Plague is the New Plague

November 3, 2017

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

So, what’re you up to tomorrow? Any plans for the weekend? Me, well, I have a tech rehearsal for the play I’m directing, my daughter’s got soccer practice, and, OH YEAH THERE’S GONNA BE A CIVIL WAR.

Some [alt-right] websites are telling their readers that antifa groups are “planning to kill every single Trump voter, Conservative and gun owner” this weekend.

Wow. Antifa has gotten really powerful really quickly, since it’s able to at least plan on committing an unprecedented mass atrocity resulting in the deaths of over 60 million people. From Jason Wilson at The Guardian:

In recent days, the story took an absurd turn, and had its closest brush with more mainstream conservative media, when Gateway Pundit, a longtime conservative blog that has recently expanded into news coverage, published a story by its White House correspondent, Lucian Wintrich, claiming that an “antifa leader” had promised to “behead white parents” on 4 November. The tweet the story was based on, however, was a joke from an account that had no apparent ties to any antifa groups. 

Yesterday, the House GOP revealed its “tax reform” bill, which includes the party’s most direct move yet to kill the Johnson Amendment, only this time it’s not about repeal of the whole thing, but just exempting churches. Yep! So we responded, and our take was covered by ThinkProgress and Vox. The bill also makes Betsy DeVos happy, authorizing a tax-free savings account that can now be used to finance K-12 private and religious school educations.

NBC Think has a short video report on the connection between the alt-right/white supremacists and the Gamergate crowd

Another day, another scientific report telling us that climate change is even worse than we thought the last time it was worse than we thought, from the U.S. government’s 600-page Climate Science Special Report.

New Zealand, taking the issue very seriously, might become the first country to listed climate change as a reason to seek asylum there.

There’s more. At Politico (excuse me, I mean POLITICO), Helena Bottemiller Evich reports that rising CO2 levels are causing plants to produce more sugars, turning them into “junk food plants,” and described by scientist Irakli Loldaze this way:

We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history―[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply. 

But hey, Rick Perry, who is apparently the Secretary of Energy, says fossil fuels can prevent sexual assault. Yep, you should just sit with that for a moment, and when you’re ready, then read why he thinks so:

…from the standpoint of sexual assault: When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts.

Richard Dawkins is the guest on The Economist Asks podcast.

Plague is the new plague. In the Indian Ocean region, 127 people have died from plague, and 1800 cases have been reported.   

Chapman University recently did a poll on people’s beliefs about the paranormal, and much to my surprise, belief in Bigfoot was rather low, at a mere 16 percent. That’s compared to things like “ancient aliens” (35%) and aliens visiting Earth today (26%).  

The Economist notes that much of the Arab world is becoming more secular (yay!) but sometimes at the expense of autocracy (boo!): 

A new crop of Arab leaders, who have adjusted their policies in line with the zeitgeist … are acting, in part, out of political self-interest. The region’s authoritarians, who once tried to co-opt Islamists, now view them as the biggest threat to their rule. By curbing the influence of clerics they are also weakening checks on their own power.  

Israeli news outlet Haaretz has BIG BREAKING NEWS:

Today … armed with cutting-edge dating and molecular technologies, archaeologists increasingly agree … that generally, the Bible does not reflect historical truths.

Fake news! Those molecular technologies are playthings of the devil.

But hold your horses, we have BREAKING BREAKING NEWS:

Scientists now know that the universe contains at l
east two trillion galaxies. It’s a mind-scrunchingly big place, very different to the conception of the universe we had when the world’s major religions were founded. So do the astronomical discoveries of the last few centuries have implications for religion?

Over the last few decades, a new way of arguing for atheism has emerged. Philosophers of religion such as Michael Martin and Nicholas Everitt have asked us to consider the kind of universe we would expect the Christian God to have created, and compare it with the universe we actually live in. They argue there is a mismatch. Everitt focuses on how big the universe is, and argues this gives us reason to believe the God of classical Christianity doesn’t exist. 

Over Halloween, a Baltimore-area middle school PTA handed out homeopathic cough syrup to trick or treaters. “Here’s something for when you get sick. IT’S A TRICK! IT DOESN’T WORK! HAHA.`”

Quote of the Day:

Our president:

I’m the only one that matters. 

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