Victorian Moralizing

July 14, 2016

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

The fourth Women in Secularism conference is coming in September, and we put out a reminder about it, focusing on the courage of many of the great speakers who will be there. 

The New York Times‘ Jeremy Peters looks at the GOP 2016 platform, and calls it “almost Victorian in its moralizing.” For example:

The platform demands that lawmakers use religion as a guide when legislating, stipulating “that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights.”  It also encourages the teaching of the Bible in public schools because, the amendment said, a good understanding of its contents is “indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry.”

I think “Victorian” is generous. “Bronze Age” is more like it, no insult meant to bronze.

Meanwhile, Pew reports that despite some hemming and hawing, almost 80% of white evangelicals are supporting Trump, which is more than backed Romney in 2012. Hemant notes that 67% of nones are backing Clinton, and wonders why she’s not doing more to reach out to us. My answer? Because she doesn’t need to.

I am loving this piece at the On Campus blog by CFI intern Sam Farooqui on popular misunderstandings of what science actually is, even and especially among those who purport to “love” (or “f***ing love”) science. 

Julia Belluz, Brad Plumer, and Brian Resnick at Vox talk to 270 scientists (coincidentally, one for each electoral vote needed to win the presidency) to figure out what’s not to f***ing love about science right now, showing “the challenges and perverse incentives that scientists across fields face.”

New research suggests that the dinosaur-killing asteroid may have done them in by igniting oil reserves and spreading soot, but in such a way that crocodilians would have been able to survive. 

Harriet Hall has some bad news for osteoarthritis sufferers. Chances are, glucosamine and chondroitin don’t work

A family takes some rocks from the Gettysburg battlefield, determines they’re cursed, and mails them back.

A BuzzFeed quiz presents a challenge: Among these names, which are Pokemon, and which are early church heretics? (I got 13 out of 15 largely by guessing.)

Quote of the Day:

Bill Nye on the Ken Ham “Ark Encounter”:

I spoke with a lot of kids (and took a great many selfies). Almost all of them do not accept that humans are causing climate change—and that is the Answers In Genesis ministry’s fault. Through its dioramas and signage, the organization promotes ideas that are absolutely wrong scientifically, while suppressing critical thinking in our students—which is in no one’s best interest, conservative or progressive. … On a hopeful note, the parking lots were largely empty, and the ark building is unfinished. We can hope it will close soon.

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