Rick Perry’s Genetic Coding

June 13, 2014

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

It's a full moon -- a "honey moon," no less -- on Friday the Thirteenth, so I suppose the world will be sucked into the Bermuda Triangle, which is operated by the still-living Elvis and Hitler, both of whom are lizard people. But in honor of today, we've got some classic Skeptical Inquirer from 1985: I. W. Kelly, James Rotton, and Roger Culver with "The Moon Was Full and Nothing Happened." 

Saudi Arabia's Justice Minister, Mohammed Al-Eissa, spoke to a gathering of lawyers in DC (we don't know who they were), and made a scary defense of his country's draconian, theocratic laws:

The minister tried to counter misconceptions about various Shariah punishments such as beheading, cutting off hands and lashing. “These punishments are based on divine religious texts and we cannot change them,” he said. ... “Islam is a religion of wisdom that calls for dialogue with other religious faiths and peaceful coexistence with other communities,” the minister said. “If it was not a good religion, it would not have lasted for more than 1,400 years and won millions of followers around the world.” 

Well too bad for Al-Eissa: Caryle Murphy writes at Salon about the "explosion" of atheism in Saudi Arabia. (Though it's a "quiet" explosion.) 

Rick Perry, scholar for the ages, says homosexuality is a disease of "genetic coding" not unlike alcoholism. This man would still like to be president. 

Remember that crazy thing yesterday about people suing their employer because they were forced into this "Onionhead" religious practice at work? Guess what: Onionhead has a website...in Comic Sans.  

Amanda Marcotte on how the right wears ignorance as a badge of honor:

As liberalism has increasingly been aligned with the values of empiricism and reason, the incentives for conservatives to reject empiricism and reason multiply. To be a “conservative” increasingly means taking a contemptuous view of reality. 

Doctors in Australia worry about the proliferation of alt-med among pregnant mothers, and urges women to tell their own doctors if they're using alt-med treatments. 

"Crisis Pregnancy Centers" are not a US-only phenomenon, as The Telegraph finds UK CPCs doling out lies such as the idea that having an abortion makes one more likely to sexually abuse children.  

Kimberly Winston talks to Frank Schaeffer about his new book Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God, which is sure to please atheists and believers alike. Ha!

Chris Hedges, liberal firebrand and New Atheist critic, is alleged to be a serial plagiarist by Christopher Ketcham at The New Republic.

Eric Holder is not satisfied with the Boy Scouts still banning gay scout leaders, saying it "only preserves and perpetuates the worst kind of stereotypes." No word about the ongoing ban on atheists. 

Andrew Brown criticizes Dawkins for saying that babies are born atheist, which he didn't, but whatever, right?

Ben Radford talks Slender Man on the Rob Breakenridge radio show, and muses on the endurance of 9/11 conspiracies

Some folks in Yucaipa, California don't want a psychic to set up shop in town because they fear "God’s own judgment on our city." Two wrongs, etc.

Good news from South Carolina as the state board of education rejects science standards that would have required biology teachers to "teach the controversy" with a dose of creationism.

There's a new documentary about corruption in African American churches, Black Church, Inc., which features insight from Anthony Pinn. 

Vancouver Courier profiles members of CFI-Canada (which operates independently from us).

The Foundation Beyond Belief is going to hold a humanists-doing-good conference in July. 

After FFRF makes noise, a Christian theme park in Iowa will not be getting government funds

We don't yet know what the Supreme Court will decide about the Hobby Lobby case, but in New York State, the company has been made to pay a settlement of over $220,000 for "misleading advertising." 

Science knows why your iPhone's earbuds get tangled

Uh oh, homonym trouble

Quote of the Day

Seth Shostak of SETI (and Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) on the protocols that have been established if we pick up an alien communiqué:

We’ve been worrying about the protocols about what to do if we find a signal. We’ve rewritten them and they’re all very nice in a nice little document, but the reality is that nobody’s going to pay a whole lot of attention to protocols if we pick up a signal. And we know that because we’ve had false alarms, like in 1997 when for almost a day it looked like we had a signal that was the real deal. And did people stick to protocols and say, ‘well, we’ve got to notify these people and those people?’ No! None of that happened. It was completely chaotic, which it would be.  

Oh well that's confidence inspiring!  
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Comments:

#1 Veronica Abbass on Wednesday June 18, 2014 at 2:15am

Re: “Vancouver Courier profiles members of CFI-Canada . . .”

The article gives CFI member French’s first name as “Richard”; his name is Robert French.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Saturday July 05, 2014 at 11:03pm

“As liberalism has increasingly been aligned with the values of empiricism and reason,”

LOL.  While it is true that the right has completely left empiricism and reason behind, liberals don’t have much stronger grasp of these either.

While liberals may latch on to ideas that are “sciency” (to mimic a construction from Colbert), it seems less out of a desire to be empirical and reasonable, and more about demonstrating group membership.  Check the reactions to various YouTube science videos, which tend to be accepted at face value by their adoring fans, regardless of the truth of the claims.  Animation + cheerful college student (regardless of major) = expert scientist.  And that’s sad, because some of them are actually good.

So no.  Rather, it is true that people who value empiricism and reason tend to be liberal.  The direction points FROM empiricism and reason TO (often) liberal, not the other way around.

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