Tea After Death

November 17, 2014

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

The New York Times reports on a Chinatown “aura” business, with skeptical perspective from CFI’s Joe Nickell.

New Jersey’s General Assembly passes a bill for physician-assisted suicide, and it’s not at all clear what its ultimate fate will be in the hands of the White House-eyeing governor. 

CFI president Ron Lindsay considers the movement in favor of physician-assisted dying, and connects it to the growth in acceptance of same-sex marriage rights:

That these changes in the law are taking place concurrently is more than just a coincidence. They represent a continuation of a process that began in the late eighteenth century. A significant, transformative series of changes has occurred in many societies in the last two centuries, and these changes can best be described as an enlargement of the scope of individual autonomy. 

Every 14 days, you can get all the CFI community news in one pleasant dose. Check out Friday’s Cause & Effect, the CFI newsletter.

If you would like your heart broken, especially if you are a dad like me, then watch this video of the daughter of Raif Badawi writing a letter to her father. I almost couldn’t watch it.

At my own blog iMortal (based on the excellent reporting of Elmo Keep) I look at the mythology around the Mars One program, comparing it to the Underpants Gnomes of South Park

“Don’t trust this number!”  warns Tim Farley about the “like inflation” of dubious Internet stories and hoaxes on Facebook.  

Steven Salzberg (who will be at the Reason for Change conference) rounds up the cold remedies that aren’t

It emerges that St. Paul’s Rev. Donald J. Dummer was discovered to have child pornography, the news was delivered up the Church’s chain of command, until it got to Rev. Joseph Hitpas, who had the evidence destroyed

Hilary George-Parkin at The Atlantic explores the overlap of psychics’ and fortune-tellers’ practices and straight-up fraud

Religious leaders in Memphis are petitioning the state for a taxpayer-funded voucher program to subsidize their schools. Boy, you’ve got a prayer in Memphis.

Christian Today reports on how religious leaders in the developing world — Christian leaders in particular — are blocking necessary vaccination programs

Ben Radford gives the lie to the idea that there is a mystical psychic power that mothers have:

Unfortunately for the beloved myth of a mother’s intuition, the most likely explanation for why Stephanie Edson woke up [to find her daughter missing] is not some quasi-paranormal maternal sixth sense but one of the other five — specifically hearing. 

Video is posted of Peter Marston’s presentation “The Rhetoric of Extraordinary Claims” at CFI-Los Angeles.  

The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) launches a Kickstarter  to form a central database of UFO sightings.  

Florida + Satanists + coloring books.  

Set your ocular orbs to maximum eye-roll at this quote about the lessons of the Rosetta mission from Michael Guillen:

[H]ow readily we give ourselves credit for a spectacular achievement. We’re positively awesome because the Rosetta mission couldn’t have possibly created itself, right? But bring up the subject of the universe and many of Rosetta’s hyper-enthusiastic scientists would ridicule the idea of crediting God or any form of higher intelligence for its existence. To them, the universe surely created itself. 

Well, it looks like the lake monster “Champ” really does exist, everybody. How do we know? Some guys “used underwater recording equipment to capture loud clicking sounds.” I mean, signed, sealed, delivered, right? We can all go home now.

I thought this was a joke when I heard about it, a satire. Nope. Kirk Cameron really is saving Christmas

David Skeel at Oregon Faith Report says atheism is becoming kinder and gentler. Okay. 

We already knew that the Grimm fairy tales were pretty weird, but wow, the originals are really messed up 

Life after death. No really. Sort of. A 91-year-old woman is pronounced dead, is taken to the morgue, wakes up, asks for tea. 

The tiny, almost-imperceptible smudge of pixels from the Apollo 12 mission is obviously an alien spaceship

Wait wait wait. Belief that Ebola came from comets is a real thing?  

Lots of people are losing their faith these days. In Google Glass

Quote of the Day

Monster energy drinks proven to be Satanic, stock soars. (Kidding.) William R. Black takes a broad look at the belief:

It is comforting, even pleasurable, to find signs. We love realizing there is an arrow hidden in the FedEx logo, or that the eastern coast of South America fits snugly into the western coast of Africa. We want to know there is order, even if that order is malevolent. Satan, New World Order, Illuminati—any order is better than none.

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Image by Shutterstock.

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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