Harry Potter and the Atheist of Sioux Falls

August 6, 2014

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

The European Space Agency makes history with the successful orbit of its Rosetta spacecraft around comet 67P, which required what one scientist called “the most complex and exotic trajectory that we have ever seen.”

(And while you’re at it, check out Cassini‘s picture of a hexagonal cloud formation on Saturn.)

We at CFI are activating our SHARE program (Skeptics and Humanists Aid and Relief Effort) to raise funds for the Ugandan humanist organization that lost everything after a violent robbery.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali says Benjamin Netanyahu “should get a Nobel Peace Prize.”

When Mark Naymick wrote his Plain Dealer piece on the pseudoscience courses being taught at a career center, he got blowback from the UFO teacher, who protested:

My classes mostly consist of researching on the Internet, Safety (protection online), making money, and exposing the Truth.

I wonder if the syllabi are in all-caps.

Our own Tom Flynn is agog that Tom Friedman has only just now realized that religion may play a part in the Middle East crisis.

Montaigne was cool, this we know, but as I say on my blog, “Take away some of the more archaic structure of the 16th century prose, and you could read these passages in Skeptical Inquirer.”

Friend-of-the-blog Sarah Jones goes into the Twitter trenches against Ken Ham over lies, damned lies, and theme park construction that is not underway.

Kamil Ashan at Jacobin opines against “scientism” (I know, I know), warning that “science” is as prone to corruption as any endeavor, saying, “The subordination of science to profits, walled off from public scrutiny, is just as damaging as any creationist dogma.”

Brian Dunning (“Skeptoid”) is sentenced to 15 months in prison for fraud. Jason Thibeault says to shed no tears for him:

The Halo Effect has no place in our communities, and we should be especially leery of anyone who argues for this sort of con-artistry in a community that prides itself on teaching people about others’ fraudulent claims.

Utah appeals to the Supreme Court over the striking down of its same-sex marriage ban.

Placenta eating is becoming a bigger thing. STOP IT. (Rob Boston said this piece is “a long ride on the Woo Express.”)

Grim and troubling: Yoshiki Sasai, expert in embryonic stem cell research, commits suicide after a lot of torment over allegations of misconduct.

A Game for Good Christians, inspired by Cards Against Humanity, is “somewhere between playful irreverence and flat-out blasphemy,” says Betsy Shirley. What’s the difference?

LaRae Meadows reports from SkeptiCal for Skeptical Inquirer.

I, like God, also think shellfish is an abomination.

Amanda Novotny invokes Harry Potter at the Sioux Falls City Council.

Joe Nickell looks into the myth of the “crying woman” of Louisiana, which is apparently evidence of Bigfoot. Isn’t everything, though?

A German mother and her “guru” partner are sentenced to prison time for barring their sick son from medical treatment in lieu of meditation on “ageless wisdom.”

Is it just me, or does Nic Cage seem like he’s not really into the Left Behind movie? Wishful thinking?

Quote of the Day

Steven Novella on the myths about brain hemispheres:

Labeling people as left or right brained is no better than approaching people according to their astrological sign or blood type, except that it has the patina of neuroscience that may cause some otherwise-rational people to take the idea seriously.

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