Don’t Boo, Goat!

November 8, 2016

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

Deep breath.

Did you vote? You're gonna, right? I totally did. But I think I may have accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan. Hashtag-jokes-from-16-years-ago.

Holy crap was that actually 16 years ago?  

Anyway, this psychic goat says Hillary Clinton will be elected. However, a monkey, some dogs, and a shark have predicted the race for Donald Trump. Me, I tend to trust goats more, but the facts in favor of a Trump victory are compelling. So who knows.

Perhaps almost as incomprehensible as this election is the asymptotic advance of technology, and how only a precious few of us have any idea how any of it works. Samuel Arbesman, author of the new book Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension, is this week's guest on Point of Inquiry

Political partisanship poisons just about everything, even something as ostensibly black and white as whether or not to panic about a pandemic. Matt Nisbet in Skeptical Inquirer explains

This is still happening: Jakarta's governor, who is Christian and ethnic Chinese, is questioned by police over blasphemy charges after mass protests against him turn ugly. 

Toronto's police force (which I assume is not entirely on horseback) has a Muslim chaplain, one Musleh Khan, who says of married women:

The wife should make herself available to her husband, after the marriage has taken place. She should not withhold this right from her husband without a valid excuse, sickness for example. If she refuses without a valid reason then she has committed a major sin. ... Sisters, it’s part of your act of worship towards Allah that you try to respond to this as best you can as part of your duties as the wife.  

Kavin Senapathy reports on how a group of scientist moms are pushing back against the vilification of genetically modified crops

Rev. Frank Pavone of Texas places an aborted fetus on an altar, and streams the video on Facebook, as an inducement to vote for Trump:

We have to decide if we will allow this child killing to continue in America or not. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform says yes, let the child-killing continue (and you pay for it); Donald Trump and the Republican platform says no, the child should be protected. 

John Oliver takes on multi-level marketing schemes. I'm surprised he didn't include Mars One.

Joe Nickell discusses the "Infant Jesus of Prague," a small wood statue that is believed to have magical powers:

The statue was also believed to bring good luck and to offer protection to the faithful. It was specifically intended “to obtain the protection of Jesus during the devastating religious wars in Prague.” In fact, it could not even protect itself. 

Ross Douthat, who just keeps being hilarious, blames the ascent of Trump on "a 'post-familial' revolution" in which fewer descendants exist through which folks can "encounter the future," and Patricia Miller translates for us:

While Douthat is careful to avoiding naming names, it’s clear who’s responsible for all these lonely grandparents: women who insist on employing birth control and abortions to have small families. Clearly, if women, especially educated women, would just go back to having 13 children ... we wouldn’t have to worry about Donald Trump. 

Oh, and this guy is fun. "Online Christian evangelist" Joshua Feuerstein says Hillary Clinton is Satan:

Hillary Clinton is a liar. She is a murderer. She hates the unborn. And she hates God. In fact, there’s even stuff coming out now showing that she’s been taking part in Satanic rituals — guys, seriously — where they drinks semen and drink blood and make sacrifices to Satan.  

Ted Koren, a "leader" among chiropractors, says the CDC will be rounding people up who might be "at risk" for whatever disease they think suits their interest by way of a "public health gestapo." I dunno, a public health gestapo might be kind of useful. "PUT DOWN ZAT TVINKIE! IT ISHT FULL OF HIGH FRUCTOSHE CORN SSHHHHHYRUP!! UNMITTELBAR!!!"

Steve Feltham, who has spent a quarter century "hunting" for the Loch Ness Monster, gets a tourism award for his efforts. Great. 

Washington, DC now has a tiny little secular wedding venue, "Pop! Wed." 

Quote of the Day:

Carmen Celestini on the appeal of conspiracy theories in the Trump universe:

There is a bridging of sorts that occurs between religion and conspiracy. When prayer and belief are “not enough” to stop the wave of “liberalism” in society, there needs to be another rationale for the continued persecution of conservative religious culture issues such as reproductive rights and LGBT rights. For many, conspiracy provides an antidote to the sensation that their worldview, including values and morals, is collapsing around them.

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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 at 6:06pm

“conspiracy”

Not sure which particular supposed conspiracies you have in mind, but anyone familiar with what’s going on in journalism right now knows that it’s no conspiracy to recognize that journalism is just dead.  People come to it with a mission in mind, and that mission (more often than not) has nothing to do with being objective, and everything to do with pushing a particular political agenda, while claiming not to (as first mastered by Fox News, now done by just about everyone).

If people cannot trust their news sources, I don’t see how we blame them for conspiracy theories.  I really don’t.

You know, I was reading (or perhaps listening) to something about a former Professor of Journalism, and he was talking about how depressing his class was in its last year, because none of what he taught mattered any more.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 at 6:13pm

“Toronto’s police force ... has a Muslim chaplain”

Careful now… you don’t want to be gross and racist.  SPLC might put you on their list.

Don’t you know you have to tolerate cultural differences like this?

#3 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 at 6:17pm

“only a precious few of us have any idea how any of it works”

It didn’t have to be this way, but permitting business to drive engineering, and in turn science, has resulted in a total mess.

Can you even imagine?  We are STILL having to patch Linux, an open-source Operating System that has been around for over a decade?

If we don’t even know how something works, and it’s RIGHT THERE just waiting to be read, how can we hope to understand anything that is proprietary?

Our best hope is that AI can learn it.  It only has to learn it once, and then all the AI’s can know it.  Of course, then we have to trust it… but at this point, it could hardly be worse than trusting a human with unknown motivation.

#4 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday November 09, 2016 at 6:21pm

Oh, you thought you ordered a psychic goat… see I delivered a spider-goat…  you can get great silk from it, but it doesn’t know anything about predictions.

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