The End is Nye

February 5, 2014

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

Super Bowl? What's that? The real big game happened last night when Bill Nye debated creationist Ken Ham at the Creation Museum. Folks all over had viewing parties (including CFI branches and the CFI mothership), and Twitter was overflowing with reactions. Overall, I think the event was a net win for us, but I'll expound upon that in some other forum.

Hemant Mehta and I liveblogged the debate at Friendly Atheist, and man oh man, are we hilarious. Hemant wrote a longer piece on his overall feelings about the debate:

I think the Creation Museum stills comes out of this ahead just because of all the publicity, but last night was a stark reminder that when you’re in a debate against someone who doesn’t even understand the topic of discussion, exposing his limitations may be the best weapon you possess. If anyone was on the fence, they almost certainly didn’t come down on Ham’s side. 

HuffPo liveblogged as well, and did so from the CFI-NYC viewing party!  

And just in time, Penny Higgins at Skeptical Inquirer helps Ken Ham answer the question as to whether science can support creationism. (No.) 

The UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child slams the Vatican for its mishandling (or non-handling) of the sexual abuse crisis, demanding that all known or suspected abusers be removed. There's more, from the AP:

While most attention has focused on child sex abuse, the committee's recommendations extended far beyond, into issues about discrimination against children and their rights to adequate health care, issues that touch on core church teaching about life and sexual morals. 

The Vatican says it will "study the report" but bristles at the UN committee for its alleged "attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom." Cry me a river. 

The flu, woo-woo, and you. Greg Dworkin is the guest on Point of Inquiry, where he talks to host Lindsay Beyerstein about influenza, vaccines, and the which one you really ought to be more worried about.

And did you know that Bill Nye has been on Point of Inquiry a bunch of times? He has! With Josh Zepps, with Chris Mooney, and with DJ Grothe!  

New York's mayor Bill de Blasio refuses to march in the Saint Patrick's Day parade because of the organizer's banning of pro-LGBT displays. 

Hoosiers, CFI-Indiana's Civic Day is this Saturday! Go do some lobbying and enlightening!

LDS Church says the DNA evidence in insufficient for proving or disproving the whole "Lamanites" thing in the Book of Mormon. 

Does "laissez-faire" apply to your organs? Ben Radford looks at the ethics of a market for one's innards

France and Israel both look to pass laws banning anti-Semitic and Nazi-related speech, and Thane Rosenbaum is in favor:

While what is happening in France and Israel is wholly foreign to Americans, perhaps it’s time to consider whether these and other countries may be right. Perhaps America’s fixation on free speech has gone too far. ... Free speech should not stand in the way of common decency. 

WaPo's Erik Wemple says Bill O'Reilly was "schooled" by the president on vouchers. 

A new organization, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, is formed to promote religious freedom as good for commerce

Kevin Hardy at the Chattanooga Times Free Press delves deep into the world of Appalachian snake-handling churches, and it's quite something:

There will be a miracle tonight. It’s in the air. People can feel it. Someone could drink from a pickle jar filled with strychnine or lye, but not fall dead. Someone could turn a propane torch to his hand and feel no pain. Someone could wrangle a rattlesnake and not feel its fangs. 

72-year-old physician in Pakistan and a member of the Ahmadiyya community is beaten and arrested for "posing as a Muslim."  

Alexander Verkhovskyon writes on how Russia is still hung up on Soviet-era desires to resist cultural influence from the West, and its connection to the pseudo-blasphemy laws there. 

Interesting: A judge says Orlando's City Council can use eminent domain to snatch property from a church for a soccer stadium.

A NYC woman and her daughter are killed by the woman's boyfriend with a hammer because he believed they were witches

And remember that judge to said those Tennessee parents couldn't name their kid "Messiah"? She ain't a judge no more

Steven Novella tries to turn down the temperature on the controversy over GMOs:

GMOs are neither a panacea or menace. Genetic modification is simply a powerful technology, and its impact will depend entirely on how it is used.  

A girl in Yemen apparently cries tears of stone. Ow. 

Roy Speckhardt rejects your confining labels, man:

If the nontheist movement is willing to accept people from all identities who are also not theistic, the movement will grow by leaps and bounds.  

The case to remove the big Jesus statue from the Montana mountain goes to the 9th Circuit Court

The Globe and Mail's public editor admits some problems in running a pro-homeopathy piece by a homeopath, but stops short of saying it should not have been run at all. But Carly Weeks at the same outlet warns about the dangers of homeopathic asthma "remedies":

[S]ome of the claims [homeopathy advocates] make are exaggerated, misleading and out of touch. And unless there is some government leadership to address this void, it’s unlikely anything will change. 

Quote of the Day

Bill Nye last night (as best as I could transcribe in the moment):

All we can do in astronomy is look at the past. By the way, you're looking at the past right now.

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Image via Shutterstock

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