Welcome Back, Brontosaurus

April 8, 2015


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

Where’s the Heresy been? Well, your Morning Heretic was off for a couple of days to move into a new house, and it took some doing. But I’m back. What’d I miss?

More importantly, what’d you miss? Check out last week’s Cause & Effect newsletter to see what CFI has been up to.

Here’s a thing: Rand Paul announced his candidacy for president. Kimberly Winston has a good set of bullet points on Paul’s confusing relationship with religion. Dig this:

At a private prayer breakfast in Washington, D.C., in March, Paul told his audience, “The First Amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn’t say keep religion out of government. So, you do have a role and a place here.” Paul also has a ranking of 100 percent from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State … meaning he is “perfect” in his opposition to keeping religion out of government.

Update: Turns out that this ranking is NOT from Americans United. So, maybe it’s less confusing than we thought. 

You must check out the latest Point of Inquiry with secularism scholar Phil Zuckerman. Turns out that most seculars are perfectly normal, and it’s us “organized” seculars who are the weird ones. I’m oversimplifying a bit. 

At Daily Beast, Vlad Chituc considers how much of a civil rights movement organized atheism really is, saying that the stakes “seem relatively small.”

Ensaf Haidar, wife of Raif Badawiurges us not to let up on our efforts to save her husband:

I know that as soon as the media spotlight fades and pressure on the repressive Saudi monarchy eases, Saudi Arabia may seek to do what it pleases with my husband. It is critical that the pressure not abate, not even for an instant. 

In Malaysia, cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Alhaque is charged with sedition for critical tweets about the country’s judicial system.

Brontosaurus, long the Pluto of the dinosaur world, is upgraded back to being its own species.

Some Filipino Catholics take their religion extremely seriously, apparently, as they have their feet and hands nailed to crosses for “Good” Friday. I just hope they got their tetanus boosters.

Not amazing: finding fossils of ancient sea creatures in Loch Ness. Not surprising:

When the president of the Official Loch Ness Fan Club, Gary Campbell, was invited to Inverness Museum and spotted the fossils, he saw the resemblance with Nessie…

You don’t say. 

David Koepsell says there is an offshoot of “scientism” which he dubs “engineerism,” and which he explains is “a similar error which says that human problems can be fixed, regardless of their nature, through the proper application of reason — that they can always be engineered and managed.” 

I know it’s April, but the Satanic Temple is back suing for nativity scenes, this time in Indiana. You know, the religious freedom state. 

A North Carolina judge says that Craig Hicks, charged with the murders of the three Muslim students in Chapel Hill in February, is “death-penalty qualified.” 

I refer you to the case of Babe v. Babe: “Science Babe” Yvette d’Entremont demolishes the “Food Babe” Vani Hari, declaring her “utterly full of shit.”

Cultural historian Suvi Karila writes about her efforts to seek the voices of nonreligious women of the 19th century and their “lived non-belief.” 

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts issues a National Day of Reason proclamation

Hillary Clinton may have the UFOlogist vote locked up. 

Barney Frank argues against using the term “atheist”:

From the politician’s standpoint the question is why pick a fight that doesn’t have to be waged? I never expressed the fact that I was not a believer in any theistic approach because it was never relevant. 

Quote of the Day:

George Packer’s essay in The New Yorker about the murders of Avijit Roy and Washiqur Rahman, and the larger context of free speech and religious criticism, is a tough read in that it’s very blunt about the huge difficulty faced by advocates of free expression. With apologies for spoiling the ending, the QOTD is the last paragraph:

The problem with free speech is that it’s hard, and self-censorship is the path of least resistance. But, once you learn to keep yourself from voicing unwelcome thoughts, you forget how to think them—how to think freely at all—and ideas perish at conception. Washiqur Rahman and Avijit Roy had more to fear than most of us, but they lived and died as free men.   

* * *  

Original image by Shutterstock.

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net! 

The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta