Will People Die? Probably.

March 5, 2015


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

67 Members of Congress sign on to a letter to the Saudi king, urging him to release Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair. CFI is one of 17 organizations endorsing the letter.

The New York Times editorial board weighs in on the murder of Avijit Roy:

Bangladesh’s government needs to do far more to protect writers and to send a clear message that it will not allow free speech to be silenced by murder. 

Lipika Pelham writes at the Times about her own return to a Bangladesh she no longer recognized:

On the way, my 13-year-old daughter observed, “I thought it would be much more colorful. Are there no women in Dhaka?” Looking around, I realized that most women were covered in black burqas or hijabs — a style that I had seen in such large numbers only in the Middle East.  

Highly recommended: Sam Harris interviews Graeme Wood about his big Atlantic piece on ISIS and Islam.  

Our own Michael De Dora is the president of the UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, which is holding a panel discussion March 11 on “Women’s Rights and Freedom of Religion or Belief in Marriage and the Family.” (Michael won’t be there because he’ll be in Geneva because he’s soooo important.)

Ben Radford interviews skeptic comedian Ian Harris, who won my affections when he coined two terms: “Scientographer” and “doctorologist.” 

New York City public schools will now close for two Muslim holidays: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. 

Joe Nickell goes hunting for an iPhone ghost. (If you hold it the wrong way, you lose your connection to the spirit world. Ha! 2010 humor!)

At Skeptical InquirerStuart Vyse asks, “What Do Bill Maher, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Rand Paul, and Chris Christie Have In Common?” 

Well, look at this! Earth has a second sort-of “moon” called 3753 Cruithne that has a wacky “horseshoe” orbit. I got so excited about having a new member of our little space-family, I started singing:

♫ Fly me to 3753 Cruithne
And let me play among the dust
Tether me with harpoons
So I don’t crash into Venus ♫ 

Nice, right? I know.

Google publishes a research paper on a theoretical algorithm to determine whether information on the Internet is bullpucky or not. 

Cardinal Dolan says ISIS is Islamic the way the IRA is Catholic, except he means that in both cases it means “not.” 

Jann Bellamy highlights a blog by a former (and reformed) naturopath, who says:

I intentionally use the word “belief” to describe my experiences with naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic medicine is a philosophy, a worldview, and even a lifestyle. It is not a real and distinct medical system.   

A New Jersey court says Applebees is not responsible for the burns a man received while praying over his fajita skillet

Michael Marshall writes at The Guardian about the too-credulous coverage of alternative medicine in the media. 

Quote of the Day 

Neil deGrasse Tyson imagines the conversation between the Mars One folks and a venture capitalist:

Is it dangerous? Well, yes.

Will people die? Probably.

How much will it cost? I don’t know, but a lot.

What’s my return on investment? Nothing.

That’s a quick conversation.

I’ve already gone on record as characterizing the Mars One mission as being based on Underpants Gnome principles

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Original image by Shutterstock

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