Exploit with Impunity

May 24, 2017


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

Trump meets Pope Fluffy, and I dunno, it seems like Francis is not at his usual fluffiness around this guy.

Alex Wagner at The Atlantic contrasts the Pope and Trump in terms of the moral foundations of their work. Trump doesn’t come out looking so good.

Of course, the Catholic Church never looks very good. Case in point: The Catholic Archdiocese of Agana in Guam is being sued by a man who says he was sexually abused by priests there when he was an altar boy. Pope Fluffy already had to replace the Archbishop there for that guy’s sexual abuse of kids. 

Here’s a couple of things Trump wants to kill, according to his new budget. First, science. Rachel Becker at The Verge spells out the damage that would be done by Trump’s gutting of scientific research.

Also? The humanities. The National Endowment for the Humanities put out a press release, essentially letting us know that they’re bracing for elimination

Dani Tofte of CFI Portland is the guest on Jefferson Public Radio’s The Jefferson Exchange to discuss secular celebrants and their victory in Oregon.

NYT reports that as the Trump administration abdicates all efforts on climate change, “California is emerging as the nation’s de facto negotiator with the world on the environment.” 

Claire Maldarelli at Popular Science checks with gastroenterologist Matthew Ciorba of Washington University in Saint Louis to find out if taking probiotics actually does any good. Answer: Probably not.

This will not susprise you at all: A study for the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion shows that when a candidate is more overtly religious (or in their wording, of “higher religiosity”) they are more appealing to Republicans, and those who are secular or have low religiosity are more appealing to Democrats. This is separate from the religious affiliation of a candidate. 

Betsy DeVos went to Indianapolis to tout the administration’s voucher agenda, but provided no details. 

Richard Dawkins is the guest on Dogma Debate with David Smalley.

Fox News retracts the Seth Rich conspiracy story, sort of:

On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.

We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted. 

Great. Fox will continue to “investigate” the story that doesn’t exist. 

Taiwan’s constitutional court approves same-sex marriage

What the what: People taking placebos that they know to be placebos…get better? 

The FCC doesn’t seem to think Stephen Colbert merits punishment for using naughty words to diss Trump on TV. 

This is kind of nice. At BeliefNet (which still exists!), Wesley Baines offers advice for atheists living in religious families:

If you cannot be true to yourself, you can’t truly live. Unless it will place you in danger to do so, it is vital that you not only embrace your own views on how the world works, but also communicate those views to your family.

Behold Anatoly Mikhailovich Kashpirovsky, the hypnotist-mystic who millions of Russians believed had psychic powers to help the population through the end of the Soviet Union.

John Cook explains how to spot science denial…and publishes it in the National Review of all places:

The various movements who have rejected a scientific consensus share the same five characteristics of science denial: reliance on fake experts, using logical fallacies to arrive at false conclusions, demanding impossible expectations of scientific proof, cherry picking from the full body of evidence and conspiracy theories to explain the consensus.

Quote of the Day:

Afiya S. Zia at Pakistan’s DAWN clears up myths about what “secularism” actually means.

Secularism — the distancing of state from religion — does not mean … absence of religion or anti-religion. It means re­arranging state laws and policies so that they are neutral … and treat citizens of all faiths without prejudice. …

It is not a utopian fantasy to want governance that is free of state orthodoxy and gender, class and racial bias. The imperfect or unfinished project of secularism does not mean that it has failed or is anti-religious. Religious politics, like capitalism, is an unregulated, unaccountable industry that often exploits with impunity. Secular resistance is a necessary component of political discourse to counter the tyranny of the majority.

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