The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Lots of talk about the big CFI/Dawkins Foundation merger! Kimberly Winston has a big story at RNS that’s running in lots of places, where it’s called a “royal wedding,” which, you know, may be overstating it somewhat, but I get it. Anyway, it’s got positive reactions from Ryan Cragun and Todd Stiefel in there too. Oh, and me. Whatever.
Hemant says, “It sounds like a win-win for both sides.” JT says, “I could not be happier about this.” Dan Arel says, “Given that secularism is on the rise in the U.S. I believe the merger can only bring more positive change.”
This is also big news in CFI’s home of Buffalo, where Buffalo Business First emphasizes the “growth of operations” and Buffalo News concentrates on Prof. Dawkins himself as an atheist leader. Our incoming CEO Robyn Blumner talks to WBFO radio about the whole thing, with this great part about Prof. Dawkins which made me smile:
What you need to know about Richard Dawkins is he is a sweet, darling man, who goes out of his way to make people comfortable around him and compliment people and to listen to people who want to tell him about how he has changed their life.
Robyn also gets good wishes from the Salt Lake Tribune‘s George Pyle.
And totally unrelated, CFI’s former outreach and marketing director Lauren Becker is featured in a piece at ArtVoice for her design of a new architecture exhibit at Kleinhans Music Hall. Hi, Lauren!
In Skeptical Inquirer, Joe Nickell and James McGaha get down to brass tacks in the over-extrapolation of data to buy into things like aliens and ghosts:
Quantity is not quality. As extensive evidence shows, cases once touted as unexplained were only that; they were not unexplainable.
Lindsay Tucker at Newsweek goes inside Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter in Kentucky, “dinosaurs and all.”
A decade after forcing a teenage girl to go give birth to a fetus with a fatal birth defect, which also put her life in danger, Peru finally owns up pays her in compensation after complaints filed with the UN Human Rights Committee.
Trump gets the nod from a Duck Dynasty guy, in case that matters.
Barbara J. King at NPR talks to Alister McGrath about the myths about atheists and “meaninglessness.”
Jana Riess, herself a Mormon, talks about the problems with the LDS Church’s claims of having a monopoly on “exclusive truth”:
At 185, Mormonism is a toddler religion. And if you’re familiar with toddlers, you understand that after “No!”, the second-most-common word a toddler is likely to utter is “Mine.”
I wonder if Mormonism can use the potty on its own yet.
Speaking of Mormons, their radical brethren of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints seem to have total control over the Arizona-Utah border towns of Colorado City and Hildale, and conflict is a-brewin’.
Sheikh Imam Rashid of Ghana says the Quran can cure AIDS and Ebola within 24 hours. I’ve had a sinus infection for almost two months now, so I might try some of that.
Not funny: An exorcist in Pakistan sticks an epileptic 8-year-old girl’s head in a “pitcher filled with fire” in order to rid of her demons, while she was in chains, and yeah, she got hurt really, really bad.
Some guy named Richard “Darrell” Trigg, apparently running for president under the Christian Party banner (I think we already have one of those), is arrested for allegedly stalking his ex-wife.
At The Nation, Katha Pollitt reminds us that in all the debate about free speech on campuses, the places where it really gets squelched are in Christian colleges.
Wisconsin tool manufacturer Ariens sees its Muslim employees walk out when the company refuses to align break times for the times they need to pray.
That pope, he likes washing feet. And now, he’s overturned the ban of women being allowed in the Lent foot-washing services. Clean feet for everyone!
I do not believe the pope washed the feet of tech executives Tim Cook of Apple or Eric Schmidt of Alphabet (née Google).
Quote of the Day:
In 1977, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service apparently wanted to get itself ready to deal with the repercussions of the possible discovery of something like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. In case you’re worried, they planned to protect them:
Under normal situations, we must know a great deal about a species before we list it. How big is the population? Does it occur anywhere else? Is the population in danger of decline? Is its habitat secure? Is the species being exploited? What is its reproductive rate? Obviously, if a Bigfoot really were found we could use emergency provisions of the [Endangered Species] Act to protect it immediately. But for the record, I seriously doubt whether such a creature really does exist.
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