Visibly Salivating

April 2, 2018

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

Apparently the fact that Google didn’t make a Google Doodle for Easter is a reason to be very angry. As actor-turned-crazypants James Woods said of Google, “They loathe Christians. Plain and simple.” Yes, that is definitely the soft, cushiony conclusion to which you should jump.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle says the North Carolina prison system must recognize humanism as an official “faith group” and allow its adherents to practice and study their lifestance. 

Kendrick Frazier’s full report from CSICon 2017 for Skeptical Inquirer is now available online, where he shares his favorite moments from that huge event.

Climate science deniers like to trot out the term “sound science” a lot, and for good reason. As FiveThirtyEight‘s Christie Aschwanden explains, by continuously drawing a progressively higher line for what constitutes “sound science,” hardly any science actually qualifies, and therefore real science can go on being ignored.

Ross Douthat considers the work of controversial-intellectual-of-the-week Jordan Peterson, classifying him as “a tacitly religious figure, a would-be prophet for lost boys.” 

Julian Baggini says atheists should not be so baffled by the fact that so many people seem to believe in the Christian Easter myth:

Religion… tells believers that doubt is to be expected, even welcomed, as part of the journey of faith, all the time reassuring them that God is beyond our understanding. The Easter story thus ends up rather like quantum theory: if you find it easy to believe, you haven’t understood it. Illogicality is a design feature, not a design flaw. 

Arrest warrants have been issued for four atheists in Iraq who are in trouble for trying to “popularize atheism.” Omar al-Jaffal at Al Monitor reports:

Political and legal analyst Ali Jaber al-Tamimi told Al-Monitor, “There aren’t any articles in the Iraqi Penal Code that provide for a direct punishment for atheism, nor are there any special laws on punishments against atheists.” However, “there are articles that punish the desecration of religions.” 

Egyptian atheist Sherif Gaber, who has already been convicted of blasphemy in the past, is now facing new blasphemy charges, which he says could mean 5 years in prison.

La Repubblica publishes an article in which Pope Frances is fluffy about Hell, claiming it does not exist. The Vatican says this was not a correct translation of the pope’s words.

India’s The Week reports on the spread of Pastafarianism there, profiling Indian FSM evangelist Naveen Ravindran. 

A study from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, shows that good-looking people tend to believe that life is fair and people generally get what they deserve, while the unattractive tend to see the world as unjust. Well, I know that can’t be true, because I have always thought that life was unfair and…

…oh. 

Quote of the Day

The Onion:

Casually striking up a conversation with a fellow passenger on a crosstown bus, local Presbyterian Pastor James Miller could suddenly smell blood in the water upon learning that the non-Christian man’s wife had just passed away, sources said Tuesday. “Ooh, baby—we got a live one,” Miller thought to himself, his ears perking up and his pupils dilating as the man informed the pastor that his wife of 20 years had recently died from pancreatic cancer and that he has felt lost and alone in the intervening weeks. “He’s like a wounded animal. Okay, James, just nod compassionately and put your hand on his shoulder. Then, right when he says ‘I don’t know what to do’—bam! Move in for the kill.” At press time, a visibly salivating Miller was telling the man about a support group for the bereaved that meets in the basement of his church every Wednesday.

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