The Way Things Are Shaping Up

July 11, 2018


A federal court gives the go-ahead to a lawsuit by victims of the violence in Charlottesville last year, who allege that the Nazi/white supremacist protesters were “conspiring to engage in violence against racial minorities and their supporters.”

Marie Griffith at Religion & Politics describes how the Southern Baptists were overtaken by fundamentalist ideologues in the late 70s:

Behind the scenes … some Southern Baptist ministers dreamed of purging the seminaries, pulpits, and eventually the pews of “liberals” who, however deep their faith and correct their doctrine, might hold different views on political issues, particularly those relating to women and sex. Gender ideology was manifestly central to that push, engineered by men (and supported by anti-feminist women)…

Running for prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan firmly defends the country’s blasphemy law, which, you’ll remember, includes the death penalty.

AFP looks at the dangers faced by atheists in Indonesia:

“The worst thing that can happen in Indonesia is we can be killed,” said one 35-year-old graphic designer who was raised as a Catholic. “I genuinely fear for my life.”

A study based on Google search data offers some potential clues to what factors contribute to radicalization among Muslims. Homogeneously white communities show particular hostility toward Muslims, and according to RNS, the findings “suggest pro-ISIS sympathy [from Muslims] is most prevalent in communities with high levels of anti-Muslim sentiment.”

When the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization is found to have a problem with the sexual abuse of children, they know just what to do to solve this terrible problem. No, not by actually stopping the assaults, but by destroying their records. That’s what record overseer Shawn Bartlett recommends in a video acquired by David Gambacorta at the Philadelphia Inquirer:

[Bartlett says,] “Well, we know that the scene of this world is changing, and we know Satan’s coming after us, and he’s going to go for us legally. We can see by the way things are shaping up. So the organization has said, ‘We’ve run into difficulties in the past because of the records we have.”

[. . . ] At one point during the seminar, Bartlett told the attendees that they should destroy drafts of any documents in their possession. “And the reason is, is because there’s many comments that are sometimes made on drafts,” he said. “Those are the ones that get us in trouble.”

Episcopalians are having an interesting internal debate about the language they use when discussing God and associated pronouns, as one reverend explained, “This is about expanding the language of God so every person can see and understand they are made in the image of God.”

Sarah Elaine Mitchell and Travis Lee Mitchell, members of the faith-healing Followers of Christ Church, plead guilty to charges of negligent homicide and criminal mistreatment in the needless death of their newborn daughter Ginnifer.

Steven Novella summarizes a big meta-analysis on vitamin supplements and its effect on cardiovascular disease. Conclusion: It has none.

While Trump drains the swamp, he appears quite eager to do the bidding of Big Baby Formula.

Belle Gibson, the Australian wellness blogger who pretended to have cancer, has failed to pay a court-ordered $410,000 fine, and now may be charged with contempt of court.

A federal judge says that a transit system in Pennsylvania has every right to reject atheists’ advertisements, even if all they say is the word “atheists.”

Do you have $300,000 just lying around? If so, I could use some help with my crushing student loan debt. If you’re not willing to do me a solid and free me from de facto servitude, you could use that money to buy a 500-year-old letter by Martin Luther in which he encourages preaching against Jews, calling them “devils incarnate.” Your call.

Quote of the Day

McGill University’s Office for Science and Society tries to make a point about those short Facebook videos filled with pseudoscience hogwash (“amazing cure for cancer,” for example) by making a parody video. The parody then goes viral, with about 7 million views. Did it do any good? Brian Barrett at Wired writes:

The better question might be whether the McGill video has reached its intended audience of those who would normally watch a pseudoscience video without thinking critically about it. Putting it on the social media accounts of prominent skeptics has a hint of preaching to the choir.

The Wired piece names some of the skeptics involved, all of whom are in our orbit, like Kavin Senapathy, David Gorski, and Susan Gerbic.

Oh, right. The quote of the day. That actually comes from the McGill video, and it’s simply this:

Oooh… blue stuff in water. Is that what science looks like?


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