The Vast Majority Simply Don’t Care

February 12, 2015

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

Michelle Boorstein at the Washington Post looks to our own Ron Lindsay, as well as Sam Harris, to weigh in on the tension between atheism and Islam, in the wake of the horrific murders in Chapel Hill.

Elizabeth Stoker Bruening at The New Republic aims a somewhat accusatory admonition at “New Atheists”:

Because it is more critical of religion than introspective about its own moral commitments, it assumes there is broad agreement about what constitutes decency, common sense, and reason. Yet in doing so, New Atheism tends to simply baptize the opinions of young, educated white men as the obviously rational approach to complicated socio-political problems. Thus prejudice in its own ranks goes unnoticed. 

On other tragedy news, I talked to Iain Thomson at The Register about Prince Charles’ reported advocacy of Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia, and our disappointment that such advocacy did not come from our own president.

This is happier stuff: CFI-L.A.’s Jim Underdown is the guest on The Momo Show, with Mo Gaffney and Morgan Walsh.  

MLive covers CFI-Michigan’s involvement in a dispute over a religious sign in a public park, quoting Jennifer Beahan. 

The Montreal Telegram editorializes about the media’s culpability in muddying science with pseudoscience on issues like climate change and vaccines, and notes our Committee for Skeptical Inquiry statement on deniers vs. skeptics, writing, “At the very least, it should not be too much to expect the media to separate the wheat from the chaff as best it can.”

CFI’s legal director Nick Little critically assesses the moves made by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to stop same-sex marriages, and whether he ought to face charges himself. 

The Toronto Star admits it totally blew it by running a story spooking people about HPV vaccine Gardasil. 

Mathew Ingram at GigaOm looks at the problem of fake news or hoax-news going viral:

I would argue that this is a much larger problem than media companies redistributing false information: the vast majority of people simply don’t care whether a report is true or not.  

Meanwhile, look out for those deadly, deadly “nocebos.” 

The Atlantic‘s James Hamblin profiles “The Food Babe,” Vani Hari, and her war against all things “chemical”:

Her work has drawn ardent criticism, primarily from a vocal contingent of academic researchers and doctors, who accuse her, in no uncertain terms, of fear-mongering and profiteering. They say that she invokes science when it is convenient … but demonizes it when it is not—as in her blanket case against any and all genetically modified food.   

Michael Lehmann has 10 things he says Christians need to consider before getting into arguments with atheists, including keeping the focus on the religion’s eponymous character. “Christianity stands or falls on Jesus — not on natural theology, like the fine-tuning argument.”

Does probable 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker accept evolution? “I’m going to punt on that one … That’s a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or the other.” Really?

Christopher J. Ferguson looks at some of the myths and research around video game violence at Skeptical Inquirer

No surprise here, about a third of Americans use alt-med, according to the NIH. 

You know who really needs their own lawyers? Fetuses. Thanks, Texas. 

Quote of the Day 

Ed Brayton is having none of the “no true atheist” arguments going around about the Chapel Hill shooter, a professed atheist:

One of the distinctions between a rational atheism and religious belief is the recognition that all human beings are capable of both extraordinary kindness and horrifying brutality, often at the same time. In contrast to religious beliefs, we do not claim that being an atheist will make someone a better person.    

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Original image by Shutterstock

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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