daniel Dennett has an op-ed on the decline of religion in the Wall Street Journal, and goes and scares the crap out of me with scenarios for religion's resurgence:

Could anything turn this decline around? Yes, unfortunately. A global plague, a world war fought over water or oil, the collapse of the Internet (and thereby almost all electronic communication) or some as-yet unimagined catastrophe could throw the remaining population into misery and fear, the soil in which religion flourishes best. 

SCOTUS heard the arguments in the big same-sex marriage case yesterday, and here's a kind of roundup of the arguments by Mark Joseph Stern at SlateScalia is apparently worried that clergy will be FORCED BY THE STATE to perform same-sex marriages.  

Janet Reitman at Rolling Stone reports on the new move by conservatives to bring the law down on pregnant women with drug or alcohol problems, even assigning lawyers to fetuses. 

Here's a muddle: a Texas woman who feeds the homeless using her own vehicle is fined for doing so, and will now claim a religious freedom defense

There's tons of good stuff for skeptics on this week's On the Media, NPR's media criticism show, which I love. It's got stuff on Dr. Oz (with Reason for Change speaker Michael Specter), stuff on the Food Babe and her nonsense, reflections on what the Hubble telescope has meant to us, and even Ben Goldacre. 

France's take on secularism going overboard? Seems one school has kicked a Muslim girl out of class for wearing a skirt that was too long, thereby seeming too overtly religious.

Chipotle makes news for not using GMOs. Which I guess means they don't serve food anymore? 

Whoa, what if, like, our whole universe, was, like, a hologram?? No, not like the Doctor on Voyager, but like on a sticker. Chris Burns at Slashgear:

What the scientists at TU Wien suggest is that while we perceive our universe in 3D, it may only be 2D. Just like a hologram on a credit card. It looks to us to be something we can experience in three dimensions, but in fact it's flat. 

Here are some ways we could all die. Happy Wednesday! 

Quote of the Day:

Chris Dsouza ponders the rise of nonbelief in the Middle East, in the context of increased religious fervor:

It has become fashionable to exhibit religion on sleeves as a statement against other rival faiths. The ability to appreciate other beliefs and tolerance has almost faded away. People have become increasingly self-indulgent, reluctant to introspect, but animated to point fingers. 

 
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Comments:

#1 Randy on Saturday May 16, 2015 at 6:52pm

“Wien suggest is that while we perceive our universe in 3D, it may only be 2D”

This would appear to be a distinction without a difference.  Or at least nobody bothered to explain what the difference would be.

Nearly all computers only know the number 0 and the number 1.  And yet, they also understand Traditional Chinese well enough to translate it.

It doesn’t really help us to know that the computer thinks in 0 and 1.  And I suspect it also wouldn’t help us to know that the universe is 2D.  (And frankly, if it’s 2D, it could probably also be 1D ... oh geez there’s Zayn again!).

#2 Randy on Saturday May 16, 2015 at 6:54pm

“France’s take on secularism going overboard? Seems one school…”

There’s always “one school” doing something stupid.  Let’s observe a trend before calling it “France’s take”.

#3 Randy on Saturday May 16, 2015 at 6:58pm

“a Texas woman who feeds the homeless using her own vehicle is fined for doing so, and will now claim a religious freedom defense.”

I think I just figured out what the long game is here.  Maybe I’m a bit slow.

The goal is to render government so inept and so corrupt that the only way to operate in any humanist way is to use a religious exemption, thereby helping paint religion as the great saviour from the great satan of government.

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