September 8, 2015
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
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Sumit Galhotra at the Committee to Protect Journalists says that what Bangladesh does with the arrested suspects in the killing of blogger Washiqur Rahman will tell us (and those still under threat) a lot about the government's actual commitment to ending this crisis.
The International Humanist and Ethical Union picks a new Chief Executive: Carl Blackburn.
Turkey's official religious ministry takes on ISIS theologically, issuing a major report on why the Islamic State is not actually Islamic:
Decontextualizing religious references and perceiving them as direct articles of law, having only nominal and literal connections with the Holy Quran and virtual and formal connections with Sunnah, rejecting reason and abilities bestowed upon mankind by Allah and pitting them against divine inspiration, this mentality has marginalized all other Muslims throughout history in order to monopolize the interpretation of [Sunnism] which represents mainstream Islam.
The UN's human rights commissioner Zeid Raad al-Hussein issues a report saying that in all regions of the world, LGBT people are subject to "pervasive violent abuse, harassment and discrimination."
Ben Carson is polling at #2 nationally for the GOP nomination, he is a neurosurgeon, and he says evolution is a myth. "Somebody says that came from a slime pit full of promiscuous biochemicals? I don’t think so."
Paul Waldman at The Week explains why Carson is suddenly "the new hotness."
Ted Cruz is polling at #5:
Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office. That is the consequence of their position. Or, if Christians do serve in public office, they must disregard their religious faith – or be sent to jail.
Experts gathered at the Googleplex to discuss the threats, promise, and ethical considerations of rapidly advancing artificial intelligence.
At my own blog iMortal, I consider the idea posited by Stephen Hsu that everything will be okay because humans will develop right alongside A.I. (I am skeptical.)
Oh hey, speaking of me, Chris Oestereich has been assembling a compilation of essays from experts for a book addressing the issue of inequality. Accidentally, he asked me to contribute. Sucker! Anyway, the book is now a Kickstarter project, The Wicked Problems Collaborative, Book 1: What Do We Do About Inequality? Go back it!
ReasonTV has a new short documentary on "The Alternative Medicine Racket."
What the what...New Zealand just banned a book, Ted Dawe’s Into the River, because a Christian group didn't like the dirty bits. What year is it?
Pope Francis tells European Catholics to take in refugees.
The knives start to come out for Pope Fluffy from the conservatives of the Vatican.
Noah Charney at WaPo looks at the conversion-potential of the Hobby Lobby-connected Bible Museum, with a mention of our Free Inquiry magazine.
A conference of homeopaths in Germany, I'm not kidding, overdoses. Not on homeopathics, of course. On amphetamines.
I was directed to a post entitled "Bayesian estimation of anti-vaccination belief changes," which I don't really understand, but it sure looks relevant. I jumped to the conclusion:
An intervention that exposes people to the consequences of the diseases that vaccinations prevent makes them respond more favorably toward childhood vaccination.
Verena Dobnik at NBC 10 reports on a Philadelphia hospital's efforts to provide prosthetic limbs for African children with albinism who have had limbs cut off by believers in witchcraft.
Ron Pearlman as a judge-turned-religious zealot? I'm in.
Not far from where I live, Kennebunk, Maine police charge a guy with spraypainting Bigfoot graffiti all over town.
Tennessee judge: SCOTUS's gay-marriage ruling means states can't possibly know how to handle divorce cases anymore.
Quote of the Day:
The Queen was apparently very much into Nessie. The Queen's private secretary, Martin Charteris, wrote in 1960 to Sir Peter Scott:
If there is any question of naming the animal after the Queen, there must of course be absolutely irrefutable evidence of its existence. It would be most regrettable to connect Her Majesty in any way with something which ultimately turned out to be a hoax. ... Even if the animal does prove to exist I am not at all sure that it will be generally very appropriate to name it after Her Majesty since it has for so many years been known as ‘The Monster’.
Original image by Shutterstock.
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