A One-Dollar Browbeating

August 16, 2016


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

John Fea at RNS lauds the wisdom of America’s founders for their aversion to having clergy serve in public office, comparing the intermingling of politics and religion to mixing “horse manure and ice cream”:

The Founding Fathers understood something about the role of clergy in American society that Lane and his Christian nationalist friends do not. Those who care for the soul have a “great” spiritual duty that should never be compromised or tarnished by politics. This is why they thought that the “separation of church and state” was important.

Brian Cox, explaining the “absolute consensus” on climate change to a science-denying politician, says, “You may try to argue with that, but you can’t.” The pol then goes and says stuff like NASA corrupts data and whatnot. Graphs are thrown, in a friendly way.

KATU in Oregon reports on the RDF-sponsored Atheos app, using a stock image of a first-generation iPhone from 2007, which I don’t even think could run Atheos. 

“They change position, move back and forth, go down to the ground, up in the sky, but these are real small in many of these cases.” No, this is not a description of Pokemon Go, but an account of UFOs in Missouri, which seem to be on a significant uptick over the past few months.  

The predictions of Stephen Hawking about black holes and radiation are bolstered by a lab simulation that I don’t really understand, even when it’s explained in short sentences by the BBC. 

Skeptics in India are skeptical of the extremely low number of skeptics reported by the census. (It’s actually the low number of atheists in India, but saying “skeptics” over and over was more aesthetically pleasing.)

French municipalities are banning “burkinis” at beaches because, according to one mayor, “People here feel provoked by things like that.” Really.  

Charlie Hebdo takes on the topic of burkas and burkinis, and they really are seeking to provoke, and new death threats come in to the magazine. 

A group of scientists publish a study in Environmental Research Letters showing zero evidence for chemtrails, but that’s exactly what they would say. The article about this in the Seeker includes a nod to CFI’s Committee for Skeptical Inquiry as a resource. 

Ken Ham is lowering the student prices for Ark Encounter visits from $28 to $1, and Billy Hallowell at Deseret News talks to NCSE’s Josh Rosenau about his problems with the whole shebang: “Schools and parents should know that a visit wouldn’t educate or entertain, it would misinform and browbeat.” 

A Rockland County, NY Orthodox Jewish newspaper, Yated Ne’eman, is said to “make history” by publishing a heavily obscured photo of Hillary Clinton, who, you see, is a woman, and photos of women are immodest. 

Laurie Goodstein talks to a biographer of Mother Teresa about how she qualified for sainthood, and I gotta tell ya, the “miracles” seem pretty darn flimsy to me, even for miracles.

Neil Ellingson says religion need not be about anything that’s objectively real. Well I have good news for him.

Jennifer LeClaire at Charisma (a very Christian outlet) spotlights a video that asks whether Hillary Clinton is either the Antichrist or the Illuminati Witch, saying, “I don’t believe Hillary is the Antichrist, but the fact that so many people are utterly convinced is telling.” Yes, it is telling, but not about Hillary Clinton.  

Quote of the Day

The great Julia Belluz at Vox talks to Steven Pinker about why everything isn’t as terrible as we (okay, I) think it is:

Pessimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. While we have to be realistic about changes both up and down in rates of violence, we have to remind ourselves that violence is a problem we can deal with, that we have dealt with, and what’s important is to look at it realistically. To keep track of when it does up, when it goes down, and what causes it to go up and go down and do more of what causes it to go down. We know over the last couple of years that it has gone down, so we should figure out what we did to achieve that and do more of it.    

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Photo credit: _Hadock_ via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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