Dealing with Little Green Men

May 2, 2016


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

Nobel Prize winning chemist Sir Harry Kroto, a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and a longtime friend to CFI and the freethought movement, has died at the age of 76. I met him once at my first CFI conference as a new employee in 2012, where I found he had used one of my blog posts in his presentation. I was bowled over by that. He was a lot of fun to listen to, very energetic, and funny. Richard Dawkins posts a remembrance:

Harry Kroto had a childlike quality, in the best sense of the word. It’s often been said that scientists need the curiosity of a child. Harry had that, in spades, together with the childlike imagination of an artist – and he was indeed an accomplished creative artist who won many awards for his graphic designs. But he also had the rebelliousness of youth which never left him, the unstuffy instinct to defy convention which led to his being seen as something of a maverick figure, not quite trusted by the scientific establishment.  

You think you have free will? Ha! You’re fooling yourself! No, seriously, you really might be.

Brigham Young University, where rape victims get punished by the school for violating the honor code. 

Also horrible: Mississippi’s legislature thinks victims of domestic abuse don’t have grounds to divorce their spouse:

“I think people here tend to lean on the bible in their decision-making about divorce,” said [Lorine] Cady, the women’s shelter founder. “They’re not considering what it says about helping women.”  

Daniel Engber at FiveThirtyEight explores how even we super-smartypants skeptics can be duped by our own magnificent egos-I-mean-brains

It seems plausible to me, at least, that the tellers of these tales are getting blinkered by their own feelings of superiority — that the mere act of busting myths makes them more susceptible to spreading them. It lowers their defenses, in the same way that the act of remembering sometimes seems to make us more likely to forget. Could it be that the more credulous we become, the more convinced we are of our own debunker bona fides? Does skepticism self-destruct? 

Relatedly, Cherry Teresa discovers that alternative-health and fad-diet satirist JP Sears (“How to Become Gluten Intolerant”) pimps his own brand of pseudoscientific spiritual healing.  

California’s new law which requires kids to be vaccinated to go to public school, with no religious exemptions, inadvertently sparks a “gold rush” for anti-vax pediatricians who sell medical exemptions to parents. 

Ted Cruz’s dad is not only crazy about God and the evil of secular humanists, but he also likes debunked religiously-inspired supplements

In Bangladesh, a Hindu man, Nikhil Chandra Joarder, is hacked to death by Islamic militants (for “blasphemy”), and three people have been detained in connection to the attack. 

Razor’s Edge, a documentary produced in part by CFI, about the attacks on secularists in Bangladesh, wins a “Bobs” online activism award for citizen journalism from Deutsche Welle

David Bergman and Philip Sherwell at The Telegraph speak to Bangladeshi secularist writers about their fears and their resolve.

Judge Roy Moore, Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, and a hell of a guy, gets a lot of complaints, for which he blames “atheists, homosexuals and transgender individuals.” Well, I mean, we have some grounds, don’t you think?  

Crop circles. Probably not made be high frequency tones or plate tectonics. 

CFI On Campus highlights the work of the Secular Student Alliance at George Mason University

You can always tell a Harvard man, but you can’t tell him much, though you can give him mumps

Here are things that will kill us all, in a nice little chart

At least the Belgians will have iodine pills

The Edge rocks the Sistine Chapel. Did he sing “Numb“? 

Happy Nessiversary, I guess. 

Contact is the secret, is the moment, when everything happens. Contact is the answer, is the reason, that everything happens.  

Quote of the Day:

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to Norwich University’s ROTC program, emphasis mine:

You’ll be dealing with terrorists, you’ll be dealing with hybrid armies, you’ll be dealing with little green men, you’ll be dealing with tribes, you’re going to be dealing with it all, and you’re going to be dealing with it simultaneously.

Wait, what?

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Original image by Shutterstock, and possibly messed with by Paul

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