Apocalyptic Reactions

July 13, 2016

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

We need you to tell your Congressmonster to vote "no" on this crap bill called the "Conscience Protection Act." But Paul, you say, what's so bad about protecting people's consciences? Don't you like consciences? And they're so cute! They look like Jiminy Cricket! To which I say, NO, you have been fooled. This bill is actually meant as yet another way to let religious privilege trump the law so health care providers can refuse to provide abortion and contraceptive services. Oh, see, now you get it. Good. Now get clicking.

CFI is, of course, an entirely nonpartisan organization. Now that I've said that, please read this opening sentence from an AP article, and see what it does to your nervous system:

If elected president, Donald Trump would be the only head of state in the world to contend that climate change is a hoax, according to a study.

Then the piece has examples of world leaders talking about the real threat of climate change, including this one:

The regime of reclusive North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un signed on to the Paris accord last year and is implementing a 10-year push to plant new forests as part of a "national effort to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions." 

Well look at that, there's ol' Jupiter with some of its buddies, Io, Europa and Ganymede. Nice to see you after all these years.

Last week while I was on vacation, I saw that the New York Times had published an op-ed asserting that there is no scientific method, which I could not bring myself to read because, dammit, I was on vacation, and I don't need that kind of aggravation. Happily, Ethan Siegel has a rebuttal which I assume is very good, but again, I didn't (and likely won't) read the original offending piece. Siegel:

Science is more than a body of knowledge — although it requires those facts, that data and those results — but is also a process. It’s a self-correcting process where it must always be confronted with the real world, with what we observe and measure, with what its new predictions are and with the full suite of models and ideas that came before. 

CFI–Los Angeles director Jim Underdown is the guest on the Indie Bohemians' Podcast discussing atheism, Scientology, Roswell, psychics, and more.

In a Vocativ article about a group of female ghost hunters, Ben Radford is quoted and referred to as "a science-based paranormal investigator who is renowned (and detested) in the ghost-hunting community for debunking several hauntings." Badge of honor. 

We've got a couple of Skeptical Inquirer pieces up that have been translated into Spanish by CFI–Argentina's Alejandro Borgo: "La 'Física' de Deepak Chopra" and "Las ilusiones de la memoria." 

Egypt is going to require that Muslim clerics read from the exact same state-approved sermons every week, which I'm sure is going to go over really well. 

A North Dakota woman crashes her car into someone's house because she had her eyes closed while praying. Jesus did not, I presume, take the wheel. (Or did he?)

Former Fox News reporter Greg Burke is tapped to be the Vatican's new spokesperson

Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Desai goes to Dhaka to find out what the heck is up with Bangladesh and its terrorism crisis.

Clickhole cheers on a fictionalized Neil deGrasse Tyson who drops a science bomb on an 8-year-old girl.

That blurry dot that sort of looks like it's going toward Earth in an ISS feed is obviously an alien spacecraft. 

Steve Harvey is still a jerk to atheists

Quote of the Day:

The Atlantic posts a big excerpt from what looks to be a pretty important new book from the Public Religion Research Institute's Robert P. Jones, The End of White Christian America:

While the country’s shifting racial dynamics alone are certainly a source of apprehension for many white Americans, it is the disappearance of white Christian America that is driving their strong, sometimes apocalyptic reactions. Falling numbers and the marginalization of a once-dominant racial and religious identity—one that has been central not just to white Christians themselves but to the national mythos—threatens white Christians’ understanding of America itself.  

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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 at 3:05pm

“cheers on a fictionalized Neil deGrasse Tyson”

And yet it is something he’d say… But he’d probably soften it with advice to follow the Juno mission, and go into science.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 at 3:10pm

“woman crashes her car”

I wasn’t ready to believe this was true, but this has got to be the twentieth time I’ve seen it, so I’m going to go ahead and believe it.  You wouldn’t let me down.

#3 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 at 3:14pm

“translated into Spanish”

Hey, where are we on machine translation?  Google is still terrible.  But Google can only improve, unless we start changing the language to mess with it (hey, maybe this is what rap and teenagers are for…)

#4 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 at 3:18pm

“there’s ol’ Jupiter”

Gotta say, I’m rather disappointed that this is the first picture from Juno.  I could almost get that from my backyard.  (You’d be surprised what you can see in space, with a cheap telescope in a heavily light-polluted area).

#5 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 at 3:27pm

I think there are some legitimate questions about the scientific method (e.g. how far out can you go on the cliff edge of “theory” before bothering to actually test anything) but the author of the article seems entirely confused (or intentionally confusing) about science.

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