The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Yesterday we announced that the winner of the 2016 Balles Prize in Critical Thinking is going to Maria Konnikova for her book The Confidence Game. She’ll pick up her award at CSICon in October, and I think I’ll actually be the one presenting it. I hope she’s nice!
Benjamin Radford interviews physicist Melanie Windridge, author of the new book Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights.
A community center in Dhaka, Bangladesh is raided by police who arrest 27 men suspected of the crime of being gay. Oh they might also charge them with some drug stuff too, because, you know, just arresting them for being gay would look really bad.
Daniel Cox at FiveThirtyEight considers the survey that inferred a much larger atheist population in the U.S. than is commonly reported:
Attitudes about atheists are quickly changing, driven by the same powerful force that transformed opinion on gay rights: More and more people know an atheist personally, just as the number of people who report having a gay friend or family member has more than doubled over the past 25 years or so. … Ten years ago, less than half the public reported knowing an atheist. Today, young adults are actually more likely to know an atheist than an evangelical Christian.
CFI’s Michael De Dora and Betha Vasquez are both speaking at the upcoming FREEFLO conference in Orlando.
New Hampshire state legislator Robert Fisher, aka pk_atheist of misogynistic “Red Pill” community, finally resigns from the State House of Representatives.
Rabbi Daniel Greer, who ran an Orthodox yeshiva, is ordered to pay $15 million to a man he raped for years as a student.
The Charity Commission in the UK is considering revoking the charitable status of organizations that promote fake medicine like homeopathy.
Facebook locks the account of Pulizter Prize-winning investigative journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia for posts alleging corruption by the Maltese government, which amounted to “violating the social network’s community standards.” I’ve really, really had it with Facebook.
At Vox, Eric Turkheimer, Kathryn Paige Harden, and Richard E. Nisbett take Sam Harris to task for hosting what they consider to have been a very non-skeptical conversation on his podcast with Charles Murray of The Bell Curve:
Asserting that the relatively poorer intellectual performance of racial groups is based on their genes is mistaken theoretically and unfounded empirically; and given the consequences of promulgating the policies that follow from such assertions, it is egregiously wrong morally.
Creationist Andrew Snelling (a Ken Ham associate) sues the Department of Interior for “religious discrimination” because they won’t let him collect rocks from the Grand Canyon so he can prove Noah’s flood really happened.
Researchers assert that had the asteroid that hit Earth some 66 million years ago just come a minute or two later or sooner, the dinosaurs might have pulled through.
Author John Safran says his fellow Australians don’t really get what religion is for true believers:
Aussies think religion is, oh you rock up to church at Easter or for weddings, and you make this separation between the two hours you’re in church and your life outside it … They just cannot get their head around the fact that people fall under the spell of scripture and really believe it.
It’s not easy being green, unless you’re Antarctica and the planet is heating up. Oh hey look it is doing just that.
An Australian UFO enthusiasts group somehow managed to get some taxpayer funding, and folks are all like “whoa how did that happen?”
Nevada bans “gay-conversion” therapy, the eighth state to do so.
Four of Iowa’s twelve Planned Parenthood clinics close due to the legislature’s funding cuts.
Owen Wilson will play God and Daniel Radcliffe will play an angel in an upcoming comedy series. Uh.
Chris Cornell’s death is determined to be a suicide.
Quote of the Day:
Emily Willingham reports on a series of presentations at an international autism conference that show what should not be a surprise, yet still seems novel to many:
Across the board, the series of presentations repeatedly indicated that autistic adults tend to report a lower quality of life compared to nonautistic adults. … Among factors that emerged as influences on the reduced quality of life that autistic adults experience are factors related to social experiences and psychological distress. … one in two autistic adults in [one] survey reported having a low sense of well-being. That’s half of autistic adults who don’t feel great about their lives. If this were a conference focused on most other groups, that finding would be a headline. So I made it one here.
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