The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Welp, back at it.
Over the weekend we announced that after much crossing of T’s and dotting of I’s, CFI and the Dawkins Foundation are finally, actually, formally legally, and officially merged. And we got a spiffy new logo, which you’ll gradually see more of as we start improving our web presence.
For Dawkins himself, he has a response to the annual Edge.org big question, about which scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known, and he chooses what he calls The Genetic Book of the Dead:
Given a key, you can reconstruct the lock that it fits. Given an animal, you should be able to reconstruct the environments in which its ancestors survived. A knowledgeable zoologist, handed a previously unknown animal, can reconstruct some of the locks that its keys are equipped to open. … But most of the keys that an animal brandishes are not obvious on the surface. Many are buried in cellular chemistry. All of them are, in a sense which is harder to decipher, also buried in the genome. If only we could read the genome in the appropriate way, it would be a kind of negative imprint of ancient worlds, a description of the ancestral environments of the species.
Also, he’s apparently been STIRRING UP SOME BIG TROUBLE with this “SHOCK RANT”:
Merry Christmas to anyone who might appreciate it, especially those Christians who enjoy pretending there’s a “War on Christmas.”
Now that’s some controversy. He’s clearly totally unhinged. Good catch there, Express.
Christie Todd Whitman, former NJ governor and head of the EPA under George W. Bush, is not feeling good about Trump, telling the BBC, “I find it very worrisome that there seems to be a disdain for the science on protecting the environment.”
Climate scientist Ben Santer chooses to take affirmative steps to convince Trump’s political circle and his supporters of the truth of climate change, telling the LA Times:
“Why do you think ‘Make America Great Again’ worked? My theory is the repetition. A simple message, repeated again and again and again. … There’s an important lesson there for climate scientists. Somehow we’ve got to find an equally effective way of communicating the message again and again and again.
Similarly, presidential science advisor to Barack Obma, Dr. John Holdren, believes that the reality of climate change is probably too powerful now for denial to become too deeply entrenched.
Steven Salzberg warns about the proliferation of fake medical journals:
Recent years have seen the appearance of journals from mainstream publishers that are based entirely on pseudoscience. On the surface, these publications look and act just like real scientific journals, but it’s all just pretend. The publishers of these journals presumably care more about their bottom line than about scientific integrity. They know (or seem to know) that journals about pseudoscience will create a never-ending demand for fake breakthroughs and science-y sounding studies that are built on a house of cards.
US District Court Judge Reed O’Connor blocks the president’s protections for transgender and abortion-related health services in the Affordable Care Act.
Some positive news: According to Pew, the gap in education between Muslim men and women is beginning to shrink.
India’s Supreme Court says an election can be annulled if voters are roused to vote based on appeals to religious sectarianism. When I first saw this I thought it said “Indiana,” and I was all, ‘well then no one’s gonna vote!’
After a 500-year steady relationship, Norway and its Church are splitting up.
Quote of the Day:
Dr. Paul Coxon on Twitter:
2017 is first prime number year in six years so hopefully this means it’ll be less divisive than 2016.
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ing Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta