An Amazing Bastardization

October 13, 2016

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

Is there a difference between religious freedom and religious liberty? Stephanie Russell-Kraft at Religion Dispatches explains that to religious conservatives, the answer is hell yes: "Liberty is the language of exemption," she writes, showing how the word has deep associations among the religious with Christianity as the nation's moral center.

Ruth Graham at Slate looks at the next generation of pro-life activists, and here's a thing: a lot of them are secular:

Moral consistency matters a great deal to their younger compatriots in the movement, whose pro-life ethic means concern for life 'from womb to tomb.' “It’s not a partisan issue, it’s not a religious issue,” Murphy said. “It’s a human rights issue.” 

Hyland's homeopathic teething tablets for babies may have killed 10 kids. Do you not just want to scream when you hear stuff like this?

Lots of activity at the CFI blog of late. David Koepsell explores some of the ideas behind an upcoming CFI Institute workshop on moving "beyond reductionism":

In so reducing a concept like love or justice to analytical scrutiny, or scientific dissection, it seems likely we are missing some important element of the experience of such phenomena. Certainly the natural world is experienced much more richly than any one manner of knowing can allow. 

Ben Radford looks at the risks of Donald Trump's promotion of "election rigging" conspiracies:

The voter fraud conspiracy is especially insidious because it cannot be conclusively disproven. Any investigations that find no truth to the allegations can simply and easily be dismissed as whitewashes and cover-ups.  

Joe Nickell looks back on some vintage "magnetic" medicinal products from the early 20th century: "Whatever the actual effect of these products, the main “magnetic” property of some may have been drawing cash out of the pockets of suffering folk." 

And, Stephen Law does his third "best available explanation" post, using UFO sightings as his example

Oh, and now Ben is talking to Vox about scary clowns. Man, who knew. 

One of the hacked emails from the Clinton campaign shows Center for American Progress John Halpin accusing conservative Catholics' positions as "an amazing bastardization of the faith," and attracting those who approve of "severely backwards gender relations." Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri called Catholicism "the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion." Republicans came out of the Trump-infested woodwork to express their outrage at what they characterized as "breathtaking anti-Catholic bigotry." 

Also revealed, UFO enthusiast and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta is anti-GMO and holds some tiresome views about FDA and industry collusion to sidestep safety concerns. 

Max Perry Mueller delves into the religious worldview of Mike Pence. Spoiler: "If Pence becomes the vice president, just a heartbeat—or impeachment—away from the Oval Office will be a politician who ... believes it his “calling” to legislate his religious views into public policy." 

The appeal for Asia Bibi's death sentence for blasphemy has been once again delayed, after one judge recuses himself.  

The president wants to bring about the AI apocalypse. Thanks, Obama! Actually, he says:

I think my directive to my national security team is: Don’t worry as much yet about machines taking over the world. Worry about the capacity of either non-state actors or hostile actors to penetrate systems. It just means that we’re gonna have to be better, because those who might deploy these systems are going to be a lot better now. 

Russian scientist Igor Ashurbeyli, chairman of UNESCO's Science of Space committee, has announced a plan to found a sovereign "space nation" -- no, really -- on a satellite or space station or something, in order to disentangle space exploration from any one state's regulations or dominance. The name of this would-be UN member state? Asgardia. Not kidding!     

Soylent bars are making people throw up a lot. I wonder if they're a subsidiary of Samsung. 

Gohmert. Bah I can't even.

Speaking of can't even: Worst thing ever said? 

Quote of the Day

I'm going back to Sarcastic Rover just to cheer myself up:

So… what’s happening with all the Pokemons everyone caught last month? 

Are they dead now? 

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Photo credit: donald judge via / CC BY. Yes, that's a Beatles tribute band.

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#1 Randy (Guest) on Thursday October 13, 2016 at 2:01pm

“Are they dead now?”

I ground many (MANY) into candy.  Yeah, they’re dead.  Dead dead.

The ones I didn’t grind are:

* 9 in unhatched eggs
* maybe 100 or so languishing in the Pokémon Storage device. 
* 0 in gyms, 0 buddies

I stopped playing when they decided my operating system wasn’t entirely under their creepy control.  I’m taking a course that will help me design a competitor to their product (nothing motivates competition like evil customer service).  Truth be told, they’ll fail under their own incompetence, but I’ll be there like a liferaft for those jumping ship when the time comes.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Thursday October 13, 2016 at 2:28pm

“Any investigations that find no truth to the allegations”

This presumes that meaningful investigations have been done.  But what does an investigation mean, if it finds no fraud, but the process itself offers no means for flagging fraud in the first place?

It’s astounding to me that anyone is allowed to vote without two pieces of current government ID, with one of them being photo ID, and the other confirming place of residence.  If cost is really that big an issue, then make these two pieces of ID free.  We’re going to have to move to universal basic income at some point anyway, so might as well start with this baby step. 

Say what you want about Trump, but he is NOT wrong to attack the voting system as rigged (you could call it intentionally malfunctioning).  It’s unacceptable that the system as designed is susceptible to such a charge.  Fix it.  (Of the top 10 states by population, only Ohio and Georgia have reasonable requirements).

#3 Randy (Guest) on Thursday October 13, 2016 at 2:37pm

“Do you not just want to scream”

Yes.  Every day. Humans are excellent at scoring the own goal.

I’m starting to wonder whether our creation of general AI might be the best thing we ever do—allowing something intelligent to exist and think clearly without interference by us apes—or whether human-like AI is doomed to the same flaws, but spread amongst and taught to each other at the speed of light.  I envision a sea of robot Pat Robertsons.  That would be so like humanity to do.  :(

#4 Randy (Guest) on Thursday October 13, 2016 at 2:39pm

“to religious conservatives, the answer is”

Unsurprising… they’ve been redefining words for quite some time now…

#5 Randy (Guest) on Thursday October 13, 2016 at 2:47pm

“from womb to tomb”

What serious non-religious person could care about life with those arbitrary boundaries?

Human life begins in the testes and ovaries.  Those little wrigglers move!  That’s not dead stuff.  That’s alive.  That’s life.  (“Every sperm is wanted /  Every sperm is good / Every sperm is needed / In your neighborhood”)

And human life many not end in a tomb.  Kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, pancreas, and intestines (and more) can be donated and revived to live on in someone new.

Life doesn’t begin.
Life doesn’t always end.

It just changes a bit.

#6 Randy (Guest) on Thursday October 13, 2016 at 2:58pm

“beyond reductionism”

Tell me more (insert Willy Wonka meme here).

I like how the Willy Wonka meme is both gently mocking, but also open to new information.  Gene had the right mix.  Genes, perhaps.

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