The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Jonathan Swan at Axios reports that Trump is pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, which is not a surprise, but also terrible.
A bomb detonated near the presidential palace in Kabul kills at least 80 people and injures hundreds.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that transgender student Ashton Whitaker can in fact use the bathroom that corresponds to his identity.
Apparently, confirmation bias is not the biggest hurdle to changing minds with new evidence. More powerful than what we already believe is what we want to be true. Ben Tappin, Ryan McKay, and Leslie van der Leer write at NYT:
Our study suggests that political belief polarization may emerge because of peoples’ conflicting desires, not their conflicting beliefs per se. This is rather troubling, as it implies that even if we were to escape from our political echo chambers, it wouldn’t help much.
At VICE, Emmalina Glinskis reports that the Trump presidency, more Republicans in state houses, and Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education clears the path for creationism in schools:
A new wave of bills with verbatim ties to the Discovery Institute made inroads in statehouses across the country. … In most states, teaching religion in public schools violates the separation of church and state. But “academic freedom” laws label established science, like climate change and evolution, “controversial issues,” which opens the door for teachers to offer alternatives, like climate denial and creationism.
Sean Spicer is SO FRUSTRATED by the “perpetration” of “fake news.”
The people of Bernards Township in New Jersey barred Muslims from building a mosque in town after four years of contention. The town was sued, and now the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge is getting a court settlement of $3.25 million and the right to build the damn mosque.
VICE interviews former Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writer Mark O’Connell about his new book about J. Allen Hynek, the astronomer hired by the government to investigate 1948 UFO reports, and who went from skeptic to believer.
Quote of the Day:
Patricia Miller says she sees signs that our current political climate shows signs of mirroring Gilead of The Handmaid’s Tale:
For some, Gilead may seem a fantasy and the forces of the Christian right in retreat. But for others, Atwood’s dystopia is more a matter of degree and intent; and, as Offred says, an erosion of rights so gradual that many aren’t even aware it is happening.
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