Blog Archives for December 2016

Taking the Whole Thing Personally

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 30, 2016

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

2016 isn't done with us yet. In fact, on top of the leap day it already got, just to stretch our existential angst out a wee bit more, it's going to tack on one additional leap second. Cruel.

Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip and therefore an expert on everything apparently, issues a bad-faith "climate science challenge," asking for a scientist to assert the credibility of climate prediction models. ...

14 Comments

Why Aren’t You Rich Already?

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 29, 2016

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

RNS's Emily McFarlan Miller rounds up the "top 5 heresies" of the year, and The Morning Heresy somehow doesn't make the cut. Don't think I didn't notice. 

Ron Lindsay says the piece is interesting, adding, "But I don't see switching from iPhone to Pixel listed." Heresy makes for progress, they say.

7 Comments

Chocolate-Covered Bacon is Salad

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 28, 2016

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

You know this already, of course: Carrie Fisher died yesterday at the age of 60. I got to see her one-woman Wishful Drinking show in DC many years ago, and damn she was funny. But you know this already, of course.

Hey folks, lookie here: the live Richard Dawkins/Sam Harris events in Los Angeles are now available to download or stream on Vimeo! If you're a Planet member of CFI or above, you already have free access. Everyone else can purchase parts 1 and 2 right here

2 Comments

15 Minutes of Antihydrogen

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 27, 2016

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

And we're back, as 2016 continues its reign of terror. 

Clare Foran at The Atlantic tried to figure out why Republicans have become even more entrenched in climate change denial as the scientific consensus only grows stronger:

In a deeply divided country, adopting views on climate change that conflict with scientific evidence can actually be a rational choice. Liberals and conservatives frequently spend time with like-minded individuals, and people across the political spectrum may have a better chance of fitting in if they embrace shared partisan beliefs—regardless of whether those beliefs contradict scientific fact.  

4 Comments

Celestial Bat Signal

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 23, 2016

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

There are today, as always, many bad things happening. But I will lead with some good news. It looks like humankind may now have an Ebola vaccine:

The vaccine showed 100 percent efficacy in protecting those who got it. More than 11,800 people participated in the trial. 

6 Comments

People Who Can Explain Stuff

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 22, 2016

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

Amanda Marcotte joins Lindsay Beyerstein on Point of Inquiry this week to talk about the Trump transition, and where opponents can find some footing to resist him. 

Trump says his ideas about banning Muslim immigration and creating a Muslim registry have "been proven to be right. One hundred percent correct." To help Trump with his Muslim registry is Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel and his data-mining company Palantir. 

6 Comments

The Stank, Oppressive Odor of Secular Humanism

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 21, 2016

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

ISIS claims the driver that killed twelve people in Berlin by smashing them with a truck as their own. This may or may not be true.

Seems that kids start leaving Catholicism around the age of 10 to 13, and Crux tries to figure out "what parents can do about it." 

5 Comments

Oh God, You Devil

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 20, 2016

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

I have to be super quick this morning because my kid's school is doing this holiday thing and yes I know I should have done this last night, but you know what? Life is crazy.

Let's begin with the world totally unraveling. All on the same day, the Russian ambassador to Turkey is assassinated in Ankara by a Turkish policeman; a truck plows through a crowd of Christmas shoppers in Berlin, killing 12 people in what is probably an act of terrorism; and Donald Trump formally wins in the Electoral College's vote, despite last-ditch efforts to sway the electors.

4 Comments

Something to Think About to Not Think About the Other Things

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 19, 2016

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

Catch up with the previous 14 days with Cause & Effect, the official propaganda outlet of the Glorious Democratic People's Republic of the Center for Inquiry. I mean newsletter.

For his podcast, Sam Harris posts the first of his two conversations with Richard Dawkins, recorded at the Alex Theater last month on Dawkins' recent U.S. tour. 

8 Comments

Upsetting at Best

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 16, 2016

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

2016 will be over in 15 days. 

Dylan Roof, who killed nine black parishioners in Charleston last year, is convicted on 33 counts of federal hate crimes. He could face life in prison or execution. A state trial for his crimes begins next month.

Sean Omar Rivera at Blavity says, "I am black, I am a humanist, and I support Black Lives Matter." He makes a case for the secular movement's alliance with Black Lives Matter...

4 Comments

It’s Called Ignorance

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 15, 2016

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

Here's something I didn't know: Religions are officially registered in Germany, and receive tax subsidies based on the size of their respective flocks. Of course Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism are there, as are Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses. Not legally recognized is Islam, which claims over 4 million adherents.   

