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. 

Because he loves you, CFI–UK's Stephen Law presents a free audiobook, his satirical take on C.S. Lewis, The Tapescrew Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Guru. I had nothing to do with the accompanying GIF, but I wish I had.

This is gross on many levels. At Oral Roberts University, which, if you didn't know, is a Christian school, students are required to wear FitBit fitness trackers, which allows the school to monitor not just their steps, but their location and calories burned during activities like, oh I don't know, sex. 

Chris Roberts at SF Weekly dives deep into the Catholic Church's ongoing employment of exorcists:

The more people who exit the church and pursue New Age philosophies ... means more demonic activity. That requires exorcists — and the best way for someone who has recovered from demonic activity, and to ensure Satan does not return, is to pray, attend Church, and receive Communion. In other words, to be a faithful and devout Catholic — which could mean that those Catholics who are left are becoming more extreme in their views. When Pope Francis talks about the devil working in the world, he is speaking literally.  

Rick Scott, governor of Florida (of course), actually gets booted early from his interview on Morning Joe because Mika Brzezinski just couldn't stomach his dancing around whether "Islam hates America," as Trump says. "Should we scoot?" Yes, you should.  

American Muslims are getting pretty motivated to vote this year. Can't imagine why. 

Ben Radford writes at Discovery News on the very upsetting story of the "naturopath" parents who let their kid die from meningitis, treating him with things like maple syrup and olive leaf extract:

A toddler, of course, cannot give feedback on how he or she is feeling and the parents had to rely on their own subjective interpretation of his behavior. Since the Stephans believed—and wanted to believe—that they were helping him, they had a strong emotional and cognitive bias in interpreting any calming as signs of his recovery.

West Virginia state delegate Scott Cadle helped pass a bill for "herd-sharing" agreements between cattle farmers for the purposes of using a cow's raw milk, and to celebrate, he brought some raw milk to the state capitol, drank some, and promptly got sick

Physicists at the University of Geneva create a numerical simulation of the expansion of the universe. No big deal.

Atheist Bangladeshi blogger Arifur Rahman posts video of his address to the Glasgow Skeptics on the threats he and others like him face in his home country. 

Kyle Odom, the man who allegedly shot Rev. Tim Remington in Idaho, was arrested after throwing things over the White House fence, and is revealed to have produced a manifesto in which he says his life was “ruined by an intelligent species of amphibian-humanoid from Mars,” and says that President Obama is a "noteworthy Martian."

In China, before you can claim to be a living Buddha, you have to get a license from the central government. Because, you see, you wouldn't want any fake living Buddhas. Luckily, the government has a handy step by step guide.

Not a photo of Earth taken by the Hubble. But it's nice anyway. 

Satan may get a mayor removed from office in Florida (of course). Well, a Satanist really, one who filed charges against the mayor for using city resources for her church.

Someone on Yahoo Answers (remember that?) seems to have asked, "Isn't it great that the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science is to Merge with Center for Inquiry?" And my favorite response is:

They are literally building a new Tower of Babel, but this time out of sun-baked blocks of modern bullshyt

Literally! 

Behold Shaman Cat! 

Quote of the Day: 

Did you know that it's Acupuncture Awareness Week? No? Not a very effective campaign, I guess. Anyhoo, Andy Lewis marks the occasion by listing 10 things to know about the practice, including:

Sometimes ... acupuncture is dressed in the garb of scientific knowledge. For example, some claim that studies have shown that needling releases endorphins which can inhibit pain signals. Punching people in the face also releases endorphins and can distract from some other pain in the body. People do not create therapeutic modalities around face punching because of this though.     

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