The Murky, Otherworldly Ether

January 23, 2017

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

The Women’s March on Washington, along with its sister demonstrations around the world, was magnificent. I love these pictures. Estimates of the numbers of people who came out vary wildly, but a few things are certain: the crowd in DC alone utterly dwarfed the number that came out for Trump’s inauguration (which also happened). Nationwide, according to two researchers there were at least 3.7 million protesters, which is more than 1% of the entire U.S. population. 

As soon as Trump is sworn in, the White House website undergoes a purging of sites for climate change, LGBTQ rights, and more. 

Press Secretary Sean Spicer lied about how many folks came out for inauguration, among other things.

Chuckie T. takes on Kellyanne Conway for the lies of Sean Spicer, and Conway introduces the term “alternative facts,” which Todd wasn’t having.  

After comparing the crowd sizes of Obama’s first inauguration to Trump’s, the Department of the Interior has its Twitter account shut down. It’s later reinstated when “social media guidance has been clarified.”

Ben Radford interviews Robert Damon Schneck, author of the book that became the new horror movie The Bye Bye Man, which is a “Slenderman-like entity.”

Melissa Healy at LA Times reports on the burgeoning psychological research of “the anti-enlightenment movement,” the rejection of science and reason in favor of believing what you want to believe despite the evidence. 

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is suing President Trump over the Emoluments Clause, the one that says, “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”  

Richard Spencer, Nazi pile of garbage who people like to punch, turns out to be an atheist, but thinks people should believe in a “religion” of the state. 

The New York Times Video Twitter account gets hacked and tweets out a fake headline about Russia attacking the U.S. with missiles. 

Holy crap: 800,000 documents, 13 million pages, all for the CIA’s 1973 experiments to see if Uri Geller really had psychic powers. The really sad part? He fooled them. The CIA concluded:

As a result of Geller’s success in this experimental period, we consider that he has demonstrated his paranormal perception ability in a convincing and unambiguous manner. 

Paul Offit takes to The Daily Beast to warn of the rise of alt-med junk science within prominent medical institutions

Leo Igwe writes about the Nigerian Humanist Movement as it turns 20, noting its support from CFI’s Council for Secular Humanism and the founding of CFI–Nigeria.

Virginia Heffernan has a truly fascinating piece at Fast Company on how quickly language is changing in the digital age, and how hard it can be for many to keep up. 

India’s health department has an agency specifically for alt-med and spiritual health, and is promoting the use of homeopathy to treat diabetes.  

Keri Blakinger at the Houston Chronicle is a little too generous to psychic grief-vampires, say I, comparing their work to that of real grief counselors. And shame on whoever allowed the headline, “Psychics help grieving families.”

Looks like Turkey might nix evolution from its national science curriculum. Things are just not going well.

Science supporters propagated a #USofScience hashtag on Inauguration Day because as you might have heard Trump is not friendly with science.  

Horse diapers violate religious freedom, perhaps among other things. 

The Onion reveals why Kellyanne Conway does what she does:

Who among you wouldn’t do the same ex
act thing if an evil 400-year-old witch had trapped your father’s eternal soul inside a cursed iron lantern, flickering faintly each time his agonized moans escaped the murky, otherworldly ether that is his prison?

Look me in the eye and tell me that you would not heed the crone’s disgusting instruction to divert attention away from Donald Trump’s glaring conflicts of interest, nor undermine the nation’s entire intelligence apparatus to salve your boss’s ego, nor categorically deny objective reality time and time again if so doing released your father’s tortured spirit from the in-between realm and at last let him be at peace. 

Quote of the Day:

In Skeptical Inquirer‘s 40th anniversary issue, Neil deGrasse Tyson explains what makes science work:

In science, conformity is anathema to success. The persistent accusations that we are all trying to agree with one another is laughable to scientists attempting to advance their careers. The best way to get famous in your own lifetime is to pose an idea that is counter to prevailing research and which ultimately earns a consistency of observations and experiment. This ensures healthy disagreement at all times while working on the bleeding edge of discovery.

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