We Do Violence to Reality

February 23, 2016


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

Tamar Wilner at Newsweek reports on the ongoing, often maddening attempts to shut down “cancer quack” Stanislaw Burzynski, who compares his critics to Nazis who will face something akin to “Nuremberg trial.”  

Ted Cruz’s campaign falsely accuses Marco Rubio of saying that the Bible has “not many answers” in a video, which is quickly proven to be untrue. In the ensuing hubbub, Cruz’s communications director Rick Tyler apologizes profusely to Rubio, and Cruz fires Tyler. The irony, of course, is that Rubio had said there were not a lot of answers in the Bible, he’d have been right.

Cruz’s dad says God communicated his desire to see Cruz run for president by speaking through Ted’s wife Heidi, saying, “Seek God’s face, not God’s hand.” Which, to me, is 100% clear.

The Al Qaeda-linked Ansarullah Bangla Team, which has claimed responsibility for the murders of secular bloggers in Bangladesh, has a new hit list, according to police who also also recovered a cache of explosives. 

Ben Radford recounts his experience of a Q&A on the Bermuda Triangle middle-schoolers, where something as simple as double-checking some that sounds extraordinary changes everything. 

Is “Another Day in Paradise” at the top of the charts? Is the George H.W. Bush in the White House? Because it feels like 1989 all over again, as Iran renews its fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Come on, Islamists. If you’re going to issue death sentences, at least keep them current.

The Guardian profiles Internet hoax-buster Taryn Wright, who struggles with the need to stop fraudsters, the human pain behind those doing the lying, and the harassment she now endures.

Scientists say that during the 20th century, sea levels rose faster than at any time in the past 3000 or so years.  

St. Louis’s Archbishop tells his flock to turn their backs on that hotbed of sin and radicalism, the Girl Scouts:

Organizations that GSUSA promotes and partners with are in conflict with Catholic values, such as Amnesty International, Coalition for Adolescent Girls, OxFam and more. This is especially troubling in regards to sex education and advocacy for ‘reproductive rights’ (i.e. abortion and contraceptive access, even for minors). 

Georgia’s senate (the state, not the country this time) passed a “religious freedom” pro-discrimination bill last week.

I feel like this whole “what was that sound the Apollo 10 astronauts heard???” thing is more than a little overblown, or maybe I’m just put off by the absurd production of Unexplained Files

Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety apologizes for, and rescinds, the production of a license plate that says “FMUSLMS.”

Alicia Pugionesi at Atlas Obscura (try saying that five times fast) looks back at the paranormal practice of one Frederick Bligh Bond, who in the early 20th century showed off his powers of “psychic archeology.” 

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Indian state of Karnataka wants everyone to know he is not an atheist, but:

One thing that I have adapted in my life is to look at everything scientifically and thoughtfully. … I am against superstition and superstitious practices.

Opening sentences you’d never thought you’d see in the midst of a real presidential campaign:

Suzanne Barakat, the sister of a Muslim student killed alongside his wife and sister-in-law last year in an attack in North Carolina, challenged Donald J. Trump to meet with her after a speech in which he spoke approvingly of killing Islamic terrorists with bullets dipped in the blood of pigs.

Here’s a ticket: Sanders/Bergoglio 2016.

Quote of the Day:

Jennifer Michael Hecht explores the origins of secular ethics in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

The real roots of secular ethics in the 18th to 20th centuries are to be found in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Star Trek. They come from Plato, Ecclesiastes, George Eliot, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Dr. Who. Furthermore, some element of personal ethics seems to be hard-wired in humans. When we think of passionate moral feeling as necessarily derived from Christianity, we do violence to reality. To think this way today is particularly galling because so many traditions of being good in
the world now crowd our common culture.

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Original image by Shutterstock

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