Prove Those People Wrong, Heroically

June 18, 2015

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

You already know the terrible news, an act of grotesque terrorism: A white man slaughters 9 people in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The Post and Courier reports, horrifyingly:

Church members at Emanuel AME were gathered for a prayer meeting when gunfire erupted in the 19th century building. A female survivor told family members that the gunman initially sat down in the church for a bit before standing up and opening fire, according to Dot Scott, president of the Charleston NAACP. The gunman reportedly told the woman he was letting her live so she could tell everyone else what happened, Scott said. 

I'll be honest, I'm not quite sure how to pull off the whole wise-ass news blog thing when things like this happen, and they seem to keep happening. I guess I'll play it by ear. Bear with me. 

As the pope weighs in on climate change, our boss Ron Lindsay takes to HuffPo to point out that Francis and the Catholic Church refuse to tackle perhaps the greatest barrier to mitigating climate change and ecological disaster: overpopulation, and the church's "morally absurd and repugnant opposition" to family planning and contraception. 

Justin Gillis at NYT notes that the pope is at least embracing science on something:

When reciting facts, as opposed to making judgments, the pope aligns himself squarely with mainstream scientific thinking. Indeed, those sections of the document could serve as a syllabus for Environmental Science 101 in just about any college classroom these days. 

A man alleged to have aided the attackers of the Texas draw-Muhammad event, Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, is charged with conspiracy. 

Researchers at Rice University and West Virginia University look at the phenomenon of "science popularizers," contrasting the approaches of, and responses to, Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins. Perhaps importantly, the study was funded by Templeton.

The Southern Baptist Convention passes a resolution opposing same-sex marriage, as though we weren't sure where they stood. 

Rick Hampson at USA Today looks at the potential political power of the unaffiliated:

A close look at nones suggests two things: So far, they haven’t changed U.S. religious politics very much, but in time they are going to change them profoundly. 

Meanwhile, Pew says that Americans' confidence in traditional religion is dropping, if not like a rock, then like poorly folded paper airplane. 

Cosmic inflation is a thing, and Ethan Siegel shows how four of the five predictions of cosmic inflation have been confirmed. 

Etsy bars the sale of hexes and spells and other crap like that on its site, and the peddlers of such crap are really mad (and I guess will put a hex on Etsy?). 

Right wing radio yeller Michael Savage has lost it:

The Pope is a Marxist. He is a wolf in pope’s clothing, he is an eco-wolf in pope’s clothing, he’s a stealth Marxist in religious garb. ... [Francis] sounds just like the false prophet in Revelation, an ecumenical spiritual figure directing mankind to worship the Antichrist. ... I think it is up to the Catholic people to turn their backs on this Pope before it is too late, before they wake up and find out that they are in chains, this man is a Marxist through-and-through. ... [Francis was] picked by the New World Order the way Obama was.

John Snyder lays out the untruths of celebrity anti-vax pediatrician Robert Sears, who Snyder calls a "genius" in the Oprah/Madonna sense of tapping into the popular zeitgeist:

I hold Dr. Sears and the many vocal prophets of doom (like Jenny McCarthy, Paul Kirby, Robert Kennedy Jr., JB Handley, and Andrew Wakefield) personally responsible for the increasing prevalence of parental vaccine refusal and the ensuing return of vaccine preventable disease. 

CFI intern Peter Wood advises a nuanced approach to critiquing Islam and its adherents. 

Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York says Muslims in America are in the worst position they've been in since the attacks of 9/11:

There is a growing disconnect between freedom of speech and the freedom to practice religion without fear or intimidation: Increasingly, irresponsible and rhetorical bullying is leading to violent acts against a vulnerable minority. 

A former judge in Pakistan expresses his enthusiasm for the blasphemy law

When it comes to the sanctity of the Prophet, the implementation of all manmade laws become different.  Those who insult Him have no rights, including no right to live. There is no need for trial or hearings. 

Law professor Ethan J. Leib opines in the LA Times that the government should get out of the marriage business altogether

Research suggests that even among atheists, "automatic cognitive processes" cause us to "construe both living and non-living nature as intentionally made." Hmm. 

Greg Gianforte, who wants to be governor of Montana, thinks retirement is for sissies, because Noah. That's a good thing to hang your campaign on: Social Security kicking in at age 600.

U2 stands up for and celebrates Raif Badawi

Here, have a double rainbow

Quote of the Day:

CFI's David Koepsell tells his daughter that she can be a superhero (and so can mine):

People once thought women shouldn't be astronauts, just as someone somehow made you think women cannot be superheroes, but everyday women astronauts, women scientists, and women pursuing whatever dreams of accomplishment they have prove those people wrong, heroically. Whatever you choose to do and be, you will be my superhero, because your heart is good, your dreams and potential unlimited, and I believe in you more than any god or superhero.

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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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