Cockfighting for Jesus

February 22, 2016

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

Ron Lindsay considers the benefits of meditation, and rebuts some of the positions of Sam Harris about the utility of the practice.

We recently got a report from CFI–Uganda about the great work they’re doing to celebrate reason, debunk superstitions, and educate on diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Some good media appearances to let you know about:

CFI’s legal director, Nick Little, was the guest on Full Disclosure on the RadioActive network, discussing the real-world implications of the battle over religious freedom in the U.S.

CFI’s Michael De Dora, meanwhile, speaks to the Houston Chronicle about the murky nuance to building a political bloc out of the “Nones,” and appears on New Zealand’s Radio Live to discuss the crisis for secular writers in Bangladesh.

Bonya Ahmed, secular writer and widow of Avijit Roy, appears on Deutsche Welle news to discuss the state of fear in Bangladesh, one year after the attack.

Islamists stab to death a Hindu priest to death in a temple in Bangladesh, and shoot someone who rushed to the priests’s aid. ISIS claims responsibility.

CFI joined a coalition of groups (a coalition made up largely of religious organizations) calling on the president to declare ISIS’s systematic murder of various groups such as Christians, Yazidis, and Shia, a genocide. Christian Post‘s cartoonist seems to find our inclusion in this push to be cartoon-worthy.

Anne Applebaum looks on in horror as Donald Trump’s conspiracy mongering catches on:

A whole generation of people who get their information from random sources on the Internet have eagerly taken up his invented stories and are reposting them as fast as they can. Trump’s lies and his distortions of reality don’t stick to him because his followers are not interested in truth. They prefer satisfying stories.

Kavin Senapathy reports on the conspiracy theory around Monsanto and the baseless rumor from anti-GMO types that a larvicide is responsible for a microcephaly outbreak in Brazil.

John Kasich, the allegedly sane and moderate GOP presidential candidate, defunds Planned Parenthood in Ohio.

A.G. Hoskins at the Colorado Springs Gazette says it’s atheism that’s the myth, you jerks, and that “Christianity is a worldview consistent with observable fact.”

At the Course of Reason blog, Peter Wood argues that religions that produce violent extremists can’t hide behind the “misinterpretation” defense:

When Barack Obama says extremists are misguided, or Pope Francis says they are religious deviants, we can make a logical connection: these misinterpretations and deviations come from doctrines which are susceptible to being misinterpreted.

Glenn Beck wants people fasting and praying for Ted Cruz to win the Nevada GOP caucus.

James Croft really disagrees with Lawrence Krauss‘s recent New Yorker piece calling for the appointment of an atheist SCOTUS justice:

The idea that an atheist justice “would be more likely to focus on reason and empirical evidence” strikes me as a simple prejudice. … Purposefully selecting an individual to fill a Supreme Court position on the basis that they have a particular religious perspective is deeply anti secular

But Chris Weller at Tech Insider doubles down on Krauss’s position:

If for no other reason, having an openly atheistic justice sends an official message that non-believing people can be morally right — in a country where a person’s goodness is often equated with the depth of their faith.

Pope Francis calls for an end to the death penalty and to lifetime imprisonment.

The Moscow Times reports on how pseudoscience has made a comeback in Russia in the post-Soviet era, when superstitions were forcibly tamped down, and how academics are trying to push back.

Justin Scott strikes again, this time trying to get an answer about whether religious folks should be able to discriminate from Sen. Joni Ernst. He doesn’t get one, really.

Steven Salzberg at Forbes opens his piece on the raw food movement with “The raw food crazies are making themselves sick.” The thing is:

Natural or not, cooking is one of mankind’s greatest inventions. It allows us to spend far less time eating, because cooked food is much easier to chew and digest. We extract more nutrients from cooked food–not fewer, despite what the raw foodies claim. … Cooking our food … kills harmful bacteria and viruses. The current salmonella outbreak could easily have been avoided if people had simply cooked their food instead of consuming raw shakes.

Homeopathy confirmed for the 1000th time to be crap. That doesn’t stop this guy from charging you to use it on your dog. But hey, your dog doesn’t understand anyway.

In the United States, you can use your religion an excuse to discriminate and to keep people from getting medical services you don’t like, but one thing you can’t use religion to get away with? Cockfighting. I wonder what Scalia would have said.

A YMCA in Illinois is apparently frequently investigated for ghosts. At my local YMCA is the ghost of my long-since deceased will to exercise. I can almost hear it moaning now. “I haaaaaate this.”

This has nothing to do with skepto-humanism, but you should know that yesterday The Legend of Zelda turned 30.

Quote of the Day:

Dawn Darbonne at the University of Louisiana’s Vermillion considers the role of atheism in African American history:

People pick and choose from the Bible what they want — are you looking to oppress people, or find comfort from being oppressed? There are stories for both of you. Being black in America is a complicated and fraught narrative. Religion is a big part of it, but so is the lack of it. Both sides need to be told for a more thorough understanding.

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Original image by Shutterstock.

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