Socially Inconvenient

May 23, 2016


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

The past fortnight was one of the busiest we’ve had in a while (and we’re not even into conference season yet), so get a quick catch-up with the latest Cause & Effect newsletter

Kavin Senapathy is interviewed at Good about her role in the March Against Myths, which pushes back against anti-GMO conspiracy mongering. She’s also one of the great speakers at the upcoming Women in Secularism 4.

Kaliegh Rogers at Motherboard rounds up three recent studies that give gut-punches to some of the bigger health myths: probiotics, gluten, and GMOs. 

Oklahoma’s governor, the very conservative and very anti-abortion Mary Fallin, vetoes the crazy bill that would have criminalized doctors who performed abortions. But as Josh Israel points out, this wasn’t because she suddenly decided that abortions were okay (which they are), or even that she realized that bill was unconstitutional (which it was). “Fallin objected only to the fact that there might be cases where it was not clear that the procedure was necessary to save a life.” So we may not be done here.

Here’s a conspiracy for you: The Bill Clinton love child conspiracy. I mean, come on, not exactly as ‘out there’ as an alien abduction or 9/11 as an inside job, right? But Olivia Nuzzi at Daily Beast investigates, and finds, well, nothing. 

Zoltan Istvan, the Transhumanist guy, writes a good piece at Salon on how religion is finding it increasingly difficult to catch up with modern times:

To remain a dominant force throughout the 21st century, formal religion will have to bend. It will have to adapt. It will have to evolve. Hell, it will have to be upgraded. Welcome to the growing impact of Christian relativism. 

Relatedly, Kelley Bouchard at the Portland Press Herald reports on how in Maine, one of the least religious states, is seeing an uptick in attendance at nondenominational Christian churches

On his podcast, Hemant interviews Wynn LeGrow, the open atheist who ran against Randy Forbes for Congress in 2010. 

In 2016, open atheist Amanda Kondrat’yev is running in the Democratic primary for Florida’s 1st district. This is an interesting year for atheist office-seekers, eh?

The president-elect of the very Catholic Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, denounced the Catholic Church as corrupt and for being “the most hypocritical institution.”

ISIS claims responsibility for yet another death-by-hacking in Bangladesh, this time of a homeopathic doctor, Saner Rahman. UPI says, “Some media reports say the homeopathic doctor promoted secularism while others said he promoted Christianity.”

New Jersey fake-psychic Holly Stanley is arrested and charged with fraud after billing a client for tens of thousands of dollars. 

Harriet Hall reviews This Book Won’t Cure Your Cancer for Skeptical Inquirer

Lilian Kimeto at the The Star in Kenya looks at why atheism is becoming more visible and popular in that country. 

The editorial board of The Columbian in Washington state admits to being excited about the prospect of Hillary Clinton opening up some UFO files:

Such secrecy [around Area 51] would require a vast ongoing conspiracy, one that defies credulity. But who are we to judge? Instead, we shall embrace the ethos of a region that welcomes nonconformity, even if involves little green men or big, hairy ones.  

Brad Newsome at the Sydney Morning Herald bemoans the myth and fiction that passes as “educational” on cable channels like the History Channel and Discovery:

For someone to be able to identify and dismantle pseudoscience or pseudohistory they need a basic knowledge of science or history to begin with, but too often the very channels that used to provide such knowledge are instead obscuring and undermining it with blatant nonsense presented as truth. Such misrepresentation and denial of science can have real consequences, feeding into the suspicion and anti-science sentiment so prevalent among voters in the US and elsewhere.


Quote of the Day:

Aw, there’s a dating website for conspiracy theorists! But, like, how do we know it’s not a trap? Anyhoo, here’s the site’s co-founder, Jarrod Fidden:

Conspiracies happen trillions of times perhaps every day. The definition of a conspiracy is just two or more people coming together and planning something without the knowledge of others and a theory is often based in factional scie
nce. Evolution is a theory! When you put conspiracy and theory together, there shouldn’t be an immediate reaction that makes you think someone is nuts. . . 

. . . Our research put us into a state of belief that was socially inconvenient. It’s much easier if you are happy with what goes on in the world. Through that we realized that this state of belief was distancing ourselves from the other people around us. We thought it must be a horrible scenario for single people who have the same “awake” understanding as us, or have done similar research. So based on that Awake Dating was born.

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