Injecting Your Soul with Poison

August 17, 2017

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

Today in Nazis: The Daily Stormer returns to the web, this time under a Russian domain. Also kicked off Facebook, the publication moved its social media presence to something called VK, also from Russia. 

Like, Russia remembers Operation Barbarossa, right? Nazis? Wanted to use Russians as slave labor? Ring a bell? Nazis aren’t your friends, comrades.

Speaking of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg explained how he and Facebook are processing current events, though does not mention Trump:

There is no place for hate in our community. That’s why we’ve always taken down any post that promotes or celebrates hate crimes or acts of terrorism — including what happened in Charlottesville. With the potential for more rallies, we’re watching the situation closely and will take down threats of physical harm. We won’t always be perfect, but you have my commitment that we’ll keep working to make Facebook a place where everyone can feel safe. 

Other big CEOs are making similar statements, with so many leaving the president’s various councils that Trump had to shut them down. Apple’s Tim Cook wrote to his employees, promised big donations to civil rights organizations (they can certainly afford it), and did mention the president:

We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality. I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans. 

There’s more! Spotify is kicking “hate bands” off its service, and Squarespace is giving the boot to Richard Spencer’s organization and other white supremacist sites. 

But you know who is happy about Trump’s position on Nazis? Jerry Falwell Jr. of course! “Finally a leader in WH,” he tweeted. “Jobs returning, N Korea backing down, bold truthful stmt about #charlottesville tragedy.So proud of @realdonaldtrump” Jesus would be so proud. Also, no one on his Evangelical Council has resigned.

That Google memo is still a thing, by the way. At The VergeSarah Jeong and Rachel Becker do a thorough job explaining how James Damore’s screed shows no attempt to grapple with real science, and more importantly, ignores the tech industry’s long history of a good-ol-boy culture. This sentence from their article could apply to SO MANY things asserted by angry young white men:

The memo cloaks itself in a pretense of rationality but is actually an artifact of willful, cultivated ignorance that no thinking person can take seriously. … Wherever there is inequality, people will invoke bad science to justify doing nothing about it. 

Nature, in an editorial, sees the white supremacist activity and the Google memo in a similar light, and says both sully science:

Science often relies on averages, but it thrives on exceptions. And every individual is a potential exception. As such, it is not political correctness to warn against the selective quoting of research studies to support discrimination against those individuals. It is the most robust and scientific interpretation of the evidence. Good science follows the data, and there is nothing in any data anywhere that can excuse or justify policies that discriminate against the potential of individuals or that systematically reinforce different roles and status in society for people of any gender or ethnic group. 

So Australia is having its own political drama. Senator Pauline Hanson, leader of the One Nation party, arrived in the Senate chamber dressed in a full burqa as a way to advocate for banning them. It did not go over well. Senator George Brandis, the Attorney General, said:

Senator Hanson, no, we will not be banning the burqa. Senator Hanson, I’m not going to pretend to ignore the stunt that you have tried to pull today by arriving in the chamber dressed in burqa when we all know you are not an adherent to the Islamic faith. I caution you and counsel you Senator Hanson, with respect, to be very, very careful of the offence you may give to the religious sensibilities of other Australians. We have about half a million Australians in this country of the Islamic faith and the vast majority of them are law-abiding, good Australians. It is absolutely consistent to be a good law-abiding Australian and be a strict adherent Muslim. … To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments, is an appalling thing to do.

The Senate erupted in applause for Brandis, and he found strong support even from his political rivals in the chamber. 

Here’s something to make you feel some awe. Voyager 2 is still operating, 40 years after the start of its journey. And it’s still sending back information about “the outer boundaries of the solar system” with data that takes 16 hours to get to Earth, coming from 10.6 billion miles away.

In an op-ed for the Courier-Herald in Washington state, Rich Elfers (which is not another way to say wealthy people in Rivendell) cites Stuart Vyse’s Skeptical Inquirer article on unintended consequences:

Humility, patience and a desire to make better decisions must be part of the decision-making process. Anything short of these can spell disaster as we are entangled in the web of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

The FDA says a manufacturer of homeopathic products, Homeolab, that it found the company had committed “significant violations” in quality control and safety. Ars Technica reports, “In the end, the FDA requested that Homeolab create a “data-driven and scientifically sound program” for making its products.” GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.  

Goodbye, Mercator. So long, Petersen. Behold the AuthaGraph World Map, the most accurate world map yet devised, and the winner of the Grand Award from Japan’s Good Design Awards.

Tim Allen. He was good in Galaxy Quest. Also, he did this: “If we evolved from apes why are there still apes.” Has sort of a Riker Googling style, without the irony. Anyway, Allen’s getting mocked across the interwebs, and my response was, “Good question. Also, if there are cars, why are there are still horses? If there are microwave ovens, why is there still fire?”

The Moon can be a creepy thing, like when it causes people to believe they have ghosts in their driveway

Speaking of the Moon, here’s how an eclipse works…on a flat Earth


Quote of the Day:

Leah Finnegan at The Outline writes about how the web (social media in particular) is making us sick, sick with worry, sick with anger, sick from “the clusterfuck of moral performativity.” Citing Plato and pondering temperance, she advises:

Follow your soul as you see fit. But it’s important to examine how certain things influence the way you follow your soul because they are infecting your soul with poison and making you do poisonous things, like getting caught in the vast echo chamber of internet self-seriousness. However, I must note that making fun of nazis online is always okay and will actually make you healthier. 

* * * 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)!

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.


The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” – Hemant Mehta