Andromeda or Bust

April 11, 2018


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

Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene is the most borrowed science book from South Korean libraries. It’s amazing that I live in a world in which I know that without even having asked.

Louisiana’s Bossier School District, the subject of a lawsuit over school prayer, is going to be saved—SAVED, I TELL YOU—by Kirk Cameron. Sans-banana-man.  

He should team up with Louisiana State Sen. Regina Barrow, who is going to save—SAVE, I TELL YOU—our children from secular ignorance of our country’s Christian heritage by getting “in God we trust” emblazoned in public schools. Because they are never, ever, ever exposed to this information in any other venue, ever. Ever.

French president Emmanuel Macron is trying to forge stronger ties between the state and the Catholic Church. Wait, what?

Steve Lange of Minnesota’s Rochester Magazine visits a psychic, and notes his credentials as “a card-carrying skeptic,” touting his membership with CFI’s Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

Our galaxy is expanding its radius by about 500 meters per second, with new stars forming on the outskirts of the spiral. This is going to go on for about 4 billion more years, at which point we crash into Andromeda.

Things are getting worse all over: “Europe’s largest Jewish communities are experiencing a normalization and mainstreaming of antisemitism not seen since the Second World War,” so says a new report from Tel Aviv University.

Mathew Schmalz discusses the problems with the word “cult” when describing belief groups:

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. It takes careful study to understand whether a religious group is simply “strange” or dangerous. But the term “cult” lumps together all new or alternative religions. And when people hear the word “cult,” discussions end before any study has even begun. 

Pope Francis seems to lay the blame for division among Catholics on the devil. I mean, that’s what the article says, but I feel like it was a pretty broad statement that Francis made, and maybe not literal? I dunno. You decide:

In his homily, Francis said the church and the world need mercy today “so that the unity desired by God in Christ prevails over the negative action of the devil, who takes advantage of all means which can divide rather than unite if used badly.” 

Andrew Brown at The Guardian on what is symbolized by the appointment of a humanist chaplain at the NHS to lead a team of chaplains from more traditional faith groups:

Much of the story of religion in the past 50 years has been about the rise of fundamentalism, and other forms of belief that define themselves in opposition to the societies around them. The spread of humanist chaplaincies is a reminder of the importance of the opposite tendency: forms of belief that sacralise the practices of society around them.

Researchers at Univeristé​ de Montré​al (fancy! I got my master’s at Université Georges Washington) say that vaccination hesitancy is not just about parents not understanding what vaccines are about, but a lack of political will to make vaccinations mandatory.

Indonesian psychologist Jony Eko Yulianto warns of selective outrage when it comes to blasphemy allegations. How about we just be outraged that people get killed over blasphemy allegations? 

If you’re interested, and enjoy tension, here’s Ezra Klein vs. Sam Harris.  

Yesterday was World Homeopathy Day. You’ve never heard of it because it only comes once every 1060 years. Then the calendar has to be shaken very hard so that it retains a memory of the day. Then it really kicks in.

Quote of the Day

The Onion:

Expressing outrage at the crude, depraved perennials throughout the nation’s capitol, Vice President Mike Pence was reportedly horrified Tuesday by the D.C. cherry trees flagrantly displaying their reproductive organs for all to see. “Oh, no, this is completely disgusting,” said a visibly agitated Pence, who rushed around urging nearby pedestrians to keep their heads bowed so as to avoid catching a glimpse of the exhibitionistic flora. “How are we supposed to get anything done with these perverted saplings waving their stamens around without any regard for decency?…”

[…] At press time, Pence was reportedly comforted by the knowledge that before long, his administration’s environmental policies would put a stop to these trees’ licentious behavior. 

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