Never Date a Cancer

July 24, 2017


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

KPFA in Berkeley, California cancelled a Richard Dawkins event, totally out of the blue, because of what they said were views they disagreed with and what they called “abusive speech,” all without providing any examples of evidence. Prof. Dawkins wrote a response in an open letter to KPFA, and we did our own public response as well. As you can imagine, this conflict has lit the bonfire now for the cooking of many hot takes — a great many of which are coming from right-wing sites who delight in seeing progressives at odds with each other.

The Guardian has a fuller report on the whole situation. 

KPFA’s own radio report is, as you can imagine, heavy on self-justification, but does have yours truly trying (really trying) to make them understand the difference between the criticism of ideas and hostility toward a group of people. Somehow I don’t think I got through to them.

As they say in the interwebs news these days: “Developing…”

The parents of Charlie Gard, the infant with a rare genetic disorder leaving him totally dependent on life support, end their fight to keep him alive at all costs.  

Big Think does a piece explaining some of the cosmological concepts discussed by Lawrence Krauss in his 2016 CSICon presentation, video of which can be seen at CFI’s Reasonable Talk

For his latest blog-symposium, Benjamin Radford discusses what is and is not hypocrisy with Michael Hartwell, Ian Harris, and Celestia Ward (participating in cartoon form).

Many young people in China are fascinated by western astrology than their own Chinese zodiac, because apparently the western variety is “more fun.” It’s hard to say just how seriously they take it, but as one young lady said:

Oh, I would never date a Cancer. 

Man, they really oughta change the name of that one. 

Clay Routledge at NYT says the decline in religious belief doesn’t mean that magical thinking as a whole is waning, pointing to research showing high levels of paranormal beliefs:

People who do not frequently attend church are twice as likely to believe in ghosts as those who are regular churchgoers. The less religious people are, the more likely they are to endorse empirically unsupported ideas about U.F.O.s, intelligent aliens monitoring the lives of humans and related conspiracies about a government cover-up of these phenomena.

In Lebanon, as well as elsewhere in the Middle East, campaigns are working to repeal laws that allow a rapist to avoid legal consequences by marrying their victims. 

At The Jakarta Post, Sebastian Partogi writes about a journey away from rigid religious faith, and toward something more “vulnerable,” saying, “It is better to be vulnerable and continuously reinvent our spiritual convictions than to have religious doctrines shoved down our throats, propelling us to be brutal extremists.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Indonesia is looking to broaden the definition of blasphemy and to make punishments for blasphemy even harsher.

Dahlia Lithwick looks at Jeff Sessions’ promises to the religious right to give them ever-more leeway to subvert the law:

While sectarian religious groups are in every way ascendant in the Trump era, and whatever wall once existed between church and state looks ever more like a speed bump, arguments for yet more religious freedom never wane in the courts.  

Conor Lynch at Salon clarifies what Trump and friends mean by draining the swamp of “elites.” Not rich and/or corrupt people, but educated people with expertise

Remember Kim Davis, who didn’t think she should have to do her job because she doesn’t like gays and then got to be used as a prop for Mike Huckabee? Well now the taxpayers of Kentucky must pay the legal fees of the plaintiffs in the big case against her.

When someone searches for hateful extremist videos, like ISIS propaganda, YouTube will now redirect them to specially curated anti-terrorism content.

Steven Salzberg provides a useful warning against sketchy “experimental” treatments posing as clinical trials

The Secular Student Alliance, led by its new
executive director Kevin Bolling, is leaving Ohio and moving to Los Angeles. But wasn’t it Death Cab for Cutie who sang, “I can’t see/Why you’d/Want to/Live here”? But what do they know? Have a safe and happy relocation, SSA.

Between 2005 and 2012, calls into poison control centers about dietary supplements went up 50%, largely because of kids taking things they shouldn’t be:

“Sometimes, parents don’t think of keeping dietary supplements away from their kids, because they’re not medicines prescribed by the doctor. People think of them as natural,” Spiller said. “But they need to be treated as if they were a medicine. Don’t leave them out on the counter. Keep them out of reach.” 

Here’s a little something to put a chill in your spine and an acidic nausea in your guts: Putin tells a bunch of students, “I haven’t decided yet if I will leave the presidency.”  

Quote of the Day:

Sean Spicer resigned, and let’s hand it over to the great John Dingell to bring the fire:

Wishing Sean Spicer the best of luck in all future endeavors.

We’ll always have those six months of you lying to us every single day.

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