Concentrated Versions of Various Smelly Things

August 14, 2015

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

Bangladesh police say they've arrested two Islamists in connection to the murder of Niloy Neel.

Research outfit the Barna Group creates a metric to define who is and isn't "post-Christian," and says that despite 78% of Americans identifying as Christian, 44% are post-Christian, an uptick from 37% just two years ago. To me, post-Christian is sooooo 2013. I'm post-paleo-Judeo-skepto-sub-Norse.

Connecticut's Supreme Court rules the death penalty unconstitutional:

We are persuaded that, following its prospective abolition, this state’s death penalty no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency and no longer serves any legitimate penological purpose. 

CFI's David Koepsell gets it: If you want to avoid the theological "problem of evil," look to Cthulhu:

The universe itself is a harsh place. Stars explode, asteroids impact, species come and go, and its indifference is embodied by Cthulhu. 

The Economist reports on the work of zoologist Adin Ross-Gillespie of Zurich University, who may have figured out a way to beat bacteria at their evolutionary resistance to antibiotics. I'll have "a judicious dose of gallium nitrate," please.

Carrie Poppy is back at Skeptical Inquirer, this time learning all she can about how essential oils ("concentrated versions of various smelly things") are the bestest things ever, curing everything. Well, do they?  

The Pope's whole climate change push may be braver than we thought, as he runs into American Catholic groups' huge investments in oil

Ken Chitwood, as part of a video series on religious studies, helps us understand the difference between a religion, a sect, and a cult. For what it's worth, I think that by Ken's definition, Apple was a cult pre-iPhone, and is now a religion.

Rising GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina says parents shouldn't be made to vaccinate their kids, but that schools should be able to turn away unvaccinated kids. Which, Farhad Manjoo points out, is pretty much California's law anyway. 

(And now let's all enjoy this March 2014 tweet from Donald Trump: "Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn't feel good and changes - AUTISM. Many such cases!") 

The Colorado Court of Appeals, to the cake-bakers who claimed "religious freedom" so as to not make a gay-wedding cake: Nope.

Arkansas State Rep. Justin Harris, a fundamentalist Christian anti-abortion legislator who abandoned his adopted kids, that he thought were possessed by demons, with a family that sexually assaulted them, gets a "Power of Courage" award from something called the Family Council Action Committee, because, whatever, nothing makes sense and civilization will be over soon anyway. 

Anjali Mullany at Fast Company does a long profile on Goop, the pseudoscience-drenched lifestyle business of Gwyneth Paltrow.

Dr. Robert Klitzman at NYT's Well blog says doctors need to do more to accommodate patients' spiritual needs:

Doctors themselves do not have to be spiritual or religious, but they should recognize that for many patients, these issues are important, especially at life’s end.  

A federal judge says that a Kentucky county clerk must issue same-sex marriage licenses, and the clerk, Kim Davis, refuses anyway over her religious beliefs

Florida's Bureau of Vital Statistics won't allow a new mother to list her same-sex spouse as the other parent on her baby's birth certificate. 

Two "ghost hunters" are arrested for breaking into an abandoned mental health care facility which they thought was haunted. The jokes write themselves. 

Quote of the Day:

Meet Okilly Dokilly, the Ned Flanders-themed metal band. Today's quote of the day is really for the band members' stage names:

The band is singer Head Ned, keyboardist Red Ned, bassist Thread Ned, guitarist Stead Ned, and drummer (and pseudonym winner) Bled Ned. 


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Original image by Shutterstock.

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