We Created This Confusion

November 13, 2017


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

(Sorry for the late posting. I had a dentist appointment, and now I’m cranky.)

Rooooooooooyyyyyyyyyyy Moooooooooooooooore. Try not to spit your beverage all over your Bibles when you discover that Captain Commandments, someone who made abusing his power his raison d’être, abused his power at the expense of underage women. In case you’re wise enough to stay away from the news these days, here’s what Mister Covet-and-Shove-It was up to when he was a naive young man in his THIRTIES: coercing young women and girls (the youngest was 14) into sexual relationships with him.

The conservative media machine immediately moved to protect Moore, making some very novel excuses for his pursuit of a sexual relationship with a child, and of course Moore himself denies any wrongdoing, calls the women and the Washington Post liars, but doesn’t strictly deny some of the relationships. Oh, you ready to throw up again? He said this to Sean Hannity:

I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother.

Go clean yourself up and come back when you’re ready.

Republicans are, of course, being mealy-mouthed and cowardly about the whole thing. Behind the scenes they are scrambling to find ways of ditching him, but the only meaningful endorsements that have been rescinded have been those of Sens. Mike Lee and Steve Daines. The rest are all offering some variation on saying he should “step aside” from the race “if the allegations are true.” Which freaking of course they are.

And you know what? Moore’s still going to win. The polls have tightened but there’s still plenty of time for his people to get over it. Plus, 37 percent of Alabama evangelicals say they are now MORE inclined to vore for Moore because of the allegations. Here’s the thing for the GOP, according to the Post:

If Mr. Moore wins, the party faces a potentially more untenable prospect: welcoming a child-molesting suspect into their ranks, a move that every Republican candidate would have to answer for.

But really, the key question in, why did they allow him into the club in the first place? I mean, I know why, but it’s not as though Moore’s myriad drawbacks, failings, and abuses have been a secret.

I’d also like to take this moment to highlight this letter to the editor to Seacoast Online which says that it is atheism that leads one to abandon moral behavior. Goodness gracious I beg to differ.

Scott Pruitt, Destroyer of Worlds, is relying on “research” by industry groups and ignoring the EPA’s own scientists. Steve Milloy, meanwhile, says dissident scientists “belong in jail.” So, it’s not surprising that other science posts have still not been filled, one year after Trump’s election.

Al Gore, he tried. “I don’t feel I have the ability to change [Trump’s] mind. He’s surrounded himself with the absolute worst of climate deniers who seem to have captured his mind on the issue.”

At Slate, John Ehrenreich teases out what makes conservatives more susceptible to believing in bullshit:

The gullibility of many on the right seems to have deeper roots . . . That may be because at the most basic level, conservatives and liberals seem to hold different beliefs about what constitutes “truth.” Finding facts and pursuing evidence and trusting science is part of liberal ideology itself. For many conservatives, faith and intuition and trust in revealed truth appear as equally valid sources of truth.

Inverse marks the anniversary of Carl Sagan’s birth with an excerpt from a piece Ann Druyan wrote for our own Skeptical Inquirer in 2003.

The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.

At Popular Science, Erin Biba rightly worries that we still don’t have anyone quite like Sagan on the scene to help us through these changing times:

We need to get more figures like him—fast. . . .  Synthetic biology is a prime candidate for the next controversy. Building man-made versions of DNA or engineering better humans can be risky, and the public will need to make decisions about it. To ensure that those decisions are clear-eyed, scientists need to stop communicating as, well, scientists and speak like the rest of us.

As a globalist cuck from the Socialist Republic of Bluecheckmarkistan, I’m particularly interested in the debate over Twitter’s decision process for bestowing “verified” status on accounts. Should white supremacists get the checkmark? Is the checkmark an honor or an endorsement? Or is it just a way to say “yes this is the real person”? As quoted in a Wired story on the debate, here’s two perspectives:

Comic actor Michael Ian Black:

Hey @jack [Dorsey, CEO of Twitter]: very active user, 2.1M followers here: this is disgusting. Verifying white supremacists reinforces the increasing belief that your site is a platform for hate speech. I don’t want to give up Twitter, but I may have to. Who do you value more, users like me or him?

Twitter itself:

Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon

Here’s the real question. Michael Ian Black is a funny guy, no doubt, and I loved The State, but how the hell did he get 2.1 million followers?

At CSICOP.org, Alejandro Borgo interviews skeptic author Guy Harrison.

Videos by the late Islamic extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki have been pulled down by YouTube. Tens of thousands of them. Now, al-Awlaki was killed in 2011, so, YouTube, what took you so long?

Ilaria Maria Sala writes in the Times about the Catholic Church’s insidious influence over abortion policy in Italy, where access is getting more difficult.

63: The orders of magnitude that separate the vastest expanses of the Universe itself all the way down to its most elementary components at the subatomic level. Or so it seems right now.

Ed Brayton facepalms over The Daily Caller‘s ridiculous “rebuttal” to our statement on Paul Ryan and prayer as meaningful way to improve things.

Hannah Ewens at VICE has her aura photographed to find out she’s angry.

Quote of the Day:

Trump tweets something dumb to insult Kim Jong-un, and Hemant responds with what might be the Greatest Tweet of All Time™:

This tweet is so childish, Roy Moore wants to date it.


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