Trading in Christ for Thor

May 19, 2015


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

Ron Lindsay opens up a new series of posts that will challenge what he calls “humanist orthodoxies,” the positions our community tends to hold that might not be sufficiently backed up by evidence:

My forthcoming essays are designed not so much to persuade, but to make us think carefully about the grounds for our opinions. It seems to me this work is in furtherance of CFI’s mission. We are the Center for Inquiry, after all, not the Center for Ideology. 

Point of Inquiry is super-cool this week, as Josh Zepps interviews the writer and director of Ex Machina, Alex Garland, and they talk about the ethics and perils of artificial intelligence. Neat stuff. 

Of course you’re already planning on going to the Reason for Change conference next month, I mean, you’re not crazy. But maybe you haven’t reserved your hotel room yet? Well do it, because the discounted conference rates for rooms expire Thursday

James McGaha clears up some mystery about spiders falling from the sky, which, I must say, would give me about 1000 heart attacks. (Contrary to the article, we don’t have an observatory, but McGaha is a Committee for Skeptical Inquiry consultant.)

Classic Bill Nye the Science Guy comes to Netflix. I just need to get my kids to take a break from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Please.

NCSE’s Josh Rosenau graphs various religious groups’ support for (or opposition to) environmental regulation and the fact of evolution, and cheers:

Look at all those groups whose members support evolution. There are way more of them than there are of the creationist groups, and those circles are bigger. We need to get more of the pro-evolution religious out of the closet. 

Giant squid: scary as hell, probably not that interested in you, though. 

South Carolina governor Nikki Haley invites Christian clergy to an old-time revival. Eeeuuugh. 

Innocence of Muslims might be coming back to YouTube by order of the 9th Circuit. 

Ireland brings the law down on parents making their kids drink bleach as a way to cure autism. 

Another bakery, another refusal to make a cake for a gay customer, another discrimination suit. But this time in Northern Ireland

Ahmed Ateyya at Al-Monitor reports on a video series launched by Egyptian atheists, an act of some courage to say the least. (And one of them really looks like David Silverman, which is spooky.) 

Ed Simon imagines many potential futures for religion:

…will Europeans embrace that really old time religion of paganism, trading in Christ for Thor? Perhaps our future historian will write her dissertation on how the twenty-first century saw mass revivals of the worship of Apollo in Greece, Diana in Italy, and Odin in Scandinavia? 

Saudi Arabia is looking for a few good decapitators. I wish that were a joke. 

Quote of the Day:

Harman Singh, a Sikh in New Zealand, uses his turban to help a child hit by a car (Sikhs are not supposed to remove their turbans in public):

I saw a child down on the ground and a lady was holding him. His head was bleeding, so I unveiled my turban and put it under his head. I wasn’t thinking about the turban. I was thinking about the accident and I just thought, ‘He needs something on his head because he’s bleeding.’ That’s my job — to help. And I think anyone else would have done the same as me.

I know it’s not in practical terms a big leap for anyone to have done this, and there are folks saying different things about whether or not Singh did something extraordinary or simply humane. But you know what? Humane is good enough in my book. These days, humane is sufficiently extraordinary. 

* * *  

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)! 

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