Equivalent to Falling Back

April 28, 2017

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

Rep. Ted Lieu and Senators Patty Murray and Corey Booker introduce the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017, which would have the FTC classify gay-conversion therapy as the pseudoscientific bamboozle that it is.   

Speaking of conversions, here's a real one. Kelsey Osgood, wrting for Longreads and Atlas Obscura, profiles converts to the Amish-Mennonite faith and way of life

Since we're obviously not going to do anything to reduce the carbon in the atmosphere, some folks are now turning to more desperate measures to avert climate catastrophe, "planet hacking." Maddie Stone reports:

The establishment of [a] new Harvard program, which has raised over $7 million in seed funding so far and is backed by tech luminaries like Bill Gates, is a clear sign that geoengineering has broken into the mainstream. Notably, the program’s launch coincided with the announcement of a Harvard-led field experiment that will begin to test one of the most widely-discussed planet-hacking ideas of all: solar engineering, or injecting shiny particles into Earth’s stratosphere to block incoming sunlight. 

Lauren C. Williams at ThinkProgress profiles a group of folks from tech behemoths like Google that are organizing to battle Trump's climate policies. 

James Crugnale at the Weather Channel (yes, they apparently do articles too) reports on the process that removed climate science from Idaho's public education standards.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), one of the country's political parties, "strictly believes" that one who commits blasphemy "deserves the death penalty." 

The Education Department's Institute of Education Sciences releases an evaluation of the DC voucher scheme I mean program. Among their findings:

The findings indicate that students receiving and using scholarships had significantly lower mathematics test scores a year after they applied to the OSP than did students who did not receive a scholarship. The negative impact was equivalent to falling back 5.4 percentile points in the national distribution of test scores. The negative impact was larger for students who were not attending SINI [schools in need of improvement] schools at the time of application, and students entering a K–5 grade. Reading scores also were lower but not statistically significant for the overall sample, though they were statistically significant for students attending non-SINI schools at the time of application and for students entering a K–5 grade.  

Massimo Polidoro argues for a more scientific approach to scientific skepticism, noting, "What is supposed to separate us from creationists, climate change deniers, and all the rest is not that we happen to be (mostly, often) right and they aren’t."

Looks like California has always been a popular place to live: It's been discovered that prehistoric humans (not homo sapiens) lived in what is now California 130,000 years ago, when it had been thought that humans didn't get to North America until only 15,000 years ago.

An exciting new way to signal your superiority and waste your money! The Economist presents "natural wine"!

A few are influenced by the “biodynamic” teachings of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian who thought that astrological forces influence crops.  

Alex Jones loses his custody case

Saturn, you look good close up

Quote of the Day:

Stephan Tatton, one of the many folks who knew just what to do with the Trump administration's new hotline for reporting the crimes of illegal aliens:

Just called in an alien attack from Planet Voltron to the ICE VOICE hotline.  

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