A Cabal of Vicious Zealots

November 16, 2016

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

Because of some news we're working on, this has to be super quick.

Ensaf Haidar, global activist and wife of imprisoned Saudi dissident Raif Badawi, writes to Donald Trump in Newsweek:

We must support those who, from within, challenge Islamic law and fight for freedom of speech, press, religion on a daily basis. Those brave young women and men like Raif. ... Let it also be your mission, President-elect Trump. I urge you to help me secure Raif’s release, as well as all prisoners of conscience around the world. 

Trump is looking at bringing into his cabinet two anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists as national security officials: Clare Lopez and Frank Gaffney

Jeremy Scahill says to look out: Mike Pence is not the most powerful "Christian supremacist" in American history:

Trump is a Trojan horse for a cabal of vicious zealots who have long craved an extremist Christian theocracy, and Pence is one of its most prized warriors. With Republican control of the House and Senate and the prospect of dramatically and decisively tilting the balance of the Supreme Court to the far right, the incoming administration will have a real shot at bringing the fire and brimstone of the second coming to Washington. 

Ben Carson, however, will not be joining the administration. Something something small favors. 

An AVAAZ petition is circulating to urge Trump not to withdraw from the Paris climate agreements.  

Richard Grenell might be Trump's UN ambassador, and he's kind of a jerk about women.

The latest Dawkins Foundation newsletter delves into the implications of a Trump presidency.  

Andrew R. Lewis and Paul A. Djupe and FiveThirtyEight say Nones are more approving of socialism, but the "rise of the Nones" doesn't help much because, due to lack of religious cohesion, they don't reliably vote in blocs. 

The Supreme Court is going to hear today the case about Arlene's Flowers, where the proprietor refused to provide services to a same-sex couple for their wedding. One of the guys' names in the wronged couple in question? Robert Ingersoll. 

Holy moly, there's some real movement on Bangladesh dropping Islam as its official state religion. Bangladesh!  

If it's not coming out of dirt, is it organic? Here we go. 

Quote of the Day:

Dan Rather:

The political press treats science as a niche issue. But I would argue that it is central to America’s military and economic might, that it shapes the health and welfare of our citizenry, and that our governmental support of the pure pursuit of knowledge through basic research is one of the defining symbols of American excellence. Science bolsters our global stature by its institutionalized respect for the truth, its evidence-based decision-making, and its willingness to accept differing opinions when the facts dictate them.

This is why we need to radically rethink how the press, scientists and politicians place science in the national discourse. And we can’t afford to wait. The top priority must be for scientists to try to engage the incoming administration. While the early indications of how a President Trump may approach issues of science are concerning, we cannot afford not to try. I would suggest that a group of Nobel Prize winners, members of the National Academy of Sciences and other scientific leaders who may get his attention, offer to meet with the President-elect to lay out what they think the biggest issues are. Top of the list is to assert the special role of science in planning for our future, especially, of course, when it comes to climate change. 

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#1 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday November 16, 2016 at 12:39pm

“I would suggest that a group of Nobel Prize winners”

Oh sure, Barack Obama is really going to influence Trump.

No, the time for science to suddenly notice there’s a real world out there with people running it, is not after losing an election.

Science needs to clean its own house first.  It needs to stop its ... let’s call it premature ejaculation (not even a metaphor, but it can be) ... of preliminary results.  “Science” needs to really work on its public image, and it needs to EARN respect as a reliable resource.  Only AFTER it does that should it attempt to influence politicians. 

It’s sad that science has let itself become such a disaster, but that is what has happened.  In a year when you tell the public that 70% of the content of the universe .. well maybe that was a rounding error… you lose ALL credibility.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday November 16, 2016 at 12:44pm

“Mike Pence is not the most powerful ‘Christian supremacist’”


#3 Mario (Guest) on Thursday November 17, 2016 at 2:00am

A mentally unstable and intellectually infantile fool in charge of the country?  Oh, well.  Racist goons and/or inept idiots being picked for his Cabinet?  These things happen.

We’ve been through all of this before.  Remember the last faux billionaire with no government experience who became president?  I can’t, but apparently it happens all the time.

So, let’s not sweat this.

(Wait a minute—“an extremist Christian theocracy” on the horizon?  Oh, nooooooooo!!)

Okay, NOW we can get concerned.

#4 Dennis Bierlein (Guest) on Thursday November 17, 2016 at 12:39pm

“Science needs to clean its own house first.” Oh, please. First, science has always been full of assertions found eventually to be false. It’s how science works. But we, the populace, ignore them at our peril.
Check out the C-Span Washington Journal for 11/13 where they actually had a caller who started to relate the biblical story of the Nephelim, making the connection to the evil “Blacks” which connected to the election of Trump. How to combat that type of ignorance when some play their own particular brand of PC thinking?

#5 Mario (Guest) on Thursday November 17, 2016 at 5:07pm

Why is it we liberals do our call for unity AFTER a tragedy we could easily have prevented?  Shouldn’t we try getting on the same page BEFORE the fact?

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