Something to Think About to Not Think About the Other Things

December 19, 2016

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

Catch up with the previous 14 days with Cause & Effect, the official propaganda outlet of the Glorious Democratic People’s Republic of the Center for Inquiry. I mean newsletter.

For his podcast, Sam Harris posts the first of his two conversations with Richard Dawkins, recorded at the Alex Theater last month on Dawkins’ recent U.S. tour.

Embattled climatologist Michael Mann (who also has a piece in the latest Skeptical Inquirer) pens an op-ed for WaPo on his fears for the integrity of science and the safety of scientists during the reign of Trump:

As we’ve seen recently, a segment of Americans is receptive to fake news, and some are eager to act on it. Wild conspiracy theories have propelled a woman to make death threats against the parent of a child killed at Sandy Hook Elementary and motivated a man to discharge an assault rifle in a family pizza restaurant in Washington.

I fear the chill that could descend. I worry especially that younger scientists might be deterred from going into climate research (or any topic where scientific findings can prove inconvenient to powerful vested interests). As someone who has weathered many attacks, I would urge these scientists to have courage.

White supremacists, in their publication The Daily Stormercall for the harassment of Jews in Whitefish, Montana.

Meanwhile a GOP candidate for the Louisiana state legislature, one Michael “Duke” Lowrie (I always worry about people nicknamed “Duke”) says the U.S. should boycott businesses run by or employing Muslims, and will hate-by-example: “I for one will no longer knowingly go to or do business with any establishment that has someone who I know is a follower of Islam working there.”

I for one would be glad not to have him.

Ex-Muslims of North America post a video telling the story of Stephanie, someone who adopted Islam but later had doubts and fears for her children. “No extreme is ever an answer to anything.”

Google, Apple, Uber, and IBM say they will not assist in any efforts to build a “Muslim database” for the Trump administration should they be asked. Oracle, they’re not saying.

Marcia S.B. Bernicat, U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh, explains in an interview how the country has become a top priority for ISIS and Al Qaeda.

GOP members of South Carolina’s legislature propose a new bill that would allow public school teachers to “express a religious viewpoint” or “conduct or participate in any student-led prayer or student-organized prayer groups, religious clubs, or other religious gatherings organized by students.”

Chris Jones ay NYT profiles Sara Seager, an MIT astrophysicist who’s “obsessed with discovering distant worlds.”

Let’s say one of those distant worlds has some living beings on it. Brandon Ambrosino at BBC explores how Earth’s religions might react.

The Awl, which has become incredibly unpleasant, responds to Ambrosino’s musings with:

Or maybe aliens and religion are both bullshit. Still, it’s something to think about to not think about the other things, which are real and which are actually going to happen.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief releases a conference summary on “Freedom of Religion or Belief and Sexuality.”

Fred Karger, head of the group Rights Equal Rights, says the Mormon Church should no longer be tax-exempt, and is pushing an effort to rescind their status.

Star HIP68468 is eating its planets.

Sean Hannity and Kevin Sorbo are collaborating on a movie about an atheist who converts to Christianity. I can’t believe I ever watched that show Andromeda.

A memorial for Rob Sherman, the atheist activist who died in a plane crash, will be held at chaumburg Regional Airport on Thursday.

Quote of the Day:

Charlie Jane Anders at Wired on the casting of Sonequa Martin-Green as the lead in the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series, and the franchise’s humanist foundation:

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Original image by Jason Dunne

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