October 14, 2016


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

Through what is now the Secular Rescue program, CFI helped Bangladeshi secular writer Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury, better known as Tutul, get the heck out of there when he was targeted for death. That was great. Now, he’s the winner of the 2016 PEN International Writer of Courage award. That is also really great. 

Stephen Law, provost of CFI-UK, has a great short video on his “Evil God Challenge,” animated by Steph Hope. At one point, the cartoon Stephen has a fish on his head! I giggled. 

A new study in the Journal of Climate seeks to specifically debunk a climate change denier assertion, promoted by Ted Cruz in Senate hearings, that claims that different layers of the atmosphere show that climate change isn’t really happening the way THEY want you to think.

It is estimated that the Universe contains about 100 billion galaxies. Or at least that was the estimate before astronomers at the University of Nottingham used information from the Hubble telescope (that thing just keeps paying off !) to show, oh hey, there are actually about one trillion galaxies. Let me say that again. There are probably about 1,000,000,000,000 galaxies in the Universe. That means there are probably about 700 sextillion (700,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) stars. I’m dizzy.

Zack Kopplin reports that Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, for real, declared October 13 to be “Oilfield Prayer Day,” saying, “Oklahoma is blessed with an abundance of oil and natural gas, Christians acknowledge such natural resources are created by God.” I wish I had just made that up. 

Patricia Miller considers the Wiki-leaked Clinton campaign emails talking about Catholics to be ho-hum:

The reality is that most of the leaked comments weren’t anything you won’t hear around numerous dinner tables when any family of Catholics—or increasingly, ex-Catholics—discusses the state of the church. 

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation says the Air Force is trying to skirt church-state separation by claiming retirement ceremonies with religious themes are “unofficial.” 

David Gorski attempts to lend some reality-based perspective to a WUSF piece on “integrative medicine.” 

Imtiaz Shams offers advice to ex-Muslims in Islamic countries who want to get the hell out. 

The oxymoronic American Association of Naturopathic Physicians says “ozone therapy” is safe and effective for, I dunno, wellness, but former naturopath Britt Marie Hermes says, “Ozone therapy is at the same level of quackery as fake cancer vaccines made from urine and illegal cancer drugs imported from overseas.”

The Netherlands considers a law that says one doesn’t have to be terminally ill to receive physician-assisted suicide.  

Emily Willingham explores the science behind the political responses to Trump’s sexual-predator-meltdown

Quote of the Day

Margaret Atwood, winner of the 2016 PEN Pinter Prize, on Tutul’s award:

Not only has he shown huge personal courage in the face of adversity, he has also risked everything to give a voice to many other Bangladeshis who are under threat of being silenced, whether through violence or ambivalence. At a time when so many of our colleagues in Bangladesh are risking their lives simply by putting pen to paper, it seems very fitting to share this award with Tutul, and to highlight the plight that he and his colleagues continue to face. 

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