Point-Zero-Zero-Four Percent

March 23, 2017

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

A man plows an SUV into dozens of people in London, killing two, and stabs a police officer to death outside Parliament, before being shot himself. ISIS claims he’s one of theirs, but they always do that, and nothing has been confirmed.

Here comes the flood: The House “Science” Committee is going to start holding hearings meant to delegitimize accepted climate science.

The branches of the dinosaur family tree have been “radically redrawn.” Ed Yong at The Atlantic talks to Matthew Baron, the scientist who contends that the way dinosaurs have bee grouped for over a century is wrong, and that T-rex and Triceratops are not as distantly related as we thought. “This paper has kept me up at night!” scientist Darla Zelenitsky told Yong.

The March for Science’s organizers post a clarifying “what we stand for” essay (emphasis theirs):

The March for Science is an opportunity to advance important dialogues, both within the scientific community and with the public, on how we engage with policy and politics. It was a mistake to ever imply that the March for Science is apolitical — while this march is explicitly non-partisan, it is political.  

I don’t watch Tucker Carlson at all, as a rule, because life is so goddamn short as it is. But Ayaan Hirsi Ali was on his show, so you can see that if you want. But like I said, I don’t watch Tucker Carlson.  

Alan Burdick at The New Yorker looks at the rise of fake, low-rent, and pay-to-play science journals, and quotes Jeffrey Beall of the University of Colorado:

Predatory and low-quality journals are granting the imprimatur of science to basically any idea for which the author is willing to write an article and pay the author fees. This is polluting the scientific record with junk science, and demarcation has essentially failed. I believe this will worsen in time and the notion of what constitutes valid science and what isn’t will become increasingly vague. … The biggest victim is science itself. 

Carolyn Gregoire reports on a new course at North Carolina State University by Dr. Alicia McGill, “Frauds and Mysteries in History,” which seeks to arm students against conspiracy theories and misinformation. 

Princess Anne, who seems to have gotten the brains in the family, speaks up for genetically modified crops.” Gene technology has got real benefits to offer,” she said, as well as, “We grow some very good plants here remarkably easily. I don’t see the problem in saying ‘is there something we could do to improve their abilities?'”

The NYT editorial board is not impressed with India’s Narendra Modi and his placating of religious extremism, saying, “Mr. Modi sees no contradiction between economic development and a muscular Hindu nationalism that feeds on stoking anti-Muslim passions.”  

Quote of the Day:

Holy freaking crap I agree with Mike Huckabee about something: Don’t kill the National Endowment for the Arts:

I do care greatly about the real recipients of endowment funds: the kids in poverty for whom NEA programs may be their only chance to learn to play an instrument, test-drive their God-given creativity and develop a passion for those things that civilize and humanize us all. They’re the reason we should stop and recognize that this line item accounting for just 0.004 percent of the federal budget is not what’s breaking the bank. … I’m for cutting waste and killing worthless programs. I’m not for cutting and killing the hope and help that come from creativity.

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Photo credit: Meredith Bell via Foter.com / CC BY-SA 

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