A Parallel Excretion of Hype

December 10, 2014

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

Time's 2014 Person of the Year, or rather "People," are "the Ebola Fighters." Also, coming next Christmas, Disney pictures presents the first Guardians of the Galaxy/Avengers/Ebola Fighters installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Now, to me, personally, it seems that the more appropriate choice for newsworthiness would have been the Ferguson protesters. They certainly had an enormous impact on how we think of the right to free expression right here in the U.S. But hey, I'm all for people fighting Ebola. But really, I'm with David Graham: The whole POTY thing is fun, but not worth taking all that seriously.

Reporters Without Borders makes an appeal to the Saudi king to free Raif Badawi. Badawi is also among the prisoners of conscience noted by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom for Human Rights Day.

Palestinian writer Waleed al-Husseini tells of his 10 months in prison for being an atheist:

I was beaten by prison guards who demanded to know who had made me write against Islam. In their minds, I could only say these things as the result of some plot, some conspiracy. The idea that I might simply want to express my independent thoughts was alien to them. 

Our friends at the IHEU release their 2014 Freedom of Thought Report:

This year will be marked by a surge in this phenomenon of state officials and political leaders agitating specifically against non-religious people, just because they have no religious beliefs, in terms that would normally be associated with hate speech or social persecution against ethnic or religious minorities. 

Religious think tank Theos responds to CFI-UK's Stephen Law's response to their thing about humanists and Christians.  

Three boards of health in Scotland have now rejected funding for a homeopathic hospital

Meanwhile, Whole Foods is embroiled in a class action lawsuit over its own homeopathic products, and is doing some shady work to try and kill the suit

Christian Jarrett writes at Wired about the promulgation of pseudoscience and hype on the topic of the brain:

This ignorance is providing the perfect breeding ground for myth and misconception. For every genuine break through, there is parallel excretion of hype or utter neurobunk. 

Skeptical Inquirer delved much more deeply into this topic one year ago with a cover story by Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld.

Ken Ham addresses a billboard to "intolerant liberals" saying "Thank God you can't sink this ship," referring to his silly Ark theme park thing. Hemant's perfect response: "Of course no one can sink that ship. It’s sitting on land."

Dan Geduld of the Independent Investigations Group, reporting from North Pole, Alaska, offers us IIG's $100k prize to see if Cupid the reindeer can actually fly.

A study on the relationship between religious belief and interest in space exploration shows results you might expect: Evangelicals are less interested, Jews and Eastern religions more so. The bad news? "The youngest generations, Generation X and the millennials, as a whole, exhibit less interest in space exploration than the previous baby boomer generation."

So this guy says he was going to let himself get swallowed by a snake, and then didn't, and, like, this was a real thing? Really, humanity? 

Prince Charles waxes theological on ISIS:

It seems to me that all faiths to some extent shine a light on the divine image in every human life. If that is so, then surely to destroy another human being is to desecrate the image of the Divine, and to do so in the name of faith is nothing less than a blasphemy? 

Wisconsin considers a bill to forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The Grace Church in Alma, Arkansas responds to American Atheists' billboards in a kind of nice and classy way

Dan Linford confronts the idea that the god atheists reject is "the wrong one." 

AHA is objecting to a Minnesota public school exposing its students to a religious "Chastity Project" presentation. 

How'd you like to discover your own planet? How hard could it be? 

Good question at Quora: "How does one let go of frustration with pseudoscience and quackery?" Does one? Does one??? 

Quote of the Day

Shamila Ghyas in Pakistan's The Nation:

I would say that the blasphemy law itself needs to go, but then I might be booked for it too, so I won’t. 

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Image by Shutterstock 

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