Consecutive Primes

March 15, 2016

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

This is so wild. Louis Daniel Smith is sitting in prison right now for selling a fake cancer/AIDS/etc. cure that was made primarily of bleach, but as Matt Zapotosky at WaPo reports, devotees of the fake drug ("Miracle Mineral Solution"), have made it central to their religion, the Genesis II Church of Health & Healing. Now the Justice Department is trying to crack down on the operation. But holy crap, listen to these guys...

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The Saint-Making Machine

March 14, 2016

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

"I now give the floor to the distinguished representative from the Center for Inquiry," says the presiding officer of the UN Human Rights Council, as Michael De Dora delivers his second statement of this session, this time on the freedom of expression on social media, and concerns about the rise in government takedown requests. 

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Enlightened without a License

March 11, 2016

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

Stanlislaw Burzynski. Ugh that guy. While I'm here fuming about him, Tamar Wilner writes at Skeptical Inquirer about the lessons she's learned about science communication and journalism while trying to report on the fake-savior's exploits. 

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Tremendous, Unbelievable, Radical, Very Hard

March 10, 2016

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

Michael De Dora spoke up in support of free expression and freedom of belief at the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, and the video is up

Twitter releases a big transparency report on government requests to pull content, and how often it complies. Briefly, in the U.S. it gets a few requests, but doesn't take anything down, but in countries like Turkey, over 20% of requests are complied with. Russia has lately ramped up its requests to take down content, and Twitter has only complied about 5% of the time.

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Nessie-Optimized

March 09, 2016

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

Our International Man of Diplomacy™, Michael De Dora, is in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council, doing his thing, and we'll have more on this specific adventures soon. Meantime, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Heiner Bielefeldt made a case for considering the freedoms to belief and expression to be "twin beliefs":

While freedom of expression seems to signal a ‘green light’ to all sorts of provocation, freedom of religion or belief seems to give a ‘stop sign’ instead. That kind of misunderstanding typically originates from the view that freedom of religion or belief protects religions or belief systems per se. ... [Both rights] protect unconditionally a person’s inner realm of thinking and believing, where no restrictions can be justified on whatsoever grounds. 

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Stem Cell Smoothie

March 08, 2016

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

Point of Inquiry has a fascinating episode this week, where Lindsay Beyerstein talks to New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova about con artists, what motivates them, and what makes even us smartypants vulnerable to their schemes. 

At Skeptical Inquirer, Stuart Vyse stands up for the miserable, like me. He looks at what is being learned about happiness and melancholy as they relate to longevity, health, and education.

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Implausibility Upon Implausibility Upon Implausibility

March 07, 2016

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

Let's talk about the God Lady, Denise Ghattas, at the Democratic debate last night. My less well-considered question about that whole exchange is, "WTF was that?" It would have been one thing if a journalist had asked, in a more academic framing, "is God relevant to this campaign?" But instead we had what seemed to me to be a leading question aimed squarely at the one guy in the whole race who has largely eschewed brining God into the discussion...

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Undorsement

March 04, 2016

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

When a future civilization -- maybe of this planet, maybe not -- asks, "Where did it all go wrong for the humans of the 21st century? How did they destroy themselves so suddenly," the scholars will, as one, point to the Republican debate last night as the harbinger of the End of All Things. I'm guessing, anyway.

In case you haven't overdosed on Trump yet, allow me. I have a whole slew of Trump stuff here...

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Multiple Counts of Pandering

March 03, 2016

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

A man in Russia, Viktor Krasnov, could get up to a year in prison for expressing his atheism on Facebook. The charge? "Offending believers' feelings." I thought Russia was supposed to be tough.

Daniel Burke at CNN looks at what Super Tuesday means for various religious blocs, such as the breakup of the religious right and Sanders' appeal to heathens:

Sanders attracted a majority of voters who don't regularly attend worship services in Arkansas and Texas, and came close (46%) in Virginia, helping him win delegates even where he lost states. The four states that Sanders did win -- Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma and his home state of Vermont -- all have large numbers of religiously unaffiliated voters, or "nones." 

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Fall Off of a Cliff

March 02, 2016

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

Sorry about the lack of a Heresy yesterday. I had a thing. Onward!

Lookie here, CFI's Nick Little pens an op-ed for Salon on the big Texas abortion case at the Supreme Court, focusing on the shady character behind the state's case:

Vincent Rue is not a medical doctor, but, through surrogates, he has tried to play one in court. And in this role of a lifetime, he has masterminded the dissemination of pseudoscientific testimony in several state court cases —all in an effort to defeat women’s right to an abortion. His act is about to be reviewed by his most important audience yet – the United States Supreme Court.

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