The Second-Least of These

May 27, 2015

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

Point of Inquiry has The New Yorker's Michael Specter, talking about the whole gluten-free thing and why it's silly. Specter is going to be at the Reason for Change conference next month!

Our boss Ron Lindsay insists that his analysis of the death penalty doesn't make him deficient in empathy, and he cuddles a kitten to prove it.

Syed Tashfin Chowdhury at VICE covers the plight of freethinkers in Bangladesh, coping with threats from radicals and the murders of friends and colleagues. 

The Vatican calls the marriage equality vote in Ireland a "defeat for humanity." Because everything the Vatican has done has been a real win for the species.

Bill Nye goes on Amy Schumer's show to reveal the true intention (you read that right) of The Universe.  

Guys, when Jesus said "the least of these," he wasn't talking about the poor, but, get this, persecuted Christians. That is SO CONVENIENT and the far-right is so totally off the hook now for caring about the poor. (Do the poor qualify for second-least of these?)

Kylie Sturgess interviews James Randi for Skeptical Inquirer, where he says, "I have a peculiar character. I’m different from most folks, and I rather treasure that fact, as well." 

Uh oh, looks like a Google search for what happened to the dinosaurs has been gamed (intelligently designed?) to spout creationism

Just so we're clear, the Supreme Court is not the Creator of the Universe. Thanks, Huckabee

John Glenn on how he reconciles his faith (which is considerable) with science:

I don't see that I'm any less religious by the fact that I can appreciate the fact that science just records that we change with evolution and time, and that's a fact. It doesn't mean it's less wondrous and it doesn't mean that there can't be some power greater than any of us that has been behind and is behind whatever is going on. 

Looks like the good folks at the Willington Public Library in Connecticut have no problem promoting medical nonsense to the locals, as they give the floor to a homeopath. (And the coverage contains no skepticism, counterpoint, or, you know, "this is actually a load of garbage.")

India's Jorhat College is now the first college in the country to accept both atheists and transgender students. I didn't know this was a problem before. 

Dawkins endures what seems like a somewhat annoying interview for Newsweek. "Clarity can be mistaken for aggression," he says. "Maybe I'm a bit impatient." 

Ensaf Haidar, the tireless activist on behalf of her husband Raif Badawi, is stepping up her appeals, and talks about the impact his imprisonment is having on her family:

The kids definitely miss their father. They need him in simple things, but they also need him for important things. When they go to restaurants, they see other families with the father and the mother and they feel they are not in the same situation. When they are sad and crying, they ask for their father... They ask the same question every day – I’m not exaggerating – every day they ask ‘when is our father coming back?’

Quote of the Day:

Vlad Chituc on the weird irony about the fabricated study on the ability of door-knocking canvassers to change people's minds:

LaCour and Green’s research built off of a body of work showing how difficult it is to correct misperceptions and change minds. Their findings, for the first time, suggested that maybe you really could change beliefs and correct misperceptions, and it was a rare ray of optimism. Now that we know their research was fabricated, though, the only studies we’re left with suggest we’re so insensitive to corrective information that we’ll just keep believing these findings are real, anyway. 

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Original image by Shutterstock.

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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#1 Randy on Wednesday May 27, 2015 at 10:37pm

“the only studies we’re left with suggest we’re so insensitive to corrective information” 

It’s worth delving into, because minds do change.  Where did this massive shift in support for same-sex marriage come from, then?  Only a decade ago in the US, same-sex marriage was being banned by state constitutions, and had a not-impossible shot at being banned in the federal constitution.  Today, the percentages have flipped.

My own views on a number of issues have changed during my lifetime, either as a result of witnessing or experiencing counterexamples to the claims, or as a result of convincing arguments (but not face-to-face…).

#2 Randy on Wednesday May 27, 2015 at 10:50pm

“Maybe I’m a bit impatient”

I like to imagine Dawkins as an expert in trolling.  While everything he says does have a valid explanation behind it (which is why it works so well as trolling) if he’s NOT trolling, I’m disappointed in him, because he should be smart enough to understand social media, and talentless reporters.  I refuse to believe he doesn’t get Twitter.

(By the way, he did the X is bad, Y is worse Twitter experiment swapping X and Y, and still got the same outrage…)

#3 Randy on Wednesday May 27, 2015 at 11:06pm

“Uh oh, looks like a Google search for what happened to the dinosaurs has been gamed”

As the article noted, Bing has the same error.

As the article does not note, DuckDuckGo has the same error.

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