Nothing To Do With Spaceships

July 26, 2016


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

In a statement cosigned by CFI’s CEO Robyn Blumner, Board Chair Eddie Tabash, President Ronald Lindsay, and Council for Secular Humanism chief Tom Flynn, we came down hard on DNC CFO Brad Marshall for his suggested attacks on Bernie Sanders for his incorrectly presumed atheism. Feel the heat:

Mr. Marshall has reportedly apologized for embarrassing the DNC, but there has been no apology, no admission of wrongdoing, to the people he sought to defame. We believe he should resign his position with the DNC. The Democratic National Committee must make immediately clear that it finds Marshall’s line of thinking unacceptable, and that it will not countenance party operatives proffering attack strategies based on this kind of anti-atheist bigotry. … Atheists, humanists, “nones,” and all others who have rejected traditional religious belief will no longer be silent when institutions of power attempt to reinforce pernicious stereotypes about the nonreligious. We matter, we have a powerful voice — and a vote — and we will use it.  

Several outlets reported on our statement, including Huffington PostWashington Times, and others. You won’t be surprised that “representatives from the DNC did not respond to a request for comment.” Ron Bailey at Reason suggested nonbelievers look to Gary Johnson.

The Democrats started convening last night, and packed in a bunch of high-profile speakers. Michelle Obama was the big hit, Cory Booker shouted his long but very good speech (that included a shout-out to the nonbelievers), and Sarah Silverman (D-Sugar Rush) told Bernie-or-bust folks that “You’re being ridiculous.” I was really moved by Anastasia Somoza, who suffers from cerebral palsy, and eloquently enunciated so many good principles of basic decency and humanity.

Remember how François Hollande said that France was now going to have to learn to live with terrorism? Well he may have been on to something. Two men, said to be from ISIS, stormed a church in St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray, killing an octogenarian priest and another person. 

We have an interview with CSICon speaker Harriet Hall by Susan Gerbic, which is a great read that covers a lot of territory including the little bit that amused me:

Gerbic: …I do remember you had a column for a short time in Oprah’s O Magazine. How did that go?

Hall: That was a fiasco.  

I bet! 

Ben Radford is interviewed about the practice of dowsing, and posts his answers in full at the CFI blog. 

Spenser Davis at Motherboard reports on how Alex Jones of InfoWars not only peddles conspiracy theories and paranoia, but also diet supplements. Of course he does. Davis writes:

Whether or not Alex Jones truly believes in the products he sells is unclear, but this much is true: he knows his audience will throw money at anything he endorses. Many Infowars Life products are devoid of any real scientific data, and those that do have corroborating research to be found elsewhere are simply fancy packaged, branded, marked up supplements that can be found elsewhere online or at local vitamin stores. The rest, as we can see, is snake oil. 

Elizabeth Drescher says that while the “far left” may not be thrilled about the choice of Tim Kaine for Clinton’s running mate, the “nones” may really connect with him:

My research shows that the Jesuit values that shape Tim Kaine’s politics correspond in many ways to the spirituality of nones. Nones tend to take relationships with family, friends, and, for many, pets or other animals as the starting point for experiencing the spiritual. Their spirituality unfolds in appreciation of the sacred within the ordinary. Care for others, rather than any strict moral code, grounds their ethics.

Palenque, the tomb of Mayan ruler Pakal, is found to have an underground water tunnel, built there to apparently allow Pakal’s spirit a path to the underworld. But of course, this part needs clarifying for some folks: “There is nothing to do with spaceships.”

Gizmodo offers a quick education on cryptids

In general, a creature is a cryptid when there is some evidence for its existence — whether it’s photographic evidence, footprints, remains or even an eyewitness account. When irrefutable evidence of a creature’s existence is found, it ceases to be a cryptid and moves into the realms of science. 

Tim LaHaye leaves us behind.  

Quote of the Day

That whole thing about atheism being an albatross for American politicians, here’s what Paul Ra
tner at Big Think says

It’s easier to make an argument that not being bogged down by subjective, unprovable beliefs should make you a stronger champion of every kind of person. … There’s little evidence that being religious is going to somehow help the leader of the free world, the American President, to do his or her job any better. It’s time to not have this be an important qualification for the job.

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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.

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