It Pains Me

November 23, 2015

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

Okay, so here’s the big thing I was talking about last week: Thanks to the efforts of some very clever people here at CFI, we launched a new “series” of sorts, a new hub for the excellent presentations and conversations held at CFI events, and we call it Reason Talks. Think of it as a web series of high-quality video for freethought talks, coming in “seasons” of episodes. We launched with three videos, and a new one will come every week until the season is over. To kick it off, we have Rebecca GoldsteinMichael Specter, and Taslima Nasrin

Speaking of Goldstein, at NYT, she reviews Tim Whitmarsh’s new book Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World

Speaking of her again, her husband Steven Pinker and Joshua S. Goldstein (relation? I don’t know) write that activism on climate change is “scattershot,” and badly needs more specific focus.

CFI is joining with several other groups to urge Secretary Kerry to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to stop the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr and others.

Ted Cruz will not be out-Christian’d in the race for president: “If the body of Christ rises up as one and votes our values, we can turn this country around.” 

This’ll be a thing: The Minnesota Student Association at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities rejects commemoration of the 9/11 attacks because of concerns such a thing would stir Islamophobia and offend Muslims. 

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is dissing us over our lawsuit to stop taxpayer funding of religious prisoner rehab in Florida. Which means we’re doing something right.

You probably already think that “biomagnetic therapy” is bunk. You’re right! Allow Harriet Hall to validate your intuition. “It pains me to see misinformation such as this fed to gullible patients.” 

Chas Danner tries to figure out once and for all what Trump’s position on a “Muslim registry” actually is:

Is Trump saying that no he is not ruling out a database? Or no he is, but wants a Syrian refugee database? Or other unspecified databases? Incredibly, more than three days later, it’s still not clear whether or not Trump is okay with registering American Muslims. And maybe that’s the point, as Trump just poses from moment to moment, with the substance always improvised.

Marco Rubio tries to clarify what sites he feels need to be “targeted” or closed down, not mosques as a whole, but wherever radicalism is promoted.  

Andy Ihnatko wants to shake us to come to our senses about the refugees:

The scale of the crisis is immaterial. People are fleeing the homeland that their families have known for several generations, carrying only what they were able to gather up in the two minutes they had before they fled. We are commanded to accept them. The order comes from the highest possible authority: our humanity. 

Nathan J. Robinson at Boston Review looks at the “moment of crisis” in forensic science, plagued by “horror stories…corruption and dysfunction.” 

The DOJ is going after some of the more obviously fraudulent dietary supplement manufacturers

Rick Santorum sort of hypothetically muses on how he could, possibly, in theory, appeal to atheists. Some of them. Very, very few. 

A “psychic” who offered to use his powers to help UK police find a missing person is charged by the police with a “telecommunications offense.”

Alana Massey writes about losing faith, but not necessarily her “conception of the state of the world” as informed by Christianity.  

Scott Kelly tweets an image from the ISS, lots of folks argle-blargle about a UFO

Rabbit god vs. duck god

Quote of the Day:

Kamel Daoud writes at NYT that before ISIS/Daesh, we already had an Islamic State: Saudi Arabia:

Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises a
rchaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on. 

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