In the U.S., Americans vastly overestimate how many Muslims live here. On average, Americans think the population is about 17% Muslim. The reality? 1%. That's a one. 

4 Comments

It Sounded Almost Like Health

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 14, 2016

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

Gov. John Kasich vetoes the unthinkably awful Ohio 6-week abortion ban, but signs the almost-as-awful 20-week ban. 

At The New Yorker, Lawrence Krauss says what readers of this blog already know: Under a Trump administration, science is in big damn trouble:

Taken singly, Trump’s appointments are alarming. But taken as a whole they can be seen as part of a larger effort to undermine the institution of science, and to deprive it of its role in the public-policy debate. 

6 Comments

The Boundary Within Which Nothing is Able to Escape

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 13, 2016

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

Horror in Aleppo. Assad's forces plow into the city, executing dozens of activists and just regular civilians, including women and children. 

The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 257 journalists have been jailed in 2016, the most since they started keeping track in 1990. The big offender? Turkey. 

2 Comments

This Zoo is Going to Kill Itself Off

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 12, 2016

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

You might have heard something about the CIA saying that, yeah, Russia definitely tried to tip the election for Trump by hacking the political parties and other major figures. Trump, who essentially is a walking conspiracy theory, dismissed the U.S. intelligence apparatus thusly:

Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory! 

5 Comments

I’ve Accomplished Something

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 09, 2016

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

John Glenn is dead at the age of 95. Record-breaking pilot, pioneering astronaut, U.S. Senator, and then at age 77, astronaut again. An amazing human being. President Obama said:

The last of America's first astronauts has left us, but propelled by their example we know that our future here on Earth compels us to keep reaching for the heavens. On behalf of a grateful nation, Godspeed, John Glenn. 

4 Comments

Lie More, Die Sooner

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 08, 2016

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

Ohio's legislature passes that terrible "fetal heartbeat" anti-abortion bill, which would ban abortion at the point a heartbeat can be detected, around six weeks into pregnancy - even in cases of rape or incest. If you're an Ohioan, you need to tell Gov. Kasich to stop this bill right now.  

4 Comments

Always in Danger of Being Shut Down

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 07, 2016

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

Angela Merkel calls for a ban on full-face veils at a rabble-rousing speech for her party's conference, veering from her earlier position in which she advocated for bans only in the most specific circumstances when absolutely necessary. CFI, being the stalwarts for freedom of expression and belief that we are, responded:

“We strongly oppose allowing religions to dictate oppressive dress codes on women, but change must come by freeing women to choose their own style of dress — not by imposing bans,” said Michael De Dora, CFI’s director of government affairs. “Targeting Muslim religious practices is a distasteful and dangerous electoral ploy to appeal to rising right-wing sentiments. Civil liberties should never be subjected to political calculus,” he added.

4 Comments

Adios Ununpentium. Sayonara Ununseptium. Arrivederci Ununoctium.

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 06, 2016

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

This past Sunday, 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch of North Carolina barged into Comet Ping Pong, a pizza joint in D.C., armed with an assault rifle, fired at least one shot, and declared he was there to "self-investigate" the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and allies were using the restaurant as a child-sex trafficking front. Welch was arrested.

5 Comments

Find Two Rules to Get Rid Of

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 05, 2016

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

A little good news: It looks like the Russell Amendment, which would have allowed religiously-based discrimination by federal contractors, has died in conference. We dance on its grave:

“This is an even more important victory than it might seem,” said De Dora. “The incoming administration is being staffed by figures who enthusiastically endorse discriminatory measures like this one, and those being pushed through statehouses across the country. It is imperative that we build widespread resistance today so that we are better prepared to defend the secular nature of our government against the assaults of tomorrow.”

4 Comments

The Magnitude of Suffering that Exists in the World

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 02, 2016

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

At the Arizona Daily Star, Gil Shapiro pens an op-ed on the threats to secularism posed by a Trump administration, and brings us in:

Eddie Tabash, a constitutional lawyer and Chair of the Center for Inquiry, our nation’s leading secular think tank stated, “We are concerned that Christianity will be used as an excuse if not a weapon to limit and deny many Americans their Constitutional rights.” 

5 Comments

Careful the Spell You Cast

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
December 01, 2016

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

As many of us feared, anti-vaxxers have been emboldened by Trump's victory, particularly their quack pseudo-prophet, Andrew Wakefield, who apparently got to meet with Trump during the campaign, and who told STAT:

For the first time in a long time, I feel very positive about this, because Donald Trump is not beholden to the pharmaceutical industry. ... He didn’t rely upon [drug makers] to get him elected. And he’s a man who seems to speak his mind and act accordingly.