Not Helping

February 16, 2015

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

More killing over free expression and, yes, cartoons. The Economist:

On Saturday afternoon, one person was killed and three police officers wounded when a gunman opened fire on a free-speech debate at a Copenhagen cafe hosted by a controversial Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks. Hours later, a Jewish man was killed and another two police were injured near a synagogue.  

Michael De Dora takes a serious look at the polarized responses to the Chapel Hill murders, making the case that the atheist can learn from the tragedy, without having to own it. (By the way, Michael will be speaking at the Coalition for Liberty & Justice's event "Abusing Religious Liberty–Who Gets Hurt?" on February 24. 

For what it's worth, the AP reports that "police in Chapel Hill said they have yet to uncover any evidence that Hicks ... allegedly acted out of religious animus, though they are investigating the possibility."

We had the idea for Valentine's Day to get sex-ed YouTuber Laci Green as the guest on Point of Inquiry, and let me tell you. The adult nature of the conversation is FRANK. As I listened, I may have blushed. A lot. 

Oh great. I suppose this was inevitable: anti-vax pet owners. (And why not, homeopathy for cows.)

Just as we're all trying to battle anti-science nonsense in medicine, at the same time the FDA isn't helping. According to Charles Seife at Slate, corruption and fraud are huge, huge problems:

The FDA wants you to take it on faith that its officials have the public’s best interest at heart. Justification through faith alone might be just fine as a religious doctrine, but it’s not a good foundation for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of our drugs. 

Guess who else isn't helping: FoxNews.com runs a totally pro-homeopathy puff piece claiming it's safe and effective for all manner of conditions.  

At Skeptical Inquirer, Ben Radford looks at eHarmony's claims of being based in hard science, and finds, well, it's not.

Joe Romm at ThinkProgress follows up on the New York Times' coverage of our statement to the media on science deniers vs. skeptics:

The media doesn’t write about “tobacco science skeptics” or even bother quoting people who deny the dangerous health consequences of cigarette smoking any more. It’s time for the media to treat climate science deniers the same way. 

Old, celibate man who is the ruler of a city made of gold and an organization that has covered up the systematic sexual abuse of kids says it's selfish for people not to have children.

Students in Turkey protest the influence of religion on their schools, and get the water cannon

Tennessee's Supreme Court upholds a faith-healing mother's child-neglect conviction, but the state's religious exemptions for medical treatment remain more or less untouched.

Ben Thompson muses on one of David Carr's best qualities, his doubt

John Podesta has regrets. IN SPAAAAACE. 

Be careful what you pray for, you may start a cosmic war. 

Quote of the Day 

Stephen Law advocates for a different kind of inoculation -- enlightenment:

I don’t want the next generation of citizens growing up sexist or racist. I certainly don’t want them falling prey to those who would indoctrinate them with violent, extremist ideologies. My suggestion is that if we want to protect young people from being indoctrinated into such poisonous belief systems, our best defence is not to get our own indoctrination in first, but rather to give each of them some immunity to that sort of indoctrination.     

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Original image by Shutterstock

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Comments:

#1 Code Monkey on Monday February 16, 2015 at 8:34am

What John Podesta really meant:

Finally, my biggest failure of 2014: Once again not milking UFO hysteria for financial gain. But I’m working on that for 2015.

#2 Tim P. Farley on Monday February 16, 2015 at 8:55am

The freelance author of that FoxNews homeopathy piece had put out a call for experts on risks of homeopathy on Feb 10 which I saw. Quoting: “I am looking to speak with an expert who can talk about some of the perceived risks of homeopathy during pregnancy and postpartum.” I sent two emails to the author, via two different routes - one via her personal website. I included information about my site What’s the Harm, and the fact that people do get harmed by homeopathy. 

She never responded to my emails. It’s possible her short deadline precluded this, but I suspect she wasn’t really interested in risks. The only mention of risk in the article is a positive one from a naturopath. Very disappointing.

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