Stop Oppressing My Fake Medicine

August 26, 2013

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

Dylan Matthews at WaPo's Wonkblog expands on Matthew Yglesias's call to tax churches, and highlights Ryan Cragun's research for Free Inquiry, in which it is estimated that American taxpayers are subsidizing religion to the tune of over $80 billion a year (Matthews' revised number). The same study is cited in a Star-Ledger editorial, though not by name.

This is pretty big: 9th Circuit Court says California has to compensate an atheist drug offender for sending him back to prison because he refused a religiously-based addiction treatment. It's this kind of thing that makes things like the Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) program important.

CFI's Michael De Dora pens an article on the importance of storytelling in secular activism for the Dawkins Foundation's newsletter

Cardinal Keith O'Brien is found to have blocked inquiries into sexual abuse by priests before he resigned for his own sexual conduct.

Ron Lindsay talked about the quandaries around faith healing and religious freedom in the context of medicine on a fascinating HuffPost Live panel, which featured Dr. Tim Lahey, author of a new piece on Pentacostals' refusal of HIV treatment. 

CFI On Campus has a great new On-Air Session series through Google Hangouts, and the next one is tomorrow at 8ET, talking about the Light the Night walk and hugging atheists.  

UFO cult the Raelians are in the news for two very different reasons: First, for offering surgery to repair female genital mutilation, and second, for launching a bizarre PR stunt that seems mostly about boobs. 

The Egyptian military is enlisting religious authorities to persuade Muslims that they have a religious duty to obey. CFI spoke out against all of the targeting and persecution of religious groups.

Emily Willingham on the source of a measles outbreak in Texas: a megachurch that spooks parents away from vaccines. 

Did you know Libya had a Muslim Brotherhood? It does, and it is ascendent

NYT on the life, death, and impact of the recently-assassinated Indian skeptic activist Narendra Dabholkar. 

Daisy Grewal at SciAm reports on a University of British Columbia study that shows encouraging folks to think critically reduces god-belief

Blake Page calls out the waste of hundreds of millions of dollars by the military on "mystic quackery."

After the destruction of the nonprofit-developed, genetically-modified "Golden Rice" crop in the Philippines, scientists begin to express "a simmering frustration with activist organizations like Greenpeace, which they see as playing on misplaced fears of genetic engineering in both the developing and the developed worlds." 

Did you know that Darwin almost didn't go on that big trip to the Galapagos? I think we're all really glad he did, and mayhaps you'll feel the same if you join the CFI Travel Club for its big Galapagos trip. 

The DOJ sues to stop Louisiana's voucher program because, according to reporting by Danielle Dreilinger, it is "disrupt[ing] the racial balance in public school systems that desegregation orders are meant to protect." 

Yet another uncritical puff piece on alt-med ("natural health" and herbal "medicine"), this time in the Union Leader.

Amit Majmudar posits that humans may not be so keen on a traditional "afterlife" after all, and he thinks to they key to understanding why is the compulsion to play hyper-realistic video games. 

330 churches in Texas pool resources to run an ad campaign to "#ExploreGod," and I have to imagine they don't know what they're opening themselves up to by making it a hashtag. 

John Shook lends us some of Bertrand Russell's wisdom on skepticism and humanism. 

Conservative Catholic pundit Joseph Bottum backs gay marriage

A bill banning religious headgear for public employees in Quebec moves forward. 

Freek Vermeulen at Bloomberg reminds us that pseudoscience is not just the purview of health and the paranormal, but in business management as well.  

Acupuncture patient is forgotten about by the practitioners, is left locked in the building, covered with needles.  

Jean-Marie Welch writes in the Lexington Herald-Leader about how "faith-based morality can override logic." 

Nat Case at Aeon: Is it okay if I'm both a Quaker and an atheist

Michael Nugent takes on the New Statesman's Daniel Trilling on the subject of Dawkins and Islam, on BBC radio

Fake psychic Rose Marks goes on trial for $25 million worth of fraud. 

A "sea monster" washes up in Spain

Quote of the Day

Steven Salzberg on the absurd arguments of the alt-med lobby:

They want the government to force insurance providers to pay for quack treatments, regardless of whether or not the treatments work. Any attempt to require evidence, they argue, amounts to discrimination. Discrimination? Yes! We must not allow the government to exclude health care providers just because those providers don’t cure anything.  

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul, Ed, Lauren, anyone who can fire them, or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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