May 26, 2017

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

The swamp thickens. Journalist-assaulting Republican Greg Gianforte wins Montana’s special election to the U.S. House. But he’s real sorry, everybody. Read Josh Barro on why this is just the way of things now

Hey cool! Richard Saunders recorded an audio promo for CSICon! And he used the stuff I wrote for the website! Neat. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decides against Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0 (which CFI opposed in each of its manifestations), saying it “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.” SCOTUS, here they come.

Krithika Varagur at Foreign Policy looks at the roots of the Muslim world’s blasphemy laws, many of which are rooted in British colonialism as a way of preserving order. The outlook for a liberal shift, however, is quite bleak. She quotes Paul Marshall of the Hudson Institute, who cites the blasphemy conviction of former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, saying, “I can’t think of any good news on this issue in the Muslim world. Except maybe that Ahok is alive and got 45 percent of the vote.” 

At least 26 Coptic Christians are killed in Egypt by gunmen whose affiliation is as yet unknown. 

This is kind of cool: Mick West writes at CFI’s Skeptical Briefs about the power of crowdsourcing for UFO claims:

The beauty of the Internet is that it helps in both directions. Given enough momentum, it funnels the question toward those who can answer it best. I didn’t look into this until someone else read about it. 

Bangladesh, what the actual freaking crap is going on with you? After complaints from Islamists, the statue of Lady Justice is removed from the Supreme Court because the statue is somehow “anti-Islamic,” and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says she “does not like the idol.” 

Harry Febrian at Asian Correspondent, citing the case of Alexander Aan (which was very close to our hearts), wonders at how Indonesia’s intolerance for dissent has gone off the rails and the role of social media “disinhibition.” That picture of Aan in the post is the one we made for our 2012 Campaign for Free Expression. 

Follow this logic: Atheists are smart. Atheists are growing in number. But, being smart, they resist the animalistic urge to reproduce. More atheists + less reproduction = END OF CIVILIZATION. That’s fine.

CFI board member Brian Engler has some great pics of Richard Dawkins’ DC appearance with Jerry Coyne. 

New workshops, new members, and new proposals are in the works in the latest update for the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES). 

Patrick Michaels of the libertarian Cato Institute says Trump should withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreements because they all got their climate science wrong, and he knows what’s really going on. Wow, he must be amazing

Zuckerberg shares with the graduates of Harvard the prayer he says to his daughter every night. Because remember he is definitely not an atheist. 

By the way, I have a theory. Jesse Eisenberg played Zuck in The Social Network. Eisenberg also played Lex Luthor in Batman v. Superman. Lex Luthor, in some of the DC stories, runs for and even becomes president. Zuck, we are led to believe, has similar ambitions. So, look, it’s just an interesting set of parallels is all I’m saying. I’m not, like, saying anything. I’m just saying. 

DeVos demurs when debriefed on disbursing dollars to the discriminatory.

Looks like there’s gonna be a protest to mark the first anniversary of Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter alt-history abomination. 

Congratulations to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of Australia, who may now don their colanders on their heads in driver’s license photos:

On behalf of the CFSMA I am delighted to announce that the Hon. Melinda Pavey, NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, has confirmed that the present policy enforced by RMS regarding religious head coverings in driver’s licenses (that specifically named Pastafarians as being subject to discrimination by not allowing our chosen head covering to be worn) will be changed. The new policy will reflect the fact that NSW Government Departments will show respect and consideration towards all people who wear a head covering. When the new policy is implemented, people will no longer have their stated religion checked against a list of ‘recognised’ religions.&n

Quote of the Day:

This headline from The Sun in the UK, obviously:

FAKE MOOS: Clairvoyant Dutch cow gets grilling from Manchester United fans after udderly useless Europa League final prediction

‘Psychic’ mooer Sijtje tipped Ajax to win Wednesday night’s clash in Stockholm, and Red Devils fans have been milking it



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