Zero Point Zero Seven Percent

July 17, 2013

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

Research partly funded by CFI and conducted by Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keysar at Trinity College, has a brace of fascinating findings on the views of Millennials:

By relatively large pluralities, the students say that economic inequality is a major issue in the U.S. They strongly believe in freedom of expression, and support same-sex marriage and reproductive rights as well as controls on the sale of handguns. The college students, known as Generation Y or the Millennial Generation, say assisted suicide for the terminally ill should be legalized and they do not believe that immigrants threaten American jobs. 

The full American Religion Identification Survey (ARIS) study is here as a PDF

England is about to enact marriage equality after passage in the House of Commons. 

What’s sillier than a belief that there’s a celestial waiting room in which people can spend billions of years before getting into Heaven? The idea that by following someone on Twitter, you can get that wait time shortened. The pope is apparently offering “indulgences” to his tweeps. It’s like getting an express pass at an amusement park. 

Ronald Bailey (a speaker at the Council for Secular Humanism’s 2012 conference) takes to USA Today to lambaste the Jenny McCarthy hire by ABC. Michael Specter at The New Yorker is despairing, calling the hire “a strike against reason and progress and hope.”

In a paper not yet peer-reviewed, a theoretical physicist proffers up the idea that the universe is not expanding, but overall mass is increasing. But as Nature‘s Jon Cartwright cautions:

The idea may be plausible, but it comes with a big problem: it can’t be tested. Mass is what’s known as a dimensional quantity, and can be measured only relative to something else.

Discovery looks at what, exactly, the intelligent-design-backing Templeton Foundation actually funds

The Blaze is fascinated by the name change of the National Atheist Party to the Secular Party of America. 

Rebecca Hensler, founder of Grief Beyond Belief, looks at how secular Jews can grieve, even sitting shiva, without religion coming into it. 

How much does this guy love Carl Sagan? He carved it in stone

Humanist Association of Ottawa and CFI-Ottawa are raising funds for an atheist asylum-seeker, trying to escape an Islamic country’s oppression. 

A new film, Wadjda, is the first directed by a Saudi Arabian woman, and centers around a young Saudi girl memorizing the Qur’an for a contest.

Dale McGowan needs your help with his book if you’re in a mixed-faith relationship.  

NYT: There’s one huge hurdle to a human mission to Mars: boredom of immense proportions

Edgar Mitchell, the sixth human to walk on the Moon, tells Bloomberg News that he’s pretty sure the government is covering up knowledge of aliens

Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island vetoes a bill that would plaster anti-abortion messaging on license plates. 

We all know that lightning doesn’t strike twice. Unless you’re this lady

Student-made mural at a Thai university features Captain America, the Hulk, Superman, and…Hitler

I know you nerds like the Avengers. And who doesn’t like that Daft Punk song? I mean, honestly. Anyway, you’re welcome

Headline of the Day: “British public wrong about nearly everything, survey shows” — Now imagine how bad it must be here.  

Number of the Day: After much digging, Hemant Mehta finds out the percentage of U.S. prisoners that are atheists (of those who gave their religious affiliation): 0.07% 

Quote of the Day

Julia Sweeney:

I see religion as art that has become misguided. To me it is theater and I appreciate it as theater. 

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul, Ed, Lauren, anyone who can fire them, or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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