Escargotic Commotion

May 13, 2016

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

We rounded up a huge number of new sign-ons to our statement to Bangladesh, demanding that they pursue justice instead of blaming the victims of Islamist attacks. Lawrence Krauss, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Rev. Gretta Vosper, Taslima Nasrin, Deeyah Khan, and even Open Doors, an organization that fights Christian persecution. We will keep beating this drum.

The Obama administration says all public schools must allow transgender students to use the restroom that they feel matches their gender identity. Can you imagine anything like this happening even 5 or 6 years ago?  

Donald Trump has been pretending to be his own PR staff for decades. I’m serious, he gets on the phone with reporters, and pretends to be imaginary employees who then say nice things about Trump. I can’t even.

Lindsay Beyerstein + Trump criticism + curse words = AWESOME. On May 24, Lindsay is hosting a live web presentation (don’t make me say it…oh fine…WEBINAR) with the CFI Institute based on her talk “On Bullshit: Donald Trump, Harry Frankfurt, and Indifference to Truth.” Fire up your browsers and tune in.

Veteran TV personality John Davidson publishes an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle on being openly secular and touting the Reason Rally…except it’s paywalled, subscribers only. But it’s there! 

Ben Radford looks at last year’s shooting at a screening of Amy Schumer’s film Trainwreck that left three people dead, and questions the notion that the content of a film can be blamed for the tragedies that occur at their showings (such as the Aurora shooting during The Dark Knight):

When we apply critical thinking to the issue it’s clear that Amy Schumer has nothing to apologize for, nor any reason to feel guilty or responsible in any way for a mentally ill monster’s decision to attack an audience at her film. 

At Discovery News, Ben also notes that no matter Hillary Clinton’s enthusiasm for UFOs, nothing she might reveal about The Truth™ is likely to satisfy conspiracy-minded folks.  

Peter Lipson at Forbes decries attempts by naturopaths in Michigan to get officially designated as “physicians.”  

Prince Charles tells an international gathering of scientists that he gives cows homeopathy. I assume with a straight face. Relatively. 

Meet Steve Hill, candidate for California’s State Senate, former Marine, atheist, and Satanist

CNBC’s “American Greed” series (seems redundant) rounds up some famous psychic scams, including the one I remember best from teenagerhood, Miss Cleo: “CALL ME NOW!” 

Rob Waugh at Yahoo News, meanwhile, rounds up famous UFO sightings and explains what they actually were. 

Pennsylvania’s legislature gets down to the crucial business of passing a bill to allow “In God We Trust” in public buildings.  

The Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register marks 20 years and 1000 sightings. Of absolutely no monsters. Whee!

Quote of the Day:

This is amazing. Rachel Rosen at Atlas Obscura informs us that in the 1850s, occultist Jacques Toussaint Benoît and a Monsieur Biat-Chretien believed they had found a way to use psychic snails to communicate across spacetime:

Benoît and Biat had determined that snails, once mated, remained not only monogamous but, through the exchange of “sympathetic fluids,” bound in a lifelong telepathic bond. Poke a snail with an electrical current in one location, they decided, and its partner, however distant, would react in kind as a result of a phenomenon they termed “escargotic commotion.” By placing a letter next to each snail, this evolutionary loophole could be exploited to transmit messages at the speed of thought, across any distance. 

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