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For the Sake of the Collective

March 1, 2019

Holy crap, this “Momo” thing. Similar to the Blue Whale game, it’s some internet lore where this unbearably horrific looking Momo character convinces kids to kill themselves. (I can barely glimpse the thing without wanting to kill myself, so there’s that twinge of plausibility there.) Except of course it’s never happened. Benjamin Radford has an important piece about it at Skeptical Inquirer online, and he’s talked to Rolling Stone about it too.

Video of Nick Little on the steps of the Supreme Court on Wednesday is now up, where he rails against the ridiculous idea that a 40-foot cross being defended by Christian nationalists is somehow not promoting religion.

The Los Angeles Times agrees with us on the Bladensburg Cross:

At a time when Americans subscribe to a wide variety of religious beliefs — or none at all — it’s vital for government to be religiously neutral. This imposing cross may serve as a commemoration of the dead, but it does so as the central symbol of the Christian religion.

The Court itself, according to the AP, seems to have already made up its mind. As some predicted, it looks like we may not even have liberal justice Elena Kagan on our side:

“When you go into a World War I battlefield, there are Stars of David there, but because those battlefields were just rows and rows and rows of crosses, the cross became, in people’s minds, the pre-eminent symbol of how to memorialize World War I dead,” she said, adding that there are no religious words on the Maryland cross and that it sits in an area with other war memorials. She asked, “So why in a case like that can we not say essentially the religious content has been stripped of this monument?”

In Arizona, State Rep. Kelly Townsend has declared the measles vaccine to be Communist. What?

I read yesterday that the idea is being floated that if not enough people get vaccinated, then we are going to force them to. The idea that we force someone to give up their liberty for the sake of the collective is not based on American values but rather, Communist.

She says that there needs to be a major effort toward “discovering what in these vaccines is causing so much injury,” even though they’re not.

Andrea Morris at Forbes springboards off Troy Campbell’s talk at CSICon last year to write about strategies for persuading people out of false beliefs such as climate change denial:

The most effective strategy is to prop up confidence and competence by welcoming the climate denier to team hero, inviting them to play the game and pointing out ways in which they’re already good at it. Embrace them, take them into the fold. Once they join the choir, both positive social support as well as social pressures like guilt and fear, work to compel action.

Reps. Joseph Kennedy and Bobby Scott, along with Sen. Kamala Harris, have introduced the Do No Harm Act, designed to quash all these attempts to use “religious liberty” as an excuse to discriminate.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington is running for president, and I tell you this because he has declared that his number one priority for the nation is confronting climate change. He said:

We’re the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we’re the last who can do something about it. We went to the moon, and created technologies that have changed the world. Our country’s next mission must be to rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time — defeating climate change.

Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, warns of the danger of the “Title X gag rule” that the Trump administration is putting in place that prevents health-care providers from informing patients about abortion services:

This rule has nothing to do with medicine and everything to do with politics. It is one more example of a discriminatory policy from the Trump-Pence administration that hurts those who are most vulnerable: If you’re wealthy with private insurance, you can find a way to get accurate and comprehensive information about your options. But if you’re struggling to make ends meet, you will be forced to receive inaccurate, misleading information from your doctor. And because Title X primarily serves patients who are people of color, Hispanic or Latino, the gag rule adds yet another layer of discrimination that will perpetuate health disparities and racial inequity.

Relatedly, and unsurprisingly, Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia says he backs a “trigger law,” meaning he’d sign legislation banning abortion outright in Georgia if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which they probably will.

Adventures in Poor Taste! profiles the work of CFI Fellow Massimo Pigliucci for his book Nonsense on Stilts, newly released in a second edition.

In the journal Secularism & Nonreligion, Jonathan Simmons surveys the political attitudes of atheist activists in Edmonton, Canada. Apparently that means he talked to 1500 people, which surprised me.

Sabrina Stierwalt at Scientific American lists six things that can cause people to believe in ghosts, and I love that one of them is “mold.”

Quote of the Day

Here’s all you really need to know for today: This guy made a Loch Ness Monster out of 1,607 pies.

(Image: © Jack Boskett / SWNS)

Even better, here’s the lede from the UK’s Daily Record:

We’re a nation that munch a monstrous amount of pies.

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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.

One comment on “For the Sake of the Collective”

  • Yeah, I did not talk to 1500 people. The organizations I looked at had a combined offline and online membership of around that number. I interviewed 35 people formally and conducted around 20 informal interviews, in addition to participant observation for two years.


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