Unread Manuscripts

November 20, 2017


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

Housekeeping note: I’m gone for the rest of this week, so hopefully nothing interesting happens for a while. 

The Economist gets down to brass tacks with climate change, detailing why lowering emissions isn’t going to cut it, and that we’re going to have to start scrubbing all the crap out of the atmosphere.

As an electoral democracy nerd, I felt kind of uneasy that Roy Moore’s history of sexual assault would lead to the election of Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate from Alabama, because as much as Moore deserves to lose (and much, much more), there was no question in my mind that the people of Alabama were not therefore inclined to be represented by a Democrat, any Democrat. It’s a largely academic concern on my part, and it’s not like I have any sympathy for folks who would place any of our national policies in the hands of theocrats, be they Moore or any others. But still. Anyway, the Alabama Media Group, which runs the biggest newspapers in the state, endorsed Doug Jones and made a pretty good case that made me feel better about the whole thing. For example:

Unlike some national Democrats, he isn’t interested in shaming Alabama voters because of their history. As a Red State Democrat, we expect Jones would have a larger seat at the table crafting policy in the Senate. Neither Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would be able to take Jones’ vote for granted. 

However, what they do NOT address the WAR ON MEN represented by the ATTACKS on his holey-ness Roy Moore. Or at least that’s what Pastor David Floyd says, buoyed by Pastor Franklin Raddish who knows THE TRUTH about the plight of scared young men, warning, “More women are sexual predators than men. Women are chasing young boys up and down the road, but we don’t hear about that because it’s not PC.” Well now we know.

Professor of religion Randall Balmer has no love for Moore:

The Republican Senate nominee has fashioned an entire career out of subterfuge and self-misrepresentation — as a constitutional authority, as a Baptist and as a spokesman for evangelical values. The recent allegations of sexual misconduct, together with his many specious statements over the years — that the First Amendment guarantees religious freedom only for Christians, for example, or that many communities in the United States stagger under the burden of Islamic sharia law — underscore both his hypocrisy and his tenuous grasp of reality. 

Molly Worthen looks at how Christians can “escape” the Fox News style evangelicalism of Roy Moore. “All these people have one thing in common: the instinct that worship should be an act of humility, not hubris.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education profiles Massimo Pigliucci and his embrace of philosophical stoicism (and notes his work for our own Skeptical Inquirer).

Over 3000 veterinarians in the UK sign on to a petition opposing the use of homeopathic treatments on animals.  

I haven’t watched this yet, but 60 Minutes did a piece on Voyager 1 and 2 and the records of human culure they carry. 

Louis Farrakhan still exists, and has all the answers to solve all problems, and claims that things like the poisoned water in Flint are examples of the intentional crippling and sterilization of black men.

Destroyer of Worlds Scott Pruitt was the guest on the Washington Post‘s podcast, and I can’t be bothered to listen to him, but he does say he’s not going to run for governor of Oklahoma, because he’s so excited about all the world-destroying he gets to do at the EPA.

I can retire now, because I accidentally discovered that Ray Comfort himself cited me in his 2016 book on why an atheist will never be president…in two whole blockquotes! (It’s from my CNN op-ed a couple years back.) 

Turns out that Rep. Greg Gianforte, who assaulted journalist Ben Jacobs on the day before his own election, also misled police about who initiated the conflict, because that’s just how things go.

In super-secular France, Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur makes a case for bringing religious ideas back into the public square:

So many here have the impression that when people want to express their religion, it’s just that we want halal meats or that we don’t want exams on Shabbat. But it’s not that at all. People are in search of a dialogue with their personal identities and how they relate to their identities as a citizen. … There’s so much nostalgia for a ‘pure’ past that never actually existed. Our goal is to reenter into history — to say, ‘We are what we are, but our texts, our beliefs, they are not locked in a box.’

Business Insider gets thoughts from smart people a
bout the wisdom of trying to let aliens know we humans are here. For example, Jill Tarter says:

If [the extraterrestrials are] going to be able to get here then they are, in fact by definition, significantly more technologically advanced than we are on Earth today. They also might have figured out a way to manage their planet and their civilization sustainably for long periods. That seems to me that aggression is not likely to be their main characteristic in that case. 

Jim Wallis of Sojourners says Christian support for Trump puts “the soul of our nation and the integrity of the Christian faith … at risk.”

David Morrison has had it with your dumb questions about Nibiru. 

Sam Harris posts the audio of his on-stage conversation in Vancouver with Richard Dawkins and Matt Dillahunty on his podcast. 

This is weirdly like some kind of archaeology/cold-case forensics hybrid in order to find out about a society that currently exists, as the world learns more about what the hell is going on inside North Korea when doctors pull unfathomably huge parasitic worms out of a defector’s intestines.

Oh, Charles Manson is finally dead

Quote of the Day:

Christine Emba thinks the Museum of the Bible is a huge missed opportunity:

The Museum of the Bible reflects the discouraging state of Christianity — especially evangelicalism — in the United States today. It is lavishly funded and larger than life to the point of performance, often literally. Yet the approach is strangely superficial given the wealth of complexity inherent to its subject. There are dozens of illuminated manuscripts, but it’s unclear whether they’ve been read. 

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