Pretty Obviously Cartoons

January 9, 2017

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

Jeff Sessions, we’re not sure you’re the right guy to be defending anyone’s rights. CFI’s Michael De Dora reaches out to the Senate to urge them to press Sessions to explain his seeming preference for injustice over justice:

CFI respectfully requests you to ensure that our next Attorney General is one committed to ensuring civil rights for all, not one who, as Sen. Sessions is reported to have said of civil rights cases as a US Attorney, wishes he “could decline on all of them.

This is maddening: Dr. Daniel Neides, COO of the Cleveland Clinic, espouses anti-vaccine lunacy about autism and neurological diseases. The clinic itself had to tweet, “We fully support vaccines to protect patients & employees. Statements made by our physician do not reflect the position of Cleveland Clinic.” 

Casey Ross at STAT writes about the inevitable collisions and conflicts that arise when medical institutions that actually seek to practice medicine dirty their hands with lucrative alt-med.

On his podcast, Hemant Mehta interviews Illinois Secular Celebrant Galen Broaddus about his and CFI’s big legal victory last week

The Monterey Herald covers SkeptiCamp, which featured plenty of friends of CFI, including keynote speaker Benjamin Radford. Great line: “Ghost Hunters is now in its 11th season of not finding ghosts.” Sick burn. 

Ben Guarino at WaPo assures you that Planet X/Nibiru is not going to destroy us. (We can do that just fine on our own.) He gets Committee for Skeptical Inquiry fellow David Morrison to help explain what the deal is. 

Whatever your opinion of the prime target of Meryl Streep’s ire, hard to argue with a call to support the press, protect the truth, and encourage empathy.

Gary Taubes says we need to eliminate all the sugar from our diets, and Julia Belluz does a phenomenal job really grilling him on the evidence for and veracity of his claims, and I think we get a much better understanding of the subject as a result. 

As the Voyager probes continue to hurtle into deep space, the Hubble will be augmenting the data collected, so as the Voyagers take the next two thousand years to move through the “interstellar medium,” comparisons can be made between what they read and the Hubble sees.  

US District Judge Reed O’Connor says, sure, doctors can choose not to treat transgender folks or women who have had abortions, because religious liberty of course. 

You know, the Center for Inquiry is not just a big organization, but it’s also, like an actual center, like, a building. And a big part of that center are the CFI Libraries, run by Tim Binga. At our blog, he updates us on what’s new there, and what might be coming later in the year.

Looks like Reza Aslan is going to have a new show about religion around the world on CNN.  

Voice of America posts a short video on why the U.S. promotes religious freedom around the world.  

Oceanographer Andreas Muenchow was doubtful that climate change was a thing, and then Greenland started melting around him

Former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats will likely be the next Director of National Intelligence, and he happens to also have a record of aggressively thwarting progress for LGBTQ rights

Carrie Poppy did a great talk at TedX Vienna on her “conversion” to skepticism, and at the same event, mentalist Harry Lucas did his shtick for the audience. So Carrie interviewed Lucas for us! A snippet:

Carrie: Do you ever worry that someone in the audience won’t know that “mentalists” are magicians? Do you fear that someone will think you are really claiming to have a psychic ability? Has anyone ever accused you of hiding real psychic abilities?

Harry: I consider my audience to be intelligent enough to know that I’m not here to convince anyone of anything, I’m not promoting a religion or a belief system. I’m not a guru. I am here to entertain people in an, hopefully, interesting and personal way. 

Collin Whitt at Scalawag visits a sort-of theme park in Virginia where the Union and the Confederacy battle alongside dinosaur companions. No, it’s not a Ken Ham project. 

Nine U.S. Senators move to block the creation of a Muslim registry by the incoming administration. 

“The Story,” a kind of church-within-a-church at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Texas, wants nonbelievers to show up, and says it’s okay to doubt

AHA gets South Carolina st
ate troopers to stop sending Bible passages to the grieving families of those killed in car accidents.

Just to remind you how close the “establishment” GOP actually is to Trump, despite their bellowing in the primaries, Mitt Romney writes an op-ed cheerleading for Betsy DeVos.

Natasha Lennard talks to Cary Wolfe about “posthumanism,” and I don’t really understand it, but I’m also in kind of a hurry to get the Heresy done, so. Anyway, Wolfe says:

The sketches of the “human,” “the animal” or “nature” that we get from the humanist tradition are pretty obviously cartoons if we consider the multifaceted, multidisciplinary ways in which we could address these questions. Humanism provides an important cultural inheritance and legacy, no doubt, but hardly the kind of vocabulary that can describe the complex ways that human beings are intertwined with and shaped by the nonhuman world in which they live, and that brings together what the humanist philosophical tradition considered ontologically separate and discrete domains like “human” and “animal,” or “biological” and “mechanical.” 

Nat Hentoff, who wrote for The New Yorker, The Village Voice, Washington Post, and of course our own Free Inquirydied this weekend at the age of 91

Quote of the Day:

Donald Clarke at The Irish Times reflects on Scorsese’s new film Silence, and the theological quandary it presents:

There remains a stubborn assumption that the Christian belief system is hard-wired into any conversation about the nature of existence. For large sections of the population, Christianity is of no more interest than astrology, flat-Earthism or the tenets of water dousing. It is no longer even worth rejecting. 

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Image from Strindberg and Helium by Erin Perkins and Eun-Ha Paek.

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

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