Prepare to Submit to Tyranny

August 19, 2016

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

Katherine Krueger at TPM wonders why Jill Stein, who insists she’s not anti-vax or anti-science, continuously leaves a little anti-science wiggle room for herself. 

Emily Willingham (who’s coming to Women in Secularism 4!) breaks down the problems with Stein’s postures, focusing on the inferences regarding autism:

[Stein] has characterized autism as an “epidemic,” a term that erroneously implies that a developmental condition is somehow an infectious disease, and a term that is a well-known favorite of those who want to blame vaccines for increased autism prevalence. Anyone who has even a passing involvement in the autism community knows how fraught that word is. In keeping with the beliefs of the vaccines-cause-autism crowd, which consistently has sought to dehumanize autistic people and characterize them as toxic monsters, Stein also has called autism a “public health calamity.”  

Funny, I don’t feel like I represent a calamity, Dr. Stein. 

Sam Harris pens a hypothetical speech he believes should be given by Hillary Clinton on Islam and jihadism. It reads more like a Sam Harris essay, with terms like “intellectual confusion” and phrases Clinton would never, ever say, like, “Every religious community must interpret its scripture and adjust its traditions to conform to the modern world.” But I get it, it’s what he thinks she ought to say.

In The New Atlantis, Daniel Sarewitz has a loooooong piece about all the things that are wrong (says he) about science, saying it’s in “deep trouble,” and accusing it of a lack of accountability and “indifference and irresponsibility.” I got that from the first and last paragraphs, though, because it’s early and I don’t have time to read the whole thing.  

The New York Times editorial board highlights what it says is the hypocrisy of the “burkini” bans in French cities, and is not having it:

This hysteria threatens to further stigmatize and marginalize France’s Muslims at a time when the country is listing to the Islamophobic right in the wake of a series of horrific terrorist attacks. … The fact that French parents are increasingly dressing their toddlers in remarkably similar suits to protect them from the sun, or that a wet suit also covers the head and body, adds to the hypocrisy of this debate. But at the heart of the dispute is something far darker: French politicians’ paternalistic pronouncements on the republic’s duty to save Muslim women from enslavement — by dictating to them what they can and can’t wear.  

The weirdness about Tabby’s Star is still probably not the result of extraterrestrials, but just in case, David Kipping (who I find via Phil Plait) explains more about the idea behind the imagined “alien megastructure.” Recommended!

Foundation Beyond Belief is raising funds to help folks impacted by the floods in Louisiana

A Michigan federal court, citing the disaster that is Hobby Lobby, says its okay for the owner of a funeral home to discriminate against a transgender employee because of the owner’s religious beliefs. 

In 1912, the “Piltdown Man” fossil was purported to be the missing link between apes and humans, and then revealed to be a hoax by the 1950s. Joe Nickell, who has researched this extensively himself, reports that a new study in Royal Society Open Science reveals that the forger and the “discoverer” of Piltdown Man were one and the same, Charles Dawson. “Those who were wrongly suspected now have their reputations fully restored,” says Joe.

Dr. Drew adds fuel to the fire of Hillary-is-very-ill conspiracy theories. In 2012, Joe Nickell had some choice words for the good TV doctor, when he had a “psychic medium” on his show:

Dr. Drew Pinsky does not for a moment believe Van Praagh can talk to the dead. So why, in the name of Ethics, you ask, does he have the pretender doing readings on his $how? Can we $olve thi$ my$tery? 

Three doctors co-write a piece for Newsweek warning against relying on layman internet research to find “weird” cures for what ails you:

Although “Dr. Google” is punctual and doesn’t require a co-pay, it is still not qualified to diagnose and treat. There is no safe substitute for the intimate, one-on-one relationship between a patient and a physician. This will continue to be true as long as doctors remember that medicine is a science and an art, full of both expected outcomes and surprising solutions. 

Pastor Roger Jimenez, who says it’s a good idea for gay people to get murdered, is taken to task by Dr. Michael Brown, who merely thinks gays should be demonized and “cured.” Guys, guys, come on now. You’re both terrible people. 

Mere miles from where I sit, folks claimed to have seen a 10-foot snake near the Presumpscot River, and Sharon Hill notes that the “expert” cryptozoologist that volunteered to check
it out has balked and stalled, and that, hey, here’s an idea, why not call in an expert on snakes instead?   

OMG OMG OMG this bear who walks on his hind legs all the time. “Pedals,” I have to imagine, has got to be the source of several alleged “Bigfoot” sightings. I mean, watch him go!  

Quote of the Day

A letter to the editor in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle either shows the publication’s astoundingly low editorial standards or their incredible sense of humor. Here’s most of it, written by one Robin Goodspeed (who I also think is a magical Shakespearean forest-being):

Arrogant atheist Wyoming judges are ready to decree that all lawyers and judges in Wyoming must practice as professing atheists. This will create a precedent for all U.S. lawyers and judges to practice atheist rule.

Flat-earth atheist beliefs of genetic homosexuality, gender choice, and homosexual power and privilege will be mandated to the entire U.S. judicial system.

Atheists Stalin, Hitler and Mao murdered 100 million people in the 20th century according to their morality of power.

Unless we stand up for the Christian morality that has been the foundation of the United States of America, atheist America will use their morality of power to murder us and the Rule of Law. Christian silence and cowardice has allowed atheist rule in America ,[sic]and now the foundational American freedom, freedom of religion, is set to be annihilated.

Wyoming and America, stand up against atheist power or prepare to submit to tyranny and the atheist rule of men. 

SUBMIT, BELIEVERS OF AMERICA. S U B M I T.

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