Humanity May Perish

September 7, 2017


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

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Lisa Rein at the Washington Post gets the emails between the National Parks Service and Trump officials who really, really didn’t want Mark Zuckerberg coming to Glacier National Park to highlight climate change. The cover-up went all the way down:

Interior appointees even questioned why Gracie the Bark Ranger, the popular border collie who prevents bighorn sheep and mountain goats from getting too close to park visitors, was invited to tag along. 

Rush Limbaugh declares Hurricane Irma to be “fake news,” putting his credulous listeners at risk. Callum Borchers at WaPo adds:

Alex Jones might have something to do with it. The Infowars founder — who has an “amazing” reputation, according to Trump — has for years promoted the notion that the U.S. government possesses the power to conjure and control weather events. … Jones’s contention is that the government — or, more precisely, the “deep state,” now that Trump is president — uses its “weather weapon” to stoke fear of climate change and promote a liberal agenda. 

Speaking of fake skepticism, CFI Los Angeles executive director Jim Underdown’s letter to the editor on that very subject is published in the LA Times. Jim says:

There is simply no credible opposition to the heliocentric theory, evolution, the holocaust or the human-influenced warming of our planet. The folks who decry the truth of these well-supported facts are not skeptics who are part of a noble scientific tradition. They are deniers refusing to accept what has been demonstrated. 

Warren Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is ordered to pay $16 million to a woman he forced at 14 to marry her own cousin.

The New York Times does something right for once with its opinion pages, hiring Michelle Goldberg as a columnist. Nice.

Writing in The New Yorker, Mark Oppenheimer says that school uniforms, while in some ways liberating, makes ever more acceptable “the surveillance of the un-powerful—the poor, people of color, and that great unheard group of the young.” 

At a town hall event held by Sen. Pat Toomey, one questioner asks, “You probably haven’t seen the news. Can you confirm whether or not your daughter Bridget has been kidnapped?” This was supposed to make a point about deportations, but the senator (not without reason) took it as threatening and the dude was arrested.

A trial in Kentucky today will decide whether the state becomes the only one with no abortion services, as the GOP-led government crushes clinics with intentionally onerous regulations.   

A book compiling the emails between Rev. Bill Shillady and Hillary Clinton during the campaign has been pulled from shelves after it’s revealed that Shillady had plagiarized a lot of it. Wait, did he plagiarize the Bible? Like, can you even do that? 

Peter Harrison, writing at Aeon, says, “Secularisation, as predicted by the social sciences, has failed.” WHOA THERE DOES THAT MEAN I’M OUT OF A JOB BECAUSE I HAVE A MORTGAGE AND STUDENT LOANS 

A U.S. military leaflet showing the Taliban flag carried by a dog is causing trouble in Afghanistan because the flag has Islamic verses printed on it. A terror attack by the Taliban is said to be in retaliation for the leaflets.

Ken Ham explains what a light-year is to kids:

we need to realize [a light-year] is not a measure of time but a measure of distance, telling us how far away something is. Distant stars and galaxies might be millions of light-years away, but that doesn’t mean that it took millions of years for the light to get here, it just means it is really far away!

Wait, what? 

A UFO is seen over Los Angeles, circled by a sheriff’s department helicopter, and of course weed is involved.

Need help sleeping? Put on the Loch Ness live stream and wait for Godot the monster to show up.

Lawrence Krauss marks the 40th anniversary of the Voyager launches, and ponders the long-term prospects for our species, as well as our constituent atoms:

In two billion years, the sun’s brightness will increase by 15 percent, making our home similar to Venus today. … our atmosphere will be blown out into the cosmos, and the atoms that now make up our bodies may be dispersed into the interstellar medium, perhaps to seed some future planet around some star that has yet to be born. … [O]ur two Voyager spacecraft are likely
to continue their lonely journeys among the stars. Humanity may perish, but somewhere in our galaxy will be evidence that we once existed. 

Don’t forget the Cause & Effect newsletter, which has a lot of words, and most of them are rather good.

Quote of the Day:

I’m sure he’s not the first to come up with this idea, but I liked that this came from someone like David Axelrod:

Shouldn’t we start naming these repeated Storms-of-the-Century after key climate change deniers?

Hurricane Donald.

Hurricane Scott… 

And keeping with that theme, perhaps we can name strains of infection diseases after anti-vaxxers. Whooping Wakefields? McCarthy Pox?

Rubella F. Kennedy Jr.?

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