Triumph of the Retrograde

July 19, 2016


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

So! So. Um, did you see the GOP convention last night? I, uh, I saw a lot of it. Yep. Rudy Giuliani, you know, he yelled a lot. Melania Trump, she plagiarized a lot. Hillary Clinton was accused of murder a lot. And on MSNBC, Rep. Steve King told Chris Hayes that non-whites haven’t done much for civilization. There was a lot more, of course. Yep. 

The New York Times editorial board bemoans the GOP platform:

This majority has triumphed in securing retrograde positions that include making no exceptions for rape or women’s health in cases of abortion; requiring the Bible to be taught in public high schools; selling coal as a “clean” energy source; demanding a return of federal lands to the states; insisting that legislators use religion as a guide in lawmaking; appointing “family values” judges; barring female soldiers from combat; and rejecting the need for stronger gun controls — despite the mass shootings afflicting the nation every week. The platform also makes homophobia and the denial of basic civil rights to gays, lesbians and transgender people a centerpiece. 

Tim Mak at the Daily Beast draws the connection between RNC prime time speaker Michelle Van Etten and Infowars’ conspiracy theorist in chief Alex Jones:

Van Etten is involved in selling products that claim to improve health and even fight cancer, all based on dubious science. And as you peel the story back, every single layer is fascinating: there’s Alex Jones hysteria, pyramid-scheme-style marketing, and questionable Clemson University research. “The whole basis of the products and the claims are pseudoscience,” said Janet Helm, a nutritionist and registered dietitian who writes frequently about diet myths, nutrition trends, and misinformation.

Point of Inquiry this week interviews my friend Ali Rizvi about his upcoming book Atheist Muslim, and the distinctions he draws between Islam the religion and being part of the Muslim culture. 

Did you know that the full schedule for CSICon 2016 in Las Vegas is now online? Well you do now. Go register!  

WaPo looks at the recent Pew numbers to highlight the fact that the “nones” are now the nation’s largest voting bloc, assuming they actually vote:

But while the religiously unaffiliated are making up a larger share of American voters, that doesn’t necessarily mean that that will translate into actual votes. Exit polls of people who actually cast votes — as opposed to preelection polls of registered voters — have traditionally shown that the unaffiliated underperform at the ballot box relative to their raw numbers.

Meaghen Brown at Wired dives into a swirl of sweaty hugs and high fives with the November Project, one of many fitness movements that teeter on the edge of being a kind of cult.

For the CSI website, Susan Gerbic interviews Alan Melikdjanian, the man behind the thick metallic makeup of Captain Disillusion

You gotta like this. The UK’s Croydon Advertiser is running pieces for “Scams Awareness Month,” including stuff about online scams and “psychics” scamming through the mail. 

Transhumanist “presidential candidate” Zoltan Istvan goes pretty hard on religion and believers, to an extend I’d not yet seen from him:

If you want to live—and not be killed or die—make a point to criticize and disavow religion and religious people for being deathist: the idea that death is either welcome or acceptable (whether it comes via terrorism, disease, or aging). In the 21st Century, fundamental religion is a form of mental disease. And sadly, that disease continues to take lives everywhere, in the worst of ways. 

A passerby gets a picture of a fatal car crash in Kentucky, including the SOUL OF THE VICTIM LEAVING THEIR BODY.

Google Earth reveals a giant spider monster. Thanks, Obama.

Ducklings: Smarter than we thought. 

Quote of the Day

Hassan S. Ali at Slackjaw asks the most important scientific and theological question ever:

If evolution does indeed hold true, shouldn’t our mouths have grown and expanded over time so we’d be able to eat a footlong sub in one big bite? And yet, all empirical evidence shows our mouths are the same size as they were generations ago. To me, that’s very problematic when it comes to accepting evolution.

On the flip side, one might consider the creationist position, that God created everything around us. Which, then, leads me to an even bigger question: What kind of malevolent Divine Creator would deny us the joy of fitting an entire footlong submarine sandwich into our mouths? It’s certainly disconcerting either way you approach it. 

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Original image by Nikolaj.  

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