One Ring to Fool Them All

February 4, 2015

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

There's been some clarification on various politicians' beliefs about vaccines. Some thought the bit about the president in 2008 talking about the (fictional) vaccine-autism link was taken out of context. I don't think so. Here's what he said:

We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.

Now, I thought it was obvious that the "This person included" was referring to someone who was not him, someone who had that belief. Apparently, some thought this was Obama naming himself, and others thought it was unfair to include this. Anyway, I thought it was clear he was talking about someone else. But more importantly was the "The science right now is inconclusive" part, which is and was not true. He does go on to say that we shouldn't "junk" vaccines, but still talks about their potential link to autism, so this whole thing remains fair game for criticism, say I.

Rand Paul, meanwhile, goes as far as to get a booster shot himself (with press in tow!) and walks his comments back. "I think the science is clear that if you compare the risks of taking a vaccine to the ill effects of taking a vaccine, it’s overwhelming." 

Apparently trying to distinguish himself from his fellow 2016 contestants, Bobby Jindal does the unexpected and backs scientific reality on vaccines:

I have no reservations about whether or not it is a good idea and desirable for all children to be vaccinated. There is a lot of fear-mongering out there on this. I think it is irresponsible for leaders to undermine the public's confidence in vaccinations that have been tested and proven to protect public health. Science supports them and they keep our children safe from potentially deadly but preventable diseases. 

Here's some poking fun at anti-vaxxers...from 1930

Our action alert warned about this, but alas it has come to pass that the Indiana Senate has approved a bill that lets religious organizations that get state funding discriminate in hiring. Really disappointing. 

New York State's attorney general is going after retailers that sell herbal supplements that are "fraudulent and potentially dangerous." 

UK's Parliament votes 3-to-1 to allow the use of DNA from three people to make a baby in order to mitigate the risk of genetic diseases. Those opposed? Churches.

Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, thinks it's awful to support Charlie Hebdo

A Dutch journalist is arrested in Turkey under its "anti-terror" law for allegedly publishing "propaganda."

Blasphemy charges are dropped against a mentally-challenged man in Pakistan when "witnesses" retract their accusations

Atheists may become a protected class in Madison, Wisconsin. 

Melinda Wenner Moyer at SlateDon't buy this homeopathic crap sold as cold and flu remedies for your kids. 

Gregory Alan Thornbury at Christianity Today says that if the Exodus didn't really happen, well, we all might as well give up on Western Civilization. Which seems a bit much to me, but okay. 

For a brutal takedown of pseudoscience in tech, check out David Pogue's review of the "high-resolution audio" Pono Player hawked by Neil Young -- brutal because it's so straightforward and thorough in why this is all a bunch of digital snake oil.

Quote of the Day (WE HAVE A TIE!)

First: Nigerian satirist Elnathan John tweets:

Our thoughts are also with the measles-ravaged country America. I hope we are screening them before they come to Africa. 

And second: A little boy pretends to have the power of the One Ring, threatens to make his classmate disappear, and is suspended just in case. His father says:

I assure you my son lacks the magical powers necessary to threaten his friend’s existence. If he did, I'm sure he'd bring him right back.
 
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Original image by Shutterstock

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Comments:

#1 Randy on Monday February 09, 2015 at 9:53pm

“DNA from three people to make a baby”
“One Ring to Fool Them All”

Apparently human mDNA is not like our typical X-layout chromosomes, but is a circle/loop. 

Learned something new.

#2 Randy on Monday February 09, 2015 at 10:44pm

Regarding Obama, the video of the event makes it clear that he was referring to someone else. (Search YouTube for video with ID of SYkluT1GbAc).

Also the quote has been edited.

My transcription of the quote would be “... we’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate.  Nobody knows exactly why; there are some people who are suspicious that it’s connected to vaccines and triggers—this person included.  The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.”


My raw transcription of the video is “...and autism I think is a prime candidate, where we’ve seen just a skyrocketing, uh, autism rate.  Nobody knows exactly why; there are some people who are suspicious that it’s connected to vaccines and triggers, ah, but—this person included.  Umm, uh, the, the science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.  Part of the reason I think it’s very important to research it is those vaccines are also, uh, preventing huge numbers of deaths among children and, and, preventing, uh, ills—, debilitating illnesses like polio, ah, and so we can’t afford to junk our vaccine system; we’ve got to figure out why is it that, ah, y’know, this is happening, so that, umm, y’know, we are starting to see a more normal, what was a normal, uh, rate of autism, uh, because if we keep on seeing increases at the rate that we’re seeing, we’re never going to have enough money to provide all the special needs of, special education, uh, uh, funding that’s gonna be necessary.”

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