February 8, 2018
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Just out this morning, we're sounding the alarm about a new DOJ policy that essentially gives the religious right its own private "religious liberty" watchdog in U.S. Attorney offices across the country.
A study from the University of Pennsylvania shows that acceptance of evolution is less about one's politics and more about one's basic understanding of the concept. Said one of the researchers, Deena Skolnick Weisberg:
It really depends on how you ask the question. When we put in more options and ask about plants and animals as opposed to humans, we get a very different response from what is commonly reported. It's not particularly surprising but it's good to know, as a consumer of science. You need to look carefully at what people are asking.
A big global survey, written about here by Scott Gavura, finds that the rejection of vaccine science is correlated with belief in nutty conspiracy theories:
If you think vaccines are ineffective, you’re more likely to claim that 9/11 was an “inside job”, that Princess Diana was murdered, and that a powerful and secretive group known as the New World Order are planning to eventually rule the world.
And we all know that only one of those are true. Blink. Blink.
Colbie Holderness, one of the women brutalized by now-former White House official Rob Porter, had gone to her Mormon clergy for help, but that got her nowhere. Then she says:
It wasn’t until I went to a secular counsellor at my work place one summer and told him what was going on that he was the first person, and not a male religious leader, who told me that what was happening was not okay.
The Secular Coalition for America, of which CFI is a member organization, announces that it has sort-of merged with or incorporated into itself the United Coalition of Reason, saying that it will now be managing UnitedCoR's programs.
A biomed company CEO injects himself with his company's herpes vaccine and streams it on Facebook, allegedly for the purposes of transparency and advancing science. Science responded saying, "Um, that's not really how this works."
Looks like churches are in fact going to get to dip into some of that sweet, sweet FEMA money. It's what Jesus would want.
This is a thing? Wingers say that yoga fosters white supremacy??? We're just throwing nouns and verbs together at random now, aren't we.
Following an independent review of Sharia in the UK, One Law for All expresses its exasperation:
The way has been left open for the Sharia courts to continue to exist in a no-man’s land where they continue to produce discriminatory parallel laws while posing as an acceptable alternative dispute mechanism. Now they will be strengthened by a review that has endorsed their existence.
Noam Shpancer (what a fun last name to say) at Quillette writes that unlike many aspects of parenting, there's one thing that science really has given a solid yes or no to - spanking:
The scientific case against spanking is one of those rare occasions in which, over a span of 50 years or so, a scientific controversy actually gets resolved, as various programs of increasingly rigorous research converge upon a consensus conclusion.
No, a guy in North Carolina (nor anywhere else) did not discover the skeletal remains of a pixie. Everyone knows that pixies' skeletons instantly evaporate into a puff of magic and dreams when they die (not the same as pixie dust, which is fictional), which is itself rare. Obviously, what he has there are the bones of a Lilliputian.
Qainat Khan at The Groundtruth Project offers up some tips on reporting about scientific studies. It's all basic stuff, and yet so necessary.
Georgian College in Canada is a publicly-funded school, and it's about to offer a diploma program in homeopathy, and actual experts are aghast.
Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, aboard the ISS, points out some strangely ordered circle shapes on Earth, and wants you to know that, come on guys, they're not landing sites for aliens.
And here's where I link to a piece at Golf:
Graham DeLaet is seeing things. A photo the Canadian pro posted to his Twitter account Tuesday night showed a light in the night sky. "Just saw a UFO in Ixtapa, Mexico," he wrote. "No other explanation. Freakiest thing I've ever seen."
Her honor, Justice R.G.B.:
I’d like to see in the Constitution a statement that men and women are people of equal citizenship stature. I’d like to see an equal rights amendment in our Constitution.
Quote of the Day
This headline is really all you need:
Doctor who believes she's reincarnated, psychic accused of unnecessarily removing breast implants
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