The Cosmic Significance of the Millennial’s Place in the Universe

January 3, 2018


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

The Southern Poverty Law Center quotes CFI’s Benjamin Radford in an article about how the far-right invents pseudo-histories to mythologize white supremacy.

Religion News Service runs an op-ed by Christopher P. Scheitle and Elaine Howard Ecklund that purports to show that evangelicals are not all that anti-science, and that religious Americans are generally willing to reconcile their faith with science. But as Hemant points out, what religious people think about their God’s scientific validity is beside the point:

The problem with that analysis is that there are a lot of religious people who think their beliefs are not in opposition to science when, in fact, they are. Think of all those conservative Christians who ignore climate change, or think evolution is a hoax, or who believe transgender people are just “confused.” I’m sure if you asked them, they’d say their conclusions are firmly grounded in science. The rest of us are just selectively choosing which scientists to listen to.

We are also reminded that Scheitle and Ecklund’s book is funded in large part by the Templeton Foundation.

Amanda Hess at NYT looks at the weird and disappointing rise of astrology on the Internet:

I think the astrology boomlet owes as much to the dynamics of the modern internet as it does to any sort of cosmic significance about the millennial’s place in the universe. Astrology checks several boxes for viral-happy content: It provides an easy framework for endlessly personalized material, targets women and accesses ’90s nostalgia. It’s the cosmic BuzzFeed quiz. … It can be disquieting, and maybe a little dangerous, to see otherwise journalistic publications look to pseudoscience for answers.

Christie Aschwanden at FiveThirtyEight exposes the pseudoscience promoted by Tom Brady, noting, “after reading all 303 pages of Brady’s book, I can’t help noticing how much of his recommendations sound like advertising. For every bit of advice, there’s a product for sale.”

The Concord Monitor publishes an op-ed by one Sol Solomon who is here to stand up for belladonna, aka deadly nightshade, as medicine. Yes, homeopathic medicine. He bemoans the “long-standing witch hunt against homeopathy by the medical establishment,” asserting that “Big Pharma’s fear of these harmless remedies points to the larger picture of how we treat illness in this country.”

Christ Coin, the Christian cryptocurrency, is a real thing. It’s actually a really good investment, because every time it looks like its value has dropped, it rises again. (Soon I’ll be launching JudasCoin, which will always be tied to the value of 30 silver pieces.)

Ejiao is a “traditional medicine” in China that is supposed to treat a wide range of ailments (because of course), and it’s made from boiled donkey hides. Not kidding! Demand for ejiao is going up in China, and now 1.8 million donkeys are slaughtered every year to make this fake medicine. It’s not only bad for the donkeys, but also for the millions of Chinese who depend on their donkeys for the transportation of food, water, firewood, goods, and themselves.

Welp, there it is, the atheist flag next to the Ten Commandments in Somersworth, NH. There it is. Yyyyep.

China’s space station, Tiangong-1, will crash to Earth in a couple of months, mostly burning up in the atmosphere. But not all!

There’s a good chance that gear and hardware left on board could survive intact all the way to the ground, according to Bill Ailor, an aerospace engineer who specializes in atmospheric reentry. That durability is thanks to Tiangong-1’s onion-like layers of protective material. … Should a hunk of titanium, a computer, or another piece smash through a roof or windshield, however, international space law covers compensation for victims.

The catch: All compensation is paid in Christ Coin.

Quote of the Day:

I hear that the current president is tweeting about nukes again. Hmm. Former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, what do you think about this?

In the thermonuclear age, any misjudgment on either side about the intentions of the other could rain more devastation in several hours than has been wrought in all the wars of humanity. 
That’s really interesting. Can you elaborate?
Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.
Men no longer debate whether armaments are a symptom or a cause of tension. The mere existence of modern weapons–ten million times more powerful than any that the world has ever seen, and only minutes away from any target on earth–is a source of horror, and discord and distrust. Men no longer maintain that disarmament must await the settlement of all disputes–for disarmament must be a part of any permanent settlement. And men may no longer pretend that the quest for disarmament is a sign of weakness–for in a spiraling arms race, a nation’s security may well be shrinking even as its arms increase.
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