The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Pew releases a new study showing changing attitudes toward religion. The main finding is that as the religiously affiliated take a slight dip in numbers, and as the “nones” spike slightly up, they also grow further apart: the religious are a little more religious than they were, and the nones are more secular. (Oh, and the nones are the largest “religious” group within the Democratic coalition.)
For a recent Skeptical Inquirer cover story, Gary J. Galbreath figures out what it is the crew of the HMS Daedalus saw in 1848 when they thought they saw a giant sea serpent.
Michael Corkery and Jessica Silver-Greenberg at NYT do a deep exploration of the murky and seemingly anachronistic phenomenon of religious arbitration, where disputes are settled by the rules of a given faith, and which “may have less to do with honoring a set of beliefs than with controlling legal outcomes.”
A heartbreaking note from Bonya Rafida Ahmed, who survived the attack in Bangladesh that took her husband Avijit Roy:
The don’t need to hide in darkness anymore. They wield their cleavers in well-lit streets, in front of thousands of people, in front of the police. I myself stood in the street, with four cleaver-inflicted head wounds, my hand gushing blood from a lost finger, begging for help from hundreds of people. Did anyone in that crowded street come forward to help? Before Jiban, the journalist, came to help me and Avijit, other people surrounded us in a circle to watch the spectacle. There were policemen in that circle.
Debarati Guha at Deutsche Welle says the killing of secularists with impunity in Bangladesh is an existential crisis for the country (and she’s right):
First the bloggers and now the publishers – it seems no one is safe in Bangladesh, no one can write freely, and others cannot publish what they write. Atheism remains a big taboo, the breaking of which can cost one’s life.
BBC does a 9-minute report on the Bangladesh crisis.
Folks who claim to be part of Anonymous release a list of politicians allegedly affiliated with the KKK. Be skeptical.
The indefatigable Zack Kopplin writes at Slate about efforts to push Christianity on public school students in Louisiana. “This pedagogical approach is not likely to hold up in court.” One would hope!
Brian Pellot is ending his excellent blog on religious freedom at Religion News Service, which is a bummer.
A Wisconsin newspaper grapples with whether it was wrong to publish a letter to the editor claiming that vaccines cause autism.
There is a lot of doubt as to whether 97-year-old Billy Graham is really the author behind the recent works attributed to him.
Emily Yoffe advises a woman whose husband is a “massive jerk” about his atheism at Thanksgiving dinners with her family.
The BBC seems to endorse Pastafarianism.
Celebrate Hitchmas in Copenhagen.
Some cosmic perspective.
Quote of the Day:
This amazing ad for Ovaltine from Olden Times:
Unique food creation curbs children’s nervousness amazingly — increases weight a pound a week or more without forced feeding!
I need to get me some.
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