Extinction in Memory As Well As Being

February 22, 2017


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

Here comes the Trump deportation force, which aims to:

… publicize crimes by undocumented immigrants; strip such immigrants of privacy protections; enlist local police officers as enforcers; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations. 

NYT’s editorial board isn’t having it:

[DHS Secretary Kelly] plans to publish data on crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants, and to identify state and local jurisdictions that release immigrants from custody. Why? To promote the false idea, as Mr. Trump has shamefully done, that immigrants pose particular safety risks and to punish so-called sanctuary cities that, for reasons of public order and decency, are trying to disconnect themselves from ICE.

This is how Mr. Trump’s rantings about “bad hombres” and alien rapist terrorists have now been weaponized, in cold bureaucratic language. 

A federal judge says the state of Texas is not allowed to withhold Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood

South Dakota’s House of Representatives is considering a new “strengths and weaknesses” anti-evolution education bill.

Rev. Johnnie Moore argues in favor of prioritizing Christian refugees for entry into the U.S. because of the threats of genocide. (CFI agrees that the ISIS attacks on Christians and other groups constitute a genocide, but we reject religious tests.) 

The contemptible Yiannopoulos resigns from the execrable Breitbart, even though they were so good together.

Bill Maher takes credit for the Yiannopoulos collapse:

What I think people saw was an emotionally needy Ann Coulter wannabe, trying to make a buck off of the left’s propensity for outrage. And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he’s dropped as a speaker at CPAC. Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome. 

Here’s a thing that’s real: A panel at CPAC called “If Heaven Has a Gate, a Wall, and Extreme Vetting, Why Can’t America?” Really! 

Legislative efforts are underway in states that include Iowa and North Carolina to purge university faculty of Democrats and liberals, and begin quotas for conservative professors. 

On Sunday, hundreds of scientists and their allies demonstrated in Boston against the Trump rejection of science. “Objective Reality Exists,” read one sign. Can you believe you need a protest to make that case?

Wow, this is kind of moving. 325 years after the fact, the women burned as witches in Salem during the 17th-century hysteria will finally get a memorial

Susan Gerbic interviews CSICon presenter Bob Knaier, who discussed expert testimony in trials, using a case about homeopathy as an example. Of the conference itself, he said:

I think of these conferences as an intellectual vacation—not a vacation from deep thought, but rather a vacation to deep thought. Many of us may not get a great deal of intellectual stimulation in our everyday lives, or at least may not regularly be among others who share a commitment to skepticism, reason, and free inquiry. These conferences offer a brief opportunity to experience that. They can be a real oasis in that regard—particularly when held in the Las Vegas desert! 

This is a good thing. 1500 Muslims raise $40,000 to help repair a Jewish Community Center cemetery that was wrecked by anti-Semites. 

Shelia M. Poole at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiles Atlanta-area nonbelievers about their journeys and lives. 

An article from the University of Arizona’s journalism school is essentially an ad for homeopathy. Here’s an example of its badness:

A homeopathic remedy is an alternative medicine practice that uses natural remedies such as plants, animals and minerals. In many cases, remedies are similar to what pharmaceutical companies us

And a practitioner quoted in the piece says, “These homeopathic remedies only play 80 percent of being healthy in your daily life. The other 20 percent is resting your mind and trying to refrain from stress or negative energy.” The claims are never questioned or challenged. Wonder what they’re teaching at that journalism school.

This is reporting: Shiela Kaplan at STAT and Scientific American digs through the FDA’s records via a FOIA request, and finds more than 370 cases of children made sick or killed by Hyland’s homeopathic teething products. 

Amanda Scott writes at AL.com how she feels connected to her native Alabama, but as a bisexual atheist, the culture and politics of the state have pushed her out

Sally Morgan, who pretends to be psychic for money, presses charges against a young woman who made money by pretending to be Sally Morgan pretending to be psychic. 

First South Korea has way better Internet speeds than we do, and now they’re leaving us in the dust in life expectancy. I’m moving.  

Quote of the Day:

Laurie Penny at The Baffler has an excellent and deep piece on the way our civilization is handling its slow demise:

We are the first to really have to wrestle with ultimate species death, extinction in memory as well as being. Of course we are afraid. We were afraid of the Bomb. We’re afraid now, even though many people’s understanding of climate change hasn’t moved past the denial stage. It is there, however, that the similarities between the two types of apocalypse end.

Climate change is a different prospect of calamity—not just elementally but morally different from nuclear exchange in a manner which has not been properly dealt with. The first difference is that it’s definitely happening. The second is that it’s not happening to everyone.  

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Photo credit: Leatherheart ✂ via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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