Phobos Will Put a Ring On It

November 25, 2015


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

Now hear this: Due to the holiday and other sundry events, The Morning Heresy will go on a brief hiatus, returning December 2. You’ll be okay.

At National Journal, Ron Brownstein digs into Pew’s religion data, and finds that white Christians no longer make up a majority of the country. There’s a lot to unpack here, and Brownstein is, like, the best. 

Paul Bloom explores the way we come to believe things about science and religion, noting that both can require certain “leaps of faith” and deferral to the experts:

Many scientific views endorsed by non-specialists are credences as well. Some people reading this will say they believe in natural selection, but not all will be able to explain how natural selection works. … Much of what’s in our heads are credences, not beliefs we can justify—and there’s nothing wrong with this. Life is too brief; there is too much to know and not enough time. We need epistemological shortcuts. 

Ben Radford interviews skeptic caricaturist Celestia Ward for Skeptical Briefs. Ben also looks at why people seem to be so sure they saw Muslims cheering for 9/11 in New Jersey when it didn’t actually happen.

Two journalists, Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, are among those on trial in the Vatican in a case over leaked documents showing, guess what, a corrupt and mismanaged Vatican. So this trial should really clean up that image. 

You can now book a Rally Bus to get to the 2016 Reason Rally. 

The University of Ottawa cancels a beginners’ yoga class because, well, as they put it:

Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced and what practices from what cultures (which are often sacred spiritual practices) they are being taken from. Many of these cultures are cultures that have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy, and we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves and while practicing yoga. 

ISIS claims to have a regional leader in Bangladesh, which is bad, not that surprising, but as yet unconfirmed. 

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says the Paris attacks were carried out by “godless ISIL murderers” and characterized the attacks as “blasphemy against Islam by godless terrorists.” I guess things really are upside-down over there!  

40 people are arrested in Pakistan for being part of a mob attack on a factory where an employee was accused of blasphemy. Oh, the alleged blasphemer has also been arrested. Fair and balanced. 

Patricia Garcia at Vogue wants to see what all the fuss about psychics is about, and in consultation with one, gets this really amazing, one-of-a-kind insight into her future:

I really want you to take extra care of your immune system next year. 

Wow! Stay away from viruses! That’s gold, right there. 

Phobos will crumble, and become a ring around Mars. In 10-20 million years. (Poor lonely Deimos.)

Patrick Michels at the Texas Observer profiles legislature candidate Cristin Padgett, who will almost certainly get crushed in the election. Why? Running in a conservative district, she’s very open about having “no religious affiliation or belief in a higher being.” 

Quote of the Day:

Yesterday I linked to a poll showing that 40% of millennials favor government censorship of offensive speech. Jesse Singal at NY Mag takes a deeper look, and finds that the millennials are actually not outliers here, and there’s nothing new to panic or grouse about:

A bit of digging into past poll results shows that this just wasn’t an unusual result. Yes, broad attitudes over free speech change over time … but there’s a general pattern to how Americans answer these questions: They’ve shown over and over again that they favor free speech in theory, when asked about it in the broadest terms, but they also tend to be fairly enthusiastic about government bans on forms of speech they find particularly offensive (what’s considered offensive, of course, changes with the times). On this subject, millennials are right in line with reams of past polling, and it would be wrong to hold up last week’s results as an example of anything other than an extremely broad tendency that’s existed for a long time. 

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