People Do Not Go On To Do Good Things When They Are Scared

November 10, 2016

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

Kimberly Winston at RNS takes a first look at the implications of a Trump presidency on the freethought movement. She gets some thoughts from assorted secular groups' leaders, oh, and me too:

Paul Fidalgo, director of communications for the Center for Inquiry, said the election of Trump will send the organization back to its roots — the promotion of evidence-based reasoning and provable facts. “It is time for the secular community to gear up big-time because we should expect, once again, the basic tenets of secularism are going to be challenged very, very hard,” Fidalgo said. “That is the reality.”

But another reality gives Fidalgo hope. The secular movement, which surged during the George W. Bush administration, considered overly friendly with the religious right by many secularists, is now stronger and better-organized. “A real movement has been built around this identity (secularism) that is now in a much better place to meet that challenge,” he said. “We are going to fight the battle of religion’s incursion into government and we are ready for that.” 

CFI's legal director Nick Little confronts the Christian voters who helped elect the only quasi-religious Trump:

Christian groups will get much that they want from the upcoming regime; their coffers will be protected from taxation, they will receive taxpayer funds to proselytize, their business-owning members will likely be permitted to refuse service to LGBT people. Yet at what cost? ... The question every non-Evangelical religious leader must face today is whether they will lead their organization to reinforce Christian privilege, or to promote Christian values. 

Benjamin Radford has written some thoughts about the Trump election that I think helps lend some necessary perspective:

We can shake our heads and wonder why so many Americans fell for it this election, but in fact there's little mystery. This implicit idea that America is somehow better or more enlightened than other countries is not only historically wrong but feeds on and fuels the same sentiment that Trump tapped into. If you harbor some jingoistic notion of American voter superiority, then you not only have a poor grasp of psychology and political history, but you also share more in common with Trump than you realize.

Pew has the numbers on how religious groups voted. Shamefully, the "nones" made up only 15% of the electorate, despite being a quarter of the population. 

Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin is scared. Typing "with shaking hands," he writes, "We have lost that America — that America where being a racist or a sexist is actually a mark of shame." 

All evidence of Trump's ban on Muslims entering the U.S. mysteriously disappears from the web

Trump appoints prominent climate change denier Myron Ebell to head his EPA transition. Existing environmental policies and agreements are likely to be reversed.

Nick Visser at HuffPo gets reactions from attendees of a climate conference in Morocco. Alden Meyer of the Union for Concerned Scientists says:

It’s clear that Donald Trump is about to be one of the most powerful people in the world, but even he does not have the power to amend and change the laws of physics, to stop the impacts of climate change. He has to acknowledge the reality of climate change, he has a responsibility as president-elect now. ... Other major countries in this process will continue to go ahead with the climate commitments that they have made under Paris, not because they’re trying to please the United States, but because it’s in their own self interest to protect their people from the impacts of climate change.

Here's more scared scientists

Margaret Sullivan has calls for courage and a serious devotion of resources by journalists and news outlets to arms for journalists to cover the Trump administration:

If January 2017 isn’t going to herald disaster for press rights — and the citizens served by a free and independent press — we’re going to need some help. We’re going to need some heroes. 

With the GOP in control of the presidency, Congress, and soon the Supreme Court, it's time for women to stock up on birth control, particularly IUDs

Richard Dawkins sums it up:

This is your captain. I’ve no flying experience or qualifications but boundless confidence in my ability. No need to fasten your seat belts. 

And now moving on from Trump... 

The Vancouver Courier reports on a Dawkins event, and speaks well of many of CFI and RDFRS's programs, like Openly Secular and TIES. 

At Skeptical Inquirer, Joe Nickell investigates the ghost stories surrounding Jesse James

Tim Farley, with the help of Jim Lippard and CFI's Tim Binga, made an "in memoriam" video of the skeptic notables we lost over the year for CSICon.

With Alcoholics Anonymous awash in theistic spiritualism, secularists in Canada fight for their place in substance abuse treatment.  

Hemant has more secular/atheist election winners:  

Quote of the Day:

Maajid Nawaz, writing for the Times of Israel:

In our sanctimony, our outrage, our righteousness, we overlook the way in which we appear to the other. The fact is that populism is not only rising on the right. The hard left, too, is angry, scared and increasingly vitriolic. Many on the left are displaying the very traits they disparage the right for exhibiting. Fear is well and truly on the march. Yes, we are scared. But they – Trump voters – are scared, too. Blaming and shaming them will only scare them more. And people do not go on to do good things when they are scared. ... Fear requires no logic.

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The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta


#1 Randy (Guest) on Thursday November 10, 2016 at 3:52pm

Maajid is correct.  But of course he’s one of SPLC’s deplorables…

#2 Randy (Guest) on Thursday November 10, 2016 at 3:55pm

“This is your captain. I’ve no flying experience”

Fact is, many pilots have no meaningful flying experience, because most of the flying is done by the computer.  This is one reason why emergencies are so risky now.

So, maybe not the best analogy.  There’s no computer for the US administration.

#3 Randy (Guest) on Thursday November 10, 2016 at 4:02pm

“We’re going to need some heroes”

We’re going to need more organizations like WikiLeaks.  There’s no reason they need to have a monopoly on big leaks about bad governments and corporations.  But it does take passion, technical know-how, and journalistic integrity.  The only way to truly know whether Wikileaks is being fair is to submit leaks to Wikileaks AND another similar outfit.

And given Trump’s penchant for angering employees, it probably won’t be more than a month in before someone leaks something the public needs to know.

As for news, it should be published on the un-censorable internet—like ZeroNet or similar platforms.

#4 Randy (Guest) on Thursday November 10, 2016 at 4:06pm

“We have lost that America — that America where being a racist or a sexist is actually a mark of shame”

Not at all.  The person most proud of their sexism was defeated.  The person who associated with racists, and refused to disavow them was defeated.

If the left doesn’t take a long look in the mirror, it will never understand this election result, and it is critical to do so, because we really don’t want 8 years of this.

#5 Randy (Guest) on Thursday November 10, 2016 at 4:10pm

“so many Americans fell for it this election”

This attitude isn’t helping.  The Democrats (not CFI per se, but I think it’s pretty obvious) should want to take Congress in 2018.  That isn’t going to happen if you continue to insult the voters you don’t like.

You have to admit that Trump is the equivalent of a random number generator, and that IS better than a constant string of -1, -1, -1, -1, ... that these people get from Clinton.

#6 Mario (Guest) on Thursday November 10, 2016 at 4:56pm

Yeah, the first thing we all need to be concerned about is the effect of a Trump presidency on the “freethought” movement.

Silly me—I was worried about freedom of the press, the world economy, the fate of Obamacare, the further gutting of African-American rights, the impact of Trump’s misogyny on the progress of women, the erasing of Obama’s legacy, etc., etc.

But, damn, I forgot about the “freethought” movement.  That’s ‘cuz I’m a cwazy Christian and therefore have skewed priorities.  Shame on me.

#7 Randy (Guest) on Friday November 11, 2016 at 1:22am

Now that Trump took the power there is going to be so much jobs because those camps fro blacks, Muslims, gays and women that used contraception won’t build themselves. I can’t wait!!

#8 Tim P. Farley on Monday November 14, 2016 at 12:12pm

Slight correction - the In Memoriam at CSICON didn’t just cover the last year, it covers the entire 40-year history of CSICOP/CSI and Skeptical Inquirer, focusing on people who had a connection to the organization.

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