Nasty, Noisy Negativist

December 7, 2015

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

There was no Heresy on Friday because I was slammed with the flu. The irony is that I have long been allergic to the flu vaccine, but there's a new one without the allergen, and so this year I got my first flu vaccine in something like 25 years. Still got the flu. A doozie of a flu, which I am still suffering from. I think this means that all science is invalid, and that it's time to choose a really out-there religion.

Our own Joe Nickell is front and center in this VICE video piece on the alien myths around Roswell. It's really a great piece, featuring lots of familiar folks including Skeptical Inquirer editor Kendrick Frazier, and where Joe is referred to by a UFO researcher as a "nasty, noisy negativist." Check this out, it's great.  

Even though there was no Heresy, I did manage to kick the newsletter out the door, so you can catch up on a fortnight's worth of news (and there was a lot of it) in the latest Cause & Effect.

The president spoke to the nation yesterday (from a podium in the Oval Office, which was kind of weird, but whatever) about the threat of ISIS, vowed to "destroy" it, only glancingly referred to the gun crisis (which, to be fair, he's been very clear about in other speeches over and over again), and said of the fearmongering going on:

We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. ... It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim-Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL.

AP's Rachel Zoll looks at how the American Muslim community is struggling to respond publicly to things like the San Bernardino shooting, with many seeking "a new game plan." Some Muslim leaders say their community must "own it," calling the terrorism issue "an Islamic issue within the house of Islam."

A stabbing in London is also, apparently, an ISIS-related attack, and a bystander's shouting "You ain’t no Muslim, bruv" becomes a hashtag thing. 

UN human rights experts say that Saudi Arabia's planned execution of poet Ashraf Fayadh for apostasy would be "unawful" because of insufficient evidence. I think that's the least of the problems with it.  

Bangladesh doesn't agree with the way they were characterized in our Capitol Hill briefing with Bonya Ahmed last week. You don't say. 

This is also depressing: Chris Mooney reports on a study showing that positive framing has little to no effect on people's attitudes about climate change if they already don't think it's a thing. Said George Mason University's Ed Maibach, "This research makes clear that ‘don’t worry’ is an inherently more compelling message than ‘you should worry about climate change for this reason’ regardless of what that reason is." Great. 

Simon Davis, writing for VICE, talks to MUFON's Kathleen Marden, the woman in charge of working with people who think they've been abducted by aliens (and presumably returned, because, you know, they're talking to her). I love this question from Simon:

I'm looking at the questionnaire and the first question is, "Have you had a close encounter with a UFO?" That seems kind of like a leading question. 

Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University (a position I'm sure he totally earned by merit alone) wants more concealed-carry permits so we can "end those Muslims," which he later clarified to mean Muslim terrorists, of course.   

The Ex-Muslims of North America join the Secular Coalition for America as a member organization (CFI is also a member org).   

The FFRF "enslaves minds" display is up at the Illinois Capitol

David Gorski unloads on the nonsense about "Wi-Fi allergies." 

Eva Wiseman at the Guardian makes a strange case in favor of homeopathy, not because it works, but because placebos can be nice. Um. 

Tennessee State Rep. Andy Holt wants the chancellor of University of Tennessee-Knoxville to resign for asking for an inclusive policy for holiday parties

Jay Rosen wants the U.S. press to end its affected obliviousness and accept its role in shaping attitudes and public acceptance of fact. 

A nonreligious city councilwoman resigns when the council decides to have a Christmas tree lighting (instead just a tree), then un-resigns when she gets a committee post from the mayor. 

Quote of the Day:

Joe, in Roswell:

If there weren't any silly paranormal stuff, i would not have been needed, and, you know I could just go back to being -- instead of being Scully, I could just be, you know, me!
 
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Original image by Shutterstock

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Comments:

#1 Andrew David (Guest) on Monday December 07, 2015 at 10:35am

I expect that the execution was described as “unlawful” not “unawful.”

#2 Randy on Thursday December 24, 2015 at 7:28am

“‘don’t worry’ is an inherently more compelling message”

Once we’re gone, on the near-zero (but not known to be zero) chance that alien scientists were observing us, I wonder what they might say the evolutionary advantage of this was, and which mild intoxicant they will use to mull over this question.  Will they name the phenomenon after Bobby McFerrin, or one of their own?

#3 Randy on Thursday December 24, 2015 at 7:31am

“extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities”

Communities like Saudi Arabia?

#4 Randy on Thursday December 24, 2015 at 7:38am

“Still got the flu”

Unlike some vaccines, the flu vaccine is not very effective, individually.  It really needs to be a vaccinated herd.  And it really needs to be the right virus. Given that flu can be fatal, and is at the very least extremely unpleasant, it’s well worth getting the shot.

Sorry to hear it didn’t work as hoped for you.

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