The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Is there a difference between religious freedom and religious liberty? Stephanie Russell-Kraft at Religion Dispatches explains that to religious conservatives, the answer is hell yes: “Liberty is the language of exemption,” she writes, showing how the word has deep associations among the religious with Christianity as the nation’s moral center.
Ruth Graham at Slate looks at the next generation of pro-life activists, and here’s a thing: a lot of them are secular:
Moral consistency matters a great deal to their younger compatriots in the movement, whose pro-life ethic means concern for life ‘from womb to tomb.’ “It’s not a partisan issue, it’s not a religious issue,” Murphy said. “It’s a human rights issue.”
Hyland’s homeopathic teething tablets for babies may have killed 10 kids. Do you not just want to scream when you hear stuff like this?
In so reducing a concept like love or justice to analytical scrutiny, or scientific dissection, it seems likely we are missing some important element of the experience of such phenomena. Certainly the natural world is experienced much more richly than any one manner of knowing can allow.
Ben Radford looks at the risks of Donald Trump’s promotion of “election rigging” conspiracies:
The voter fraud conspiracy is especially insidious because it cannot be conclusively disproven. Any investigations that find no truth to the allegations can simply and easily be dismissed as whitewashes and cover-ups.
Joe Nickell looks back on some vintage “magnetic” medicinal products from the early 20th century: “Whatever the actual effect of these products, the main “magnetic” property of some may have been drawing cash out of the pockets of suffering folk.”
And, Stephen Law does his third “best available explanation” post, using UFO sightings as his example.
Oh, and now Ben is talking to Vox about scary clowns. Man, who knew.
One of the hacked emails from the Clinton campaign shows Center for American Progress John Halpin accusing conservative Catholics’ positions as “an amazing bastardization of the faith,” and attracting those who approve of “severely backwards gender relations.” Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri called Catholicism “the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion.” Republicans came out of the Trump-infested woodwork to express their outrage at what they characterized as “breathtaking anti-Catholic bigotry.”
Also revealed, UFO enthusiast and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta is anti-GMO and holds some tiresome views about FDA and industry collusion to sidestep safety concerns.
Max Perry Mueller delves into the religious worldview of Mike Pence. Spoiler: “If Pence becomes the vice president, just a heartbeat—or impeachment—away from the Oval Office will be a politician who … believes it his “calling” to legislate his religious views into public policy.”
The appeal for Asia Bibi’s death sentence for blasphemy has been once again delayed, after one judge recuses himself.
The president wants to bring about the AI apocalypse. Thanks, Obama! Actually, he says:
I think my directive to my national security team is: Don’t worry as much yet about machines taking over the world. Worry about the capacity of either non-state actors or hostile actors to penetrate systems. It just means that we’re gonna have to be better, because those who might deploy these systems are going to be a lot better now.
Russian scientist Igor Ashurbeyli, chairman of UNESCO’s Science of Space committee, has announced a plan to found a sovereign “space nation” — no, really — on a satellite or space station or something, in order to disentangle space exploration from any one state’s regulations or dominance. The name of this would-be UN member state? Asgardia. Not kidding!
Soylent bars are making people throw up a lot. I wonder if they’re a subsidiary of Samsung.
Gohmert. Bah I can’t even.
Speaking of can’t even: Worst thing ever said?
Quote of the Day
I’m going back to Sarcastic Rover just to cheer myself up:
So… what’s happening with all the Pokemons everyone caught last month?
Are they dead now?
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