The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Good morning. Here’s some Grade-A crap from the top court of the EU:
The highest court of the European Union ruled Wednesday that courts can consider whether a vaccination led to someone developing an illness even when there is no scientific proof.
Paul Offit says:
Using [the court’s] criteria, you could reasonably make the case that someone should be compensated for developing leukemia after eating a peanut butter sandwich.
A major Washington Post-Kaiser Foundation survey looks at the deep divisions between urban and rural Americans, which are felt far more strongly in rural areas than urban. Here’s one aspect of the study of relevance here:
That sense of division is closely connected to the belief among rural Americans that Christian values are under siege. Nearly 6 in 10 people in rural areas say Christian values are under attack, compared with just over half of suburbanites and fewer than half of urbanites. When personal politics is taken into account, the divide among rural residents is even larger: 78 percent of rural Republicans say Christian values are under attack, while 45 percent of rural Democrats do.
The House Armed Services Committee seems to want to establish a “Space Corps” within the Air Force. Guys, when the aliens come to harvest us for our meat or use us as batteries, I don’t think your Space Corps is gonna make a meaningful difference, but that’s just me.
Joe Bish at VICE looks at the prevalence of conspiracy thinking throughout society, mainstream and otherwise, which includes the irony of conspiracy-trafficking atheists on forums like Reddit:
Surely the supposed ultra-enlightened intelligence of forum atheism is at odds with crackpot conspiracies? Sometimes, but a lot of it is born from the same level of skepticism. Atheism is not just the lack of belief in higher powers or deities; it’s often interwoven with antitheism, and many who identify as atheists have furious antitheist tendencies. … It comes back to the attitude of the message-board atheist: raging at people who can’t see what’s really going on.
The American Meteorological Society would like to speak to Energy Pseudosecretary Rick Perry, verrrrrrry slowlyyyyyy, in order to correct his dopey ideas about climate change, because he lacks “fundamental understanding of the science.” Yep, that sounds right.
This is unexpected. According to PRRI, most American religious groups support same-sex marriage.
An independent report in the UK finds that leaders within the Church of England spent 20 years “colluded and concealed” to protect former bishop Peter Ball, jailed in 2015 for sexual abusing 18 young men. Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tells his predecessor and “honorary assistant bishop” George Carey to step down.
A report on Australian pharmacies recommends that homeopathic products be banned from sale.
Ahmadis in Indonesia say they are being denied state ID cards unless they renounce their beliefs.
In order to stop Trump, witches are casting spells. That should help.
Quote of the Day:
We may still need that whole Space Corps thing if we follow the advice of Stephen Hawking, who says that within the next few centuries, humanity is going to be compelled to “spread out” to other worlds. “Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves,” he said. “I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth.” Also:
The human race has existed as a separate species for about 2 million years. Civilization began about 10,000 years ago, and the rate of development has been steadily increasing. If humanity is to continue for another million years, our future lies in boldly going where no one else has gone before.
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