The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
RNS’s Emily McFarlan Miller rounds up the “top 5 heresies” of the year, and The Morning Heresy somehow doesn’t make the cut. Don’t think I didn’t notice.
Ron Lindsay says the piece is interesting, adding, “But I don’t see switching from iPhone to Pixel listed.” Heresy makes for progress, they say.
Edzard Ernst, meanwhile, rounds up the weirdest “alternative” health stories of the year, including magical holy water resuscitation and something with cow pee.
Oh, and Dr. Benjamin Mazer at STAT has the right idea: “alt-med” is as misleading and normalizing of something damaging as “alt-right”:
Much of alt-med is based on a deep distrust of for-profit medicine and science. Just as the alt-right community reacts broadly against the political establishment, the alt-med community seems more interested in reacting against the corporatization of medicine and nutrition and less about proposing its own reasonable, evidence-based alternatives.
A YouGov poll shows that belief in utterly untrue conspiracy theories are largely dependent upon one’s partisan allegiance. 46% of Trump voters, for example, think there were actually references to the “Pizzagate” child trafficking nonsense in the hacked Clinton emails (there weren’t), and 80% refuse to believe that the Russians hacked those emails to help Trump (they did). Half of Clinton voters, however, think Russia actually tampered with vote tallies (no evidence of this).
I didn’t see this before, but here’s a snippet from the President and First Lady’s Christmas message on the values that are supposed to unite Americans:
FLOTUS: The idea that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper. That we should treat others as we would want to be treated.
POTUS: Those are values that help guide not just my family’s Christian faith, but that of Jewish Americans, and Muslim Americans; nonbelievers and Americans of all backgrounds.
TV preacher Paula White, who was investigated by GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley’s finance committee, will pray at Trump’s inauguration. Writes Betsy Woodruff, “Think of Paula White’s ministry as the church version of Trump University.” More:
The overlap between Trump’s and White’s message is glaring. One of the sermons for sale on her website is called “Why God Wants You Wealthy.” Trump, meanwhile, wrote a book titled Why We Want You to Be Rich. Trump and God both. Why aren’t you rich already?
Inspired by the development this year in Texas, the Democratic Party of Utah approves a Secular Caucus. Of course I think there is probably only one Democrat it Utah, but she’s going to do great.
According to scientists in Moscow, the dark matter in the universe may be disappearing, with 5 percent less of it today than there was since the Big Bang. This is fine.
NYT’s editorial board cheers on the states that intend to buck the Trump administration on addressing climate change.
President Obama designates new national monuments in Nevada and Utah, the latter being the Bears Ears buttes which are sacred to several Native American tribes.
Sacred in a very different way, apparently, is Gilmore Girls, as Isabel Fattal describes:
Amidst the flurry of post-election news coverage, I worried I wouldn’t have it in me to explore the many online debriefs of the Gilmore Girls revival, but it turns out I felt the opposite. … I needed community, and there it was. Maybe online communities can be open and illuminating and even transformative, if we work to make them so. The outpouring of love, support and action I’ve seen on Facebook since the election is certainly a promising sign. … Ultimately, it’s the sacredness of the personal, that “transcendent” moment of discovering something that seems all our own, that can be powerful enough to lead us out into the communal.
Also in Connecticut, some jerks vandalize an atheist display.
In a letter to the editor of the Bradenton Herald, Russell Owens considers Trump’s cabinet picks, and figures out what’s up:
The only person I know of that would do such a thing is an alien trying to destroy our planet! Of course he would appoint other aliens for positions in government. Every Republican needs to be tested to actually see if they are human. Their goal is to return this nation to the 1920s and ’30s and set civilization back nearly 100 years.
Mark Zuckerberg says he’s not an atheist.
Quote of the Day:
Johanna Gohmann at Jezebel boards Ken Ham’s “Ark Encounter” and contemplates the Trump era:
I think how Noah and his family clung to the idea of something to save us all, even if the very thing they were clinging to defied all logic and reason, and held impossible promises of salvation. True, it worked out for them in the end, but it came at the price of millions of innocents. Which all sounds vaguely, creepily familiar.
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The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta