A Concentration of Socially Awkward People

April 6, 2018

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

Scott Pruitt (Destroyer of Worlds) is in the midst of an ethics scandal, of course, and sits down for an interview in friendly territory, Fox News, and oops that was a bad idea.  

Kevin Williamson, a conservative writer hired from the National Review over to The Atlantic, starts his new job by writing that women who have abortions should be hanged. Then he gets fired, which of course means that The Atlantic is against free speech, because free speech means a magazine has no choice but to publish whatever crazy stuff anyone says. 

Juli Briskman is the cyclist who flipped off Trump in his motorcade last year. She was fired from her job as a result, so she’s suing:

The First Amendment bars retaliation against me by Trump. But Trump doesn’t need to punish me for my speech if fear of him spurs my employer to do it. And a private employer can’t suppress my freedom of expression on my own time out of fear of illegal government retaliation without violating Virginia employment law, which is why I filed a lawsuit against my former employer this week. 

Physician-assisted suicide is made legal in the state of Hawaii. Gov. David Ige said, “It is time for terminally ill, mentally competent Hawaii residents who are suffering to make their own end-of-life choices with dignity, grace and peace.”

H. Sidky of the Department of Anthropology at Miami University writes Skeptical Inquirer‘s recent feature on the war on science and the rise of anti-intellectualism:

Purveyors of supernaturalism, anti-intellectual dogmas, medieval credulities, and “alternative forms of knowledge” that are daily an affront to our intelligence and sensibilities are swarming with bluster and hubris that science is now defunct and offer their own “truths” and “ways of knowing” as better substitutes. However, before we submit to the assertions of religious ideologues, miracle workers, and quacks and make their “truths” the basis of our worldview, we need to ask the following question: Are the assertions that science is defunct based on compelling evidence? 

Joe Nickell does something TOTALLY CRAZY in regard to the UFOs spotted by two airline pilots over Arizona in February: he INVESTIGATES it:

[Retired Air Force Major James] McGaha pointed out that whenever a very bright light source is seen during the daytime, it is most likely a reflection of sunlight off an object. Given the time and place of the sighting, and therefore the angle and azimuth of the sun, he says, the Arizona UFO is fully consistent with this scenario: a reflective, slowly drifting object at high altitude, very brightly lit by the sun.

The NYPD has agreed to stop surveillance based on religion or ethnicity, an approach that targeted Muslims after 9/11. “Today’s settlement sends a message to all law enforcement: Simply being Muslim is not a basis for surveillance,” said Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates.

Example of why we can’t have nice things: Those little “libraries” stationed around neighborhoods where folks can borrow and donate books? They are proselytizer-bait.

Stephen Hawking made sure that at his church funeral, homeless people would be fed with a donation to Food Cycle Cambridge. 

The average male university student in a recent study assumed himself to be smarter than 66% of his class, while women only think of themselves as smarter than 54% of their class. Said one professor:

Boys who are drawn to STEM fields often are not the humanities-focused, artistic boys who might have a higher social IQ. Often you have a concentration of socially awkward people who do socially inept things. 

That’s not fair. I am UTTERLY awkward and socially inept and yet I DO come from the arts and humanities. 

Quote of the Day

God bless you, duct tape. @kittycattwitch tweets:

I finally asked my grandpa why so many of his books were wrapped in [black] duct tape. His response was “I tape the covers so it looks like a bible and I can read it during church.” Somebody get him a medal. #lifehacks

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