The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Here’s something I didn’t know: Religions are officially registered in Germany, and receive tax subsidies based on the size of their respective flocks. Of course Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism are there, as are Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Not legally recognized is Islam, which claims over 4 million adherents.
In the U.S., Americans vastly overestimate how many Muslims live here. On average, Americans think the population is about 17% Muslim. The reality? 1%. That’s a one.
Washington Post‘s Abby Ohlheiser talks to performance artist “Zardulu,” who staged a famous raccoon-riding-a-crocodile photo, and they discuss the fake news phenomenon. Ohlheiser writes, “I wondered whether it was possible to have a truthful conversation about fabrication. So I asked her whether, or why, I should believe the story she told to me.”
Slate, meanwhile, releases an extension for the Chrome browser that spots fake news on Facebook and lets users flag stories themselves.
If you can’t get enough of CFI–UK’s Stephen Law — and who can? — Closer to Truth has tons (or “tonnes”) of video interviews with this most excellent philosopher.
Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci says of climate change, I assume with a straight face:
There was an overwhelming science that the Earth was flat. And there was an overwhelming science that we were the center of the world.
Chris Cuomo responds, mic-droppingly: “It’s called ignorance. You learn over time.”
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell asks scientists not to bend to the denial of Trump:
I encourage people to speak up and to talk about the importance of scientific integrity, and if they see that being undermined to say something about it. …
We would hope that we would not still have to be making the case that climate change is real. . . . but I urge you to stay the course and keep up your commitment to your work.
Ruth Schuster at Haaretz explores the various theories and guesses about Neanderthals and their beliefs. They seem to have had at least some burial rituals, they might or might not have made a musical instrument, and it’s at least conceivable they believed in something like God.
Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana signed an executive order barring LGBT discrimination, and the court just reversed him for going too far in creating “new law.”
Franklin Graham thinks it was God that nudged the election in Trump’s favor, tweeting, “Do you think the Russians interfered with the outcome of the U.S. election or was it God?”
Jim Naughton smacks back, “He has trouble telling them apart.” Sick burn!
Also a sick burn, our own Ron Lindsay, referring to the Ayn Rand fanboys of Trumpworld: “Sorry about the error in my prior tweet. I referred to Ayn Rand’s novels as ‘literature.'”
And speaking of sickness and burning, cranberries apparently have no effect on urinary tract infections. (But one can become severely ill by listening to the Cranberries.)
I wonder if anyone’s given a fresh look at swamp root?
At BBC, Alex Riley has a long report on why vitamin pills may actually be bad for us. For example:
A study published in 2007 from the US National Cancer Institute, for instance, found that men that took multivitamins were twice as likely to die from prostate cancer compared to those who didn’t. And in 2011, a similar study on 35,533 healthy men found that vitamin E and selenium supplementation increased prostate cancer by 17%.
Here’s what Oklahoma thinks is a good use of $2.3 million: Requiring anti-abortion propaganda signs in public restrooms.
A pagan man in Maine gets to wear horns in his official drivers license photo. I do not know this man.
Quote of the Day:
Unintentionally following with yesterday’s “conversations with kids” theme, we have Nick Beatty on Twitter:
9yo: “Dad, does ‘psychological’ start with a C or an S?”
“Well, I can tell you, but you’re not going to like it.”
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or sarcastic, but it often is.
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