A Long Process of Demise

August 31, 2016

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

This has to be a quick Heresy because I have a thing. Yesterday I was off so there was no Heresy, and what do you know, we maybe find aliens, then realize it's probably not aliens, and then we find out that God "raised up" Donald Trump to run for president, so says Michele Bachmann. (Hell of a lift.) I refuse to believe all these things aren't connected.

Facebook took those biased humans out of the trending-stories formula, and what do you know, false news shoots to the top

Point of Inquiry, the best podcast in the universe, has Elizabeth Greenwood who has a new book about faking one's own death, and how some folks pull this off in the modern era. 

Reasonable Talk, CFI's super-cool video series, has a great presentation by Muhammad Syed of the Ex-Muslims of North America on "Blasphemy and the Importance of Dissent." 

Our own Tim Binga, Keeper of the Books, interviews our own Joe Nickell, Investigator of All Things, about Joe's particularly open-minded approach to seeking out the truth:

If the question were simply “Do ghosts exist?,” then [skeptics] are almost certainly correct. But I think their lack of curiosity prevents them from seeing the real question: What, in a given instance, causes people to think they are experiencing spirits? The debunkers—with their smarter-than-them attitude—speak only to their fellow doubters. They would apparently rather be right than effective. 

At the Reason Rally, Jerry Johnston gets a quick chat with our own Robyn Blumner about how secularists in the U.S. "have the wind at our backs."

Amanda Kooser at CNET calls this "the worst 'Bigfoot' sighting video of all time." This one's pretty bad too, but at least it also has eaglets. 

Kevin Sorbo has apparently decided that sticking it to atheists is his new thing, and has a movie coming out about how "the world's greatest atheist" has a "come-to-Jesus moment." Great. 

Mark Oppenheimer tweeted something that amused me: "When I get to Hell, GOP voter suppression goons will be there to greet me." 

Quote of the Day

Gabriel Rockhill at NYT's "The Stone" feared death (like I do!) and then had some new thoughts about it:

Our existence has numerous dimensions, and they each live according to different times. The biological stratum, which I naïvely took to mean life in general, is in certain ways a long process of demise — we are all dying all the time, just at different rhythms. Far from being an ultimate horizon beyond the bend, death is a constitutive feature of the unfolding of biological life. In other words, I am confronting my death each day that I live.

Hey, so am I! If by "confronting" we mean "worrying about it and wondering what the point of anything is." But that's not where he is.

Moreover, the physical dimension of existence clearly persists beyond any biological threshold, as the material components of our bodies mix and mingle in different ways with the cosmos. The artifacts that we have produced also persevere, which can range from our physical imprint on the world to objects we have made or writings like this one. There is, as well, a psychosocial dimension that survives our biological withdrawal, which is visible in the impact that we have had — for better or worse — on all of the people around us. In living, we trace a wake in the world. 

Well, that's alright for him. 

* * *

Image by Matthew Bargo CC BY-SA 3.0.

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.

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net!

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.

The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta


#1 ThomasB (Guest) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 at 6:52am

It’s a shame about Kevin Sorbo.  The irony is that his biggest claim to fame, “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”, was full of wonderful Humanist messages—“we can’t count on the gods to look after us”, and so forth.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 at 3:24pm

If you are “wondering what the point of anything is”, then you are failing to declare for yourself what the point ought to be.  We are evolved animals.  Much of the meaning of our lives is encoded in our genes.  If you need more than that, it’s up to you to decide what it will be.  It won’t make you a god, but it will be the only meaning that can possibly matter to you.  Regardless of whether this life is a “simulation” or not, you can play it as a game.  It does not appear to be hackable, sadly.

#3 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 at 3:28pm

“They would apparently rather be right than effective”

Being effective takes more time.  And the echo chamber is a nice place to be sometimes. 

But it is possible to be right AND effective.  These are not mutually exclusive.

If we ever manage to improve education, to teach people how to think rather than what to think, then being right will also be effective.  But that’s the long game.

#4 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 at 3:32pm

“false news shoots to the top”

Perhaps Facebook shouldn’t be choosing news for people at ALL, and rather let people choose their own news sources.

#5 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 at 3:37pm

“I have a thing.” 

Me too!  Have you received your patriarchy decoder ring yet?  I never got mine.

“I refuse to believe all these things aren’t connected”


Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.