Oh God, You Devil

December 20, 2016

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

I have to be super quick this morning because my kid's school is doing this holiday thing and yes I know I should have done this last night, but you know what? Life is crazy.

Let's begin with the world totally unraveling. All on the same day, the Russian ambassador to Turkey is assassinated in Ankara by a Turkish policeman; a truck plows through a crowd of Christmas shoppers in Berlin, killing 12 people in what is probably an act of terrorism; and Donald Trump formally wins in the Electoral College's vote, despite last-ditch efforts to sway the electors.

Free Inquiry magazine is now officially available in digital-only subscriptions. They're cheaper than paper! Find out how you can enjoy your secular humanist paperless bits here

CFI–L.A.'s Jim Underdown appears in what looks to be a wonderful new series of reports for WGN TV news: "That's Bull***!" This edition's topic: fake psychics. 

Kimberly Winston reports on the newly amended International Religious Freedom Act, which now includes language specifically protecting nontheists, and notes our role in lobbying for the change. 

Linch Zhang at HuffPo explores Secular Solstice as a "post-ironic" celebration of the season, as Tom Flynn rolls his eyes (I assume). 

Germany considers legislation that would fine social media sites like Facebook for proliferating fake news.

Andrew Ujifusa at EdWeek explores how a DeVos-led voucher program might work.

A Pakistan International Airlines pilot beheads a goat so that his plane won't crash. Good thing they don't worship Pan.

Convicted criminal and former Dancer-with-the-Stars Tom DeLay says God "stopped Hillary Clinton and put a man in place that was a strong leader." Unclear to him at first, now DeLay says, "I now see what God is doing." Oh God, you devil.

Hospitalized? Ask for a woman doctor. If you want to live. (I am exaggerating somewhat.) 

Quote of the Day:

The American Institute of Homeopathy, which apparently exists, rebuts the FTC's new regulations on homeopathy's marketing, and David Gorski can't stop laughing:

Ya gotta love homeopaths. They’re deluded quacks, and their overwrought language, coupled with the fact that this statement was written by homeopaths, perfectly encapsulates the nonsensical thinking behind homeopathy.

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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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#1 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 at 1:51pm

“I am exaggerating somewhat.”

Instead of an 11.5% mortality risk, it drops to 11.1%.  It’s a 4% improvement over male doctors, but to the patient it remains about a 1-in-9 chance of dying. 

“We also excluded patients who left against medical advice.”  Why?  Doesn’t it matter if the doctor can convince the patient of the need for care?

“Female physicians ... treated fewer patients (131.9 vs 180.5 hospitalizations per year)”  So perhaps the cost of this 4% improvement in mortality rate is letting 50 patients per each simply not get care at all.

#2 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 at 1:57pm

“Germany considers legislation that would fine social media sites like Facebook for proliferating fake news”

Oh yeah.  That’s a great idea.  Look what happened the last few times this was tried in Germany…

#3 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 at 2:06pm

Understand that the inclusion of atheists in the new IRFA law is merely cover for the further new inclusion of animal slaughter and infant genital cutting.

Fun Fact—Bill Clinton gave us IRFA.. just like RFRA and DOMA and DADT.

#4 Randy (Guest) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 at 2:14pm

“Free Inquiry magazine is now officially available in digital-only subscriptions”

I cancelled all my paper subscriptions to everything over a decade ago, assuming that media would go digital.  Remember when we cared about things?  Turns out content creators are more interested in the money than deforestation and emissions.

I would gladly have paid in advance for the production of that content, but it was more important to the authors that no person got to see it, ever, unless they had paid.  (Because sharing is apparently not a thing normal people do).

When some finally did go digital, they used these clunky proprietary apps that reduced functionality from the paper versions… no saving, no clipping, no photocopying… no flipping through the pages.

What a waste.  Although I’m not a reader of the magazine, nor am I likely to be, I hope CFI has chosen a path that embraces the reader.  It’s apparently overdue.

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