Rivalry and Enmity

January 25, 2016


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

Happy Monday! Here’s how you’ll probably die.

While we were celebrating our merger with the Dawkins Foundation, a judge in Florida handed us a kick in the gut, ruling that explicitly-Christian rehab operations for former prisoners, groups literally called Lamb of God and Prisoners of Christ, aren’t “sectarian” and can keep on sucking up taxpayer dollars. We are gobsmacked by how wrong this ruling is, we are not pleased, and we will appeal.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdelaziz Al Sheikh, Saudi Arabia’s “top cleric” (which is like Top Chef, but more subjective) says Islam forbids the playing of chess. Muslims brought chess to Europe, for what it’s worth, but our grandest of muftis says chess “wastes time and money and causes rivalry and enmity.” You sure he’s not talking about Twitter?

John Timmer at Ars Technica catches the Oklahoma legislature, that bastion of enlightenment, as it gets right to the business of ruining science education, with measures to protect teachers who decide to ditch reality in favor of whatever creation myth they’d like to espouse.

George Musser at Wired looks at the startling implications of new quantum physics research, which I’m too sleepy at this time of morning to grasp:

Not only can two events be correlated, linking the earlier one to the later one, but two events can become correlated such that it becomes impossible to say which is earlier and which is later.

Michelle Starr at CNET reports on theories as to why we haven’t seen any aliens anywhere: the vast majority of life that arises evolves too slowly to ever be detected, let alone reach intelligence.

Michael Cruz at Politico looks at the circuitous religious journey of Marco Rubio, and how it’s playing with the GOP electorate.

Earlier last year, a member of the Satanic Temple in Missouri claimed that abortion restrictions on the book violated her religious liberty, which was kind of a clever idea. A judge disagreed, and dismissed her case.

Ted Cruz says, “I’m a Christian first, American second, conservative third and Republican fourth.” This does not surprise me. Sarah Posner reports on the wierdness around Cruz’s roster of endorsements from super-conservative Christian figures, particularly Mike Bickle, who ruined the good name of IHOP.

Oh and speaking of endorsements, Tyler Henry, the young “Hollywood medium” (or “grief vampire”) has been endorsed by John Edward (which I think was a smart and of course cynical business-political move).

I’m so glad Hemant did this: That poll you heard about that said 10% of college students think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court? Uh, that’s not quite right, because on the poll, they offered up in a multiple choice question Judge Judy’s full name, Judith Sheindlin. Come on.

Harriet Hall on the risks of some screening tests: “[Alt-med proponents] seem to think that ‘do no harm’ means ‘never use any treatment that might cause harm.’ That’s just silly.”

Is Neil deGrasse Tyson ever NOT on TV?

Quote of the Day:

Commenting on the latest Newdow suit to remove “In God We Trust” from U.S. currency, Candida Moss wonders why atheists don’t also go after the rest of the religious imagery on the dollar:

The most prominent iconography on the $1 are the eagle and the pyramid, which together constitute the Great Seal of the United States. The pyramid is a throwback to ancient Egypt, but is in many ways a much tamer version of the seal that Franklin and Jefferson envisioned. Noted Egyptophiles, the version that they initially supported included an Egyptian pharaoh, seated on a chariot and passing through the parted waters of the Red Sea. The motto they preferred was “rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” Anyone familiar with the biblical story of the parting of the Red Sea can hear the thinly veiled threat. Pharaoh doesn’t stay atop that chariot for long.


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Original image by Shutterstock.

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