The Stank, Oppressive Odor of Secular Humanism

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." 

Kelsey Dallas at Deseret News reports on the Catholic Church's seemingly contradictory use of science to vet miracles:

In the canonization process by which someone becomes a Catholic saint, confirming that science can't explain a recorded miracle helps church authorities sort through the hundreds of applications for sainthood and weed out false claims, experts said. The miracle vetting process is used to confirm a potential saint's holiness. 

A recent article in Free Inquiry by Joe Nickell, however, gives the lie to this whole process. 

Rep. Mick Mulvaney is set to become the director of the Office of Management and Budget under Trump, and he doesn't seem to think scientific research into things like, oh I don't know, immediate epidemic threats, are a good use of funds

David Gorski (a real oncologist) dismantles the pretenses of "naturopathic oncology." 

Good job, anti-vaxxers! You've quadrupled the number of mumps cases

The GOP 2016 platform had this to say about climate change:

Information concerning a changing climate, especially projections into the long-range future, must be based on dispassionate analysis of hard data. We will enforce that standard throughout the executive branch, among civil servants and presidential appointees alike.

This notion of "hard data" is a dog whistle, as Katharine Hayhoe told WaPo, :The definition of ‘hard data’ that various elected officials appear to hold this past year seems to consist of ‘data that supports my pre-existing opinion.'" 

Benjamin Radford investigates reports of scary clown activity in Oneida County, NY:

I don't know, and can't prove, that the scary clown report by these two girls was definitely a hoax, but I can tell you, as someone who has extensive experience investigating false reports, hoaxes, and dubious eyewitness testimony, that I am extremely skeptical.  

At The Root, Aidan Marshall-Cort looks through the lens of secularism to search for Donald Trump's empathy, and comes up empty:

I am a black, secular teenager with a minor disability. I know that facing hardship and overcoming challenges has a way of cracking a person open. It can reveal vulnerability, deepen connection to others and lead to a greater sense of humility. It’s an experience that fosters empathy in a way that private jets, golden bathroom fixtures and celebrity status may not.

And if empathy is out of reach for our president, then scores of people in America will feel the consequences of his callousness. That’s what motivates me today: to fight for my own rights and the rights of my brothers and sisters—black and brown people, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, women and everyone whose experience is in danger under a Trump presidency. 

Jennings Brown at Vocative says left-leaning "natural health" sites were the pioneering sources of fake news, before the right-wing, pro-Trump wave of hoax reporting that consumed Facebook. 

Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention is an outspoken opponent of Trump, and it's caused many evangelicals to turn against him. Jonathan Merritt says this is a bad idea, and from what I know of Moore, I agree with Merritt. I bet Moore's smarter than anyone in the SBC who wants to push him aside. 

The Charity Commission for England and Wales decrees that Jediism is not a religion

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the death of Carl Sagan, and 10 years ago I wrote about how I had felt about his passing 10 years before that.   

Wait, Ken Ham is pro-LGBT rights? Oh, no, of course not. He just wants to claim the rainbow for God, which I suppose He appreciates. 

Adam Ruins Everything explains the origins of Christmas, featuring some very turnt Peanuts-esque characters. 

Samantha Bee and Glenn Beck eat each other's heads in the nicest way possible.

Jeffrey Mahoney writes a letter to the editor of the Times Herald-Record in New York State about the true meaning of Christmas, which is of course to talk crap about secular humanists:

The stank, oppressive odor of secular humanism brings out the worst in people. It is divisive, inherently angry, jealous, bitter, selfish. Why would anyone embrace such a philosophy? It offers nothing, answers nothing, solves nothing, inspires nothing. It reduces life to empty, meaningless hours and the human spirit to a pathetic primordial ooze. 

He seems fun. 

Quote of the Day:

Found on Reddit, the quote of the day is found on the spine of a book called God's Word, Final, Infallible and Forever, two words just beneath the title:

reddit thing

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Photo credit: daveograve@ via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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Comments:

#1 Oro Lee (Guest) on Wednesday December 21, 2016 at 8:34am

“The stank, oppressive odor of [religion] brings out the worst in people. It is divisive, inherently angry, jealous, bitter, selfish. Why would anyone embrace such [nonsense]? It offers nothing, answers nothing, solves nothing, inspires nothing [that is real]. It reduces life to empty, meaningless hours and the human spirit to a pathetic [decreptitde].”

Fixed it!

#2 Stacey C. on Wednesday December 21, 2016 at 8:46am

“Seems that kids start leaving Catholicism around the age of 10 to 13…”

I can add a data point to that. I’m not sure exactly when I left anymore but it was definitely somewhere in that range. I personally suspect it’s because this is the time right before you start working on being ‘confirmed’. This means that you start to think about whether you really want to be a part of the church and the sensible answer is no.

#3 Old Rockin' Dave (Guest) on Wednesday December 21, 2016 at 1:28pm

“But the rainbow itself wasn’t designed to be a symbol of freedom, love, pride, or the LGBTQ movement. God created this beautiful, colorful phenomenon and designated it as a sign of His covenant with Noah and his descendants forever.”
So that’s why god created the refraction of white light into colors!
Does that mean when I see the colors in the spray from my garden hose that god is going to spare my lawn from crabgrass?

#4 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday December 21, 2016 at 7:48pm

“Ken Ham”

I disavow.

#5 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday December 21, 2016 at 7:52pm

Sam Harris recently had on a guest (Paul Bloom?) who spoke against empathy, and he was convincing…

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