Hijack the Utopian Ideal

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 03, 2014

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

I just love this. An NBC affiliate in Los Angeles does a profile of a local dowser who says, hilariously, "I charge $500, and there’s no guarantees, although I’m more than 95-percent successful," and, "Scientists don’t understand this. Therefore, they don’t believe in it." Luckily, the piece also has CFI-LA's Jim Underdown to, erm, throw cold water on it.

CFI is a member of the Coalition for Liberty and Justice, and they have a great short video that explains the problem with the religious right's definition of "religious freedom."  

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Acupuncturists Respond to Critics With Quiver of Fallacies

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Ben Radford
July 02, 2014

I recently wrote a piece titled "Acupuncture Can Spread Tuberculosis, Researchers Warn," which prompted many angry supporters of acupuncture to respond. Here's what they said. 

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Religion 1, Science 0

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 02, 2014

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

CFI challenges the FDA to explain the inexplicable: Its decision to lift restrictions on so-called "cancer-quack" Stanislaw Burzynski's clinical trials:

“We struggle to see why the FDA continues to enable this deceptive, antiscientific, and unethical medical adventurism and profiteering, even for patients who are terminally ill,” writes CFI. “Given the behavior of Dr. Burzynski and the Burzynski Research Institute over the course of nearly three decades of failed research and trials, and in the face of a complete lack of scientific evidence demonstrating the efficacy of their expensive and dangerous antineoplaston treatment, we find the FDA’s decision perplexing and profoundly disturbing.” 

The president approves the WWII Memorial prayer plaque over the objections of folks like us. Stars and Stripes' Travis J. Tritten spoke to me, raising the point that the prayer doesn't mention Jesus:

“The level of religiosity within a given prayer is really beside the point,” said Paul Fidalgo, communications director for the Center for Inquiry. “The real issue that it is a prayer, regardless of the degree. It is an invocation within a religious tradition.” 

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Hobby Lobby – Where Alito (and the Administration) Went Wrong

by Nicholas Little
July 01, 2014

In some ways, you have to hand it to Justice Alito. It is uncommon for a Supreme Court Justice to get every single question in a case wrong, but that is exactly what the newest member of the Court’s conservative majority managed with the contraception mandate cases.

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The Dry Humor of Samuel Alito

Advocatus Diaboli with Tom Flynn
July 01, 2014

Not since Mick Jagger promoted the upcoming Monty Python reunion concert by complaining about old stars from the 60s who just endlessly rehash their own stuff (OK, that was earlier this week) has anyone displayed mastery of dry British humor like U. S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr.

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Hashtag Conestoga Wood

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
July 01, 2014

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

The Hobby Lobby case goes bad. We say in our press release:

This is not a decision that advances religious freedom – it is a decision that enshrines religious privilege over and above employee well-being. This decision defies common sense, lacks compassion, and has the potential to harm us all.

Our response get picked up by outlets like Deseret NewsCommon DreamsJoe. My. God., and even in France by Sciences et Avenir

CFI chief Ron Lindsay writes at HuffPo about how the decision's focus on contraception, and being so explicit about excluding things like blood transfusions, raises questions about the implications of a Catholic majority on the court...

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The Uncomfortable, but Necessary Question: Should We Have Six Catholic Justices on the Court?

No Faith Value with Ronald A. Lindsay
June 30, 2014

In its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the Supreme Court has decided that the religious beliefs of employers, including closely held corporations, take precedence over the rights of employees to necessary medical care. The specific medical care to which the employers objected was certain forms of contraception. The five justices who decided that these employers’ objections were entitled to deference are all Catholics. (One Catholic justice, Sotomayor—a woman—dissented from the majority ruling.)

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Alien Residue

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 30, 2014

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

Today the Supreme Court is expected to deliver its decision in the big Hobby Lobby case about an employer's ability to impose his or her religion on employees. Catch up on all the issues surrounding it at our Hobby Lobby case resource page, and stay tuned to our Twitter account for news updates and reaction. (By the way, among the groups who think Hobby Lobby is wrong is the people.)

For all the cool stuff that's been going on in the CFI community over the past fortnight, check out issue 9 of Cause & Effect

Saturday was the centennial of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which catalyzed World War I, which of course begat a century or so of violence, upheavals, realignments, and a very different world map.    

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Protest the Urologists

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 27, 2014

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

Saudi Arabia's shouting down of CFI at the UN Human Rights Council is continuing to make waves, and we sent out a message yesterday about why we need your help to keep up the pressure.

Clergy Project co-founder Linda LaScola writes about her "reunion" with project alumnus Jerry DeWitt at CFI-DC. 

The Hobby Lobby decision did NOT come down yesterday (whew!), but the SCOTUS did decide that having a buffer zone at abortion clinics to protect patients from protesters was unconstitutional...

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The Ones with the Deep Voices Who Were Always Hassling Christ

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
June 26, 2014

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

The episode of Saudi Arabia trying to get CFI "shut up" at the UN Human Rights Council is garnering a lot of attention and interest, so I did a more complete telling of what transpired and the surrounding context over at Friendly Atheist. Additionally, we've assembled a coalition to press the US State Department to intervene.

The FDA inexplicably decides to allow "cancer quack" Stanislaw Burzynski to continue his clinical trials of his baseless treatments. Expect to hear from us on this soon. 

A one-two judicial punch takes down same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Indiana.  

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