The Dying Man’s Best Friend

November 27, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, defies the NBA over its endorsement of the snake-oily Power Balance bracelets, calling them “a scam,” and banning them from the Mavericks’ locker room.

Our own Sarah Kaiser interviews Hemant Mehta about his new book, The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide: Helping Secular Students Thrive, for the CFI On Campus blog. Says Hemant:

CFI On Campus students should know that they are part of a strong tradition of activists who challenge their communities in positive ways and often end up educating the adults in their community on issues of church/state separation. I hope they keep it up! And if they’re not already part of a student group, it is *so* worthwhile to begin one or join one. 

Katherine Stewart at Religion Dispatches thinks the GOP may be in for a shock if they neglect a certain demographic:

A quick Google search turns up 64,000 results concerning the GOP’s “Latino problem” that became evident in exit poll data on Election Day. . . . But it’s the nones that should be keeping Karl Rove up at night. 

Bigfoot’s genome has been sequenced!! We now know that it is a hybrid from a human female and an unknown hominid. CSI’s Ben Radford sorts through this mess for us.

As the numbers of the unaffiliated grow, new research shows that Catholics are becoming less devout while Evangelicals are only becoming more fervent. 

On the latest Point of InquirySteven Novella joins Chris Mooney to talk about the process of skepticism. 

Two and a Half Men is a horrible, horrible show, a real cancer on the culture. One of its stars agrees, but for totally different reasons than mine.

Sharon Hill takes the folks at Fox 31 Denver to task for “deliberately being blind” about the insects that look like UFOs.   

Ben Radford is also cited on this issue at Yahoo News — in French, no less! 

Ever-thorough, Ben also reviews the film Life of Pi, and confirms for us, “. . . a stalk of bananas do in fact float; I tested it myself.”  

Joe Nickell, meanwhile, reviews Lincoln, calling it “masterful.”  

Emily Willingham at Forbes (who, by the way, is now a must-read with every column) says Big Pharma needs to get more transparent about its trials to rebuild consumer trust. 

A verdict for persecuted Egyptian atheist Alber Saber may come down tomorrow. Alber is profiled in our Campaign for Free Expression.

Yoram Hazony at NYT argues for a conception of God that does not require him/her/it to be “perfect.” 

This should solve all the Catholic Church’s problems: Zippier homilies.

NPR talks to David Morrison about our imminent doom as the end approaches. 

Lawrence O’Donnell uses the words of Ricky Gervais to rewrite Pat Robertson on the War on Christmas.  

NCSE tells us that a new intelligent design bill is being prepped in Montana. 

Time Magazine almost always (if not always-always) picks the newly-elected or reelected president as its Person of the Year. NonStampCollector has a better idea: Malala.  

Simon Davis, guest posting at Almost Diamonds, gives Chris Stedman’s book a closer reading than any book has ever received other than perhaps the Bible.  

Folks are nutty for the ‘Squatch in Utah

Tim Farley presents a delightful set of not-necessarily-flattering Skeptic Trump Cards for Skeptical Inquirer

Quote of the Day         

The Morning Heretic has gone from reading Montaigne to reading Sarah Blakewell’s book about Montaigne. Yeah, I’m a fan. Anyway, this jumped out at me, from Blakewell, about Monty’s take on how to handle death:

For Christians, one’s last thought should be the sober commending of one’s soul to God, not a blissful “Aaaaah …” Montaigne’s own experience apparently included no thoughts of God at all. Nor did it seem to occur to him that dying inebriated and surrounded by wenches might jeopardize a Christian afterlife. He was more interested in his purely secular realization that human psychology, and nature in general, were the dying man’s best friends. 

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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– Hemant Mehta