January 12, 2018


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

Donald Trump who somehow is President of the United States (lol) told a room full of educated adults with easy access to mass communication that immigrants from Haiti and Africa are from “shithole countries.” He denied saying it, which of course is ridiculous because he said it, again, to a room full of educated adults. 

Not that it will matter, because nothing does, but Trump was called out all over the place for racism. For example:

This is CNN Tonight, I’m Don Lemon. The president of the United States is racist. A lot of us already knew that. 

Or, from Coop:

Let’s not kid ourselves. Let’s not pretend or dance around it. The sentiment the president expressed today is a racist sentiment.

Someone at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette used the paper’s Twitter account to announce, “Our publisher is requesting us to remove @realDonaldTrump’s “vulgar language” from the lede in our @AP story about his vulgar language.” I don’t know what’s in the print edition, but online, “shithole” is right there.

Jonathan Jarry from the McGill Office for Science and Society presents an interview with ex-naturopath Britt Hermes, done at last year’s CSICon.

Yesterday, I told you about how in rural Nepal, girls and women are being cast out of homes and considered “unclean” for menstruating, resulting in the deaths of dozens of women. Now we learn that in Ghana, girls who are menstruating are banned from crossing a river to get to their school. Why? Because the river god forbids it. UNICEF’s Shamima Muslim Alhassan told BBC:

It seems the gods are really powerful aren’t they? Sometimes I think that we need to ask for some form of accountability from these gods who continue to bar a lot of things from happening, to account for how they have used the tremendous power that we have given them.

Is the river god like the sentient ocean character in Moana, but, like, a huge jerk?

Hey CFI Indiana’s big annual Civic Day is coming up on February 10. 

Trans rights activist and founder of the Miss Trans New England Pageant, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, was murdered by her husband Mark Steele-Knudslien (who confessed) because he “snapped” in the midst of an argument. Must have been a rather lengthy “snap” considering he had all that time to both hit her with a hammer several times and then stab her with a knife AND then wrap up her body in a tarp.

Harriet Hall shares some claims coming out of India that the Hindu Vedas and the Qu’ran have all anyone needs to solve all problems. Whew!

In contrast to the complaints of ex-Googler James “Help-Help-I’m-Being-Repressed” Damore, the departure of engineer Cory Altheide from Google in 2016 shows that at the time, the kind of diversity talk that Google didn’t want to hear was pro-diversity talk because they wanted to “support a wide variety of viewpoints.” This is exactly the opposite of what Damore alleges, who as you know is persecuted for being white, male, and conservative. Altheide told Gizmodo:

The idea of trying to alter a company’s culture all by yourself is almost as stupid as the myth of meritocracy the tech industry is so in love with. The only way to even begin to attempt to create positive change inside an organization purpose-built exclusively for the task of providing value to shareholders is through collective action. 

Since God created man first (sorry, ladies!), obviously city planning boards can’t be allowed to be female-dominated. That’s what David Linehan of South Glen Falls, NY thinks, anyway. 

I feel much better about the veracity of the whole Noah’s Ark story now that I know that the ship was nuclear-powered, made of steele, contained amimal genetic material as opposed to animals themselves, AND had cell service. It’s science.

The Post reports on an exhibition of the work of 20th century artist Paulina Peavy, whose paintings were inspired by her “singular worldview”:

She believed in UFOs, by which she meant beings that were as much mystical as extraterrestrial. She also insisted that humanity was about to reach the end of the 3,000-year “summer age.” In its next phase, people would be androgynous, and the messy business of sexual procreation would cease. “Self-pollination” would be the new means of fertilization of people termed “androgyns,” eliminating the need for sperm, which she called “nature’s most lethal virus.” 

I’m kind of down with this, actually. 

A Muslim community center does not count as a “house of worship” according to a judge in Quebec, thus saving it from facing penalties over zoning restrictions. 

A family in Ventura County, CA says their seventh-grade son received anti-Muslim propaganda as school material. The Pasadena Star-News reports:

The sheet of paper distributed by the teacher states Sharia Law, or Islamic religious law, gives Muslim men sexual rights over any woman or girl not wearing the hijab or head scarf; allows a man to marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9; and requires Muslims to lie to non-Muslims to advance their faith. 

The ice on Mars may not be limited to its frozen polls. 100-meter-thick ice sheets seem likely to exist in more temperate (for Mars) regions as well, and that’s good news for potential human missions. 

Quote of the Day

The News & Observer reports on people in North Carolina who think that there are “flying dinosaurs” swooping about:

“It had a long tail with a diamond-shaped bulb on it,” said Cynthia Lee, 20, who spotted the mysterious thing at a North Raleigh bus stop. “It was dark brown. It had this weird crest. I drew a picture of it.”

Well that’s good enough for me! Self-described “modern pterosaur expert” Jonathan Whitcomb says:

My associates and I believe that these are non-extinct pterosaurs, what many persons would call ‘pterodactyls’ or ‘flying dinosaurs.’

That’s funny, because my associates and I believe that these are non-extinct examples of bullshit. Matt Cartmill, a real scientist (evolutionary anthropologist), says:

I’d rank it as being slightly more probable than living unicorns in Raleigh and Durham. But only slightly. 

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