BTW the Sun Just Exploded

June 16, 2015

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

The secular movement lost one of its pioneers. All of us at CFI send our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Anne Nicol Gaylor, principle founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who died at the age of 88. Here's FFRF's announcement.

Yesterday, CFI's Committee for Skeptical Inquiry announced a big $25,000 challenge to the right-wing, science-denying Heartland Institute, who thinks global warming stopped in 1998 (lol): If the average global temperature goes up, they donate $25k to a science education charity if our choice. Let's see if they bite. 

He may think that the creator of the universe turned himself into his own son and then got killed and then came back to life and then flew into the sky, but Pope Francis also wants the reality of climate change confronted. His big encyclical on the issue leaked early. NYT's Jim Yardley reports:

In the leaked document, Francis often writes eloquently, citing scientific evidence about the human role in global warming. He repeats some of his familiar themes in calling on people to move away from a consumerist model that he says is depleting resources, to the detriment of the poor, and live simpler lives. He also calls on governments to work together for solutions at the global, national and local level — while at times focusing on specifics, like his opposition to carbon credits. 

(But he also had to go and insist that kids have heterosexual parents, because that's really important. Sigh.) 

Meanwhile Media Matters dings Yardley and the Times for failing to take the advice of CSI and its own writers on the mislabeling of science-deniers as "skeptics." 

Point of Inquiry this week has Tim Caulfield, author of the best-titled book in ages: Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?  

Speaking of celebrity gurus who are wrong, look out for this guy: Brian Clement, who says his raw-vegan diet can cure "every known disease." 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Foreign Affairs calls for the U.S. to more assertively support Muslim reformers.

Amber Barnhill writes at our Course of Reason blog about her harrowing experience of bullying and harassment from her community after standing up against proselytizing in her kids' school. 

Ben Radford at Discovery News writes about the gangs in Spain using voodoo and "curses" to facilitate sex trafficking, and notes the interesting efforts to make victims believe their curses have been reversed. 

Charles Kurzman and David Schanzer at NYT remind us that most of the danger from terrorism in the U.S. doesn't come from Muslims, but from right-wingers.

UK Tory MP Owen Paterson, writing at the New York Post, is miffed at Neil Young for his new anti-GMO album:

The aging songwriter is following the lead of activists who claim that GMOs are harmful to health, farmers and the environment. This is tragically wrong. 

The Planetary Society declares its LightSail mission a success, as the craft "tumbles" back to Earth. 

Hobby Lobby owner Steve Green is having trouble getting traction for his Bible-based school curriculum in the U.S., but it's going gangbusters in Israel

John Gray has an essay at Religion and Ethics called "Evangelical Atheism and Its Discontents," which is really long and makes a lot of references I don't understand, but I'm sure it's very important.

This man needs a new hobby

Quote of the Day:

The Athens Banner-Herald, inexplicably:

This is the emergency broadcast system. Please ignore this message as always. BTW, the sun just exploded, and we’re all about to die.

Followed by this from their digital editor:

To our knowledge, the sun has not exploded 

What a day! 

* * *  

Original image by Shutterstock.

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Comments:

#1 Randy on Wednesday June 17, 2015 at 12:06am

The thing about the sun exploding… well flares and CMEs and prominences are sort of explode-y.

But probably people are thinking of nova.  Our star is too small for that.

They could have left off the “to our knowledge” part.  If the sun did explode, people would discover The Athens Banner-Herald’s error by dying, so it’s not likely to clog their feedback voice mail.

#2 Randy on Wednesday June 17, 2015 at 12:24am

“This man needs a new hobby.”

“CJ” seems to have a very particular list of atheist a—holes.  But we have way more than that!  And many of them are the kind of a—holes you can be proud of.

But… Dan Dennett is an a—hole, and PZ Myers isn’t?

I have to hide my wife from Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

Atheists can’t even escape the a—hole charge by virtue of being dead?!

Facepalm on the end has it right.

(And aside from Ayaan, where are the ladies at?  There’s a whole website of female atheist a—holes trying very hard to be noticed for it.)

#3 Randy on Wednesday June 17, 2015 at 12:39am

“claim that GMOs are harmful to health, farmers and the environment. This is tragically wrong”

I disagree.  Anything that enables humanity to walk out further onto the technological cliff is a threat to our survival as a civilization, and perhaps as a species.

We’ve taken things like ocean-going vessels from being “nice to have”, and turned them into “necessary for life”.  That’s a terrible mistake, and we’ll pay for it.  GMOs are part of the error.  They don’t solve a hunger problem.  They transform it into a vulnerability problem.

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