The Waters of Pure Insanity

August 22, 2016

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

The Miami Herald publishes a new op-ed by our boss Robyn Blumner on the Democratic Party's stubborn unwillingness to embrace and defend atheists and nones.

Democrats in officialdom need to ask themselves why they fight for the dignity and respect for every other marginalized group — racial and ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities — except atheists. If the answer is because they can, since the Republican Party shills for the Religious Right and liberal atheists have nowhere else to go, for shame.

Speaking of Robyn, her speech at the 2016 Reason Rally just went up on YouTube last week. 

This will likely not surprise you, but it turns out that Islamic State radicals don't seem to have a firm grasp of Islam itself. Don't know much about his-to-ry, don't know much the-o-lo-gy!

Some are saying that extremists' ignorance of Islamic theology means that ISIS's ideology can't really be motivated by Islam. CFI president Ron Lindsay says otherwise, in a new Huffington Post article:

That argument is seriously flawed. It rests on a faulty premise, namely that one needs to be thoroughly familiar with a religion’s doctrines to be motivated by that religion to engage in violence or embrace extreme positions on moral, legal, and political issues. There is no support for this premise. ... There is no such thing as true Islam, true Christianity, true Judaism, or true Mormonism. All these religions are based on sacred texts which admit of a wide variety of interpretations.

In the New Yorker, Lawrence Krauss lists the many anti-science pronouncements of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. 

Al Gore tells Joe Romm that if you care at all about the climate crisis, you best not get into any third-party dalliances

Amy Capetta at Yahoo News fact-checks Dr. Drew on his wild accusations about Hillary Clinton's health, accusations even Newt Gingrich thinks are ridiculous.

This is just awful. Nidhi Prakash at Fusion reports that a 12-year-old Muslim boy with learning disabilities at a Long Island school was forced by bullying classmates to "confess" his allegiance to ISIS, which led to an interrogation by the actual principal forcing a signed confession and detention by the police and searches of his home and belongings.

Bronwen Dickey at Popular Mechanics goes aboard the Conspira-Sea Cruise, and witnesses a damn smorgasbord of paranoia. "We were now bobbing around on the waters of pure insanity." (And hey, how do they know the Conspira-Sea Cruise isn't ITSELF a conspiracy to get all the right-thinking conspiracy theorists on one boat at the same time in order to do away with ALL of them at once?!?!)

David Smalley at Dogma Debate says the atheist movement is falling victim to the problem of commoditized friendships:

Not only can my short burst of anger be immediately felt in 140 characters while I’m in the moment, I can disown you with a click of a button, and still have 4,999 “friends” to like the pictures of my dog. 

A bunch of weirdos stage and record a fake human sacrifice at the CERN lab. You know, where the Large Hadron Collider is.

A thing that looks sort of like an underfed lemur wanders through a video, so therefore chupacabra

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser doesn't get it. God is a fan of ornate footwear. Or he's going to flatten us with a Monty Python foot. Who can say?

Quote of the Day

In the Baltimore Sun, physicist Joseph Ganem lambastes politicians for either ignoring or denying scientific reality in the face of calamities and epidemics:

Even though our understanding of nature changes over time, the laws of nature are fixed and immutable. They are not subject to voting, amending or appeal, nor are they responsive to polls or public relations campaigns. Nature has no political, religious or corporate affiliations. In fact, nature does not care about us at all. The question is do we care enough about ourselves to face this harsh truth, or are we going to continue with the folly of willful ignorance and the self-destruction that results? 

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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 Mario (Guest) on Monday August 22, 2016 at 11:41am

Wow—I guess you guys really are a marginalized group.  Frankly, I’ve always been brutally skeptical regarding that claim, but if the media has declared you so, then who am I to argue? 

Blumner failed to mention the mentally ill—is that because our party has done all of virtually nothing for said group?  Evidently, our party has more of an obligation to cater to an interminably self-important minority, because class.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 at 12:26pm

“I can disown you with a click of a button, and still have 4,999 ‘friends’ to like the pictures of my dog.”

Not a problem.  Real friends don’t ‘subscribe’ to you. 

I find that, unless it devolves into censoring who OTHER people can be ‘friends’ with (e.g. the current business plan of Twitter) this is actually a good thing, allowing people to find those they agree with, when otherwise they’d be isolated.

#3 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 at 12:43pm

“Al Gore tells Joe Romm” ... things that any good party member would say.

There are many problems facing the US voter right now, and climate change is one of them.  But so are entrenched corruption, and ever-increasing authoritarianism.

The Democrats could have chosen to address these during the primary, and said in effect “No, we will not.  You get what you get, and you will like it.  Or we’ll call you names and blame you for our loss.”

Well, no, some people are not going to respond well to that, and certainly aren’t going to take a lecture on it from the likes of Al Gore, a man who cared so very much about his presidency that he sat there in the Senate and failed to protest the certification of the vote.  Al Gore lost that election, and rightly so, because he’s a loser.  That’s nothing to do with Nader.  What blame-shifting!

#4 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 at 12:51pm

“ISIS’s ideology can’t really be motivated by Islam”

A recent issue of Dabiq made it crystal clear, for anyone who doubts.  They really left no wiggle room. 

(And yes, there are “true” religions… they’re plainly written down.  Lots of people want to call themselves religious, so they pick and choose, or don’t even read any of it.  There are stupid and lazy people in the world.  We should recognize that.)

#5 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 at 1:00pm

“liberal atheists have nowhere else to go,”

Whose fault is that?

Instead of fighting for a spot in the Republican Party, smug atheists have decided to mock the whole Party, rather than working with likely allies within it.  (Witness the Reason Rally itself, the promotion of which seemed to have nothing to do with atheism, but about issues likely to drive away Republicans).

Further, libertarians and male, old, or white atheists have little room in the “official” movement (despite thriving elsewhere online) having been tossed aside to embrace various dogma and politics. 

The US certainly needs a third party, and the Libertarians (who certainly have their own wacky ideas, just as the Republicans and Democrats do) would be a perfect party for atheists to join in and work with, and they would certainly return the appreciation, recognizing the need to do so. But I’m not sure I’ve seen that happening.

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