Kepler Red Alert

April 11, 2016


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

Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent claims responsibility for the murder of Nazimuddin Samad in Bangladesh, for being an “enemy of Allah.” The country’s Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan says something that made my jaw drop.

The bloggers, they should control their writing. Our country is a secular state… I want to say that people should be careful not to hurt anyone by writing anything — hurt any religion, any people’s beliefs, any religious leaders. 

Humanitarian measures to address the Bangladesh crisis are being considered by the U.S. State Department, in large part due to the lobbying and diplomatic efforts undertaken by CFI.

Read more about our response to this killing, and a hell of a lot more, in the latest (rather big) edition of our newsletter Cause & Effect

CFI’s Michael De Dora is a guest on Radio Islam, discussing the religious freedom situation in Burma (where non-Buddhists are being referred to as “associate citizens”). 

Mark Silk says we should stop calling the laws that religious conservatives are pushing for “religious freedom,” but use the term “religious exemption” instead

An effort is underway in Maine for a ballot initiative to remove protections for LGBT folks from the Maine Human Rights Act.

NASA finds 72 new near-Earth objects, on top of the 439 already known. While no “big” ones are poised to strike, Amanda Barnett at CNN says, “Keep in mind that smaller space rocks can slip by undetected. Remember Chelyabinsk?”

One thing that won’t be sending near- or far-Earth objects to kill us, if it exists at all, is Planet Nine.

Meanwhile, the Kepler planet-detecting telescope is sick, and has been put into “emergency mode.” Shields up, arm photon torpedoes.

Climate change is not only making things warmer, it may also be literally changing the Earth’s axis. GREAT. 

Springsteen cancels a Greensboro, NC show over the state’s recent “bathroom law”:

Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. 

Former naturopath Britt Marie Hermes calls for the prohibition against naturopathic pediatrics in Canada and the U.S. 

Carl Zimmer at NYT tries to clarify that what everyday folks mean by “theory” is not what scientists mean when they use the word. 

Clinton campaign chair and former White House chief of staff John Podesta really wants UFO files declassified. Asked if he actually believes that aliens have visited, he says, “There are a lot of planets out there.” Which is not really an answer. 

U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder nixes the cross in the L.A. County Seal, saying, “By singling out the cross for addition to the seal, the county necessarily lends its prestige and approval to a depiction of one faith’s sectarian imagery.”  

Fredrick Nzwili at RNS profiles the Africa Mental Health Foundation, which is trying to push back against the idea that mental health issues are caused by spirits or curses, and is partnering with faith healers (of all people) to identify the people who need help, and then point them in the right direction.

Indiana state trooper Brian L. Hamilton is fired for proselytizing at traffic stops.

Folks think there are a lot more atheists in the Democratic Party than there actually are. 

Alan Jacobs considers the recent Amoris Laetitia from Pope Francis, and says that what the pope is suggesting is that communion should not be considered as part of a carrot-and-stick means of stopping sin, but as a way to “nourish” the soul

Pastafarians in Brandenburg, Germany are fighting for their right to advertise their gatherings, just as Christian churches are allowed to do. 

Joe Nickell even investigates the paranormal on his anniversary dinner. No word on whether his wife Diana minds. 

Joe also appears as a guest on the “special skeptical edition” of the Mythicist Milwaukee Show

I don’t know what B-Lines and Felines is, but they named C
FI’s Point of Inquiry one of their 10 most fascinating podcasts, so that’s cool. 

Quote of the Day:

Police in Portland, ME post a photo of an officer stopping a DeLorean, with the accompanying caption:


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