Lunar Power Battery

December 7, 2018

Former CFI chief Ron Lindsay returns to the blog to comment on the misuse of science, in this case astronomy, in the service of lending credence to fictions like the Star of Bethlehem. Ron says, “At best, it’s silliness; at worst, it’s the prostitution of science in service of religious myths.”

At Rewire News, Frederick Clarkson is skeptical about the recently devised American Charter of Freedom of Religion and Conscience:

Behind earnestly-worded appeals for religious toleration and respect is an exercise in historical revisionism—a pretense that the Framers of the Constitution and the First Amendment somehow intended the recently contrived deviations that now allow the idea of religious freedom to justify discrimination against others.

The New York offices and studios of CNN were evacuated last night because of a bomb threat which thankfully did not materialize.

Indiana is debating hate crimes legislation that the state’s major businesses and tourism organizations insist should include protections for transgender folks. Republicans in the legislature, however, are utterly opposed to including gender identity in the bill, and would rather see the measure die.

Relatedly, religious groups in Canada cannot bear the idea that in order to qualify for funding of a summer jobs program, they must attest to supporting basic and fully established human rights like reproductive freedom. Ugh! Human rights are so INCONVENIENT.

A faith-advocacy group in Canada produces a survey showing that the majority of Canadians are in favor of “free expression of religion in public life,” which I think is supposed to be surprising or something. I can’t imagine why, though. Being a secularized country doesn’t mean being hostile to religion or its expression. Look at us, we’re as secular as it gets, and we passionately support religious expression rights. What we oppose is the privileging of religious expression over everything else.

Thomas Reese summarizes Pope Francis’s position on gay preists: “Observe celibacy or get out.”

Goop’s vaginal jade eggs have hatched, and as Nina Shapiro at Forbes writes, born from the eggs are little “medicine crystals” that are supposed to “heal and balance the chakra system,” and to “cleanse” your pet rocks crystals just “pass them through sage smoke or hold them under cool running water. Charge your crystals by placing them under the light of the full moon,” which is also how I charge my phone. So it sounds like everything is on the up-and-up at Goop.

In Iowa, “Christian activist” Paul Dorr is charged with 5th Degree Criminal Mischief for burning children’s library books on LGBTQ subjects that offended his delicate sensibilities such as Two Boys Kissing.

Patrick A. Coleman at Fatherly calls out the misinformation about migrant families and disease being parroted by right-wing pundit Tomi Lahren, but I mostly want to highlight this piece because it refers to her as “America’s favorite xenophobic pool noodle,” which is hilarious.

Left-leaning political parties in India held a rally in New Delhi in support of the country’s secular constitution. If only more folks over here would do the same.

Quote of the Day

Anti-vaxxers lean hard on the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which accepts any and all reports of problems with vaccines, regardless of merit or veracity. No, really. Harriel Hall points out this smashing example:

Anyone could lie and put in a false report. Dr. James Laidler did just that. He submitted a report saying that after he got a flu shot, his skin turned green and his muscles swelled up; he described turning into the Incredible Hulk comic book character. His report was accepted and entered into the database. To the credit of VAERS, they noticed that the report was suspicious, so they phoned him and asked his permission to remove it, which he readily granted. Had he refused, the report would still be in the database and antivaxxers could point to proof that the flu vaccine turns people into Incredible Hulks.

(I would totally take a vaccine that would turn me into the Incredible Hulk. That dude rips out the guts of Chitauri worm-cruiser-things.)

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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.