Sadly Mistaken

May 3, 2017


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

Trump is set to sign an executive order on “religious liberty,” which of course is really about discriminating against LGBTQ folks and controlling the bodies of women. Put it this way, when Politico (or as they call themselves, POLITICO) reports that “the signing would represent a major triumph for Vice President Mike Pence,” you know it’s a bad thing. Anyway, boy are you gonna hear from us on this. In fact, we’ve been pushing to stop this thing before it came into being.

At last year’s CSICon, our former boss Ron Lindsay delivered a kind of skepticism-manifesto address, reminding us what the hell it is we’re all doing here. It’s important stuff:

If gullibility were restricted to believing in ghosts, Bigfoot, or astrology, you might just shrug your shoulders at these numbers and say, so what? Yes, these people are sadly mistaken, but does it really make a difference? The thing is it does make a difference, not so much because of what they believe, but because of how they come to believe. 

Speaking of how we come to believe things, Mathew Inman of The Oatmeal uses his comic to poke at your emotions to make some important points about belief. 

Reasonable Talk Season 4 begins with Richard Dawkins’ chat with Jamy Ian Swiss at CSICon 2016. 

A Skeptical Inquirer reader asks if electromagnetic fields can actually create ghost-hallucinations. And of course the answer is “yes!” Yes they can! Cool, right? Wait. No. Sorry. No. They cannot. Ben Radford explains.

We’re part of a coalition of 118 organizations calling on Congress to support foreign assistance, particularly in regard to women and girls

On Monday SCOTUS upheld California’s ban on “gay conversion” therapy for minors. At least somebody’s doing something right. 

At NYT, Katelyn Beaty of Christianity Today writes about her disappointment with Christian public figures defending Bill O’Reilly and other harassers:

If conservative Christians want to protect the faith — especially in a time when they fear loss of cultural power — they must show preferential care not for the powerful but for victims.


In case words are too hard, which, hey, I totally get, here’s why vaccines are good, expressed in bubbles. Everyone likes bubbles, right? Wheeeee bubbles.

Phil Plait mulls the appropriate response to NYT’s hiring of climate change doubter Bret Stephens:

We are far, far past the point where we should be giving oxygen to people who sow doubt on the science of warming, just as we are far past the point where we should be discussing just what we’re going to do about warming. 

Steven Novella takes apart The New York Times‘ “credulous retelling of the standard ‘alternative medicine” narrative‘” for which “quacks everywhere are grateful.” 

Brigham Young University research shows that porn use has a more damaging effect on relationships when there’s shame built in. And guess where that shame comes from:

Out of fear of rejection, many people keep their pornography use secret, particularly when they are from religious, and especially Christian, communities or backgrounds. That religious, conservative background leads people to overestimate the harm and shame attached to pornography use, and to experience greater distress related to porn use, which they label as an “addiction.”

Brianna Heldt at the National Catholic Register calls Bill Nye “The Pseudoscience Guy” because that’s really original, and reminds us that despite the title of Bill’s new show, “last I checked, it is Jesus Christ who will save the world.” Checkmate, pseudoscience guy.

Pope Fluffy says his trip to Egypt was intended to show his support for “a vision of healthy secularism,” which, you know, actually sounds pretty good. 

Samantha Bee of the future roasts President Pence, thanks him for allowing her an exception to the “no women-chatter rule,” and apologizes for her dirty pillows. 

Quote of the Day:

Donald Trump’s Northern Virginia Trump National Golf Club apparently has a very solemn looking plaque marking the site a Civil War battle, “The River of Blood,” where it is inscribed (and signed by Trump) that “many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot.” But actually, no.

Historian Richard Gillespie says:

No. Uh-uh. No way. Nothing like that ever happened the

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