The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Sign you’re doing something right: Ken Ham is mad about an article in the latest Skeptical Inquirer, “Twenty-One Reasons Noah’s Worldwide Flood Never Happened” by Dr. Lorence G. Collins. I wonder why that would bother him so much. Ham says:
Now, we’re used to hearing false claims like that. What made me sad was that Collins was specifically writing this article to give Skeptical Inquirer magazine readers counter-arguments to use against Christians. And who are the readers of this magazine? Most are skeptics and atheists! … he is helping atheists attack God’s Word and the Christian faith. I would not want to be in his shoes standing before our holy God — he will give an account one day.
Indonesian politician Sukmawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of Indonesia’s “founding father,” is accused of blasphemy for reciting a poem that allegedly insults Islam. Sukmawati apologized, saying, “The poem is a reflection of my concern about the sense of nationalism…and to honor our motherland’s rich cultural traditions and diversity.” Not good enough, say the religious hardliners.
Meanwhile, the former governor of Jakarta, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who was convicted of blasphemy last year, wins custody of his children because of the alleges infidelity of his wife, Veronica Tan. This is super weird. He’s so terrible for being a blasphemer that he has to go to prison, but not as terrible as his wife for maybe having a dalliance which is not illegal. It’s all weird.
CFI’s own Librarian Supreme, Tim Binga, writes at Medium about the urban legends surrounding the theft of internal organs.
Behold! The 2018 Ingersoll Museum Newsletter! Now available using radical new “pee-dee-eff” technology!
China bans online sales of Bibles. Yeah, that always works.
Ross Dobler cheers the intersection of pop culture with science and pseudoscience—geek culture really—as an opportunity for skeptics to get their message in front of the public in a way that’s accessible and much less of a bummer.
New research into the political opinions of Trump supporters shows that Christians’ tolerance of Trump’s boorishness has less to do with economic anxiety or fears about “cultural displacement,” and more to do with a fervent belief in Christian nationalism.
An appeals court rules that judges can’t be the ones to decide when doctors may overrule patients (and their guardians’) refusal of necessary medical treatment because of their religious beliefs, due to a lack of any state law authorizing such a protocol.
Writing for the student paper of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, The Carolinian, Krysten Heberly urges readers not to rely on essential oils to “cure” anything, and simply accept them as something that can help one relax:
The issue with essential oils is the same issue found in many naturalist movements. There is limited scientific evidence to back up the claims which they are making. Simply being “natural” does not always mean that it’s better for the body, or that it will satisfy many of the needs which we are turning to it for. … Although essential oils can be a good alternative to using pharmaceuticals for every ache and pain, they should not replace your medicine cabinet, or the advice of a licensed physician.
The Jerusalem Press Club and the Israeli Cartoon Museum are sponsoring a cartoon drawing competition for young artists, focusing on the theme of “fake news.”
Chelsea Garbell in Religion Dispatches writes about the ban on female genital cutting in Somaliland (an unrecognized, self-governing region of Somalia), and how the ban will carry little authority if religious leaders don’t throw their weight behind it.
In the far more progressive and enlightened United States, a candidate for lieutenant governor in Idaho, Republican Bob Nonini, says that a good way to reduce abortions is to execute the women who get them.
Quote of the Day
The end of all things, as reported by Jeremy Berke at Business Insider:
According to new research from a group of Harvard physicists […] the destabilization of the Higgs boson — a tiny quantum particle that gives other particles mass — could lead to an explosion of energy that would consume everything in the known universe and upend the laws of physics and chemistry.
As part of their study, published last month in the journal Physical Review D, the researchers calculated when our universe could end. It’s nothing to worry about just yet. They settled on a date 10139 years from now, or 10 million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years in the future.
And they’re at least 95% sure — a statistical measure of certainty — that the universe will last at least another 1058 years.
Well, which is it??? I need to PLAN.
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