The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Pew Research drops another fascinating DATA BOMB with a new report, this time illuminating Americans’ varying perceptions of what God actually is. The report reveals how just asking “do you believe in God” is insufficient for understanding people’s beliefs. For example, 23% of Americans said they believe in God, but not the one in the Bible. They consider God some other higher spiritual force. These folks actually agree with the chunk of Americans who say they do NOT believe in God but DO believe that there is a higher power. Together, these previously-separated groups make up 33=% of the population. That seems important.
There’s a whole lot more there. Go check it out.
The German state of Bavaria will now display a Christian cross at each state administration building because it is apparently “a fundamental symbol of the Christian Western identity” and an “expression of the spiritual and cultural character of Bavaria.” I wonder how the non-Christians there feel about that.
Last month, Joe Nickell gave a critique of a new book on Popobawa, a demon on Zanzibar that is believed to assault skeptics that don’t believe in it. Today, Benjamin Radford weighs in to highlight where the author is wrong about the creature’s skeptics, and where she’s got a good point:
Despite an overall tone of disdain for (and occasional misrepresentations of) previous researchers Popobawa: Tanzanian Talk, Global Misreadings is an important and valuable addition to the limited literature on the legend.
Alexis Madrigal discovers that there’s this state minister in India who believes that the Internet was available in ancient India.
. . . it was one of those strange stories you see when traveling that seem nutty and hard to understand. I saw it first in a paper, then caught it again on television while I was running. [Biplab Kumar Deb] claimed that his evidence was based in the Mahabharata itself, which describes how a king was able to get battle updates in real time. That, Deb maintained, happened through an ancient internet. Europeans and Americans claim that they invented these systems, Deb said, but “we had all these technologies in ancient times.”
Scientists find trackways from the Pleistocene epoch indicating a battle between early humans and a giant sloth:
[Study author Matthew] Bennett decided to focus on the sloth tracks. He was excavating a sloth trackway when he found what looked like a “Klingon Bird-of-Prey in negative relief.” (That’s a type of starship, for the non-“Star Trek” fans.) It was, the paleontologists realized, two prints — human and sloth squished together. “Quite a lot of profane language” came next, Bennett said with a chuckle. Milner said the discovery of the human-within-sloth prints was remarkable. “Having these human tracks that are interacting with Pleistocene megafauna — it’s never been seen before.”
The British Veterinary Association, I assume all with faces in palms, releases a statement saying, “there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest autism in dogs or a link between vaccination and autism.”
Jann Bellamy spotlights the vast quackery that is unlicensed naturopath “Dr. Amy” Yasko’s autism treatments, a great way to waste money.
American Atheists are helping a family sue a local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters and one Big Brother in particular for forcibly baptizing their kid.
Susan Gerbic introduces us to the young people who won the chance to attend CSICon 2017 last year through Oregonians for Science and Reason (O4SR).
Quote of the Day
Don’t mind me, I’m just going to watch Emmanuel Macron hugging John Lewis over and over and over all day.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 25, 2018
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