That’s Unfair to Snake Oil Salesmen

February 25, 2013

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

Yowza. Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland resigned today in the midst of allegations of sexual advances on priests.

Good stuff: Harriet Hall and Amy Davis Roth begin the healing

Bad stuff: Egyptian author of The Arabic Theology, Youssef Zeidan, may be charged with blasphemy for his book.

Christian pastor in Pakistan, Asghar Nizam Ranjha, is accused of blasphemy for allegedly defiling a Bible:

The police investigator in the case supported his claim, though he said that he had instructed the pastor to apologise and to flee his post at the church as local Christians had been whipped up into a murderous frenzy. 

Following the assassination-by-machete of Bangladeshi atheist blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, protests erupt in Dhaka over ongoing reposts of Haider's material and other Islam-critical pieces.  

CFI-Indiana chief Reba Boyd Wooden blogs on the insanity in the Indiana legislature as they consider bills to require two transvaginal ultrasounds (!) to get a prescription for pregnancy-ending medication, and another on school vouchers, saying, "Watching this train wreck is infuriating."

American Atheists gets a new public relations director, Dave Muscato.

Kimberly Winston reports on the weekend's Secularism on the Edge conference, where organizer Jacques Berlinerblau says:

I think we should have had this conference 25 years ago. What happened then is that secularism had its butt handed to it by the Christian right, Islamists around the world and the ultra-Orthodox Jews. Secularism was sleeping.

Oh, this is bad. Discoverer of Bigfoot DNA apparently references April Fool's hoax papers in her own report. And then someone goes and shoots a Bigfoot on a Navajo reservation. 

Atheist Nebraska state legislator Ernie Chambers filibusters a prison work program bill by ripping religion a new one.

The White House steps in on DOMA, asking the Supreme Court to overturn it. 

Chris Smith at The Revealer asks a tough question:

When mental illness and religion begin to intersect, how does one differentiate between dogmatic devotion and detached derangement? 

Uh-oh. One study suggests that of academics who cite scholarly papers in their own work, only about 20% have actually read what they cite.

Candida Moss in the Chronicle of Higher Education tells us that perhaps Christians didn't have it so bad in olden tymes:

There is almost no evidence from the period before Constantine, traditionally called the Age of Martyrs, to support the idea that Christians were continuously persecuted.  

Sharon Hill rounds up a series of reports of mass psychogenic illness

UK's National Secular Society lists its nominees for Secularist of the Year. 

Hospitals in the Louisville region are incorporating more alt-med, justified thusly by one administrator:

We asked: What is the community saying they want? We want to give them the best of that world. 

Connecticut's Middletown Press on the growing popularity of "touch therapy," explained by its practitioner thusly: 

[It] uses the same principles as acupressure, except that no pressure is used. It works by using touch to free up places in our bodies where our energy might be blocked. 

The Scotsman looks back on 80 years of the Loch Ness Monster legend. 

Bill in Oklahoma state legislature would allow any employer to deny contraceptive coverage, as requested by a local cardiologist who says contraceptive pills "poison" a woman by denying her the role of motherhood.  

Tiny electrode tattoos could allow you to control electronics....WITH YOUR MIND. 

Ben Radford at Discovery News: New study actually does not support the claim that acupuncture helps with allergies. 

Salon has a list of 10 atheist celebrities, in case you're wondering.  

This bird crap looks like Jesus, so they say. (But Mr. Jesus is very far away.) 

Quote of the Day

Donald Clarke at the Irish Times on homeopathy as snake oil:

Actually that’s unfair to snake oil salesmen. Their product has an active ingredient. 

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