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Those Who Have Fallen into This Pit

February 8, 2019

This is some unexpected good news: The Supreme Court, with John Roberts joining the liberals, blocks Louisiana’s crazy anti-abortion law (for now) so that the state can have more than one single doctor who is authorized to actually perform abortions.

Trump tells the attendees at the National Prayer Breakfast, “I will never let you down.” Nor will he give them up, nor will he run around and desert them.

In the village of Cheshire in the UK, a primary school cancels a kids’ musical about Charles Darwin (Darwin Rocks) because some Christians complained. The decision is not going over well.

Natalia Pasternak and Carlos Orsi tout the launch of Brazil’s Instituto Questão de Ciência (IQC) at Skeptical Inquirer online:

We could not have done it without the kind help of dear Barry Karr, CSI executive director, who went out of his way to advise us on how to start the institute, on how to navigate the tricky points of balancing credibility with financial support, and on the importance of building a committed skeptic community.

While dissing Trump’s climate science denialism, The Washington Post editorial board also does a weird “both sides” move by poo-pooing the possibility of a Green New Deal because it could “vastly expand government rather than simply addressing the climate problem.” But, like, there are other problems, right?

Julia Belluz reports on (and joins in) the lamentations over Netflix’s planned Gwyneth Paltrow Goop series. What’s to be done?

How a crackdown on celebrity woo — and its media enablers — might look isn’t clear, but as their pseudoscience continues to grow like a cancer through new media platforms, it’s something we’re going to have to think about.

You got that right.In the middle of a measles epidemic, folks in Clark County, Washington and Portland, Oregon area all go, “Oh crap! We really screwed up. Gimme a jab!” as vaccine demand jumps 500 percent.

A Russian court sentences a man to six years in prison for the crime of “organizing the activities of a banned extremist organization,” or in other words, being a Jehovah’s Witness.

So this guy drives 24 hours from Missouri to Arizona to bludgeon his sister-in-law and her boyfriend to death with a hatchet and then burn their house down says he shouldn’t get the death penalty because he did it to preserve the spiritual well-being of the woman’s child…according to the tenets of Scientology. It’s one of those times when you’re like, “that’s bull,” and then you’re like, “well, actually…”

Tara Isabella Burton at RNS considers evolving concepts of sin:

The early Christians had a term for this sense of responsibility: the creation of the kingdom of heaven on earth. … Jesus called his disciples to be the “light of the world.”

Now, more and more of us — whatever our faith — are feeling called to do so.

Tax the churches! …through their parking lots.

I am utterly saddened by the death at 92 of former Rep. John Dingell, the longest serving Member of Congress in history, and perhaps most importantly, a freaking master of Twitter. Lordy I’m gonna miss him.

Quote of the Day

Steven Novella muses on how flat-Earthers represent “the perfect storm of self-deception”:

[It] is probably also near-impossible to get through to someone once they are a dedicated flat-earther. The self-deception is constructed to immunize itself from refutation – that is part of the same process that gets them into the belief in the first place. At that point it is a religious belief, a cult even. It is a lesson and cautionary tale in the frailty of human cognition and emotion. We shouldn’t miss the lesson by being simplistically dismissive of those who have fallen into this pit. There is something to understand here, something about the human condition.

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