Implausibility Upon Implausibility Upon Implausibility

March 7, 2016

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

Let’s talk about the God Lady, Denise Ghattas, at the Democratic debate last night. My less well-considered question about that whole exchange is, “WTF was that?” It would have been one thing if a journalist had asked, in a more academic framing, “is God relevant to this campaign?” But instead we had what seemed to me to be a leading question aimed squarely at the one guy in the whole race who has largely eschewed brining God into the discussion. (To be fair, Hillary hasn’t made much of a fuss about God, but she always seems happy to wade into the topic when prompted.) It felt like a prod to Bernie to say, “Hey, secular Jew, where’s all your God talk? What gives?” The softball Ghattas tossed to Hillary convinced me further. “What do you pray for?” is about as meaningful a debate question as “what’s your favorite color?” Oh, and no questions about church-state separation, religious exemptions, free expression rights, or anything like that. But hey, at least we all feel settled on God-belief. And the skepto-atheist community waits for another cycle to pass.

Guess who’s at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today? Not me! It’s our globetrotting Michael De Dora, and here’s what he’ll be up to

Veretan skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer columnist Robert Sheaffer is asked to bring the reality-based perspective to a Houston Chronicle piece on the claims of Jeffery J. Kripal and Whitley Strieber about the alleged validity of paranormal and “inexplicable” occurrences, and cites “implausibility upon implausibility upon implausibility.”

Michael Shermer says he is not endorsing Donald Trump, and declines to come down on any particular side. Meanwhile, Caitlyn Jenner would like to work for the election of Ted Cruz. Okay. 

John Hofsess, founder of Canada’s Right to Die Society, writes at length in a posthumous Toronto Life piece about his efforts to assist those who wished to end their lives on their own terms, just as he prepared to end his own

Mark Gifford of the University of Texas at San Antonio explains why he personally feels driven to promote skepticism on Texas Public Radio. “I’m called to service, to help students find truth.”

Wow, this is something: Bryan Menegus at Gizmodo has an A-to-Z guide to crap alt-med treatments propagated on YouTube. 

President Obama praises the Mythbusters, but laments that they never let him blow anything up. That is kind of messed up.

Steven Salzberg knocks down some sensationalist medical headlines claiming that autism has been “reversed” or that cancer has met with some kind of “breakthrough.” HOWEVER, Jimmy Carter cannot be destroyed!!!  

Stephen Law rails against the circular firing squad of “witch hunters” in the otherwise important business of stamping out bigotry:

On realising we’ve made a pretty good criticism of their views, they may point an accusatory finger at us and say, ‘You only say that because you’re [insert relevant word here]-phobic! You’re prejudiced! You should be ashamed!‘ Let me be very clear: sometimes these charges of [insert relevant word here]-phobia really are merited. I’m not denying that. There certainly are Islamophobes, anti-semites, homophobes, and so on among those who consider themselves liberal and left-leaning. However, it’s also increasingly common to level such charges of bigotry and prejudice on flimsy or even non-existent grounds in order to stifle legitimate debate. 

The Supreme Court overwhelmingly votes to block a Louisiana law that would have forced the closing of all but one of the state’s abortion providers. Only the fun-loving Clarence Thomas dissented.

Jenny Splitter at Science 2.0 says Bernie Sanders isn’t as pro-science as he often seems

Matt Emerson, in a WSJ op-ed, makes a very tenuous connection between “faith” and science which, if you ask me, and you didn’t, but it’s my blog, exemplifies either a fundamental misunderstanding of faith and science, or an intentional misrepresentation. But you didn’t ask.

This is interesting: a federal court has ruled that the Army’s requiring a Sikh officer to undergo special testing to see if his religiously required hair and beard won’t interfere with combat gear is a no-go, because they don’t require the same testing of non-Sikhs who have similar follicular situations but for non-religious reasons. 

David Gorski dispels the lie that Gardasil causes infertility

Christianity Todaythink a little harder about your classified postings.

Quote of the Day: 

This “Monday Motivation” from “Werner Twetzog” speaks to me:

The universe will expand into a cold, thin haze of elementary particles. 

Nothing you did will matter.  

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Original image by Shutterstock

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