I Have Fallen Over

May 10, 2017

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

Investigate the president? Comey don't play dat. Now that he's been fired. By the president.

Richard Dawkins to Irish authorities suddenly concerned about violations of its blasphemy law: 'Come at me, bro!' (New Zealand's president, by the way, is just fine with his country's own blasphemy law.)

We announced who the next hosts of Point of Inquiry are going to be. I can't remember who it was, though. I'm sure they'll be fine. 

This is absolute bananapants crazy, but we should expect nothing less. Here's HHS Secretary Tom Price's view of treating opioid addiction, as reported by Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

Asked about drug treatment options, Price touted faith-based programs while showing less support for medication-assisted programs in which addicts are weaned off heroin with other opioids like Suboxone and methadone.

“If we’re just substituting one opioid for another, we’re not moving the dial much,” he said. “Folks need to be cured so they can be productive members of society and realize their dreams.”

Skeptical Inquirer posts part 2 of Ken Frazier's interview with James Randi at CSICon 2016. 

Steven Novella writes about a new study confirming something we more or less know to be true: Misinformation is best countered by "inoculation" -- teaching people the tricks of deception and bad info before they hear it 

No, really, Trump subscribes to the idea that the human body is like a non-rechargable battery, the finite energy of which will deplete too soon if one exercises. He really thinks that.

A fossilized dinosaur fetus is declared to be a newly-discovered species, Beibeilong sinensis. The Republican Party immediately grants the dino-fetus more rights than living persons. 

A radio journalist after my own heart, On the Media's Brooke Gladstone has a new book, The Trouble with Reality. This will be followed by my book, Tremendous Difficulty with my Lifestyle.

The Economist looks at he views of Emmanuel Macron on the subject of secularism, or rather France's version of it, laïcité:

Although he accepted that Islam was a unique subject of concern in today’s France, he was equally adamant that no religion was in itself a problem. The purpose of France’s regime of laïcité ... was not “to conduct a battle against this or that religion in particular, not to exclude, not to point a finger…” As he conceived it, the function of laïcité was not to curb religion but to affirm and underpin religious freedom, albeit strictly within the framework of the law. That last sentiment is more characteristic of American church-state separation than of French secularism in its most zealously anti-clerical form. 

Dennis Overbye at NYT profiles the work of "Sesame," physicists from Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, and the Palestinian Authority who are collaborating on an ambitious project, the "synchrotron":

...the goal is to make [electrons] dance and emit powerful beams of radiation — so-called synchrotron light — that can be used to study the properties of materials ranging from exotic semiconductors to viruses. 

West Virginia's Supreme Court declares that sexual orientation is not covered under the state's civil rights law. 

Anita Little at Religion Dispatches says to Evangelicals trying to rope in the post-Millennials, aka, Gen Zers: Good luck, you'll need it.

Brother Guy Consolmagno (what a great name! "Hey, Brother-Guy!"), head of the Vatican Observatory, wants more religious scientists to "come out," but also make their science known to other believers. John L. Allen at Crux reports:

Consolmagno cautioned against a lazy tendency among many believers to handle the Big Bang theory by replying that God is the one who caused it - which both short-circuits further scientific investigation, he said, and also cheapens the concept of God.

“If you look at God as merely the thing at started the Big Bang, then you get a nature god, like Jupiter throwing around lightning bolts,” he said. “That’s not a god I want to believe in. There are many ideas of god, which means there are many gods I don’t believe in. ... We must believe in a God who is supernatural,” Consolmagno said. “We recognize God as the one who is responsible for existence, and our science tells us how he did it.” 

Global warming may cause Alaska's vast tundra to release more carbon than it stores, worsening, um, oh yes, global warming.

Popular Mechanics rounds up the top ten "must-see" UFO destinations. Really? Must see? "Must-see" like the Grand Canyon or "must-see" like NBC sitcoms? 

Quote of the Day:

Neil deGrasse Tyson felt the need to share:

No. I have pretty good balance for my body size. But I have fallen over while attempting to quickly take off my pants.

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