Nobody Goes to Heaven

June 5, 2013

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

Yesterday, CFI's Geneva U.N. representative Elizabeth O'Casey delivered a powerful condemnation of "honor killings" and the governments that allow them:

We can no longer stand by and watch this horrific violence against women go unpunished. This barbaric practice is justified on cultural and religious grounds. We must not allow such grounds to be used to legitimize or excuse such an abhorrent abuse of a woman’s right to life, her right to equality, her right to freedom, or her right to dignity. 

Italian humanist organization UAAR launches a new campaign on how one can "live well without D" as in the "D" in "Dio" or God. The press release is in Italian, but you can always run it through the magical Google machine. 

Point of Inquiry this week has Stephan Lewandowsky, and I'm going to let the POI website sum up why this is a good thing:

[H]e's the author of a recent study with the delicious title "NASA Faked the Moon Landings, Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science"—which drew some small amount of attention, especially when it was followed by a second study of the conspiracy theorists who rejected the first study for, yes, conspiratorial reasons. 

Peter Boghossian is about to release a new book, with a forward by Michael Shermer, A Manual for Creating Atheists. You can pre-order here.   

Seth Kurtenbach, at the CFI On Campus blog, well, his posts are different. In a good way:

Your Honor, the State submits exhibit H, the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit testifies that the defendant is guilty, as the jury can see by praying and fasting tonight; the Holy Spirit has assured me that He will appear to them, to Your Honor, and to the Defense. The State rests. 

Herb Silverman tells a bunch of UUs that he has more in common with Bible-thumpers than them on one point:

Unitarian Universalists believe everyone goes to heaven, Christian conservatives believe very few go to heaven, and I believe nobody goes to heaven. So I’m closer to them than to you. 

Teacher fired from a Catholic school for being pregnant wins a big ol' lawsuit

Whooping cough is up, and at least in New York state, vaccine exemptions are also up.

In this video, Fareed Zakaria is bullish on Turkey's prospects, saying that recent protests and unrest over secularism are really "democracy at work." 

Here's a thing: Among those nonprofits "buried" by the IRS were not just right-wing groups, but atheist groups like Camp Quest

Gallup: 3.4% of Americans identify as LGBT, though recent estimates by folks had it at 25%

Sky & Telescope looks at the impact of sequestration on astronomy

This will shock no one: According to Pew, tolerance/acceptance of homosexuality within a country tied to how little influence religion plays.

Secularist wunderkind Zack Kopplin takes to Slate to dish on Louisiana and creationism:

You might think that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Brown University biology major and someone who recently called on the Republican Party to “stop being the stupid party,” would not support nonsense such as critiquing evolution with dragons. You’d be wrong. 

AU, meanwhile, takes on Louisiana legislators' efforts to put prayer in schools.  

Missouri governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoes an anti-Shariah law, saying it puts adoptions of children overseas at risk. 

Ben Radford explains why folks think they're being attacked by zombies

SCA pushes for nontheistic military chaplains.  

Kevin Bonham wants the Union of Concerned Scientists to stop picking on genetically modified crops

Which is scarier: If this is a chupacabra or a hairless raccoon? 

Magdalena Stuehrmann evaluates the GW Secular Society's first year, saying:

Students who promote secular values are immeasurably important to our political and social systems, both in this country and across the globe. Our image, our interactions with the community, and the conversations we enter into, begin here. 

A man who beat his 2-year-old to death pleads guilty, but says he was possessed by a demon when he did it. 

Wow! You know how there's as many neurons in the human brain as there are stars in the galaxy??? Turns out -- Not really

OMG! Perez Hilton TOTALLY has a photo gallery of famous atheists

Quote of the Day 

Pew's Conrad Hackett tweets a research paper whose "abstract is a model of brevity":

Can apparent superluminal neutrino speeds be explained as a quantum weak measurement?

Abstract

Probably not. 

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Comments:

#1 Mark W (Guest) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 at 8:31am

“A man who beat his 2-year-old to death pleads guilty, but says he was possessed by a demon when he did it.”

Even worse, I believe he claimed his daughter was possessed by a demon, not him. So… yeah, he wanted to beat the devil out of her. :(

#2 Randy (Guest) on Friday June 07, 2013 at 11:01pm

“Turns out—Not really.”

I was expecting an orders-of-magnitude error here, rather than one in the range of 2-5x off.  For purposes of “hey, that’s big!” 85 billion is on the same scale as most of the 200-400 billion range, in decimal.

But we can perhaps do better.  We could say that there are about as many neurons in the brains of a nuclear family as there are stars (many of them lit via ongoing nuclear fusion) in the Milky Way.  That would be a nice play on the word nuclear, and with the variability in nuclear family size it would emphasize that it’s an approximation.

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