December 13, 2017
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Well I'll be damned.
As regular readers of this blog (all four of you) will tell you, I have been pretty certain that Roy Moore, the vile theocratic, arrogant, bigoted, pretadory swine, would easily win his race for Alabama's Senate seat. I was wrong. Last night, Democrat Doug Jones eked out a very narrow victory over Moore, thanks in large part to the state's African-American population. Moore wants a recount, because there's no way God would let him down like this.
Jones is no theocrat, though a Christian, once explaining:
If culture means that you have to put down people, if your culture means that you would discriminate against somebody, that you would not treat anybody in the same way that Christ would do, then I’m not going to protect that. I’m not going to protect discrimination of any sort, in any way, whether it’s race, religion, sex orientation or whatever. … My faith is, well, we take care of everybody.
An asteroid dubbed 'Oumuamua has entered our solar system from, well, somewhere else. It seems to look a little like the whale-obsessed probe from Star Trek IV, and scientists seem a little more than willing to speculate on the possibility that it's not just a big rock, but maybe a spacecraft. Me, I'm calling up Detective Miller and firing up the Rocinante. Ben Guarino at the Post reports:
Though the most likely explanation for 'Oumuamua is that it's lifeless rock, scientists aren't about to let it breeze by without scrutiny. That's why they are using Green Bank. Over the past 18 months, SETI astronomers have installed detectors at the telescope to look for signs of electromagnetic activity in space. If an electronic device no more powerful than a WiFi router or telephone handset is transmitting on 'Oumuamua, the telescope will be able to sense it.
USA Today, not exactly a radical, left-wing publication, excoriates Trump in a brutal editorial:
A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.
That assumes the shoes are not being thrown at George W. Bush. But I digress. More of the editorial:
Donald Trump, the man ... is uniquely awful. ... a president who shows such disrespect for the truth, for ethics, for the basic duties of the job and for decency toward others fails at the very essence of what has always made America great.
According to a Pew survey, most Americans don't really care if businesses say Merry Christmas or not, though most are okay with Christmas displays on government property (29% say only if accompanied by other beliefs' symbols), and about two-thirds of Americans still think Jesus was born to a virgin and that an angel announced his birth.
In an op-ed for the Las Cruces Sun-News, Nicky Pessaroff says that there is no war on Christmas, but a war on secularism, which is more or less correct. Also:
So if there’s a war on Christmas, that means the 4 percent of us who are not Christian and the 20 percent who just don’t care all put aside our differences, got together and decided to wage a war on the phrase “Merry Christmas,” and that’s just ridiculous.
Yeah, that's...um...ridiculous...yup...definitely wouldn't get involved in something...something like that...cough...
A Bible translation organization tells The Christian Post that its efforts around the world are being thwarted by "demonic attacks." This also happens to be why the Heresy is late today.
The evil Minnesota Atheists, seeking to make Christmas un-merry and just scrooge everything up, donated $900 in toys and supplies for families in need at the Children's Hospital. Damn you, atheists!
In Fairfax County, VA, a high school teacher kicks 15-year-old student Eric Trammel out of class for refusing to say the Pledge. After informing administrators, the teacher pulled the student aside. "He told me that our relationship had drastically changed, that what he thought of me was different," Trammel said. “He also moved me to the back of the classroom."
Kristen V. Brown at Gizmodo rounds up the biggest science setbacks of 2017, and about half are directly related to Trump.
Human feet are washing up on the shores of Washington state and British Columbia. I didn't read the rest of the article.
Apparently some people think that the Chesapeake Bay has its own "Loch Ness Monster," Chessie, of course.
Skeptic comedian Ian Harris has a new comedy special out, ExtraOrdinary.
Quote of the Day:
Some Boss Hog-type flunky affiliated with the Moore campaig, really did have no idea that people have an option as to whether or not they swear on a Bible to be sworn in to public office. Jake Tapper just let him hang. So the quote of the day comes from Ted Crocket:
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