The Clout of Medieval Forces

September 10, 2015

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

In honor of International Blasphemy Rights Day on September 30, our magazine Free Inquiry has a special issue on blasphemy with some really great pieces, and a little cartoon featuring a certain prophet that won a certain competition. Other blasphemous things in this issue include Ron Lindsay, in an essay on how nothing ought to be immune from criticism, says, "L. Ron Hubbard was a fraud and Scientology is a scam." And then, Gregory Paul, in a piece for subscribers only, calls Jesus a coward and a jerk. Whee! 

Did you wake up with an icky feeling, like something ugly happened in the universe? You were right. National Geographic has been more or less sold to Rupert Murdoch. However, as friend-of-the-blog Suzi Hansen reminds us, NatGeo hasn't exactly been a pure source of science for some time. 

Speaking of National Geographic! Here they report on an amazing new discovery about human origins and evolution: a previously unknown species of human ancestor has been unearthed in South Africa, Homo naledi.

Ali A. Rizvi makes a powerful case for Raif Badawi to be given the Nobel Peace Prize

Sanjay Kumar at The Diplomat notes the murders of rationalists in India and Bangladesh at the hands of fundamentalists (Hindu and Muslim, respectively), and urges Indians to "resist the growing clout of these medieval forces." 

Harvard is becoming a den of heathens, as a survey of its incoming freshman class shows that 38% of them are either atheist or agnostic, while Catholics and Protestants combined make up only 34%.  

The Guardian has a short documentary on how Myanmar's top leaders are in thrall to superstition, particularly astrology, and how astrologer-prophets have enormous influence over the political class. 

A West Virginia lawsuit contending that teaching evolution is unconstitutional (lol) flops

A funny looking, charred object that sort of has wing-like protrusions is found by someone "answering the call of nature" in Malawi, and people believe it's a "witchcraft airplane." I dunno. 

Do you need this blog to tell you that people like Bobby Jindal and Pat Robertson are saying that if you believe in God or agree with marriage equality you'll go to jail? I didn't think so. 

In case it ever comes up, George Takei is very familiar with the First Amendment

Dawkins and Tyson for 80 minutes

Get out your crayons and color some Christian martyrs.

Quote of the Day:

In the new Free Inquiry, Stephen Welch has a piece in which he shows how we have not yet learned the lessons of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, and how even our "enlightened" western media still hems and haws when it comes to the criticism of religion, for fear of hurting certain feelings. One sentence was pretty blunt, and stood out to me: 

All forms of inquiry and expression today are subject to the veto of the offended.

I don't know that "all" is accurate, but it's kind of a gut-punch nonetheless. 
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Original image by Shutterstock.

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