It Sounded Almost Like Health

December 14, 2016

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

Gov. John Kasich vetoes the unthinkably awful Ohio 6-week abortion ban, but signs the almost-as-awful 20-week ban. 

At The New Yorker, Lawrence Krauss says what readers of this blog already know: Under a Trump administration, science is in big damn trouble:

Taken singly, Trump’s appointments are alarming. But taken as a whole they can be seen as part of a larger effort to undermine the institution of science, and to deprive it of its role in the public-policy debate. 

Joe Romm puts it like this:

Trump [as opposed to Teddy Roosevelt] campaigned on not just allowing the destruction and pollution of nature, but on actually accelerating the destruction and pollution of nature.  

And in another piece, compares the Trump-Tillerson-Putin triumvirate to the Axis powers. 

Meanwhile, understandably panicked scientists in the federal government are scrambling to save and protect scientific data from Trump:

The concern is that once Donald Trump becomes president and takes control of the .gov websites hosting climate data collected by agencies like NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that data could be whitewashed or made inaccessible. 

At Religion News Service, Emily McFarlan Miller and Kimberly Winston give an overview of the religious beliefs of Trump’s appointees. All Christian but one, the likely Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, who is Jewish.

Joseph Nuth of NASA says Earth is “due” for an extinction-level event akin to the “dinosaur-killer” asteroid. I can’t really argue with that.

Point of Inquiry this week features historian Andrew W. Cohen, who shows us how smuggling, embargoes, and protectionism in the 19th century helped turn America into a superpower today. 

Anne-Marie Slaughter sees humanism as the only way to mitigate conflicts around the world. “Humanitarianism is not enough. It is a palliative after the fact.” 

Hey look, it’s Yvette d’Entremont, the Science Babe, writing at the new website The Outline, with a piece on how the alt-med “wellness” industry is a bunch of crap:

Health is all the stuff that you know you should do. Wellness is all the peripheral shit that someone marketed to you because it sounded almost like health. It’s modern-day snake oil, and today it either comes from extremely well-off celebrities who look healthy under 18 layers of makeup, internet charlatans who probably know they’re full of shit, and people who might not know there’s no science to back them up, but they do see your open wallet and know when business is good. 

Liz Plank at Vox rebuts Angela Merkel’s proposed “burqa ban,” saying, “No woman has ever been liberated by having her body or clothing legislated.” We agree.

At Wired, David Gortler, a professor of pharmacology at George Washington University, gives his detailed prescription for how to fix the FDA.

Filmmakers take to Indiegogo to raise money for a documentary on Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter and “the unsettling and uniquely American conflict between science and religion.” Morgan Spurlock is producing. 

Relatedly, Pew says that American Christians are less well-educated than religious minorities, and, “Atheists and agnostics, or people with no religion in particular, have higher education levels than the religiously affiliated do in the U.S.” 

This vaguely ovular shadow on the Moon was obviously caused by an alien spaceship. 

Bill O’Reilly claims victory in the War on Christmas. Can’t wait for the Yalta conference.

Eric Zorn at the Chicago Tribune characterizes the late Rob Sherman as relentless, chipper, brave, obviously vain, theologically disengaged, consistent, media savvy, flawed, wealthy, and right. 

Quote of the Day:

Me and my son this morning: 

Toby (7 years old): “Daddy, I have three reasons I couldn’t have a wooly mammoth as a pet.”

Me: “They’re extinct.”

[Pause] 

Toby: “FOUR reasons.”

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