People Really Like Burning Stuff

April 5, 2016

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

Look who’s on Point of Inquiry this week: It’s American Atheists’ Dave Silverman, in a spirited discussion with Josh Zepps about his fight against all things goddy. 

Google removes from the Play Store an app…by the Taliban

More than 250 survivors of sexual abuse by priests have informed Pennsylvania’s attorney general about what they’ve endured, according to a big report by Laurie Goodstein at NYT. Turns out that the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown engaged in a massive cover-up of abuse over decades, which included collusion with judges and district attorneys. Disgusting, right? Here’s the story of Maureen Powers who was 12 when this happened:

Her priest sexually abused her for two years, telling her it was for the purpose of “research.” By her high school years, she felt so tied up in knots of betrayal and shame that she confided in a succession of priests. She said the first tried to take advantage of her sexually, the second suggested she comfort herself with a daily candy bar and the third told her to see a counselor. None of them reported the abuse to the authorities or mentioned that she could take that step. 

Speaking of collusion, Washington Times reports on the entanglement of the Russian Orthodox Church with Putin’s regime, in the midst of the blasphemy charges against atheist Viktor Krasnov.  

Keep your eye on newsstands for the latest Skeptical Inquirer, which has a special feature from Joe Nickell on the very people who created our modern ideas of “the paranormal.” It’s all way more recent than you might think. 

Simon Davis at Mental Floss maps out each state’s most “characteristic” way of euphemising death. People seem to “depart” in the Atlantic coast, on the West coast they “succumb,” and in many of the more rectangular states, they just “died.” But in my current home state of Maine? A dead person has “lost their battle.” It’s like we’re Klingons.

Apparently, there is a science podcast hosted by a 5-year-old boy, literally called The Show about Science, and Skeptical Inquirer contributor Stuart Vyse was the most recent guest, talking about superstitions.

Religious piety is sometimes environmentally heretical. Jay Wexler tells us, “When it comes to our air, the biggest hazard posed by religion is that religious people really like burning stuff.” WELL WHO DOESN’T. We really do have so much that unites us. 

A new study looks at the reasons for human sacrifice among some societies, and how they helped maintain social hierarchies. Also:

The authors list some run-of-the-mill techniques for human sacrifice, but others they mention are more, let’s say, specific: being crushed under a newly built canoe, or being rolled off the roof of a house and then decapitated. 

Charlie Hebdo publishes an editorial saying, in part:

None of what is about to happen [in a terror attack] in the airport or metro of Brussels can really happen without everyone’s contribution. Because the incidence of all of it is informed by some version of the same dread or fear. The fear of contradiction or objection. The aversion to causing controversy. The dread of being treated as an Islamophobe or being called racist. Really, a kind of terror.  

Not everyone is pleased

Malaysian Hazim Ismail is a gay atheist from Malaysia who is trying to stay in Canada, but he’s in danger of being sent back. If that happened, he could be in big trouble. 

Samantha Bee calls Ted Cruz “Princeton’s unwanted fetus.” Yes. 

Homeopaths are advocating a “treatment” to reverse vaccinations in children, which involves a lot of excessive sweating and even eating clay. STOP IT. 

Batman and Superman…and cartoon animals…and the Greek Wedding sequel…all defeat God, as in God’s Not Dead 2: THE DEADENING. 

Quote of the Day:

Erik Bauersfeld, the voice of Admiral Ackbar, dies at 93. So of course the QOTD is: 


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