The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
ScienceDebate.org gets presidential candidates on the record with answers to a series of science policy questions. After a glance at some of the answers, it’s pretty clear that Donald Trump had absolutely nothing to do with the responses attributed to him. “He” brushes off climate change as something to be further “investigated,” while Jill Stein calls it “the greatest existential threat that humanity has ever faced,” which is probably true. Stein is 100% against nuclear power, while Clinton and Trump offer it as part of an overall solution.
On Vaccines, Trump doesn’t dip his toe into his usual conspiracy-mongering on the issue (again, almost certainly not actually written by him or likely even vetted by him), and Stein talks about gaining the trust of reticent parents, which is the furthest I’ve seen her get on her usual anti-vax pandering.
Oh, and here’s what it has for Gary Johnson:
This candidate has not yet responded.
Come on, Gary. No Syria questions here.
About 13 percent of Americans think vaccines are unsafe, according to a new survey by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which is bad but not as bad as some backward, medieval, witch-doctor countries like…France??? Yes, 41 freaking percent of French folks say vaccines are unsafe. It’s countries like Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia where it’s under 2 percent.
Our policy chief Michael De Dora is once again quoted by the Deseret News, which as you can tell has excellent taste in secular activists, on the topic of the Johnson Amendment and the public’s overwhelming support of it.
Kavin Senapathy (who’s coming to both Women in Secularism 4 this month and CSICon the next) casts a skeptical eye on Panera Bread’s new marketing campaign about “the Land of Clean” and against “chemicals.” Says Kavin, “Take Panera’s marketing gimmicks with a grain of sodium chloride.”
On his latest Waking Up podcast, an Ask Me Anything episode, Sam Harris begins by plugging his Los Angeles appearances with Richard Dawkins. Then it’s on to Brazilian Jiujitsu.
This is interesting. Mustafa Akyol at Al-Monitor explains why Turkey’s secular party, which champions human rights and opposes authoritarianism, is beginning to use more explicitly religious language:
…the CHP is now finally “getting religion.” It is, in other words, understanding that religion, in particular Islam, is deeply rooted in Turkish society, and a political party that does not comprehend this fact is doomed to be marginalized.
MUFON (the Mutual UFO Network) announces its intention to “rebrand” in order to recruit more members and, I have to assume, seem less like oddballs. (I say this as an avowed oddball.)
NBC News’ Erica Ayisi visits with the London Black Atheists, which now boasts 420 members, and describes being black and atheist as “an unorthodox paradox.” Fox in socks on Knox in box with bricks and blocks. Sorry.
I feel a little puzzled by this NYT piece by Steven Erlanger, in which he speaks to several scholars and religious types with the general thesis that secular society is not really prepared to deal with the repercussions of having a society not based on shared religious values, and that secularism is otherwise rudderless.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, writes an op-ed for the Times (which itself seems remarkable) in which he calls upon the international community to stamp out Saudi-funded Wahhabism.
Rep. Mark Pocan lays out a litany of reasons why voucher-funded private education is a bad news. Among them:
[Voucher programs] cherry-pick student applicants to taxpayer-funded voucher schools for admission often times discriminating against some students based on their religion or disability-related behaviors.
Fake psychic “Miss Lisa” in NYC is arrested for bilking a client out of about $60,000 for “demon removal work.”
Quote of the Day
Someone catches a photo of Bigfoot’s butt next to a big barrel in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I never read comments on articles (even on this blog), but I happened to catch this one by “K9 Dude”:
Using the barrel for scale, it would be pretty short. Maybe a saSQUAT.
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Photo credit: Monkey Mash Button via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
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