Robert Ingersoll, American Idol

November 6, 2014

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

Our public policy guy Michael De Dora rounds up the wins and losses for skepto-humanists in Tuesday’s elections. It wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t good, and Kimberly Winston has a look at atheists’ rough night.

Howard Friedman summarizes some exit polling that looks at the voting behavior of faith groups. (Only 29% of “nones” voted for the GOP.) Sarah Posner notes that although “nones” make up about twenty-some percent of the population, they were only about 12% of the electorate this year. Seriously: WTF, nones?

Ben Radford writes at Discovery News about how Pope Fluffy balances between the rational (accepting evolution) and the ridiculous (support of exorcisms), and quotes CFI’s Tom Flynn who says:

If God is all-good and all-loving, how can there be evil in the world? Satan solves that problem (more or less) by serving as God’s adversary, the author of all the moral and physical evils that the faithful would prefer not to attribute to God. The whole drama of salvation is depicted as an epic battle between God and Satan. So Catholicism can’t part with Satan in the way it can jettison something more genuinely incidental, like creationism. Satanism is baked into the Catholic worldview at too deep a level for that. 

Raif Badawi receives another honor in absentia, winning the Reporters Without Borders Netizen PrizeThere’s video of Dr. Elham Manea receiving it on his behalf.

George Dvorski at io9 considers the Fermi Paradox, and whether we should prepare ourselves for the possibility that we’ll simply never make contact with another intelligence in the cosmos.

Carl Sagan Day is nearly upon us! Here’s a look at some of the cool things CFI communities are up to in celebration. 

With a hat tip to CFI-Canada, here’s a handy wall chart for figuring out what will happen to you after you die, according to several religions. I kind of like Shintoism’s “possible godhood,” so I might start believing in that. 

Speaking of Canada, their religious freedom ambassador Andrew Bennett spoke out against the torture and murder of a young Christian couple in Pakistan because, of course, blasphemy:

This is only the latest in a long series of religiously motivated, violent attacks on individuals who are accused, often falsely, under Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws. It underscores the need to support Pakistani civil society to strengthen pluralism, human rights and the rule of law, and for the Pakistani government to reform the blasphemy laws to prevent their abuse, as they are used disproportionately and often opportunistically to target religious minorities. 

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says there should be “no mercy” for those who carried out the killings, saying, “the state must act proactively to protect its minorities from violence and injustice.” I guess better late than never.

CFI’s library recently received portraits of Robert Ingersoll and D.M. Bennett, and I kid you not, the back of the Ingersoll portrait says “The Man The Myth The Legend,” and it’s part of, again I kid you not, the “American Idol Series.”

Joe Nickell follows the siren’s song, and finds “fakelore.” 

Here’s a good way to sell fake medicine: Come up with fake diseases

Chris Stedman interviews MAAF’s Jason Torpy about the issue of humanist chaplains in the military

Prince Charles calls for religious people to stop being mean to each other, and Reuters says, “Charles has often courted controversy by voicing strong views on the environment, architecture and social affairs.” Um, architecture

Quote of the Day

Alex Abad-Santos at Vox on the very real phenomenon of belief in a conspiracy of lizard people:

How many Americans believe in lizard people? …

[Public Policy Polling] found that 4 percent of Americans believe in lizard people, while another 7 percent were unsure. Taken to its absurd extreme, that would imply around 12 million Americans … Keep in mind that this might not be counting all the people who, in their heart of hearts, believe that lizard people exist but are nervous that they will be found out if they publicly disclose their beliefs. 

Am I a lizard person?

Possibly. Only you can know for sure. But hey, there are worse things you could be than a humanoid lizard with plans for world domination. That’s pretty ambitious and admirable. Congratulations. 

* * *  

Image 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. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)! 

The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta