The T. Rex and the Hare

July 19, 2017

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

Hey look look look look the latest episode of Point of Inquiry is up, in which I have a really fun talk with The Verge's space reporter Loren Grush about U.S. space policy in the Trump era, the hostility women still face in the sciences, the feasibility of human missions to Mars, and whether Mike Pence ruined space forever when he disobeyed that sign. Share and enjoy.

How I wish this story had come out before I recorded my interview with Grush: GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher presses NASA's Kenneth Farley on Martians:

You have indicated that Mars had, was totally different thousands of years ago. Is it possible that there was a civilization on Mars thousands of years ago? ... Would you rule that out? See, there's some people... Well, anyway.

Well, anyway indeed. 

Benjamin Radford posts a special report on the History Channel's problematic claims about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart:

The demands of television outweighed the search for the truth. There is also a lesson to be learned by the experts on how to avoid getting egg on your face: Don’t go beyond your expertise, and qualify your statements. 

Bertha Vazquez, director of our Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES), publishes a paper comparing middle school science standards on evolution among the states.  

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Great Britain gets formal complaints lodged against them by Muslim groups for their Pride parade signs saying "Allah is gay" and whatnot.

A major exposé by Australia's ABC News on the domestic abuse suffered by evangelical Christian wives, and that church institutions are only enabling the problem:

Abusive men commonly refer to several different parts of the Bible. First are the verses ... telling women to submit to their husbands and male authority, under the doctrine known as male headship. Second are verses that say God hates divorce. 

An independent investigation reveals that at least 547 boys were physically and sexually abused by priests and teachers at the Domspatzen choir for boys in Regensburg, Germany, mostly in the 60s and 70s. The choir was led by the brother of ex-pope Ratzinger, and Ratzinger was in charge of the Vatican agency responsible for investigating abuse.  

Mark Zuckerberg travels to Glacier National Park with plans to talk about climate change with a scientist from the U.S. Geological Survey, but the scientist, ecologist Daniel Fagre, is prohibited by the Trump administration from meeting with Zuck. “I literally was told I would no longer be participating,” said Fagre.

A woman in Saudi Arabia who appeared in a viral video with a short skirt, which is illegal there, is reportedly arrested by Saudi authorities

Brigham Young University-Idaho fires a professor for expressing her support of the LGBTQ community on social media.

The Toronto Star profiles Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB-GYN and skeptic who has taken on the pseudoscience of Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop snake oil empire. 

Snopes: No, Donald Trump did not say he was an atheist in The Art of the Deal. Here's how they found out: They looked.

Look at this cool walking event in the UK: "The Ancestor's Trail," inspired by the book The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins and Yan Wong. 

Turns out you could totally run away from Tyrannosaurus Rex. This changes everything.

Quote of the Day:

In May, Trump nominated Callista Gingrich, latest wife of newt, to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. Dana Milbank has an absolutely withering column showing how the nomination is an insult to both Pope Francis and to, well, qualifications:

Newt carried on a six-year extramarital affair with Callista in the 1990s when she, 23 years his junior, was a House staffer and he, as speaker, led the impeachment of Bill Clinton over his extramarital affair with an intern. National Catholic Reporter’s Michael Sean Winters called it “astonishing that a party that celebrates family values at every turn has a president who is on his third wife and who has bragged about his extramarital affairs and who is appointing an ambassador to the Vatican who had a six-year affair with her future husband while he was still married to his second wife.” 

Ron Lindsay makes this key point about the nomination that Milbank overlooked:

Callista Gingrich, whose qualifications are imaginary, is the perfect person to be ambassador to an imaginary state.    

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