Lucy van Pelt FTW

October 24, 2017


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

The Washington Post editorial board weighs in on the Alabama U.S. Senate race, saying that Roy Moore is “unfit to serve,” a “contempt for the law,” “mockery of his judicial oath,” and calling him a “radical lawbreaker.” That’s all good, though I have a feeling that an editorial by the Washington Post will have less than a huge impact on the thinking of Alabama voters, the same ones that made Moore the state supreme court’s chief justice.

CFI Indiana chief Reba Boyd Wooden was recently honored for her advocacy with the 2017 Indiana Women of Achievement Award, which is richly deserved. 

Bertha Vazquez, who runs our Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science, is noted in the Valdosta Daily Times for her facilitation of an educational event on fostering success for Latino/a students.

The EPA’s decision to bar its employees from presenting on climate change at a Rhode Island conference has sparked a small protest which included Sen. Jack Reed and the Rhode Island House delegation. 

EPA chief dismantler Scott Pruitt, meanwhile, says something so wrong you’d almost think he’s kidding: “True environmentalism, from my perspective, is using natural resources that God has blessed us with.” ⊙﹏⊙

James Comey, he who says “lordy,” turns out to be the person behind the mysterious Twitter account named after theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, which, according to people who know these things, seems to be a nod to a kind of Christianity that rejects hyper-nationalism. Which is totally what I was gonna say.

If you’d like to feel even worse than you already do about how church-state separation is doing in the Trump era, definitely read this VICE piece by Diamond Naga Siu.  

The anti-gay purges in Chechnya may have claimed the life of Russian singer Zelimkhan Bakaev. Dan Avery at NewNowNext reports:

A source close to activists in the region now tells NewNowNext Bakaev, 26, was tortured to death. “He arrived in Grozny and was picked up by police within three hours,” they claimed. “Within ten hours he was murdered.”

In the Czech Republic, President Milos Zeman brandishes an AK-47 inscribed with the words “for journalists.” Surely, he means he wishes to arm journalists who are under threat, so these guns are “for journalists,” right? Oh, maybe not. Luke Barnes at ThinkProgress informs us:

[Zeman] has previously referred to journalists as “manure” and “hyenas.” In May, he shared a joke with Vladimir Putin that some of the journalists at an event he was at needed to be “liquidated.”  

Paul Wells at Maclean’s calls Quebec’s anti-face-covering Bill 62 “ludicrous claptrap” that should be withdrawn “before it collapses in court under the weight of its own absurdity,” condemning the bill for singling out Muslim women without actually saying so:

What’s wrong with Islam, after all? The Couillard government’s response comes in layers: (i) nothing, which is why the bill doesn’t name Islam; (ii) terrorism, though of course, most Muslims shun and hate terrorism, and at any rate, wearing a niqab on the bus has nothing to do with terrorism, so never mind; (iii) coercion—in this case, the belief that some women wear certain clothes because they know men who require it. Well, ain’t it the damnedest thing, then, that Bill 62 seeks to fight coercion with coercion.  

Harriet Hall at Science-Based Medicine pushes back on the myth promoted by the alt-med crowd that actual doctors don’t “treat the whole person.”

Robert Ladendorf reviews The Madhouse Effect, a collaboration between Michael Mann and cartoonist Tom Toles on climate change, for Skeptical Inquirer

Bill O’Reilly, the self-obsessed gas-bag of a sexual predator, is — hilariously — angry with God for his current public shaming:

You know, am I mad at God? Yeah, I’m mad at him. I wish I had more protection. I wish this stuff didn’t happen. I can’t explain it to you. Yeah, I’m mad at him. … If I die tomorrow and I get an opportunity, I’ll say, ‘Why’d you guys work me over like that? Didn’t [you] know my children were going to be punished? And they’re innocent.

Think of the children, says Bill. I wonder if he did. I doubt it. 

Quote of the Day:

Now I’ve seen everything. Jonathan Malesic at Religion Dispatches explains how Linus van Pelt in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is like a Trump devotee, and that we should aspire to be more like Lucy. And he’s not even wrong:

I now see self-defeating credulity in Linus and Sally. They seem like the white working-class and evangelical voters duped into thinking Trump was anything more than a resentful plutocrat. Linus’s belief is unwavering only because it’s blind to reality. “If you are a fake, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know,” he writes in a letter to the Great Pumpkin. He lives in a thick bubble of fantasy.

Linus values sincerity, because he believes the Great Pumpkin values it. … Of course, sincerity and truth are quite different things, and Linus favors the wrong one. Trump lies constantly, but to his die-hard supporters, he tells it like it is. He doesn’t mince words; his bluntness absolves him of hypocrisy.

Linus is even something of a chauvinist. When Sally expresses doubt about the Great Pumpkin story, he’s taken aback. “I thought little girls always believed everything that was told to them,” he says.    

Sally Brown, meanwhile, is the Fox News viewer of “willful obtuseness.” Malesic continues:

Lucy is the character I most want to be like right now. She’s a model for liberals in the age of Trump. It’s true that her critique of Linus’s delusion sometimes crosses the line into bullying. But she acts with love toward him throughout the show. No one else does. … At a moment where politics are vicious and everything is politicized, it has to be possible to call out lies and fantasies and still love the person who believes them. It takes the courage of Lucy to accomplish both of these feats. 

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