The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
In an ISIS-inspired attack that was both horrifying and weird, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov plowed a pickup truck down a bike path in Manhattan, killing eight people and injuring eleven. The weird part is that after he collided with a school bus, he jumped out of his truck and brandished a pellet gun and a paintball gun yelling “Allahu akbar.” He’s now in critical condition after being shot in the gut by a police officer. In a strange way, it really was a “terror” attack in that the only real “weapons” he had were not bombs or automatic rifles, but a truck and some nonlethal hobbyist guns. The point really was to scare the shit out of people, to terrorize them, rather than merely murder people (which, of course, he also did eight times over). He used, well, theatrical props for a horror show of his own for Halloween. Like I said, weird.
Oh, so yesterday was also the 500th anniversary of the Reformation? I think 500 years is good enough, yeah? Time to wrap it up? Think of something else to do? Just a thought.
We put together an amicus brief for the Supreme Court (well, not “we,” but Nick Little and Eddie Tabash) in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, where the shop owner says you can have your cake and eat it too, unless you’re gay because Jesus hates you. Something like that. It’s cosigned by American Atheists and the Secular Coalition for America. In our statement, Nick says:
[Plaintiff Jack] Phillips’ arguments are a smokescreen. He wants an exception to a law based on his religious beliefs, and Colorado has made clear that he isn’t entitled to special treatment for playing the religion card. So instead he has invented a bizarre claim that baking a cake, the design of which was yet to be decided, forces him to send a message of approval for same sex marriages.
Which is dumb.
Roy Moore, the yahoo of the Yellowhammer, came to Capitol Hill to, I dunno, be awkward with his future Senate coworkers (because he is going to win, I’m sorry to say). Sean Sullivan and Dave Weigel at the Post report:
As [Moore] made the rounds, some of Moore’s potential future Republican colleagues strained to separate themselves from him. One even attacked him head-on in a speech on the Senate floor. … Asked by one reporter whether he still thinks Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) should not be a member of Congress because he’s Muslim, as Moore wrote in a 2006 opinion piece, Moore replied, “I’ll address that later.”
That “head-on attack from the Senate floor” came from the defeated-in-advance Jeff Flake:
When the presidential nominee of my party, the party of Lincoln, called for a Muslim ban, it was wrong, and I said so. When a judge expressed his personal belief that a Muslim should not be a member of Congress because of his faith, it was wrong. That this same judge is now my party’s nominee for the Senate should concern us all. Religious tests have no place in the United States Congress.
Perhaps learning from Moore’s example is one Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix of the U.S. Marines, who is accused of abusing Muslim recruits, physically assaulting them and referring to them as terrorists in “whiskey-fueled tirades.” Ah, our nation’s finest.
Okay, so Chelsea Gohd at Futurism talked to CERN particle physicist James Beacham, and this guy says that time travel is technically possible (which I guess Einstein also said). Options include “bending” spacetime (no problem, right?), being really close to a black hole (fun!), twisting light beams with gamma and magnetic fields (I have no idea what that means!) and even quantum tunneling (because something-something quantum something-something).
Kevin Sorbo is in another proselytizing movie, this time he plays an atheist who has a near-death experience. Nice little niche he’s carved out for himself. Look out, Kirk Cameron.
CFI’s Ben Radford was the guest on WRUW’s Enter Galactic yesterday, though I don’t yet have a link for that individual episode to point you to. So you’ll just have to trust me.
Here is a less-than-charitable characterization of humanists by one RJ Elliot in a letter to the HJ News (stop giggling) in Idaho (I said STOP):
[Humanists] often make an effort to portray themselves as critical thinkers where faith plays no role. In reality it is the same story and needs to be recognized as their way to amputate soul from self. I believe this is one reason they represent their practices as so repulsive – it is to deaden the internal spirit and drive away hope.
Ha ha, joke’s on you. My hope drove away all on its own.
Can this iPhone-connected gadget serve as an honest-to-goodness ultrasound device? Well, Joseph Mercola says “this is the future and may soon empower you to fire your doctor,” so almost certainly not. (Also, who “fires” their doctor? Unless they, like run a hospital or something.)
Julia Belluz seems to think we need a reason not to eat black licorice other than because it’s disgusting:
Licorice root contains a medically active compound called glycyrrhizin acid [which] can elevate a person’s blood pressure, leading some to experience abnormal heart rhythms, lethargy, even congestive heart failure.
A fake-psychic in
Washington State is arrested for theft-by-deception. Here’s a clue that something was fishy:
The victim attempted to get her money back, but was told by the psychic she needed to bring additional money in order for all of the money to be returned.
Well, you have to spend money to make money, right?
A woman in New York State posts a “missed connection” ad to Craigslist, not about a man she met or almost met, but a man she was told about by her psychic. Good thing no one ever answers Craigslist ads under false pretenses, or else she’d be in real danger of being scammed…
Quote of the Day:
At The Outline, Yvette d’Entremont, cursing like she’s in a Mamet play (compliment!), reassures us that sugar is not the cancer-causing, fat-generating, ADHD-sparking anthrax-of-sweetness that we’re being led to believe:
When you want something sweet, you can work it into your caloric allowance without fear that it’s going to make you grow a third nipple because you’re an adult who’s capable of counting things like calories. Seriously, though: Have a fucking piece of candy. You deserve it.
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