Not in Every Way Nice People

May 11, 2015

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

Rafida Bonya Ahmed, who survived the attack on her and her murdered husband Avijit Roy, speaks to Reuters:

This [attack] was well planned, choreographed – a global act of terrorism. But what almost bothers me more is that no one from the Bangladesh government has reached out to me. It’s as if I don’t exist, and they are afraid of the extremists. Is Bangladesh going to be the next Pakistan or Afghanistan? 

Amy Davidson explains what the hell is going on with "Jade Helm 15" and the conspiracy theory propagated by Texas's governor that his state is about to be invaded by the United States.

David Frum (yes, the guy who came up with "Axis of Evil") writes in staunch defense of the right to free expression, including "blasphemy":

When vigilantes try to enforce the tenets of a faith by violence, then it becomes a civic obligation to stand up to them. And if the people doing the standing up are not in every way nice people—if they express other views that are ugly and prejudiced by any standard—then the more shame on all the rest of us for leaving the job to them. 

For the record, we at CFI, who do stand up to violent faith-vigilantes, are almost in every way nice people.   

The London Review of Books has a long piece from Seymour Hersh on "lies, misstatements and betrayals" surrounding the killing of Bin Laden. I haven't read it yet, but it's in my ever-growing Instapaper queue. 

CFI-UK's Stephen Law has been busily blogging! First we get from him a primer on "skeptical theism." ("I can't think of a reason why God would allow a certain evil, therefore there probably is no such reason.") Then we get a little sketch, as it were, on a major discussion on whether God exists, according to the people of the planet Eth.

(I guess there are no pirates on Eth, since they leave out the "ar." Get it???)

If you live in the Buffalo area, or you're going to be there in June, the motorcoach tours from the Reason for Change conference are now open to everyone to register for, even if you're not attending the conference itself. But you ARE attending the conference itself, right??? 

Looks like Lincoln County, North Carolina has a genuine, hateful bozo for the chairman of its Board of Commissioners, in one Carrol Mitchem. Ranting about the call for inclusiveness in opening prayers and invocations, he said:

A Muslim? He comes in here to say a prayer, I’m going to tell him to leave. I have no use for (those) people. They don’t need to be here praying to Allah or whoever the hell they pray to. I’m not going to listen to (a) Muslim pray. ... Changing rules on the way the United States was founded, Constitution was founded (I don’t like). I don’t need no Arab or Muslim or whoever telling me what to do or us here in the county what to do about praying. If they don’t like it, stay the hell away.

Canada's religious freedom ambassador Andrew Bennett meets Rosnida Sari and Alexander Aan.  

I know Damon Linker doesn't like "new atheists," whatever that means. But I can't help but feel that he's reaching to get as angry as he does at, of all people, Dan Dennett. 

Meanwhile, Kimberly Winston reports that Dennett is continuing his "personal embargo" of Templeton-funded enterprises in pulling out of the World Science Festival

David Bryce Yaden muses on the future of spirituality:

Science cannot "prove" whether God, all-pervading consciousness, or spiritual realities do or do not exist. Because they will depend less on beliefs and dogma, spiritual practices and experiences will become more available to religious, spiritual-but-not-religious, and secular humanists alike. We will choose spiritual practices, in part, based on evidence about their outcomes, as with mindfulness based stress reduction and compassion meditation. 

Kendrick Frazier marks 25 years of the pioneering New Mexicans for Science and Reason.

The Economist posits that Scotland may be replacing religious identity with national identity.

SNL does a sketch about drawing Muhammad (Yay!) but it looks like they may have almost entirely plagiarized the main joke from a Canadian sketch show. (Boo, SNL. Boo.) 

Jeb Bush speaks to Liberty University, says things that are wrong:

The present administration is supporting the use of coercive federal power. What should be easy calls in favor of religious freedom have instead become an aggressive stance against it. ... How strange, in our own time, to hear Christianity spoken of as some sort of backward and oppressive force. Your generation is bringing the Christian voice to where it always is needed, and sometimes isn't heard enough. 

Nightly network newscasts, when reporting on stories about contraception and its surrounding controversies, turn more to Catholic clergy than doctors. GREAT. That whole thing about the press being a means to an informed public? Pfft.

Missouri is considering legislation that would prohibit academic institutions from taking any stance on students' religious groups that seek to exclude whomever they like. 

Captains of sinking vessels must always go down with their ships. Well, not really

Quote of the Day:

Neil deGrasse Tyson, dropping some real talk:

If you removed all the arteries, veins, & capillaries from a person's body, and tied them end-to-end, the person will die. 

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Original image by Shutterstock. 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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Comments:

#1 Randy on Friday May 15, 2015 at 10:54pm

NDT: “If you removed all the arteries, veins, & capillaries from a person’s body, and tied them end-to-end, the person will die. “

Spoken as a true scientist.

Most normal people, having an aversion to vivisection, would wait until a person was already dead before attempting to remove arteries, veins, and capillaries.

#2 Randy on Friday May 15, 2015 at 11:00pm

“Science cannot “prove” whether God,... [exists]”

Actually, yeah, it can.  God (in English) is the character of the Bible, also known as Jesus, Yahweh, or El when it suits him.  There are falsifiable claims made about this character, and he is provably false.  But even without science, you can simply use the source text itself against him, because he is self-contradictory.

#3 Randy on Friday May 15, 2015 at 11:06pm

” his state is about to be invaded by the United States. “

Be honest.  Tell me that you don’t want to see this happen.

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