The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
You know this already, of course: Carrie Fisher died yesterday at the age of 60. I got to see her one-woman Wishful Drinking show in DC many years ago, and damn she was funny. But you know this already, of course.
Hey folks, lookie here: the live Richard Dawkins/Sam Harris events in Los Angeles are now available to download or stream on Vimeo! If you’re a Planet member of CFI or above, you already have free access. Everyone else can purchase parts 1 and 2 right here.
Tom Flynn goes on Point of Inquiry to debate the merits of his anti-Christmas stance with host Lindsay Beyerstein. But they’re both very nice about it.
Vox rounds up seven science myths that the writers hope will die along with 2016 (assuming that 2016 will agree to go quietly at the end of December 31). Old favorites like homeopathy and GMO paranoia are on the list.
Speaking of this horrible year, at my own little blog I reconcile the idea of “2016” as a kind of reviled collection of events, worthy of our fear and loathing, without ascribing agency to what is really just 366 days in a row. (Of course it had to be a leap year, right? Goddamn 2016.)
Achille Mbembe, writing at Africa’s Mail & Guardian, says 2017 will really be terrible, as capitalism kicks the crap out of humanism and democracy:
The humanistic and Enlightenment notion of the rational subject capable of deliberation and choice will be replaced by the consciously deliberating and choosing consumer.
Also terrible in 2017: Rewire sums up the coming onslaught of anti-choice legislation in the states.
The addition of atheists in the International Religious Freedom Act in the U.S. wins accolades from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed:
People often do not fully understand the scope of the international human right to religious freedom. It is not just about religions or beliefs, but it also covers the right to freedom of thought and conscience as provided by the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. … In the face of increasing diversity, the freedom of religion or belief can be upheld only with the acceptance and full inclusion of atheists and non-believers.
Yay, we did something right!
House Republicans want to make it a fineable offense for Members to stream or broadcast from the House floor, in order to prevent anything like the Democrats’ sit-in over gun control earlier this year.
David Streitfeld takes a look inside of Snopes, at a time when they are more necessary and more besieged than ever:
“Not to be ideological or Pollyannaish, but you have to believe this work makes a difference,” [managing editor Brooke Binkowski] said. “Otherwise you’d just go back to bed and drink.” Although there are other benefits to working at Snopes: “I really like telling people they’re wrong. ”
That sounds familiar.
Dan Arel writes that seculars have a duty to assertively stand up for persecuted Muslims in the age of right-wing populist rage:
The nonreligious community as a whole even has a responsibility to join this resistance. The principle of freedom of religion also encompasses that of freedom from religion. The old adage, “first they came for the socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist”, applies here.
Sam Harris has Gary Kasparov on his podcast.
Gov. John Kasich vetoes legislation from his GOP-led legislature that would make clean energy standards voluntary, pissing off his fellow Republicans.
A man in Kazakhstan by the name of Sanat Dosov is sentenced to three years in a penal colony for saying mean things about Vladimir Putin on Facebook.
Quote of the Day:
Yvette d’Entremont writes in Cosmopolitan to make us all very afraid of what Trump will do to the environment, assuming we weren’t afraid already, which we were. Or I was. Classic d’Entremont:
I really would love it if climate change weren’t real, but you don’t trust the data that tells you what you want to hear. You trust the geniuses at NASA who land miracles of modern science on other planets who, I guarantee you, know how to work a thermometer on this planet. Much like pretending that your chocolate-covered bacon is salad, you’re only fucking yourself over long-term if you keep trusting the articles that say climate change isn’t real.
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