Round Electrons and Dust Moons

November 8, 2018

Okay, I understand that there is a lot going on in the news right now, all of which is deeply consequential, but, people, wake up: Earth has two additional dust-cloud moons!!! And they’re huge! I mean…I mean…come on!!! Dust moons!!!

Jeff Sessions gets the boot. No word on whether the Religious Liberty Task Force laid siege to his house, ransacked the joint, and tackled him to the ground.

More stuff from Tuesday’s midterm elections:

Jim Underdown returns with another “Ask the Atheist” column, covering the Anthropic Constant, stinky school principals, and the Universal Energy Force:

I’m afraid good card-carrying atheists won’t buy into your fuzzy, new agey energy force … The laws of physics in the universe we occupy are just the way matter and energy operate. There need not be any goddish overlay to those laws to help them make sense – even the stuff we don’t understand yet.

Ed Brayton weighs in on our Secular Celebrant lawsuit in Texas:

Opposition to it is nothing more than bigotry and privilege, wanting to maintain their hegemony over the culture. And that is not a valid legal argument.

The Catholic Church in Philadelphia (you know, in Pennsylvania, where the real moral center of the church is) is in court fighting for the noble and very Christian right to discriminate against LGBTQ folks in foster care, because it’s way more important to kick the gays than give kids a loving home.

In Uganda, Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga is pushing the government to force citizens to tithe to the church by siphoning 10 percent of all salaries to line their pockets keep the church going. The people, meanwhile, ain’t havin’ it.

The Catholic Church in Guam, meanwhile, is filing for bankruptcy so it can avoid going to trial for the many, many sexual abuse lawsuits it faces.

A Jewish private school in New York that requires students be vaccinated is being sued by parents who don’t want to vaccinate their kid based on religious objections. By the way, there is also a mini-epidemic of measles in New York and New Jersey yeshiva schools.

Mayor Frank Seman of Ravenna, Ohio changes course from one year ago, and decides religious nativity displays on courthouse property are a bad idea.

Greece is separating its church from its state, dropping 10,000 church employees from the public payroll.

In a 2011 piece from American Rationalist (CFI is getting a lot of those articles out of the archives and onto the web), William Harwood gives what some may see as a strikingly broad definition of what a humanist is:

A humanist is anyone who believes he or she is a humanist—provided he or she uses the word to mean one who believes that this planet’s highest decision makers are humans, not any imagined metaphysical higher life-form

Ars Technica is starting a new video series on scientific controversies that oughtn’t be controversial, beginning with the allegedly flat Earth.

Guess what: Electrons are round. Or maybe football-shaped. Okay I’ll admit it’s too early in the morning and I don’t understand this.

Hey, Science-Based Medicine folks? Yeah, um, are artificial sweeteners still, like, okay?

In 2018 we are basically in the same place we were in 2015 – artificial sweeteners are safe, they do not cause obesity or any known metabolic or other health problems, and they can be very useful as part of a weight control strategy. People should not avoid them because of unwarranted fears.

Whew. Thanks.

Quote of the Day

I missed this when it was originally published on November 1: The Los Angeles Times editorializes in opposition to blasphemy laws:

Blasphemy laws are being repackaged as prohibitions on “hate speech.” Over the years there has been a campaign, led by some Muslim nations, to have the international community condemn “defamation of religion.” This rhetorical sleight of hand allows defenders of blasphemy laws to portray them as protections for persecuted believers rather than the enforcement of a theological orthodoxy. . . .

. . . Criminalizing criticism of religion is also difficult to reconcile with guarantees of freedom of expression and freedom of religion contained in such widely embraced documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Union‘s Charter of Fundamental Rights. It also has been demonstrated that blasphemy laws are more likely to be enforced against religious minorities than adherents of a majority faith.

The voters in Ireland were correct. Blasphemy laws have no place in any society that purports to value freedom of conscience.

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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.