April 24, 2017
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Excellent marching, everyone. Seemed like the Marches for Science turned out to be a pretty big deal. Hey look! There's us! Here's CFI–Michigan's Jennifer Beahan in a Facebook video explaining why her group was taking part in the Lansing march.
Science (the magazine) profiles some of the people behind the march and its organization.
Ryan Miller at USA Today explores how the March for Science is just the beginning of a very long game. For example, now's a good time to tell your congressmonster to pass the Scientific Integrity Act.
Maddie Stone at Gizmodo looks at how many scientists see running for office as a necessity.
In Alan Burdick's piece at The New Yorker, astrophysicist Scott Tremaine says of the signs, "The sentiments that were expressed were ones that you wouldn’t think needed to be expressed." But alas.
As the march emphasized science's contributions to the common good, Lawrence Krauss thinks its importance goes deeper than that:
Science resembles those other human activities, like art, music, and literature, that distinguish humanity as a species. We don’t—or shouldn’t—ask what the utility of a play by Shakespeare is, or how a Mozart concerto or a Rolling Stones song upholds “the common good,” or how a Picasso painting or a movie like “Citizen Kane” might be in “the national interest.” (Perhaps it’s because we insist on thinking in such terms that support for art, music, and literature is also under attack in Congress.) The free inquiry and creative activity we find in science and art reflect the best about what it means to be human.
March or no march, Bill McKibben reminds us that, on climate change, we're already largely screwed, and that the Trump presidency makes it doubly so.
Brandon Withrow at The Daily Beast speaks to several experts about the projections about Muslims' population growth versus Christians and "nones," and for lack of anyone better also speaks to me about the prospects for the nonreligious as a world demographic. A snippet:
Fidalgo doesn’t believe in ignoring the signs that point to the rise of Islam and diminishing numbers of the religiously unaffiliated, however. “It only reinforces the need for those of us who believe in the importance of secularism, skepticism, and humanist values to remain active and steadfast.”
He notes that “human beings are complex” and religious faith changes.
“I expect that regardless of their parents’ beliefs or their theological identifications, coming generations will…be more inclined to embrace science and reason in other areas of life, not less. That’s been the historical trend, and I don’t see why that should necessarily change or reverse.”
But I'm no expert.
France (almost) decides! The presidential runoff will be a contest between centrist banker Emmanuel Macron and hard-right nationalist Marine Le Pen.
Mayor Ivy Taylor of San Antonio is, apparently, no friend of ours, blaming poverty on people's lack of a "good relationship with their creator."
Alex Jones, who says the Sandy Hook shooting was staged, says to give him privacy for the sake of his children.
Asia Times looks at how Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has, like many world leaders of late, veered to the right as Islamists increase their political pressure. She has certainly not impressed us.
Maldivian secularist blogger Yameen Rasheed was stabbed to death on Sunday by militant Islamists.
All this anger and tumult over campus speaking engagements by folks like Milo What's-his-face, Charles "Bell Curve" Murray, and Ann "No Nickname Needed" Coulter, you'd almost think there was someone behind it all that wanted to create all this unrest among the left. You'd almost think.
Lawyers for Trump say protesters have no right to dissent at his rallies because they infringe on Trump's First Amendment rights. If only Trump had other ways he could get his message out, but oh well, he's just oppressed.
Yvette d'Entremont, writing at The Outline, picks apart the various pseudoscientific claims of Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop, and is just, like, no:
I worry what will happen to the population of Beverly Hills when she advises her readers to align their chakras by jumping out a plane with a homeopathic parachute.
Mercer County, West Virginia has allowed Bible classes in its public schools for a long time, and they're really popular, but now they're up against the Establishment Clause in a new FFRF lawsuit.
Joe Nickell investigates the "miracle tableau" from Knock, Ireland.
Retired Army officer Sheri Swokowski calls out the anti-LGBT bigotry of Trump's nominee for Army Secretary, Mark Green:
As a Tennessee state senator, Green has targeted the LGBT community. He introduced legislation that would enable businesses to discriminate against LGBT individuals. At a town hall meeting with his constituents, he expressed support for the idea of his state’s government defying the Supreme Court’s decision upholding marriage equality in all 50 states. He argued being transgender “is a disease.”
Horrid: Two doctors in Michigan are charged with performing female genital mutilation on two seven-year-old girls.
Relatedly, Saudi Arabia was elected to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, because everything is terrible.
One of the most powerful weapons the West might have in its war of ideas against radical Islam: Elmo. (DEPLOY MISTER NOODLE!!!)
Last week, Emma Morano, the world's oldest person, died at 117. Israel Kristal, at 113, now holds the title.
Ray Comfort has put out a book about his whole "banana video" humiliation. An entire book. I bet it's triple-spaced and that the font size is HUGE.
Quote of the Day:
This March for Science sign, obviously:
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