The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Point of Inquiry has a fascinating episode this week, where Lindsay Beyerstein talks to New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova about con artists, what motivates them, and what makes even us smartypants vulnerable to their schemes.
At Skeptical Inquirer, Stuart Vyse stands up for the miserable, like me. He looks at what is being learned about happiness and melancholy as they relate to longevity, health, and education.
BBC has a moving short video on the pseudonymous “Mazan,” a closeted atheist in Saudi Arabia who lost his eyesight as a child.
Look who’s at the center of the recent spike in blasphemy charges in Pakistan: Lawyers. Specifically, “The Movement for the Finality of the Prophethood,” whose mission is “to use its expertise and influence to ensure that anyone insulting Islam or the Prophet Mohammad is charged, tried and executed.” What a fun bunch.
Uh oh. A concoction called Miracle Mineral Solution, Master Mineral Solution, or MMS is being sold in Canada by the Genesis II Church of Health as a “cure” for things like HIV, cancer, and autism. What is it made of? Yeah, it’s bleach.
I missed this a few days ago. Atheist state representative in Arizona, Juan Mendez, was denied the ability to open proceedings with a secular invocation (because it was secular), but then one of his colleagues offered up their slot for him. Said Mendez:
[While] some may seek the assistance of a higher power with hands in the air, there are those of us that are prepared to assist directly, with our hands to the earth. Take these words to heart as we move this great state of Arizona forward. It is our responsibility to honor the Constitution and the secular equality it brings. And so shall it be.
Former MLB pitcher Dan Haren tells a podcast that he’s agnostic.
The Supreme Court unanimously reverses an Alabama court’s decision to revoke a same-sex couple’s right to adopt a child. Roy Moore must be fuming.
Idaho has a law that requires teachers to do Bible readings in class. Now it has a bill that says teachers can use the Bible to supplement teaching of certain subjects, but nixes the required readings. Um, progress?
Georgetown University invites Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards to speak, and Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl complains that “it is neither authentically Catholic nor within the Catholic tradition” to have her there.
Meanwhile, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbus OH is vandalized in big red letters, “SATAN DEN OF BABYKILLERS GOD SEE ALLLL Mark 9:14.”
Loans provided by the “Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious” group on Kiva surpasses $25,000,000.
Video is posted of the conversation between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz, which, depending on your point of view, is either super cool or deeply offensive. As you know, nuanced or in-between opinions are not allowed.
Larry Decker, the new boss at SCA, criticizes CNN’s decision to close the last Democratic debate with its God-lady question:
When news outlets use the debate stage as an opportunity to ask about a personal belief in God or prayer, it implies to the audience that these are issues the voters need to know in order to make an informed decision at the ballot box.
A new Pew report shows big political divisions between seculars and the deeply religious…in Israel. NYT reports:
While 89 percent of Israel’s secular Jews, who make up 40 percent of the population, think that democratic principles should take precedence over Jewish law on issues where the two collide, 89 percent of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jews, a smaller but fast-growing group, think the opposite.
My state of Maine is the 48th most religious state in the nation. Ha HA!
Quote of the Day:
Kavin Senapathy has a beautiful way with words. In a piece warning folks not to take seriously the claims that folks can alter their “microbiomes,” she says:
Yes, our microbiome responds to changes in diet, and it does influence our health. But advising people on how to transform their microbiomes with food and supplements is like telling a patient with paralysis to drink a stem cell smoothie procured from a shady online dispensary.
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Original image by Shutterstock.
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