Greasy Faith

May 24, 2016

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

Research by St. Mary's University shows that in the UK, the number of people claiming no religious affiliation has almost doubled from 2011 to 2014, with "nones" at 48.5%. Meanwhile, churches are "hemorrhaging worshippers" (as the Telegraph puts it), losing 11 congregants for every new one they gain. That's truly remarkable.

On Point of Inquiry this week, Lindsay Beyerstein talks to Maia Szalavitz about the way addiction treatment is changing, and the way we perceive those going through addiction treatment is also changing. 

Speaking of Lindsay, tonight she'll be hosting her webinar (I hate that word), "On Bullshit: Donald Trump, Harry Frankfurt, and Indifference to Truth." Sign up! David Koepsell previews the presentation with a post on why Trump is being singled out.

And speaking of Trump, next month, Trump will have a closed-door meeting with, get this, 500 evangelical and conservative leaders. That sounds like a long, painful meeting. For everyone involved. 

Meanwhile, the opposite of Trump, Jimmy Carter, means to convene Baptists for a summit to take on racism

Ugh, one more Trump thing: While Trump says global warming is a hoax, he's also building a wall -- not to keep out Mexicans -- but to keep the rising sea from destroying his golf course from, as his own documents put it, "global warming and its effects." Can't be too careful I guess. 

George Blaustein at n+1 explores the legacy of Antonin Scalia in terms of religion and originalism (I haven't read it yet because come on it's early).

David Gorski urges folks to sign this petition on blocking naturopaths from being able to be licensed as "doctors":

Naturopaths desire all the status and privileges of medical doctors, but without the training, experience, or science-based standard of care. You may think I am being hard on naturopaths, but that is likely because they have been successful in selling their narrative and confusing the public about what they actually do. 

The Catholic Church's own audit of itself shows "sharp increases" in reports of sexual abuse by clergy, up 35% from the previous year. At what point does this reach rock-bottom? 

Mike Scutari at Inside Philanthropy notes the news of the new chair of atheist studies at the University of Miami, and wonders if it heralds the ascent of big atheist donors

Reason Rally chief (and future CFI coworker) Liz Liddell makes a pitch at Friendly Atheist for support of the Rally.

This Thursday in Portland, Oregon is the Atheist Festival, sponsored in part by the folks at CFI–Portland. The Oregonian has an interview with the organizer.

Here we go: Talk begins of UFOs spotted by Turkish Airlines pilots near the crashed EgyptAir flight

Pine Bush, NY: "The Roswell of the East Coast," and apparently a safe district for Trump. 

Varias personas en Santa Cruz, Bolivia informe viendo una tierra nave extraterrestre, de la que surgieron un ser que se parecía a un niño humano con brazos largos. Según los informes, la criatura subió a un árbol y desapareció. 

Quote of the Day:

Julian Baggini, reflecting on the big numbers for "nones" in the UK, discusses what role the concept of "faith" actually plays in the lives of the nonreligious ("If 'religious' is a slippery concept, 'faith' is even greasier"):

What we all need is not best described as faith. It is simply more than can be proven by logic and science. We need to believe in things that are not entirely justified by reason, but that does not require us to embrace creeds that reason tells against. The non-religious do not find meaning, purpose and value by taking a leap into the unknown and transcendental. We find it in the beauty and joy of life, and in the empathy that makes us see value in the lives of others too. These things are not facts captured by fundamental physics but nor are they religious mysteries to be taken on faith. What grounds us ethically can be found entirely on the literal ground on which we live. 

BONUS: The cover of Variety, featuring Marissa Mayer, the would-be savior of Yahoo:

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photo credit: The Exiles via photopin (license)

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Comments:

#1 1e3ld on Tuesday May 24, 2016 at 7:34am

The feelings of beauty, joy and empathy are not unreasonable, they are biochemical processes. How we choose to act in response to these feelings may or may not be reasonable.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Thursday May 26, 2016 at 9:06pm

I could not support an event like the Reason Rally, whose issues are already being worked by other groups, while actual issues around reason, skepticism, dogmatism, atheism, censorship are being ignored.

Further, there are no “women’s reproductive rights” without “men’s reproductive rights”.  And yet, in many places, a man can be forced to seek his wife’s permission to get a vasectomy.  And the government doesn’t require insurers to pay for that vasectomy, or male condoms, despite the high effectiveness of the former, and the disease-prevention capacity of the latter (also adversely affecting gay men).  Yet they require insurers to cover 18 different kinds of contraception for women, even when not used as contraception.  If he’s raped, he can be forced to be financially responsive for children that result.  If his wife screws around, he is declared the father of that child.  He can even be prohibited from divorcing her during pregnancy.  After divorce, feminists have seen to it that men who want custody rarely get it, and that the preference is not to maintain both parental relationships equally, but to benefit the woman most of the time.  Is THAT reasonable?  Rights, indeed.

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