Fishy Citations

June 17, 2016

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

There's just a lot of awful things in the news today, there's no way around it. I'll have funnier stuff down below, but I gotta tell you guys, sometimes this link-blog thing isn't the light, fun endeavor you'd want it to be. I'll just put the awful stuff up first, rip the band-aid off. 

Member of the UK Parliament, Jo Cox, was murdered in the street by 52-year-old Thomas Mair, a fellow who seemed to have neo-Nazi and white supremacist views, and reportedly shouted "Put Britain first!" in the attack.

Boko Haram murdered 18 women at a funeral in Nigeria and set a village on fire, because, christ, I don't know. 

John McCain says President Obama is "directly responsible" for the Orlando massacre because of his foreign policy decisions, but Donald Trump ("I like people who weren't captured") goes further and implies that the President of the United States is on the side of ISIS. Well, as long as we're all being reasonable. 

The UN's Commission of Inquiry on Syria concludes what we and the State Department have also concluded: ISIS is committing genocide against Yazidis. 

Pastor Roger Jimenez of the Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento says the human beings murdered in the massacre "deserve what they got":

Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? Um no. I think that’s great. I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight. ... The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job — because these people are predators. They are abusers. ... I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put the firing squad in front of them and blow their brains out. 

Okay, that's enough horrible news. 

SO. Religious right stalwart Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia is defeated in the GOP primary by State Delegate Scott Taylor, an Iraq War veteran. I don't know anything about Taylor, but Forbes will not be missed.

George Dvorsky at Gizmodo reports on a new study that estimates we'll hear signals from an extraterrestrial species in about 1500 years. "OK Google, set a reminder to listen for aliens on June 17, 5016."

It's not a Jonathan Alter Newsweek cover: Claims about Jesus's alleged wife, "a real-life Da Vinci Code," are explored and exposed in depth by Ariel Sabar at The Atlantic.  

So apparently there are Hasidic vigilante "Jewish patrols" in Brooklyn, which seems, you know, like a bad idea. 

At a conference for those who believe they suffered from Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) is infiltrated by actual Satanists, and Joseph Laycock explains a lot of the baseless conspiracy thinking behind the Satanic panic. 

The WHO (the World Health Organization, not the band) says coffee could help prevent cancer, so I will never ever believe anything that contradicts that no matter what ever. 

Susan Gerbic reflects on SkeptiCamp, her Monterey County Skeptics group, and the joys of finding community. 

Best NYT headline ever? "Mr. Modi, Don't Patent Cow Urine" 

Making Jenny McCarthy look rational, meet Donald Rowe:

He claims that when dowsing he can detect hotspots ('geolographic points') of the 'power-flow' (earth energy) structure which will in some cases cause autism spectrum disorder. ... As well as identifying the hotspots which potentially help cause autism, Mr Rowe believes that he can suppress them safely and cheaply and hopes that the medical establishment will take his research seriously.

Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus at STAT:

Consider it the publishing equivalent of catching notorious gangster and murderer Al Capone on the simple charge of tax evasion: A homeopathy journal has gotten itself booted from the list of respectable scientific titles thanks not to its questionable science but rather a smaller infraction: fishy citations. 

More gravitational waves!  

Quote of the Day:

Pope Fluffy may not want to delete his account, but he might need someone else running it. He tweets:

The future of society requires the fruitful encounter between young and old. 

You're gonna wanna rephrase that, sir. 

* * *

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#1 Randy (Guest) on Friday June 17, 2016 at 2:53pm

“The future of society requires the fruitful encounter between young and old.”

He’s not wrong.  Replacing the extended family with the nuclear and single-parent family has robbed us of continuity and culture and history and relationships.  And the removal of children from the public, the programming of all their activities, hasn’t been good for them either.  They’re exhausted, and drugged.  And related to your point, I assume, there’s a suspicion immediately placed even on single fathers who simply take their own kids to the park.  It’s not good, and it’s right to call out the problem.  Of course, a man with a fairy tale to sell, isn’t the best spokesperson for anything.

And no, nobody should be deleting their account.  Why does anyone think this is a clever comeback to someone?

#2 Randy (Guest) on Friday June 17, 2016 at 2:56pm

“1500 years. ...  June 17, 5016”


#3 Randy (Guest) on Friday June 17, 2016 at 3:19pm

“Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?”

This would also be unacceptable, even if this guy was correct about the nature of the victims.  We do not slaughter people in the West, for who they are, even if they are pedophiles.

To the extent we respond to this by saying “but they were gay”, we miss the point, and show our moral failure.  Given what’s gone on in places like Russia, and even in the UK in recent months and years, where vigilantes have murdered people they say are pedophiles, it’s important to firmly oppose this violence.

On the flip side, this story shockingly ignored any difference between gay people and pedophiles, as if they are one and the same, which is also a problem.

#4 Mario (Guest) on Friday June 17, 2016 at 3:37pm


“Fruitful encounter between young and old”—think sexual abuse by priests.  Chortle, guffaw, yup, yup.

Of course, this utterly fails as word play because of “fruitful.”  In no sense is sex between an adult male and young boy “fruitful.”  Does it produce a good result?  Obviously not.

The dictionary—it’s our friend.

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