Pokemon for Simpletons

June 4, 2014

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

The Keep Health Care Safe and Secular campaign is off! Check out the great resources at the website, tell us your stories of contending with religion and pseudoscience in health care, and tweet with #SafeandSecular! Hemant says, "I can’t stress how broad this campaign is — and it needs to be. Atheists and skeptics should be concerned with any number of health care-related issues."

The Richard Dawkins Foundation picks our own Debbie Goddard as their Secular VIP of the Week! 

Iranian American comedian Negin Farsad joins Josh Zepps on Point of Inquiry to give her take on religious identification and the debates over Islam.  

Vox.com picks up on Gwyneth Paltrow's yelling-at-water nonsense from Masaru Emoto, and uses a piece by Carrie Poppy at Skeptical Inquirer to take the whole thing apart.  

Ian O'Doherty compares homeopathy to belief in the power of angels that hang around and look after you:

The uncharitable might be tempted to call these people gullible, credulous crackpots. And the uncharitable would be right. Angels, and angel cards, are basically Pokemon for simpletons, yet both share the same kind of wide-eyed, vaguely lunatic conviction that just because they can't prove something, this means that you can't actually disprove it. Therefore it must exist. 

Oof. 42% of Americans are essentially creationists. The fact that it's the number 42 makes it hurt all the more. 

Greatest lede ever? "Alabama-based Life-Savers Ministries (LSM) has admitted that it was probably a poor decision to select a quote from Adolf Hitler for use on a billboard supporting children's education." 

Chris Stedman talks to MIT's Aaron Scheinberg about the school nixing graduation prayers and maybe getting a humanist chaplain. 

Huge corporations begin to distance themselves from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after they release a report whining about attempts to mitigate climate change. (Apple pulled out of the Chamber altogether for this very reason in 2009.)

Ben Radford explores the Slender Man myth after a young girl is stabbed by her friends, who believed they were acting on Slender Man's behalf. 

Joe Nickell has some old pills. What do they cure? Whaddayou got? 

Wow wow wow. An attorney for the Diocese of Trenton, NJ says that a church can't be blamed for harboring a child-raping priest because when a priest is raping a child, that priest is off-duty. Wow. Wow.  

High-ranking Catholic cardinal and papal consiglieri Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga says libertarianism and Catholicism don't mix

I didn't even know this needed fixing, but apparently it did: Israel's middle schools will now teach evolution.

Sam Harris has a winner for his Moral Landscape challenge

Federal court blocks an Arizona law limiting drug-induced abortions. 

As if to prove why we need a Safe and Secular health care campaign, this is from a real paper on schizophrenia:

One approach to this hallucination problem is to consider the possibility of a demonic world. ... Therefore, it would be useful for medical professions to work together with faith healers to define better treatment pathways for schizophrenia. 

The Obama administration is taking an uncomfortably long time making good on its threat to cut aid to Uganda for its anti-homosexuality law. 

Oliver Roy at NYT looks at how the rising right of Europe is looking to push Muslims out, despite not being formally linked with Christianity. 

Quote of the Day

Jackie Hansen at Amnesty International on Meriam Ibrahim, who you can work to help through CFI and Amnesty:

Meriam is many things. She is a doctor, an accidental activist, a woman, a wife, a mother. 
She is a person going through something that is truly awful. Meriam is imprisoned with two small children, was forced to give birth in shackles, and is being kept alive until her infant is weaned. She is the victim of a society where women and men are most definitely not equal.
But Meriam married for love and is strong in her faith and isn't afraid to stand up for who she loves and what she believes, no matter what the cost. She was given four days to recant her faith and save her life and she refused--she remained true to her beliefs. Meriam is someone with strength and conviction who continues to bravely stand up for her rights each and every day in an extremely challenging environment. And by staying true to herself she is making a political statement. She is, whether or not it's intentional, taking a stand on the rights of women, and the right to freedom of thought, religion, and expression in Sudan.
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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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