Toxic Death Cream

July 12, 2016

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

On Point of Inquiry this week, Josh Zepps talks to computer scientist David Levy about how technology makes it difficult for us to find peace of mind amid a torrent of digital information. I have no idea what that's like. 

Skeptics can be indecisive. We need your help to pick the T-shirt design for CSICon 2016 Las Vegas. Skeptics also like to have opinions on the Internet, so this should be no problem for any of you. 

The GOP convention is nigh, and the Republican Party's platform committee has, well, things. Such as still calling for the Bible to be taught as part of American history, for an end to same-sex marriage rights, for panic over electromagnetic pulse weapons, and of course for barring transgender people from using the bathrooms they'd like to use. 

Women in Secularism adds racial justice activist Johnetta "Netta" Elzie to its already-stellar lineup of speakers. Register now before you are consumed by regret! 

Guy P. Harrison at Psychology Today provides a handy overview of responses to Moon landing conspiracy theories. Generously, he says:

Like all conspiracy theories that are short on evidence, the Moon-hoax claim relies on the absence of good thinking. ... Make sure you understand and never forget how vulnerable the human mind is to falling for even the craziest of claims. Never forget that believing nonsense is only human. None of us are immune. There is no shame in this vulnerability. But there is no excuse for anyone to embrace nonsense as a result of being intellectually passive and lazy. 

At product review site The Sweet Home, Leigh Krietsch Boerner calms fears about "dangerous" sunscreens for kids. I love the conclusion:

Please slather your children in “toxic death cream,” aka sunscreen, but also cover them with rash guards, hats, umbrellas, awnings, your love, and your ability to question dubious health claims. Hopefully they will grow up healthy, strong, and unlikely to be scared by misleading science on the Internet. 

David Koepsell muses on the mind and how a full understanding of how it works continues to elude us, with implications for our approach to mental illness. "Our societal approach to mental illness must be both compassionate and skeptical."

Cheryl Costa at the Syracuse New Times considers what would happen if it actually was revealed that extraterrestrials have visited Earth.

Remember that documentary Jesus Camp? Unsettling, right? (The part where they all pray to the cardboard cutout of George W. Bush is lodged in my memory.) Josiah Hesse at The Guardian checks up on those kids 10 years later

Ray Comfort, who is usually so polite to us in person, says atheists can't be trusted in positions of power because of all the tens of millions of people killed by atheists(?) in the 20th century. This is why it was a good thing I didn't win the election for senior class president. YOU ESCAPED MY WRATH ONLY BARELY, STUDENTS OF ABSEGAMI HIGH SCHOOL.

Writing at Seeker, Ben Radford profiles "the original female ghostbuster," Eleanor Sidgwick, who in the 19th century scientifically investigated paranormal phenomena.

Lesley McClurg at WQED looks at alternative therapies for autism, and as you can imagine, they don't seem to do anything, though some vitamin regimens show some potential. 

Palm Beach County, where polling places can be in churches and synagogues...but not mosques

NASA nabs a picture of the Moon right in front of Earth and it's super-cool. 

There is a thing called The Gateway to Reason Awards, and our own Debbie Goddard has a couple nominations to her name, as does soon-to-be CFI staffer Lyz Liddell. 

Quote of the Day:

Apparently everyone in the universe is playing Pokémon Go, wandering the streets in a daze of cuteness acquisitiveness. Wil Wheaton has seen this all before:

Look, I warned you about Pokémon Go way back in the 90s. None of you listened to me then, and you better hope @BrentSpiner saves you now.  

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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday July 12, 2016 at 1:15pm

Oh Wil.  Wil, Wil, Wil.  That was a TV show.  Those words were written by Brannon, Susan, and Fred. 

Keep trying though.  There’s always hope for improvement.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday July 12, 2016 at 1:30pm

“atheists can’t be trusted in positions of power”

Let’s not be smug.  We don’t slaughter in the name of atheism.  But plainly we do slaughter.

I worry about the rationality of many or even most atheists.  Many didn’t arrive at atheism via a thoughtful and reasoned evaluation of the evidence.  They’re angry at the religion they grew up in, and that’s all that matters.  Whatever they think is right, because they thought it.  A+ was an example of this, eager to divide the world into “us” and “them”, and to enforce rules of purity on an ever-shrinking “us”.

This does not negate the fact that it’s also true that religious people cannot be trusted with power either.

The best way to deal with this is to reduce and decentralize/diffuse power.

#3 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday July 12, 2016 at 1:39pm

If “extraterrestrials have visited Earth.” ??

Take me!  Take me!  I’m entertaining and housebroken!  Don’t leave yet!

#4 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday July 12, 2016 at 2:28pm

“opinions on the Internet”

Here’s one for you: The poll is biased because #1 is shown actually on a T-shirt, worn by a good-looking guy.

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