Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of the Posterior Medial Frontal Cortex

October 16, 2015

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

Nikhil Kumar at TIME covers the mortal plight of secularist bloggers in Bangladesh, citing Avijit Roy and his work with CFI. 

I join Loren Grush at The Verge in actually thinking Newt Gingrich's Moon-colony plan was a cool idea, and we are joined by Jeb! Bush, who said, "People started laughing, and I’m thinking, ‘Really?’ I think it’s pretty cool." That's because it is pretty cool. Moon colonies are cool. That's just a #sciencefact.

I'm still pretty excited about that hypothetical swarm of megastructures that might be aliens, though George Dvorsky at Gizmodo reminds us that we've been down this hopeful road before:

This issue brings to mind previous instances in scientific history when a “God is in the gaps” explanation gets invoked for inexplicable phenomenon. There seems to be a tendency—and again, not a completely unwarranted tendency—among some astronomers to attribute extraterrestrial intervention when they observe something unexpected or seemingly outside the bounds of established knowledge. But in virtually every instance, these initial deliberations have been superseded by more reasonable explanations.  

This is weird. Using "transcranial magnetic stimulation," researchers tweak the posterior medial frontal cortex of subjects' brains to reduce "both belief in God and prejudice towards immigrants." Yowza.

Organizing for Action (the group that used to be President Obama's campaign operation) clubs the anti-science crowd in Congress over the head with a big "call out climate change deniers" push

Joanna Rothkopf at Jezebel reports on how a campaign-that-wasn't-supposed-to-be-a-campaign for victims of domestic abuse morphed into something very well-meaning, and yet actually pretty dangerous. 

Well this I didn't expect: some male pastors within Seventh-day Adventism take "demotions" in their credentials in protest over the church's unwillingness to ordain women. 

Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz go on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell (right before Dick Van Dyke and how cool is Dick Van Dyke very cool is the answer). 

Quote of the Day:

Herb Silverman:

Some Republican presidential candidates have generalized "politically incorrect" to justify any bad behavior, which includes stereotyping, offensive comments, scientific ignorance, and refusal to answer difficult questions. Some proudly consider themselves politically incorrect because they would not vote for a Muslim, or because they don't believe in scientific theories like evolution and climate change. Since when did rejecting the overwhelming consensus of scientists around the globe become a proud politically incorrect position? I suppose I'm politically correct because I like to make evidence-based and reality-based decisions. 

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