June 10, 2016
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Richard Dawkins posts his video address to the Reason Rally: "Today in Washington, we celebrate science and urge the retreat of superstition."
Bangladesh authorities say they know who is responsible for masterminding the rash of murders of secularists and progressives, pinning the blame on two radical Islamic groups who seek to push public opinion toward a more hardline Islamism.
David R. Brockman at the Texas Observer reports on the dangerous rise of dominionist Christianity in Texas politics, wherein Christians "have a biblical mandate to control all earthly institutions — including government — until the second coming of Jesus," pointing to many Ted Cruz's sphere and the Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick:
In short, dominionism has risen from an obscure fringe movement to the highest reaches of government here in Texas. No doubt Rushdoony would be pleased. The rest of us, however, have good reason to be troubled.
The dominionist goal of having Christianity shape law and policy amounts to the very governmental establishment of religion that the First Amendment explicitly prohibits. It would also appear to violate the Texas Bill of Rights, which states that “no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious society or mode of worship.”
The state of New York is considering a bill to allow physician-assisted dying, and if you're an Empire Stater, we need you to contact your representatives.
The egg industry in the U.S. is going to stop culling male chicks by 2020. This is a big deal, actually, when you consider how shockingly grotesque the mass slaughter of unwanted male chicks turns out to be, and also when you consider how they're going to get around the problem. You ready for this? "In-ovo egg sexing." STOP GIGGLING. Okay, don't stop. Dylan Matthews at Vox explains:
This is a process that can determine the sex of chicks before they develop inside their egg. That enables egg producers to terminate the male eggs and potentially use them to help make vaccines or for pet food (most humans would presumably be grossed out by cooking fertilized eggs). Horrific infanticides will be replaced with humane, painless chicken abortions.
NASA awards a big grant to the Center of Theological Inquiry (a kind of a mirror-universe CFI?) to study the impact the discovery of alien life would have on religion, and FFRF asks NASA to take it back.
David Frum excoriates - at length - the claims of Larry Taunton about Christopher Hitchens' flirtations with faith at the end of his life:
Taunton has nothing. The book is notably lacking in quoted words or reported actions of Christopher Hitchens to support the author’s central thesis that Hitchens at the end of his life was “staring into the depths of eternity, teetering on the edge of belief.” The dozen such assertions in The Faith of Christopher Hitchens are backed by Hitchens’s unspoken thoughts, as interpreted—or guessed at—by Larry Taunton.
Iowa governor Terry Branstad issues a proclamation for prayer and to "encourage[s] individuals and families in Iowa to read through the Bible on a daily basis each year until the Lord comes." It also misspells "hereby" as "herby," which means "containing or tasting or smelling of herbs." So now it's also alt-med.
As the Benedict Option is for religious conservatives, so the Bernie Option might be for crunchy leftists.
Get ready for Passion of the Christ 2: The Undeadening!
Bigfoot tried to get to the Reason Rally, it seems, but got lost in Maryland. Or maybe that was Martin O'Malley.
Quote of the Day:At the CSI website, Susan Gerbic tells the story of 7-tear-old Isabela in Brazil, who reached out to Cassini scientist Carolyn Porco to express her admiration, and made a connection. Isabela's letter to Porco:
Dear Carolyn Porco,
My name is Isabela and I always dreamed of being like you, did you know?
So when I grow up, I want to be a space scientist.
Have you seen the movie Gravity?
It's about space too.
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#1 Randy (Guest) on Friday June 10, 2016 at 11:31am
“study the impact the discovery of alien life would have on religion”
I agree, this isn’t appropriate for NASA. But the Pentagon might want to draw up a plan, just in case.
#2 Randy (Guest) on Friday June 10, 2016 at 11:36am
“most humans would presumably be grossed out by cooking fertilized eggs”
You seem to be unfamiliar with this species. We eat liver. We eat ants. We eat sea stuff. When we get bored, we invent stuff to eat, in the lab.
Apparently some of us even eat “tong zi dan” (go ahead, Google it…)
And yeah, we eat chicken (very old fertilized eggs).
#3 Randy (Guest) on Friday June 10, 2016 at 11:39am
“appear to violate the Texas Bill of Rights”
1) Texas hasn’t been averse to amending its Bill of Rights to remove rights the public deems inconvenient
2) Didn’t you hear? Christianity is a “philosophy” now. This, in a nation where “God” is a secular word, dominionism will have no problem succeeding in the corrupt courts.