Really Most Sincerely Dead

February 10, 2016

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

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump handily win the New Hampshire primary. Sanders becomes the first non-Christian to win a presidential primary. Trump is the first, uh, whatever he is to win a presidential primary [citation needed]. 

President Obama’s carbon-cutting initiative is blocked by the Supreme Court until a swarm of lawsuits from states and companies against the EPA are settled. Do not hold your breath. Or do, actually, because the air will be poisoned. 

Juhem Navarro-Rivera looks at secular activism in politics, and how nonreligious identity does not usually come to the fore.

The organizing is ours to do. So far our secular organizations have failed us in that regard. They have not shown the leadership required in the political arena.

Juhem then says CFI is an exception to this, but he also doesn’t quite agree with Susan Jacoby’s characterization of CFI as a “think tank,” and I gotta disagree with him there. We are very, very thinky.)

Rafael Cruz, father of Ted, rails against the “new religion of America,” which is, you guessed it, secular humanism. Both Opposing Views and BizPac Review cite the Council for Secular Humanism for a definition of what secular humanism actually is. 

What does it mean to be dead? Like, really, most sincerely dead? Kelly Michelson at SciAm reflects on how hard it can be to define and communicate dead-ness.

Steven McKenzie at BBC looks at popular culture’s portrayals of the Loch Ness Monster, including as a villain type in the show Grimm.

It looks like the Kim Davis saga is over for now. She’s not in any more legal danger, and same-sex couples are getting their licenses. 

I didn’t even know this was a thing, but Israel apparently appoints Muslim judges (Qadis) to official Shariah courts. That seems bonkers to me, it’d be like Senate hearings for the appointment of bishops. 

Ben Radford looks at the reports of “ghost passengers” in Japan’s taxis

Herb Silverman notices President Obama’s omission of atheists in both his National Prayer Breakfast and Maryland mosque speeches:

Though he claimed to be inclusive, he said nothing about the millions of non-religious American who call ourselves atheists, agnostics, humanists, secularists, skeptics and “nones.” All of us know that it’s easy to be good without a belief in God–just as President Obama’s own humanist mother was. 

We now have atheist spouses both running for the state legislature in Arizona: Cara Prior for the State House, Scott Prior for the State Senate.

“The crack was the most dramatic feature.” Stop giggling, it’s talking about the Menominee crack, a mysterious geological feature

“Are you intrigued by the idea of alternative medicine for cats?” Oof, I gotta sit down.

Quote of the Day:

Amy Schoerning at the NCSE considers what can be done when an ally in one area of science turns out to be a science-denier in another:

We like and respect these people. We want to continue working with them! We want to understand what is at the root of their science denial. It’s not a matter of stupidity nor ignorance—the first and often unfair accusation made by people on the side of science. Nor is it related to despair—a piece of the puzzle I still believe is important—but is clearly not the whole picture.  After all, we’re dealing with engineers here, we can’t claim they’re flying based on emotion—at least, not all the time. …

How can I find out what’s going on with these people? Not by mocking their beliefs. Not by being the person bringing more conflict into the situation. Maybe by building dialog and connections with the larger community. … An aggressive or argumentative approach hasn’t solved the conflict around science denial, it’s only driven it underground. Let’s work to bring it up and talk about it. It’ll be interesting. 

* * *

Original 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)! 

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.  

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