The Earth is in Peril, and People Love That

February 18, 2014

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

Our own Debbie Goddard is featured in a HuffPo piece on the variety of beliefs of African Americans. Among her insights:

There are times when I’ve felt straight-up rejected by the black community because I’m an atheist. When I tried to start a secular club in college, my closest black friends told me that humanism and atheism are harmful Eurocentric ideologies and implied that if I’m an atheist, I’m turning my back on my race.

Richard N. Landers comes down hard on the recent and heavily-touted survey showing that young people seem to buy into astrology, saying that respondents likely got the terms “astrology” and “astronomy” mixed up. According to his parsing of the data:

Among those that correctly identified astrology as astrology, only 13.5% found it “pretty scientific” or “very scientific”. Only 1 person said it was “very scientific.” Among those that identified astrology as astronomy, the field was overwhelmingly seen as scientific, exactly as I expected.

AAAS does a big survey on religious belief and science, with a big focus on the overlap of those in scientific professions and religion. (Standout stat: 36% of scientists “have no doubt” about the existence of God.)

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot are reportedly arrested in Sochi near Olympic Park.

Hey, go find the latest issue of Skeptical Inquirer. It’s a quackapalooza with two big pieces on Stanislaw Burzynski.

This should push some buttons: Lindsay Beyerstein interviews Amy Tuteur about the safety of home births and midwifery on Point of Inquiry.

So you’re looking forward to the new Cosmos series, right? You and almost literally everyone else, because Fox throwing everything at it:

Fox Networks Group (FNG) announced today that COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY will debut simultaneously across multiple U.S. Fox networks, including Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX), National Geographic Channel, FX, FXX, FXM, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo and FOX Life on Sunday, March 9 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). This first multi-network launch event for Fox Networks Group, along with the series debut on Fox International Channels and National Geographic Channels International, will make COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY available on 220 channels in 181 countries, with an overall footprint of more than half a billion homes.

Satanists understandably don’t want to be tarnished by association with the accused “Craigslist killer.”

Harriet Hall notes that Tylenol is not as safe as we used to think it was, classifying it as a “pseudo-placebo.”

Speaking of placebos, Amazon may want to reconsider its selling of this disaster-waiting-to-happen, a “homeopathic accident and emergency first aid kit.”

Brother of a murdered 12-year-old has had it with “paranormal” detectives making claims about his sibling.

Ben Radford is quoted by the Kansas City Star on the anxiety over solar flares, saying, “The earth is in peril, and people love that.”

Reza Aslan does a couple videos at The Dish on what we “know” about Jesus.

Starting March 1, CFI’s David Koepsell will teach our online course “The Origins of Humanism.”

“Training ground for the religious right,” Patrick Henry College, has within it a problem with  the frequency — and denial of — sexual assaults.

Josh Rosenau considers who our most science-friendly US presidents were, and gives high marks to Teddy Roosevelt and Kennedy.

Church of England refuses to bless same-sex marriages.

Platonic ideals of mathematical constructs, how the **** do they work? Edward Frankel, not a member of the Insane Clown Posse, posits a grand coder:

[O]ne fanciful possibility is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world. According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used.

Of the many things invented out of whole cloth by religion, “porn addiction” may be among them.

CFI überlibrarian Tim Binga talks about the benefits and challenges of digitizing library holdings.

Fair warning, this story is a little creepy: Doctors find inside the uterus of an 84-year-old woman a fetus calcified for 44 years, the result of the woman visiting a “healer” when she was originally pregnant.

Cloe Ansari of the London Southbank University Atheist Society tells the story of her group’s struggle against the censorship of His Noodliness.

Iowa State University is taking the Bibles out of its guestrooms.

Court challenge to North Carolina’s voucher program is given its first green light.

Louisiana is one haunted state, says the guy who runs Louisiana Spirits Paranormal Investigations. “We use a lot of audio equipment and graphical software to distinguish people messing around from actual phenomena.” I bet you do.

Quote of the Day

God, on Twitter:

Thinking about merging with Comcast.

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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. 


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