Jovians, Venusians, and Wobbles

May 14, 2018

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

Here's a story to make you go all googly-eyed like Cookie Monster: Two of the trailing candidates in the GOP primary for the Senate in Missouri, Austin Petersen and Tony Monetti, have been trying to strike a deal to use polling of support and name recognition to see which of them should drop out of the race in order to take on the frontrunner Josh Hawley. But Monetti is blowing the deal because he insists that the poll include a push-poll type question asking respondents if they would vote for a candidate even if he "does not believe in God," a question aimed squarely at Monetti who is apparently agnostic. Petersen is, like, no.

At the Cleveland Clinic, doctors say the only way to save the life of 14-year-old Zara Ali is to treat her brain tumor with chemotherapy. Her parents, however, insist she be treated with "holistic medicine" like herbs. So now a court has to decide who wins. Andrea Simakis at the Plain Dealer has the full story.

In an original Spanish language piece for CSICOP.org, Luis Alfonso Gámez evaluates the claims of a book on the Roswell incident of 1947, which asserts that the crashed aircraft was not a balloon nor aliens, but "human guinea pigs" who were subject to the experimentation of Joseph Stalin and Nazi scientist Josef Mengele. Gámez writes, "Comunistas, nazis y platillos volantes, ¿se puede pedir más?" [Communists, Nazis and flying saucers, can you ask for more?]

Trump has chosen the execrable Pastor Robert Jeffress to give the opening prayer at the introduction ceremony for the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Pema Levy at Mother Jones writes:

On Fox this week, Jeffress said his prayer would remind listeners that God supports Israel and will reward nations that support it as well. “Iran,” he said of Israel’s geopolitical foe, “is certainly no match for almighty God."

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain lists a series of upcoming events and campaigns, including work on behalf of Sherif Gaber, a conference on Sharia, Segregation and Secularism, coming-out parties, and more.  

Global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Venusians and the Jovians who want us to wreck our economy so they can safely invade us, take our precious bodily fluids, which they will sell back to us at HUGE markups! Okay, but really, the gravitational tugs of Jupiter and Venus might actually have an effect on Earth's orbit (maybe!), giving us little "wobbles" every 400,000 years or so, which impacts the climate with more severe seasonal shifts. 

In New Mexico, the case of Moses v. Ruszkowski before the state's supreme court tests the boundaries of the Trinity Lutheran case to see if taxpayers should be subsidizing secular textbooks at religious schools.

Also, in Belem, New Mexico, their new flag sure seems to favor a particular religion, what with the Star of Bethlehem on it...and the word "Bethlehem" on it, too.

Hey, listen up you buzzkill atheists in Mississippi (all three of you): If you don't want God mentioned on your license plate, all you have to do is pay extra. You know, like, pay more than everyone else. Sort of like a tax for non-Christians. See. WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL??

This fellow Scott Lively is going to be on the GOP primary ballot for Massachusetts governor, and oh look, he wrote a book saying the Holocaust was actually run by the gay Nazis. It was the gay Nazis the whole time! History has been so unfair to the not-gay Nazis!!!

Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin decides it's more important to kick the gays than make sure children have loving homes, and signs into law SB 1140, which allows religious adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ would-be parents. She must feel so good about herself.

Gracy Olmstead, writing at the Post, says American evangelicalism is ignoring Christianity's history of women leaders: "In disassociating ourselves with this broader church history, we’ve cut ourselves off from timeless wisdom, inspiration and truth."

A school district in North Bend, Oregon may be subjecting LGBTQ students to harassment, justifying bullying, forcing them to read the Bible, and Santorum-esque assertions about homosexuality.

In Collier County, Florida, the school board is enduring the slings and arrows from anti-evolution and climate change-denying zealots as they try to get textbooks approved.

The Globe and Mail interviews Dr. Nina Shapiro, author of a new book on medical misinformationHype: A Doctor’s Guide to Medical Myths, Exaggerated Claims, and Bad Advice – How to Tell What’s Real and What’s Not.

Those healing crystals that will holistically tap into your spiritual connection to the Earth and blah blah blah? They come from destructive and exploitative mining operations, just like everything else. 

The journal Scientific Reports retracts a paper claiming to show that the HPV vaccine causes neurological damage

Anti-vaxxers are giving their pets—get ready for this—pills made from the diseased flesh of dead animals

Micael Grenholm, chairman of the Swedish Apologetics Society (which I assume actually is a thing), says atheist activism doesn't make sense because "atheism can't provide any metaphysical grounding for objective moral facts and duties." 

This footage of a moth on a lens is actually proof that angels are real. Next, let's put an earthworm on a lens and prove that Shai-Hulud exists. 

Ebola's back, and as Julia Belluz explains, we're not ready for it. Happy Monday! 

Quote of the Day

Ed Kilgore on the new polling showing an increase in U.S. "nones" and erosion of the population of white evangelicals:

If the irreligious ever get serious about flexing their muscles politically, a lot could change in this country, particularly on church-state separation issues. In the meantime, white evangelicals need to get a more realistic sense of their own trajectory, and stop lording it over other people of faith who share their less-than-robust membership trends. 

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