Ocean Waters and Hubris

July 13, 2017


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

C is for cookie, except when it’s a Delaware-sized iceberg that’s just wrenched itself from Antarctica. So now C, as in the Larsen C ice shelf, is for climate change. Or catastrophe. Or “crap, we’re all screwed.”

Perhaps I’m not being helpful here. Case in point: Largely in response to New York magazine’s recent we’re-gonna-be-cooked-alive-by-global-warming piece, Michael Mann, Susan Joy Hassol, and Tom Toles write in the Washington Post, “There is no need to overstate [the threat of climate change], particularly when it feeds a paralyzing narrative of doom and hopelessness.”

Well, before we all drown in a brackish solution of ocean waters and hubris, let’s look back fondly on the last fortnight of CFI activity with Cause & Effect

Mobeen Azhar at BBC News profiles atheist bloggers in Pakistan as they try to “survive in a nation where blasphemy carries a death sentence”:

Many Pakistani atheists meet at secret, invitation-only gatherings. The Atheists of Lahore have monthly get-togethers in guarded buildings or private homes. One of those in attendance explains: “It’s like a secret society. It’s a bubble where we can talk. It’s not all about Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris. We may just talk about how things are going. It’s a place where you can let your hair down and truly be yourself.” 

Behold the Great Red Spot, in pictures taken from a mere 5000 miles up. Pretty jovial.

Jeff Sessions gave an address to the very anti-LGBTQ Alliance Defending Freedom, and no one will release a transcript.  

Lucia Peters at Bustle takes the recent Vox video on belief in ghosts, featuring our own Joe Nickell, and expands upon the various factors that can cause people to believe they’ve seen experienced something they haven’t.

A study from Lund University looks at the four best ways for individuals and families to combat climate change, but that they are not being sufficiently discussed by schools or governments. They are “eating a plant-based diet, avoiding air travel, living car free, and having smaller families.”

On Monday, a bunch of evangelical pastors put their hands all over the president. Pence and Kushner were there too, but I don’t think they touched Donald. Perhaps the pastors should have given some God-magic to Kushner, as he’s now being looked at by the Justice Department for his possible role in Russia’s fake-news onslaught during the election.

Here’s a free expression battle I didn’t see coming. Nick Toller of Winnepeg, Manitoba has had a vanity license plate revoked for its offensiveness. What could this message of hatefulness be that even the hey-it’s-cool Canadians would prohibit? It says “ASIMIL8,” within a frame that reads, “We are the Borg. Resistance is futile.” The problem, it turns out, is the word “assimilate,” deemed insensitive because of Canada’s efforts to assimilate indigenous peoples. 

Secular Student Alliance has a new boss, Kevin Bolling. He chats with Hemant about who he is and what he wants to do.

Rosalind C. Hughes at Religion Dispatches looks at the kind of creepy way many Americans religiously worship the flag. Note how I used the definite article “the.” Turns out that after the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance was written, “the possessive pronoun was removed so that all children would know that they were pledging their allegiance to the same flag.”

WBTV News looks into an alleged Bigfoot sighting, and concludes, “WBTV did a little digging and found out, of course, it’s not the real Bigfoot, but actually a plywood cutout painted black.” Look at the picture yourself. “DIGGING,” even “a little,” should not have been necessary to realize this.

Quote of the Day:

The Afghan girls who had been denied entry to the U.S. to take part in a robotics comeptition are finally going to get their visas and be allowed to take part. Apparently it was Trump who intervened on their behalf. That’s nice, but remember, they wouldn’t have been denied in the first place if not for Trump’s own Muslim ban. My quote of the day today is from one of those girls, 14-year-old Fatema Ghaderyan, who sadly felt compelled to say this (emphasis mine):

We were not a terrorist group to go to America and scare people. 

We know you’re not. At least, most of us do. And I’m sorry.

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