You Can Eat a Black Hole

December 2, 2015

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

I was off for a few days, so, uh, what I miss?

Oh look! CFI joined up with some other Super Important organizations (USCIRF, Lantos Foundation, PEN) to hold a Capitol Hill briefing yesterday with Bangladeshi-American humanist Bonya Ahmed, survivor of the machete attack that took the life of her husband Avijit Roy. The AP covered it, but, like, somehow forgot to mention us. (This is where I get very Dangerfieldian.) However, and probably more importantly, the event was covered by major outlets in Bangladesh (The Daily Star and BDNews24), with us included.

Relatedly, December 1 was Giving Tuesday, and rather than ask for money for us, which we would normally do, we asked you to give money to the Freethought Emergency Fund, to help prevent more murders of secularists in Bangladesh. You still can. 

Point of Inquiry this week features a lively discussion about Paris, ISIS, and Islam with Majority Report‘s Michael Brooks. 

We also have the fourth episode of Reason Talks up: Eugenie Scott on “crank anthropology.” 

There was of course the Planned Parenthood shooting. The shooter was obsessed with the largely fictional controversy over “baby parts.”  There is, of course, denial. Amy Davidson at the New Yorker writes:

In a debate, [Carly] Fiorina claimed that a video showed what sounded like infanticide—the killing of a “fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking”—for the stated sake of harvesting a marketable brain. This was false, and demonstrably so, but Fiorina just kept saying it. She was on television, on Sunday, too.

“This is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing the messenger because they don’t agree with your message,” Fiorina said on “Fox News Sunday,” when she was asked about concerns that the attacks on Planned Parenthood might have encouraged the violence. What is her “message,” though? Do the Republican candidates think that nobody is listening to them? Are they even listening to themselves?

The president has been in Paris for a big conference on climate change with an aim for a major international agreement. Congressional Republicans are undermining it in advance. 

Bill Nye talks with POI’s Josh Zepps on HuffPost Live about the connection between terrorism and climate change

In case you didn’t know, getting global warming to “hold” at two degrees Celsius will be really freaking hard.  

CFI was in the Indy Star last week, part of the unaffiliated in a piece about the top religious groups in Indiana. 

A federal judge rules that a cross-shaped war memorial in Virginia is “secular,” and isn’t going anywhere. 

Raif Badawi is named one of Foreign Policy‘s 2015 Leading Global Thinkers

Sam Harris is interviewed at Salon, which is normally, let’s say, hostile to him, and proceeds to edit out his criticism of Salon.  

Marco Rubio, clearly not understanding how our system of government is supposed to work, says that when religion and the law come into conflict, “God’s rules always win.”  

Likewise, Orrin Hatch opines that the Wall of Separation is a bad idea. Yeah, because the first religious group to benefit from theocracy will be Mormons. You just hold to that belief, Orrin.

Religious groups assisting with Syrian refugees may be doing it not just for the humanitarian benefit, but for a financial gain

It’s possible that Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, might be the last

Michele Bachmann, on the imminent End Times: ‘Hurry up, Jews.’ 

Adam Wegman reminds us that while antibiotics contribute to the ascent of “superbug” bacteria, hand sanitizers do not

Icelanders flock to a new religion formed entirely to end the state funding of religion. 

Radio Television Swiss will end religious broadcasting by 2017

Carly Weeks at The Globe and Mail fears that the Canadian government’s
 licensing of homeopaths and naturopaths will give them too much credit:

It’s one thing when a co-worker retweets an article about homeopathic vaccination, or an aunt e-mails to tell you actor Jim Carrey says mandatory vaccination causes heavy-metal poisoning. But it’s quite another when the people spreading fear-mongering, inaccurate information are licensed medical professionals authorized by the province to practise. 

Quote of the Day:

Rest assured, if scientists create a black hole, we’ll all be fine. Probably. Says “The Physicist”:

The gravitational pull of a few micrograms of matter, regardless of how it is arranged, is never dangerous; you wouldn’t get pulled inside out if you ate it. However, you wouldn’t get the chance, since any black hole that we could reasonably create would already be mid-explosion. 

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Original image by Shutterstock

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