The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
So! I’ve been away for a couple of weeks, you probably hadn’t noticed. I had a thing. Well, a confluence of things, really, circumstances conspired, forces aligned, not single spies but in battalions, the cheese stands alone, etcetera, etcetera.
I assume I haven’t missed much. In fact, don’t even tell me. I’m just going to assume nothing’s happened.
Now here’s some stuff that’s happened.
Unsurprisingly, Scott “Destroyer of Worlds” Pruitt doesn’t just deny climate change, he also thinks evolution is, shall we say, lacking in substantiation:
There aren’t sufficient scientific facts to establish the theory of evolution, and it deals with the origins of man, which is more from a philosophical standpoint than a scientific standpoint.
Yeah, where are all those pesky facts about evolution?? COME ON, SCIENTISTS!
Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly quashed Pruitt’s fantasy about having “red team-blue team” debates about the veracity of climate science, considering the idea “ill conceived.” I’d say.
Ron Lindsay examines the recent spate of state laws banning abortion in cases where the woman seeking the abortion is doing so because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome, and unravels the whole thing:
The absurdity of these laws is underscored by this fact: although the supposed purpose of the laws is to prevent discrimination, the laws actually result in fostering discrimination—against those fetuses that do not have a genetic defect. For fetuses diagnosed with chromosomal abnormalities, the woman must persuade the physician that her decision has nothing to with that diagnosis; for healthy fetuses, no reason for the abortion need be given.
Robert Blaskiewicz takes on the Parkland “crisis actors” conspiracy theory, and offers one key piece of advice: If the world is indeed being overrun by malicious forces, you’re probably not the one who should be telling people:
Be wary of wild, emotionally charged stories that appear in social media, and certainly don’t share them. Nobody has any business getting their news of the arrival of the New World Order from you. Let them hear it from the UN or the aliens…or whoever is now in charge.
Stuart Vyse compares the old myths about “changeling” babies to the contemporary panic over vaccines and autism, as well as the pseudoscientific attempts to deny reality.
It’s one thing to suspect that Americans are becoming desensitized to violence and mass shootings. It’s quite another, however, to claim that this is so as a given fact, as Ben Radford points out in a special report.
Susan Gerbic explains why her Wikipedia skeptics team tackled the entry for comet co-discoverer Thomas Bopp (who died in January and I certainly hadn’t heard), a “regular guy” who just loved astronomy:
What I really love about the Thomas Bopp Wikipedia page story is that possibly thousands of students will find the page, be curious, and follow the twenty-nine citations we have left as a starting point to learn more about him and the history of the discovery of the comet.
Newsweek headline: “Male escort exposes 36 actively gay priests in a file sent to Vatican containing erotic Whatsapp messages and photos” …… naaah, I’m good.
Here, go watch the universe get all formed and whatnot.
Gayle Jordan is an atheist running for a state senate seat in Tennessee, so of course she’s labeled as dangerous and radical and blah blah blah. That election is tomorrow, so we’ll see.
Black churchgoers are quietly making their way out of many white evangelical churches. Was it something they said? Or, like, all the things they said?
Pakistan’s Daily Times notes a report showing that 74% of all blasphemy cases in Pakistan originate from one province, Punjab, and 11% of all cases come from Punjab’s capital of Lahore.
New Zealand’s TVNZ has a report on a new code of practice for pharmacists regarding alternative medicine, and I could listen to the anchor saying “TOO-m’rick CEP-shulls and sent John’s WORT” with that accent over and over again. In fact I just did.
Quote of the Day
Elle had a long piece last month by Sunny Sea Gold (amazing name) about her experiences living in a family that took part in exorcisms. Her concluding paragraph:
While I deeply respect my family members’ beliefs, and sometimes wish I believed there were a benevolent God out there looking out for us, it simply doesn’t make sense to me. It hasn’t for a long time. Part of me grieves for my lost faith and that sense of transcendence and safety I used to feel in church. But in a larger way, I feel free. I spent part of my childhood battling demons. Now, as an adult, I don’t have to fear the devil. Because in the universe as I understand it, he simply doesn’t exist.
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