Ta République!

September 21, 2016

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

Women in Secularism 4 is just two days away, and we're bringing back the CFI Live website for coverage and analysis of the event as it happens, just like we did with the Reason Rally, although hopefully with less sweating. Bookmark centerforinquiry.live now and come back to it Friday!

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit makes the Town of Greece SCOTUS decision even worse, by okaying the practice of lawmakers themselves being allowed to offer explicitly sectarian prayers at public meetings, to the exclusion of all others.

The Satanic Temple is getting a national headquarters...in Salem, Massachusetts.  

Tardigrades, aka "water bears," aka "nearly-immortal creatures that will one day rule us all," are the most amazing creatures for their ability to withstand, well, just about anything. Now scientists have a better understanding of why this is: protective genes that shield DNA from coming apart under the worst of conditions (boiling, freezing, vacuum of space, etc.). Wait until the pigeons who can read see this article, and adapt the tardigrade's powers into their own genome. IMMORTAL LITERATE PIGEON CIVILIZATION.

FiveThirtyEight looks at the data about the potential for asteroid collisions with Earth (which the literate pigeon-tardigrade hybrids will barely notice). 

Climate scientist Michael Mann (coming to CSICon!) and cartoonist Tom Toles team up to expose the industry of science denial seeking to discredit the fact of climate change. 

UK's Good Thinking Society campaigns to remove the tax exemptions for homeopathic and alt-med health organizations. 

Ben Radford reviews the film Snowden, and, meh:

Stone uses his characters as mouthpieces to espouse (at least token) conflicting viewpoints. I was disappointed not by Snowden's depth but instead its superficiality: It wants to raise awareness of Big and Important Ideas of privacy, citizen's rights and so on--but only within Stone's proscribed framework. 

The Federal Trade Commission is going after predatory "open access" science journals for tricking people about the legitimacy of their publications, review process, and fees.

Relatedly, a study at the University of California, Merced, says that scientists are overly pressured to publish in major journals, which leads to shoddy work and, well, a lot of being wrong.  

NASA's holding a press conference on Monday to discuss something they've found on the moon Europa. (My guess? Pirate twinsTa république!

Pastor Steven Anderson hates gay people so much, he'd like to see them executed. And for some reason this means countries like the UK, South Africa, and Botswana (which criminalizes homosexuality) won't allow him within their borders! What, so we have to keep him?

Susan Gerbic does NOT like TV psychic Tyler Henry:

He does not need to Google people beforehand, because he just needs to throw out general statements and then remain silent while the sitter fills in the details. His skill lies in his ability to nod in agreement to every statement as if he already knew that. His repertoire of facial expressions is wonderfully entertaining. And what a wonderful skill he has in silence—something that most of these grief vampires have lost in their rush to throw up as much information as possible for the sitter to grasp onto. 

The latest Dawkins Foundation newsletter is out, with stuff on New Atheism, nontheist candidates, and even a reference to "dino poop." 

Quote of the Day

Crediting folks like Paul Offit, Kristen O'Meara tells the New York Post that she has reformed her anti-vax ways:

I’m frustrated with the amount of misinformation I encountered when I set out on this journey. But in the end I am thankful, for the sake of [my daughtrs] Natasha, Áine and Lena, that I was able to reassess my position and accept information that is based on well-established, sound scientific evidence. If I can make even one anti-vaxxer think twice, speaking out will have been worth it.

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Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday September 21, 2016 at 3:03pm

“What, so we have to keep him”

Apparently.  The US doesn’t want to ban immigrants based on their plain-spoken kill-the-gays holy books (gay people rank below most religions) so you certainly won’t be banning a citizen on that basis.

#2 dmbierlein on Wednesday September 21, 2016 at 7:36pm

And why would a country want to deny anyone who holds many of the same beliefs about gays as the majority of its own religious citizens. Simply because there’s an argument about whether Jesus was just a prophet or God incarnate?

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