Something Fundamentally Human

April 17, 2017

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

The National Bureau of Economic Research releases a study saying that the folks who are the most blindingly hyper-partisan are oder Americans, those who use the Internet the least. Oh-HO! Whose bubble is filtered now??? 

Mashal Khan, the Pakistani atheist student killed by a mob of fellow students over blasphemy allegations, had criticized his university and its chancellor in a video interview. The editors of Dawn, a Pakistan publication, call outrages like this “medieval brutality” and a harbinger to “descent into a dystopian nightmare.” Yeah, that sounds about right. 

But never fear, Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony (!!!) says people are not allowed to take the law into their own hands when they get a whif of blasphemy. Leave the persecution to the state, please. 

The FDA finally gets Hyland’s to recall its homeopathic teething tablets because, you know, they’ve killed babies. Hyland’s still won’t admit fault. 

Oklahoma considers yet another “stengths-and-weaknesses” bill to pave the way for the teaching of creationism in public school and the promotion of things like climate change denial. Now, a word of advice: If you click on this article’s link, and you see the accompanying photo of State Rep. David Brumbaugh — I’m telling you — don’t look into his eyes.  

The Texas Senate, meanwhile, passes a “Kim Davis bill,” by which any clerk with a “sincerely held religious belief” can refuse to sign off on marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The March for Science (sign up to march with us!) has its detractors, of course, but Kavin Senapathy says that we all need to get behind it:

I implore my fellow science supporters, scientists and non-scientists, Democrats and Republicans, to support this march, leverage this momentum, and stand united against those who might exploit it.  

Troy H. Campbell and Lauren Griffin at SciAm look at how people we might label as anti-science (anti-vaxxers, climate-deniers, etc.) may thoroughly embrace science and evidence-based thinking generally, just not when it comes to their isolated unscientific positions:

People we label as taking an “anti-science” position may sometimes not be rejecting the scientific facts at all, but rejecting the relevance of these facts. It is a problem, but a very different one than we usually think.

A North Dakota man has his truck vandalized as a response to his atheistic bumper stickers. His truck was egged and had scrawled on it “If you don’t like God, go!” and “Jesus is life.” 

I’m almost always trying to figure out What the Point of it All is, and sometimes Rebecca Goldstein’s “mattering” ideas help. So here’s the latest Reasonable Talk video, with Goldstein talking to Ashley Miller at Women in Secularism 4 about what it means to matter. 

Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci opine at NYT that instead of trying to block Charles Murray, the “Bell Curve” guy, from speaking at universities, opponents should engage with his arguments on their merits.

The New Indian Express looks at how the atheists who were part of the same social media group as the murdered H Farooq are getting themselves back together. Said one member:

Farooq’s aim was to form an organisation comprising non-believing Muslims. But we lost him before he could achieve his dream. We will work hard in the coming days to fulfill his dreams.

Michael Wear at WaPo looks at the contrast between Trump’s intense support among the religiously devout, despite the apparent spiritual vacuum that is Trump himself

Jill Filipovic writes about how despite her status as a millennial “none,” she still pines for “something fundamentally human: community, connection, devotion. Something like church, without the church part.” 

Ross Douthat condescends as hard as he possibly can to all secular/nonreligious Americans, urging us all to join a mainline Protestant church:

Oh, come on. Sure, all that beauty and ecstasy and astonishing mathematical order is because we’re part of a multiverse or a simulation or something; that’s the ticket. Sure, consciousness and free will are illusions, but human rights and gender identities are totally real. Sure, your flying spaghetti monster joke makes you a lot smarter than Aquinas, Karl Barth, Martin Luther King. Sure

Quote of the Day:

Marbi Sirmed on the mob-killing of Marshal Khan, and what it means:

The matter of Mashal’s ‘guilt’ is irrelevant. What matters is that we have now reached a point where the educated consider it an act of piety to commit cold-blooded murder, all under the banner of false piety. … There is no use in repeating that this cancer needs to be removed. There is no use in pointing out that different branches of the state have effectively worked together to turn the entire country into a slaughterhouse of which Kurt Vonnegut might be proud. 

* * * 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)!

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.


The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta