Klingons, If You Will

October 22, 2015


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

CFI has for years now been involved in a lawsuit in Florida, challenging the state funding of sectarian Christian prison rehabilitation programs, and things are starting to move. The Blaze and Broward-Palm Beach New Times cover the story, with the latter quoting our boss Ron Lindsay who says, “The ministries that are defendants in this case — and by their own admission, they are ministries — are absolutely free to carry out their activities. However, they cannot use tax dollars to do so.” 

Yahoo News looks at a list of common superstitions, and taps CFI’s Ben Radford to explain where they come from. (The piece also features new CSI Fellow Stuart Vyse.)

Ben also reviews the new film Bridge of Spies, taking the lesson that “due process, like free speech, only has meaning when it protects those we dislike or whose actions we disagree with.” 

SETI aims the Allen Telescope Array at the myserious star where a “swarm of megastructures” has been among the explanations for some weirdness. CSI Fellow Seth Shostak tempers our enthusiasm saying, “History suggests we’re going to find an explanation for this that doesn’t involve Klingons, if you will.” No, sir, I won’t. For the glory of the empire!!!

I’m not entirely sure this story belongs here, but because it involves disputes over what is generally considered settled accounts of history, I’ll drop it in here. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu begins claiming that the idea of the Holocaust was spurred not by Hitler and the Nazis, but by Palestinian grand mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini. Germany, in response, says ‘no no no no don’t you dare let us off the hook.’ 

Susan Gerbic wants you to know that YOU TOO can edit Wikipedia like a Guerrilla Skeptic

Reba Boyd Wooden, head of CFI–Indiana, is also president of the state’s Health Access and Privacy Alliance (HAPA), and she posts a complaint about Indiana’s contracting services from Real Alternatives, a pregnancy support services organization that only works with contractors who “maintain a pro-life mission and agree not to promote, refer, or counsel abortion or abortifacients as an option to a crisis or unplanned pregnancy.” 

Zoltan’s back! Religion Dispatches interviews the Transhumanist presidential candidate, who cites Free Inquiry‘s research on tax subsidies to religion as a problem he intends to reverse. If elected. Ahem. (And as usual, CFI endorses no candidates for any public office.)

It’s “synod silly season,” says David Gibson, writing about the flatly denied rumors that Pope Francis has a brain tumor. You can just see Pope Fluffy, sitting in a room full of Kindergarteners, yelling, “Non maligna massa!” 

Apparently Michigan has a “Dogman,” a sort of canine Bigfoot. Okay. 

Quote of the Day:

A so-called “death star” (a dead white dwarf star) is eating up its planetary system, which scientists think is neat, in part because it shows us what will likely happen to our own planet. Ian Sample at The Guardian writes:

A similar fate may well await our own solar system. When the sun dies in five billion years, it will expand and engulf the inner planets, toasting Mercury and Venus, and potentially Earth too. But if Earth survives that cosmic trauma, it may find itself being shredded as it spirals into the white dwarf that the sun becomes.

 Happy Thursday, everyone!!! * * *

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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net! 

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.  

The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta