The Heart and Liver of a Muscovy Duck

October 29, 2013

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

Your Morning Heretic has been soaking up the skepto-atheism at the CFI Summit in Tacoma, which was a truly excellent and enlightening event (if for no other reason getting to witness the rebirth of Point of Inquiry, which is largely responsible for getting me into the movement back in Olden Times™). Yesterday, I was recovering from a time-zone-shifting redeye. Hopefully, nothing all that interesting happened outside the conference.

One theme that came up a couple of times at the Summit was the desire for CFI to make more noise about its international program, headed by Bill Cooke. Ophelia Benson makes this point. No argument here, as a lot of that activity is a little under the radar. If you're interested in international activism, don't forget our Office of Public Policy's Campaign for Free Expression and our UN work. 

Major Newsweek piece covers the loss of tax revenue to churches in the U.S., citing data from the groundbreaking study in our own Free Inquiry.

Amy Frushour Kelly and Dan Simon of our Long Island CFI branch appear on local CBS TV in a piece on our opposition to a public library paying to host a fake psychic's pitch session.

Remember that jerk who refers to himself as a "militant atheist" beat up that pastor? Hemant is trying to help the pastor out, and Dusty Smith is making sure the violence gets called out (NSFW). 

Oh, and remember that judge that wouldn't allow a couple to name their kid "Messiah" because it's supposedly a title reserved for Jesus? The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct has determined that it looks like that judge "has committed judicial offenses" and recommends the filing of charges.

Research group with the creepiest name ever, Empty Tomb, reports that Protestant church giving reached its lowest point in 2011, and may not recover.

class-action suit by parents is being launched against the makers of "Kids Relief," a homeopathic scam flu remedy:

HomeoLab pushes its Kids Relief Flu by claiming that its ingredients - "autolysate of the heart and liver of the duck" - "relieves 'flu-like symptoms,' 'fever and chills,' 'aches and pains,' and 'feeling run-down' in children 2 years and over," the complaint states, citing the company's website. "But the heart and liver of a Muscovy duck, at least at the dilutions claimed, can be scientifically and mathematically shown to have no medical value, no biological effect on humans," the complaint states. 

Hemant is starting a book club! I hope they do a Deepak Chopra book. 

Turkey's Prime Minister Erdoğan unexpectedly loops "even" nonbelievers into the circle of folks who deserve a little respect:

[W]e won’t do religious nationalism. In other words, we said we will protect the Muslim’s law, the Christian’s law, the Jew’s law, and even the atheist’s law. 

The Rapidian talks to folks at CFI-Michigan about the Living without Religion campaign and CFI's grander mission.

At CSI, Sharon Hill writes about the panic over the pacu fish, and I'm totally freaked out looking at that picture and cannot unsee it. 

Among other findings from PRRI, 27% self-described Libertarians are "nones."

Fox has a new 30-second ad for the rebooted Cosmos. (It only now occurs to me how weird it's going to be to watch Cosmos with commercials.)

For PBS's Frontline, Dr. Arjun Srinivasan says "we've reached the end of antibiotics, period," as the little bastards keep taking advantage of that whole "evolution by means of natural selection" thing.  

A team of Italian scientists in Critical Review of Biotechnology: "The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops." 

And tying it all together, Steven Salzberg declares the choice between the two "isn't even close":

The threat of GMOs pales in comparison to the overuse of antibiotics, which are creating dangerous superbugs that already kill tens of thousands of people each year. 

Seeing one Moon landing is cool enough. Now watch six at once and see if your brain doesn't explode. 

Homeopathy lawyers up to win back NHS funding in the UK. 

Harriet Hall reviews a new book by a former chiropractor who has turned on the profession.  

CJ Werleman is critical of atheists (at Salon, where else) because we don't do enough about wealth inequality. Erm... 

Also at Salon, Khaled Diab writes of the rise in volume of the atheist voice in Egypt, of all places.

Among the topics discussed on my little podcast is my religious feelings about Apple and how their press conferences are like mass. 

Local rag in my own state of Maine does a fluffy, uncritical profile of a homeopath.  

Dawkins is on friendly territory with Bill Maher. 

Quote of the Day

Dawkins interviews in less friendly territory (though not hostile territory), The New Republic:

I don’t shout people down. I argue people down, perhaps.

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