We’ll Always Be Wrong

August 16, 2017

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

WELL.

SO.

First, um, how are you? Yeah? Oh, I'm fine, fine. You know.

Ahem.

Right.

So.

Okay. 

This happened:

President Trump buoyed the white nationalist movement on Tuesday as no president has done in generations — equating activists protesting racism with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rampaged in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

Never has he gone as far in defending their actions as he did during a wild, street-corner shouting match of a news conference in the gilded lobby of Trump Tower, angrily asserting that so-called alt-left activists were just as responsible for the bloody confrontation as marchers brandishing swastikas, Confederate battle flags, anti-Semitic banners and “Trump/Pence” signs.

“Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth,” David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, wrote in a Twitter post shortly after Mr. Trump spoke.

The Washington Post, in an editorial titled "The nation can only weep," says, "Tuesday was a great day for David Duke and racists everywhere. The president of the United States all but declared that he has their backs.

Guardian cartoonist Ben Jennings finds a striking and concise way to express the collective horror.

Congratulations, USA. The United Nations is now really worried about us and our Nazi problem:

We are deeply concerned at the proliferation and increasing prominence of organized hate and racist groups. Acts of hatred and racist hate speech must be unequivocally condemned. Hate crimes must be investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted. 

The Associated Press does away with the term "alt-right" because "it is meant as a euphemism to disguise racist aims." Good call.   

Patton Oswald shows the evil of the "alt-left." 

The latest Richard Dawkins Foundation Newsletter, out today, which perhaps I had a little something to do with, tackles the broader issue of white nationalist resurgence.

Richard Dawkins himself has a new video at Big Think mostly about religious faith and its myriad problems in contrast to science, but also this:

It’s very unfortunate when you inadvertently find people agreeing with you who they’re the last people who wish to agree with you. I mean I despise Trump. I despise everything that he stands for. But it’s perfectly true that many people think that I ought to be on his side because he has these draconian illiberal horrible policies towards Muslims, trying to stop Muslims entering the country. What a horrible thing to do. What an impolite unwise illiberal inhumane thing to do. And so I’m embarrassed if people on the alt-right agree with something that I say for the wrong reasons. 

Some dude at something called the Quay City Sun says, "Secular humanism has no answer for racism." And I'm all, WHOA. Did you NOT read our helpful release on, among other things, secular humanism as a response to Nazis??

Here's something we agree with the Trump administration on, or at least his State Department, that ISIS is a huge threat to religious liberty and responsible for genocide. Rex Tillerson says:

ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled,” Tillerson wrote in the preface to the 2016 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. “ISIS is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups, and in some cases against Sunni Muslims, Kurds and other minorities 

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals says a Maryland public school district does not have to fund the Orthodox Jewish education of a student.

Hey, you know who doesn't want the Johnson Amendment killed so religions can turn into super-PACs? RELIGIONS

As I predicted, Judge Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore won the plurality of votes in the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. He'll advance to the runoff with current placeholder-senator Luther Strange. In other words, Roy Moore, who says "there are communities under Sharia law right now in our country," is going to the U.S. Senate. May whatever god you believe in have mercy on your soul. Oh wait.

The Toledo Blade weighs in on KPFA's decision to cancel its event with Richard Dawkins a couple weeks back:

Even if that is offensive to many, so what? Let the man speak. If he had said “Catholicism is the greatest force for evil in the world,” or “bestiality is a lifestyle choice,” the gig would still be on.

In Skeptical Inquirer, Gary Posner writes about how "psychic detective" Noreen Renier abused the hopes and hearts of the family of Kimberly McAndrew, who Renier claimed to be communicating with though it was revealed she was already dead.

Pakistan considers changes to its blasphemy law in order to prevent false accusations. Joke's on them, because they're all false accusations.  

Speaking of blasphemy, Dutch authorities have declared that the filming of a pornographic movie in a church is not blasphemy, though they do find it "offensive and disrespectful." Well, sure.

The LA Times declares "unacceptable" the ongoing efforts of parents to avoid vaccinating their kids, even with California's new law declaring that religious exemptions won't cut it:

40% of students at one small school in Sebastopol, Calif., obtained medical exemptions, and it strains credulity that they all have conditions that make vaccination dangerous for them. 

Asbury Park Press profiles Chad Calek, a "paranormal investigator" (not the real, Joe Nickell kind, but the "scientographer" kind, as Ian Harris puts it) who has a new documentary about an Australian ghost called Sir NoFace. Is this a joke? A Captain Underpants villian perhaps?

No fair, there are already mining structures on the Moon, as proved by the blurry, pixelated images of the surface. I mean, it's obvious. I bet they also find canali.

Quote of the Day:

Ann Druyan, talking to Time:

What I love so much about science is for me it is informed worship. It’s a high degree of humility to say we know nothing, we’re very young, we’ve very new at this. We’ll make mistakes, we’ll be wrong, we’ll always be wrong.

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