There’s a Trilobite in My Latte

November 21, 2014

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

The city of Royal Oak, Michigan authorizes “ghost tours” led by “ghost hunters” of a 19th century farmhouse. CFI’s Joe Nickell is disappointed (the piece says “upset,” but Joe doesn’t get “upset” about this kind of thing), and tells the Free Press:

When you allow ghost tours to operate, you are sanctioning mysticism and pseudo-science … Most people don’t want to believe that you actually die. This gives them the promise that your spirit lives on somewhere. 

The American Astronomical Society releases a definitive statement on the “Shirtstorm” regarding the poorly-chosen shirt and analogies made by Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor:

[U]nacceptable abuse has been directed toward the critics, from criticism of “over-active feminism” to personal insults and more dire threats. We wish to express our support for members of the community who rightly brought this issue to the fore, and we condemn the unreasonable attacks they experienced as a result, which caused deep distress in our community. We do appreciate the scientist’s sincere and unqualified apology. 

The AAS has a clear anti-harassment policy, which prohibits “verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature” and “a display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.” Had the offending images appeared and comments been made under the auspices of the AAS, they would be in clear violation of our policy.

R.R. Reno at Christian magazine First Things says that churches should officially get out of the civil marriage business. Damon Linker says this is huge.

Gabriel Domínguez at Deutsche Welle looks at Indonesia and its blasphemy laws, beginning with recalling the persecution of atheist Alexander Aan.

Kimberly Winston talks to the co-authors of the “Ten Non-Commandments” for atheists. Says John Figdor:

We want to show people who may have a false view of the atheist community as this sour group of people who want to prove there is no God and sit in a basement all day and argue about that. But we want to show them it is actually full of happy, empathetic and compassionate people whose lives are full of meaning and value. 

Speak for yourself!! (I kid.)

Pew releases data on the connections between religious beliefs and acceptance of scientific facts about global warming, and unfortunately calls the people who accept science “believers” and those who reject it “skeptics.” Ugh. 

Thanks to Neil deGrasse Tyson talking to a 6-year-old, I now have to let my kids bang noisily on things and jump into puddles. FINE. 

At the Course of Reason Blog, we highlight the Furman University Society of Free Inquiry as our affiliate of the week.

Scottish conservation group Woodland Trust says that all these Loch Ness Monster sightings are probably just floating logs washed in from a bay. YOU DON’T SAY. 

Neo-Pagans get tax-exempt status in New York state. 

A guy in Arizona says he’s made a lotion that protects against Ebola (and maybe HIV), but that he doesn’t want any money for it.  

David Kyle Johnson at Psychology Today suffers through Kirk Cameron’s Christmas movie, which sounds like it tried very hard to be “experimental” or something. 

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to think it’s important to insist that Muslims “discovered” the New World before Columbus. Okay, well, good for them.

BuzzFeed rounds up some of the backlash against the Daily Mail for their pro-homeopathy-for-Ebola piece. 

Forget Jesus showing up in your food. Now trilobites are appearing in lattes.  

Best article summary ever, from the Orlando Sentinel: “A guest columnist writes that Orange County schools should say no to Satan.” Really taking a bold stand there. 

Quote of the Day

Polymath Glenn Fleishman:

Muslims invented algebra and algorithms. That’s why Republicans stopped using math and can’t operate computers.    

(Yes, CFI is a nonpartisan organization, but that was totally funny.) 

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Original images 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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