The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
The world will not be destroyed today by the giant asteroid that’s passing by the planet. So, I still have to do The Morning Heresy. #ThanksObama
SCOTUS still intends to rule on the Trinity Luther Church case, even though Missouri’s governor changed state policy to allow the church to apply for government funds. The ACLU and Americans United are calling on the Court to declare the case moot.
A church in Alabama getting its own police force is a bad idea. Oh but wait it gets worse. The church in question, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, has a frightening history of overt racism and segregation. As Michael Harriot at The Root says:
If the state of Alabama gives Briarwood its own police force, it will no longer be a church. It will be a white, fundamentalist, Christian armed compound with its own army, right next to one of the blackest, most defiant cities in America. What could go wrong?
The LA Times profiles the crusade of Sheriff Kieran Donahue of Canyon County, Idaho, as he launches a campaign to change Idaho’s religious exemptions for “faith healing” related deaths and neglect of children.
This is no surprise. NYT says that it looks like Jakarta’s governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (aka “Ahok”), is going to lose reelection, and yeah it may have something to do with the blasphemy trial he’s been enduring for months. Joe Cochran writes:
If Mr. Basuki is defeated, Mr. Bonar said, hard-line Islamic groups will feel emboldened to further pressure both the Jakarta and national governments to implement their ultraconservative agenda, which includes instituting Islamic law and banning the sale of alcohol.
Raza Habib Raja at The Express Tribune sees Erdogan’s referendum win as a major move toward a kind of theocracy in Turkey:
With this referendum, the next move could be to bring religion into the direct affairs of the state as well by introducing changes in the legal code and the constitution. … the transformation of Turkey into a fundamentalist religious state is a very real possibility.
At n+1, Meghan O’Gieblyn has a wonderful piece on how her exit from Christianity led to a fascination with Transhumanism, which she discovered had a lot in common.
Writing at Paste, Trav Mamone looks at the angry response of the anti-vax movement to Sesame Street’s autistic character Julia, calling it an ugly mix of pseudoscience and ableism.
Nate Soares, with the help of Mickey Mouse, explains how to ensure that superintelligent machines are no danger to us. Well, I guess nothing’s a danger to you once you’ve been turned into a paperclip.
Hey cool it’s Bill Nye and Arian Foster talking science and, I assume, sports.
NPR’s On Point discusses government investments into research of the paranormal from the recent past.
Fraser Cain clarifies where he stands on the existence of aliens:
I don’t believe UFOs are aliens, and I’m not entirely convinced there’s anyone else in the entire Universe. And that’s why I think we should dedicate ourselves to finding out the answer. Listen to stars for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations, search planets for the chemical signatures of alien life. Scour our own Solar System for anything. Under the rocks on Mars or under the oceans of Europa.
Waverly City Council in Iowa agrees to consider having atheist Justin Scott offer a secular invocation at its public session.
Corinne Purtill at Quartz reminds us that the alternative-fact ocean in which we are drowning has a life preserver: Carl Sagan’s “baloney detection” kit.
Eggs: You can eat them a lot, says science. (And Harriet Hall.)
Quote of the Day:
Beth Skwarecki at Gizmodo answers the question, “Can You Really Blame Your Problems on Mercury Being in Retrograde?”
See you tomorrow! Okay, okay, there’s more.
Planets can appear to move backward (in a “retrograde” direction) sometimes. That’s a fact: thanks, physics. But this or any other motion of the planets does not influence whether your phone breaks, whether a contract is a bad one to sign, or whether you need to reconnect with an old friend (as today’s horoscope tells me I should do). This is astrology, and astrology is the same old bullshit it always has been. Sorry.
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The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta