June 28, 2016
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
The Supreme Court strikes down Texas's cynical and draconian HB2, which would have forced the closure of most of the state's abortion clinics. It's, to abbreviate the vice-president, a B.F.D. Our boss said:
We are delighted that the Supreme Court saw through this transparent attempt to effectively ban abortion, an attempt propped up by manufactured pseudoscience. The legal right to an abortion is meaningless without reasonable access to abortion services, and this cynical move to cut off that access has been shown for what it is: the imposition of religious dogma on Americans’ lives.
Elizabeth Yale at Religion Dispatches looks at the weird history of illustrating and imaging the womb, writing, "Fetal imaging is ubiquitous today, but until the 18th century the pregnant womb was largely inaccessible to visual inspection. [William] Hunter’s atlas  demonstrates how an imaging technology opens up pregnancy to new gazes—and, in doing so, how it shapes understandings of the personhood of both a mother and a fetus."
I didn't know this was a thing, but it really shouldn't be that much of a surprise: Batya Ungar-Sargon at Aeon reports on the "double life" led by Hasidic Jews who secretly are atheist.
This is curious. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, ominously referred to as "CHOP" ("Dont worry, sweetie, we're going to take care of you at CHOP.") decides to embrace alt-med like acupuncture and aromatherapy. Making this curious-er is the fact that this is Paul Offit's hospital, and he gives a kind of acquiescent statement to the press, saying, "It's a good thing to open our eyes to alternative ways to relieve pain, stress and depression that are not pharmacological. You can learn to release your own endorphins." All of which is true. But still. It's curious.
Speaking of alt-med, an chiropractor gets to run an op-ed in the Asheville Citizen-Times saying how chiropractics can help you with "peripheral neuropathies." Oh good.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves says Mississippi clerks don't get to claim a religious exemption from issuing same-sex marriage licenses:
Mississippi’s elected officials may disagree with Obergefell, of course, and may express that disagreement as they see fit — by advocating for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision, for example. But the marriage license issue will not be adjudicated anew after every legislative session.
Remember Pastor Roger Jimenez, who praised the Orlando massacre ("The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die")? Mike McPhate at NYT finds a lot more folks just like him. For example!
“I don’t believe it’s right for us to just be a vigilante,” said Steven Anderson, the leader of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., in a video response to the massacre. But, he added, “These people all should have been killed, anyway, but they should have been killed through the proper channels, as in they should have been executed by a righteous government.”
Susan Gerbic reports back from SkeptiCal for the CSI website.
Adam Lee dispenses with the notion that Donald Trump is a meaningfully "secular" candidate:
I’d much rather vote for a principled religious believer who respects the separation of church and state, than for an irreligious person who has no concern for the Constitution and is willing to throw secularism to the wind as soon as it suits his immediate interest.
Mary Eberstadt says, "Abortion within secularist progressivism has the status of religious ritual." I'm just gonna leave that there.
A guy who believes he was abducted by aliens 40 years ago now decides to assume positive intent on the part of the extraterrestrials:
Rather than call it an abduction, you could say it was an ambulance call. I got too close, was injured and they were the only ones in position to reverse the damage.
That's big of him, especially considering how that violates the Prime Directive.
The UFO cult known as the Raelians really have their priorities straight. The big problem they'd like to solve? Making the Swastika cool again.
Quote of the Day:
David Koepsell considers Brexit as the rejection of the "cosmopolitan ideal":
Restricting our freedoms, building walls and borders both metaphorical and real will serve to keep out the good as well as the risky or bad, and excessive aversion to risk will always impede progress. We have to believe that in the long run that exposure to the best we have to offer as liberal, cosmopolitan societies will, ultimately win over regressive, tribal, and hateful sentiments. The best arguments win over the worst when we are free to argue them, when we aren’t averse to listening to counterarguments and through examples.
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#1 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday June 28, 2016 at 12:58pm
“We have to believe that in the long run that exposure to the best we have to offer as liberal, cosmopolitan societies will, ultimately win”
No, we don’t have to believe that. We have to prove it.
This is the Center for Inquiry, right?
#2 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday June 28, 2016 at 1:10pm
“Restricting our freedoms, building walls”
My own view is that each country or state should be relatively isolated from the rest, while information is permitted to flow freely between them (which requires the elimination of copyright and patent).
In this way, individuals or groups in each society can take what they deem best from the knowledge we all share, and construct what they need using local labor, subject to local control of standards, and ensuring local employment.
There should be some limited movement, so that people can move to areas that are more in line with their own values, but at a rate that guarantees the receiving society can bear it when people come in for other reasons, as there’s no good way to tell.
Globalize the information. But protect the people.
#3 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday June 28, 2016 at 1:13pm
“Making the Swastika cool again.”
Why not? It would certainly get under the skin (literally) of the current crop of Nazis.
The Raelians don’t seem to have good communication skills though. Odd, for a group that probably expects to talk to aliens.