Pastor Jones, the Police Mustache You a Question

September 12, 2013

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

Tim Farley busts out a big box of tools for monitoring legislation relevant to skeptics, including CFI's new bill tracker

Kentucky governor Steven Beshear saves the state's adoption of new science standards, despite a rejection by the state legislature. 

Chris Chambers is very skeptical of the proposed Mars One manned mission to the Red Planet, as there has been insufficient consideration of how crazy everyone on board will inevitably go. 

Virginia Hughes looks at the pros and cons of funding scientific super-projects ("Big Science") versus funding individual labs.

At Skeptical Inquirer, Noah Nez says the cliche of the Native American "rain dance" has been heavily mythologized beyond its reality. 

Muslim girls must take part in swimming classes with boys in German public schools, rules a court. 

This is cuter than I thought when I saw the headline: clever idea in Minnesota that includes a big cutout of Bigfoot: 

Each week, [Get Fit Itasca Community Health Coordinator Meghan] Brown hides Bigfoot in a new place along county trails forcing hunters to exercise. 

Yesterday's UFO-at-a-baseball-game story? Hoax

Monstrously-mustachioed pastor Terry Jones has been arrested in Florida (of course) after announcing his intention to write friendly letters to Muslims. I'm just kidding, he's gonna burn more Korans of course. 

University of Virginia names its first chair of Mormon studies, Kathleen Flake.

Pope Francis writes a somewhat circular letter to atheist Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica on nonbelievers and sin. I'm still trying to figure out what he's saying:

Given that — and this is the key point — God’s mercy has no limits, if you go to him with a sincere and repentant heart, the issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience. . . Sin, even for those who have no faith, is when one goes against their conscience. To listen and to obey to (one’s conscience) means to decide oneself in relation to what’s perceived as good and evil. And this decision is fundamental to determining the good or evil of our actions. 

"Le Loyon" is a creepy creature or person people have claimed to have spotted in Switzerland, and has just been (allegedly) photographed

An online "opt-in" poll by HuffPo and YouGov show nearly half of respondents believe aliens may have visited, about one-third saying they have had paranormal experiences. Sharon Hill is unsurprised and unimpressed.

Radical Islamic groups in the Philippines join forces to wage attacks against the country's military. 

The Times of India reports that homeopaths are gearing up to treat a dengue fever crisis. That should end well. 

Pat Robertson blames separation of church and state for 9/11 and blah blah blah you know. 

Quote of the Day

Former president Jimmy Carter is developing a book on the treatment of women around the world, and, I suppose as a very religious man, finds one aspect of his research troubling:

I am convinced that discrimination against women and girls is one of the world’s most serious, all-pervasive and largely ignored violations of basic human rights. It is disturbing to realize that women are treated most equally in some countries that are atheistic or where governments are strictly separated from religion.     

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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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