August 26, 2015
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Quick housekeeping note: I'm traveling to the Religion Newswriters Association conference tomorrow, so no time to do the Heresy. I intend to pick it back up Friday, but that's a little up in the air.
95 years ago today, women finally got the freaking right to vote in the U.S. Can you believe it's not even been 100 years yet? That there are people alive now who were born before we let half the population vote? Amazing.
Lisa Miller at New York Magazine investigates why two teenage girls killed their friend to appease Slender Man, a character they say they knew to be fictional.
A Catholic hospital in San Francisco refuses a woman a tubal ligation, the ACLU steps in, and almost as quickly as it was reported, the hospital changes its mind.
David Koepsell will teach a new online seminar for the CFI Institute next month: "The Problem of Evil":
Long encountered as an objection to either the existence or goodness of an all-powerful god, the Problem of Evil continues to be a source of debate among theists and non-theists. We will explore it, various approaches to it called "theodicies" and examine its modern development, looking at works by Stephen Law and Alvin Plantinga, among others.
Donald Trump has a pseudoscientific weight-loss pyramid scheme. Of course he does.
Frank Bruni, like the rest of The Media™ just can't figure out why the Christian right seems to like Trump so much. "Maybe it’s Trump’s jingoism they adore." CORRECT. That wasn't so hard, was it?
For those who think produce should never be genetically modified, I give you Tanya Lewis's post at Business Insider showing several products after modification and the far-less-edible before. (You won't even recognize unmodified carrots.)
Cosmopolitan interviews an astrophysicist (cool, right?), exoplanet hunter Sara Seager, about, well, becoming an astrophysicist!
The Milken Institute School of Public Health at my alma mater George Washington University is hosting a series of pieces on vaccines, including this post by Jennifer Raff on assuaging fears of parents spooked by vaccines.
Ben Radford on our lying eyes: "If eyewitnesses can be mistaken in life-and-death cases, they are likely no more accurate in monster sightings and descriptions."
Pennsylvania's Attorney General is about to be tried for perjury, and, get this, used her twin sister as a decoy for the press.
Ohio is considering a bill that would make an abortion illegal if the doctor knows that it's being performed because the baby would be born with Down syndrome.
Go figure: Folks in Florida seem to get real angry when their kids learn about what Islam is in school.
Steven Novella laments the growing pile of low-quality studies on acupuncture, designed more to show that acupuncture works rather than whether it does.
A college atheist asks Hillary Clinton about church-state separation, and she gives pretty much the answer you'd expect, which is good:
Well. I am very supportive of the separation of church and state. I think it’s good for both the state and religion. And we have so much diversity of thinking in the country, and part of the reason why this American experiment has lasted is because there’s a lot of different ways for people to express themselves, to believe what they want to believe, or choose not to believe, so I think the separation of church and state has served us very well, and I will certainly defend it.
Inform Lord Vader, our missing destroyer has been found on a small, rocky, rust-colored planet in a galaxy far, far away. He will not be pleased.
Quote of the Day:
Stephen Hawking finds the silver lining around black holes:
If you feel you are in a black hole, don't give up. There's a way out. ... Black holes ain't as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly come out in another universe.
Original image by Shutterstock.
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#1 SpiderHugger on Wednesday August 26, 2015 at 10:10am
Correction on Slenderman story: the victim survived.
#2 Randy on Wednesday August 26, 2015 at 6:49pm
“The existence of alternative histories with black holes suggests this might be possible”
What now? It suggests nothing of the sort, because are no known alternative histories. Unless the Holocaust really didn’t happen, and nobody ever landed on the moon. Is that where this is going?
This is Not Science. It’s speculation, and quite irresponsible at that. Notable figures in science (or tech) should not be spouting off about untested and untestable theories. They should stick to what they can prove, just as we demand of religious nuts.
#3 Randy on Wednesday August 26, 2015 at 7:12pm
These photos do suggest that Eggplant Fridays were far less exciting than they are now.
But if you want to convince people that genetic modification is good, then you can’t show examples of selective breeding, which is plainly a different thing.
For example, if I arrange someone’s marriage, but let them produce their own children, that’s one thing. But if I take samples of their DNA, and concoct whatever offspring I think I want, and have them raise that, I think you’ll agree a line has been crossed. If it matters if we do it to humans, maybe it matters if we do it to food. But in any case, it’s plainly something different than just selective breeding that people are objecting to, and to pretend otherwise is wasting everyone’s time.